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The Road to Recovery

It’s the fourth training session of the week my arms are tiring and I can feel the build up of lactic weighing me down. After 14 year of climbing I feel like a total beginner again.

In March of last year I was training 5 to 7 days a week, twice a day, looking forward to a strong summer season. My energy levels were high which made me restless on my days off. So my rest days soon became my chilled out activity days.

Long boarding was my favorite way to burn of this excess energy, carving through the hills of Wales calmed my mind and gave me a break from sitting at home. Long boarding is however the reason I have been forced to take a trip back in time to my roots as a climber. An unusually sunny Bangor evening drew me out of the house and onto the hill. My usual confidence on the board was not with me though, three quarters of the way down the hill a small stone dislodged me from my board sending me wrist first through the air strait into the asphalt at 18 mph.

Six hours later I was discharged from A&E (Accident and emergency department) with nothing more than a sprain, a sprain that three weeks later became 3 fractures and a partly torn tendon.  Coming back to climbing wasn't something I wanted to do, it was something I needed. It was like a drug, having withdrawal from not being able to practice. I was an addict, addicted to climbing and I would do anything to get back onto the wall sooner. Being inpatient I got back on the wall 3 days after my accident but only one arm top roping on a vertical wall. Realizing this was not the best idea, I rested it for a few weeks, only watching climbing movies dreaming of climbing hard again. The hand surgeon told me my recovery time would be a minimum 20 of weeks from the bad bone bruising. The more I rested the lazier I felt, even though I knew I was getting better it all just takes time.

At the start of January, eight months later I was back in Wales, after my adventure in the States, I was back to training and I felt like a beginner.

Its not that I had lost my climbing brain far from it that was working in overdrive, I had lost the strength and I felt weak. So I have trained hard and for long periods of time knowing that the only way forward was to start from scratch. My 14 years of experience has been my most useful asset in aiding my recover, I know how hard to push myself and I know when need to take a rest. Now I am training 4 days a week and feeling stronger with each session.

Training for Altitude at Sea Level

One of the biggest challenges of living at sea level is preparing for races at altitude. For the majority of endurance athletes in the US, this challenge will be faced fairly often if any events in the Rockies or Sierra's find there way onto your schedule. And a very common question is 'how do I prepare'? Is it hopeless unless you spend multiple weeks at altitude beforehand? I'd say definitely not. And here are the top tricks I've found to help prepare for events at altitude while living/training at/near sea...

Jurassic Lake, Argentina

Getting there is half the battle!

The southern end of the Patagonia region close to El Calafate is one of the most unforgiving and inhospitable areas I’ve ever visited in my fishing career. Dry, windy, barren and all around tough conditions make it a much uninhabited area with the exception of sheep ranches and GIANT rainbow trout!

Estancia Laguna Verde is the home base of operations for Lago Strobel or as most have come to call it “Jurassic Lake.” The lodge has many fishing lagoons and depending on the time of year,...

4 Reasons Road Cycling Is Awesome

Hands down, the best part of racing bicycles are the friendships and memories you make along the way. With both Nature's Bakery and KTM joining forces with the elite road racing program of H24 Cycling, I had the pleasure of attending their first training camp of 2017 just outside of San Francisco, California in late March. While I always prefer to be on singletrack, I love all types of bicycle riding, including road. My time spent with the talented H24 crew reminded me of just how fun road riding can...

A Rock Climber’s Worst Nightmare – Part Three

Climbing my way back up.

The pain made it impossible to sleep, so I had a lot of time to think, "If I ever did climb again, would I get back to the level I was at before?" "Could I continue as a professional climber?" "Would I ever want to climb anyway?"

I decided that climbing is something I do for myself, because I love it. Climbing is a tool to trigger my own potential, a place where I can strive to be my best and I can always do that, no matter how...

A Rock Climber’s Worst Nightmare – Part Two

I woke up in a bubble of light: I was confused, but had a vague idea what had happened. I remember Nathan holding my bloody head in his lap. I could hear myself screaming, and I remember drifting in and out of reality. When I was alive, I felt intense pain in my feet and back and legs. When I drifted, I barely screamed at all. This went on for several hours, throughout the rescue and until I arrived at the emergency room.

I woke up after surgery and looked down over my mummified body, and then,...

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