It has been a busy few weeks again. Kicking off with a reset at The Castle followed by a boot demo with 5.10 team mate and all round nice guy Steve Mac. We had the new Arrowhead on show and this was the first time I had used them in anger. Although I am not a fan of a downturned toe (I am a long term abuser of the VCS) the Arrowhead has been created to fill the void between a VCS and the more aggressive Dragon.
Instantly wearable I felt at home in the Arrowhead, which is very similar in fit to the VCS last. The downturned toe provides you with a little more power on steep angles with small feet and the Velcro fastening allows easy removal and adjustment to crank in the heel. All in all a great boot for those who want a little more power for their feet without the hobble.
Next up I was due up in Edinburgh to coach the kids from the Quickdraw Climbing Club based at Ratho. This is 6 month programme I have devised for them and it will take them from pre season fitness through all aspects of training up until full competition readiness. Annoyingly it snowed………and the only airport to be closed was Edinburgh. Looks like we will begin in February now.
January the 10th was the start of a very hard 14 days. After two days setting for High Sports we packed a van and headed to Excel in London. The Outdoor Show is always an event I enjoy being involved with and this year was no exception. I got the opportunity to work on the Skymasters Wall along with fellow setters Mike Langley and Yann Genoux. On the Thursday Kate arrived and we manned and womaned our Epic Adventures stand in conjuction with Revolution Holds. For more info on Rev contact Mike Langley at The Castle Climbing Centre. It gave us the opportunity to spread the word about out little place amongst the orange groves. We met some old friends some new friends and even took some bookings. Saturday was the senior BBC event and as I had done ZERO plastic over the 7 weeks I was in Spain at Christmas I didn’t expect too much. I just missed out on the final and finished 7th, I was lacking that little bit of basic raw power in the end but I was pleased with my climbing, still managing to flash a bloc that took many worthy scalps.
Another flash but not enough.
All in all it was a good show and a worthwhile move to London, maybe one day the BMC will pull out their finger and start putting some effort in to make these things more of a spectacle rather than just a box ticking exercise.
Hull was next on the agenda and as I went to Uni there it was a little bit like going home. Sadly Hull hasn’t really changed and it was probably the first time I had seen totally derelict buildings in a city centre for years. Probably a great place to invest in property but I don’t think you will see a return on your cash for at least a thousand years and by then it will all be underwater. Rockcity though is bucking the trend and is fast becoming an all singing all dancing climbing/skate/shop selling everything from Torq bars to very expensive downhill Mountain Bikes….and a few cheaper ones. Some route setting and some coaching over 3 days combined with some exceptional hospitality meant I had a great few days.
After a swift and fun visit to The Crag in Suffolk to set their comp blocs it was back down to the South to set for the Reading round of the SIBL. Reading is the new wall in the ever-expanding repertoire of man mountain John Dunne. The wall is great, with loads of lines, routes perfect for the kids to routes perfect for the seasoned plastic demon. A great café albeit a tad expensive with free wifi provides a top view of the centre. The wall is a multi faceted creation from Walltopia and is pretty dam good. I was there to set for the SIBL and that is exactly what I did, sorry chaps if I didn’t go to town doing your full reset but at the end of the day it was Sam paying me for the SIBL set and not JD and to be honest I must apologise to Sam for straying from the path. Anyway I heard it all went swimmingly and even Jon Partridge fell off my vert dirt ☺. Maybe I will get invited back?
The final day of my 14 days to destruction was a trip up to Boulder UK in Blackburn for The British Boulder Team Training. Although I don’t want to blow our own trumpet if you want to experience the best setting on the best boulder wall in the country a visit here is a must. World class setters Ian Vickers and Jamie Cassidy continue to churn out fantastic blocs every month and there isn’t really a vertical panel in sight.
Anyway it is 11.30pm now my fingers are destroyed and I am sitting in Manchester airport waiting for my 6am flight back to Spain and looking forward to seeing my new puppy Ted for the first time.