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Somehow I underestimated the time it took me to get back into training and climbing. Usually due to legs, weight, damp-susceptibility etc, any more than one rest day results in doubling number of days on (either outdoor climbing or alternating indoor wall with general exercise) to get back to my previous form. 2 days off, 4 days on required. 3 days off, 6 days on required. Approximately. Anyway this time it wasn't so bad. It turns out that while toy soldier painting videos are bloody terrible warm-ups for training, disassembling and reassembling RC cars with constant fiddling and screwing (uhuh) is a pretty decent warm-up for the fingers. I expect to see Dave Mac espousing this pretty soon.
On the other hand it doesn't seem to make a great different to skin quality so that was an immediate frustration down at TCA, resulting in a useful discussion with TCA's High Empress Jackie in which she recommended regular, rather than sporadic Anti-Hydral use. Years ago I got a bit over-excited when fatdoc from UKB started importing AH, and bought 6 tubes of it, which I've probably used a handful of "emergency" times in the intervening decade. I always thought it shouldn't be relied on and was a specialist treatment only for real weirdos with freakishly bad skin.
Of course, I AM that real weirdo with freakishly bad skin.
What an idiot - what the fuck have I been doing for the last decade??
So I've started using it - tiny spots rubbed into my tips before bed - most days a week with a day or two off, and fuck me it works. My skin isn't feeling dry, or leathery, or hard....it's feeling fucking NORMAL. N O R M A L. What a revelation. This had the amusing side-effect of going down to TCA, not greasing off the holds, and falling off them cos I couldn't hang on. It's amazing how much WEAKNESS is exposed when it's not masked by excessive sweating. Then pretty soon, since I was pushing the limits of my muscles not the coefficient of damp friction, I started feeling pretty decent pushing myself at the wall - as well as increasingly psyched to see how well normal skin would do on the rock. Of course my own personal damp is not the only moisture around and Saturday's forecast is saying no grit visit this weekend :(. But in the meantime I can keep training okay - at the moment I'm sticking mostly to bouldering to start the winter, and will transition to routes and stamina later on.
Also pushing the limits of friction is this wee beast:
Savage XS Skatepark Smash
This sort of relaxed driving style is why it needs so much maintenance and what keeps my fingers warmed up pre-climbing ;)