A return to climbing

Last night after about a year without climbing I finally returned to the sport and I saw a familiar face but I couldn’t remember why. Eventually, I remembered that it was Cedric Lachat. I remember him from some climbing videos I watched. I also saw many of my climbing friends. 

On the first belay I made sure to remember all the skills. It had been a while but when you’ve belayed hundreds of people the skills have become muscle memory. What was less comfortable were the first two climbs. When you haven’t climbed in a while you have to get used to being high above the ground and trusting that you took care of fixing your equipment correctly. I did so I continued climbing. 

By the third and fourth climbs I felt more comfortable getting back to climbing up to 6a for three quarters of a route before not trusting myself on a move three or four moves from the top. 

As I haven’t climbed in so long I thought that I would be rusty but this is due to two or three outdoor climbs where conditions are diferent. You don’t have colour coded rocks to show you the route. 

I think that watching pros climb has helped, I think that cycling for hours a week has helped and I think that lifting a fifteen kilo weight in a number of different ways has also helped. Cycling really strengthens the leg muscles and improves the cardiovascular system and lifting a 15kg weight works arm, shoulder and back muscles. 

The biggest difference when I was climbing yesterday is that I had brand new shoes, shoes that I had used for climbing just once before. Whenever I went climbing before I was using old shoes that were worn and had holes in them as they were hand me downs from friends. I had plenty of grip and for once they were tight. 

This morning I tried riding around Watopia. Previously I had tried GCN training sessions with the indoor trainer but as I had no power meter I had to guess that I was making the right effort and guess that the pedalling rate was correct. With Zwift I don’t need to guess anymore. This software measures my cadence with the suunto sensor as well as the wheel speed to measure my speed and thus wattage. 

The aim of this training session was to produce 130 watts of power for 3 minutes, rest and then repeat this 10 times for a training session duration of 50 minutes. I liked that it provides you with a window of power within which to stay for the required periods of time. It is useful to have a window within which to stay because there is a little lag between the power it requires you to alternate between and what the sensors detect. It works better for efforts lasting for more than a few seconds as you synchronise the power produced to the power you’re aiming for. 

The training session I tried, but this person had a higher power goal. 

If you want a more detailed look at Zwift’s features you can click on the video below. 

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