Al­berta Dry-Tool­ing

Back­yard Train­ing Ses­sions

Gripped - - CONTENTS - by Bran­don Pul­lan

If you want to be the best, you need to train like the best, and if you want to train like the best, you need to train with the best. Then, you learn how to train harder than the best and in my case that meant build­ing a 10- me­tre arch, out my back door.

When you pur­sue a sport to its in­fi­nite, it means go­ing all out, no-holds-bar, full-tilt with ev­ery­thing you got. There’s no ifs, ands or buts, just do. That, of course, means train­ing un­til it hurts, try­ing to un­lock the per­fect reg­i­men so you can find the path to your ul­ti­mate goal. Train, train, train, train, train and train again.

As I was sit­ting at my good fr iend Pavel’s house, in Moscow, we were neck deep in con­ver­sa­tion about train­ing. Fresh off the last world cham­pi­onship in Kirov, Rus­sia, we were fired up about get­ting stronger, be­ing bet­ter, try­ing harder. Through­out the con­ver­sa­tion, I couldn’t help keep com­ing back to the fact that North Amer­i­cans were at a dis­ad­van­tage. In Rus­sia, com­peti­tors have two dif­fer­ent world cup-like struc­tures to train on. That’s two more than North Amer­ica. Hav­ing that type of train­ing at your fin­ger­tips, well, it’s no won­der the Rus­sians dom­i­nate. With that par­tic­u­lar point, there was no dis­crep­ancy, only a nod of Pavel’s head fol­lowed with, “You must find a way to train harder.”

Like wak­ing up from a night­mare I jolted out of my sleep­ing bag, light­ning fast, wo­ken by who knows what. I had an idea, heart rac­ing, clear as day, I could see the way for­ward. I searched around in the dark for my lap­top, try­ing to hold onto the vi­sion, only to find the bat­tery was dead, crap. Jumping out of bed at 3 a.m., wak­ing ev­ery­one up, I hurr ied to find a piece of pa­per and pen. “Sh­h­h­h­hhh,” was com­ing from ev­ery cor­ner of the room, five dif­fer­ent peo­ple in sync. It didn’t mat­ter; I was on a mis­sion to get the idea onto pa­per be­fore it was too late.

Some­times when you have an idea, you stop and think, it’s too big, too crazy, too (what­ever other ex­cuse you can come up with.) But once in a while, you step back for a sec and think – why the heck not. From a dream to a piece of pa­per, came an idea that was go­ing to be the fu­ture of my train­ing, to fur­ther me in pur­suit of com­pet­i­tive climb­ing.

My idea was an arch, it was clear as day, and I could train bet­ter, more spe­cific, more ef­fi­cient. I wanted to be stronger, smarter and faster. I was go­ing to build it in my back­yard, which is not big, and it al­ready had a boul­der­ing gym. Screw it; I’ll build the arch on top of the boul­der­ing gym. It was go­ing to take a shoe-horn to squeeze it into the re­main­ing

My idea was an arch, it was clear as day, I could train bet­ter, more spe­cific, more ef­fi­cient. I wanted to be stronger, smarter and faster. I was go­ing to build it in my back­yard.

real es­tate of our prop­erty. I say ‘our’ as my wife does own the back­yard too. She has been sur­pris­ingly sup­port­ive of my crazy plans, giv­ing the thumbs up with­out much hes­i­ta­tion. I knew I could pull it off be­cause I could see it, I could feel it.

Crash­ing through the trees, the crane hauled eight 10- me­tre logs into my back­yard. The neigh­bours were all watch­ing from their back decks, won­der­ing what the heck was go­ing on, and ob­serv­ing the chaos that was to be ‘the be­gin­ning.’ Af­ter spend­ing an en­tire day dig­ging two five-foot holes by hand, we low­ered two of the tower ing logs into the ground. They fit per­fectly. Hours af­ter the dust had set­tled, I stood on my back deck and just stared at what I had just done. What was I think­ing? Re­ally? This is too crazy. Ser iously, who does this? Well, I had, and with good rea­son. Al­though I was terr ified of the pro­ject at hand, and what was in­volved to fin­ish such a beastly task, I found my­self smil­ing, think­ing game on.

Ev­ery night, putting in as many hours as pos­si­ble be­fore sun­down, I would be in the back­yard work­ing away. I would bal­ance at the top of the lad­der and chain­saw branches away, then haul lum­ber up and ham­mer it into place. Things be­gan to take shape, I could see the end-re­sult, I could feel the en­ergy, and I could feel the mo­men­tum. I set an end-date to be fin­ished, a day I wanted to be climb­ing on my struc­ture. As the date ap­proached I spent more and more hours ham­mer­ing, saw­ing and piec­ing my ar­chi­tec­tural mas­ter­piece to­gether.

Once it was com­pleted, I screwed the holds on, re­moved the lad­ders and roped up. Once just a vi­sion, my arch was now a be­he­moth struc­ture a few me­tres from my back­door. It was ready for train­ing, and ready for the next step. To look at it, to stare at it up and over and back again, real­iz­ing what I had built in my back­yard, the pos­si­bil­i­ties to where train­ing could go, I couldn’t help be filled with a huge sense of con­fi­dence. There were to be no more ex­cuses, no more rea­sons to ‘why not,’ only that I had done it.

The arch is a 10 m wall, arc­ing over my back­yard, fin­ish­ing on top of my al­ready built boul­der ing gym. Holds sprayed from one side to the other, huge sil­ver vol­umes spear­ing out, adding a three-di­men­sional vibe, my back­yard had be­come a fu­tur is­tic train­ing­ground. Quick­draws hang, spaced a me­tre apart, they pro­tect falls with lit­tle swing time. The pos­si­bil­i­ties on my ply­wood-can­vas were end­less. My abil­ity to train prop­erly for world cup climb­ing was un­lim­ited. I could train like some of the other top ath­letes, who also train on world cup-like struc­tures, br in­g­ing my rou­tine into a spe­cific realm that could give me an ad­van­tage.

Why the back­yard? Well, be­cause it’s only a few me­tres from my back door, al­low­ing me to hang at home more. I travel a lot, and spend time with my wife and kids, which is very im­por­tant to me. With­out them, their sup­port, none of what I do would be pos­si­ble. My kids love the arch, which is rad. Watch­ing them climb makes me so proud and happy. My wife, bless her heart, comes out ev­ery night and be­lays me.

I have al­ways told my­self, “No ex­cuses. Be creative. Dig deep. Go for­ward.” My arch is one of many tools I have to train. All of it com­bin­ing for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Rus­sia, next year.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.