This Sunday, after my 50-pitch day with Buzz, Stefan and I plan to climb the four sides of the Maiden. Since three of these routes are 11b or harder and the fourth is 10d, I needed to get in some finger strength training. My 50-pitch training isn't going to do me much good on 5.11. The easiest way to do this is to bike up Flagstaff and boulder the V4 Monkey Traverse. Today Stefan (who climbs 2+ number grades above me) joined me. Stefan, who is also much fitter than I am, rode his single-speed bike with tires about as fat as my legs. The thing probably weighed 30 pounds. I was on my all-carbon, 16-pound LeMond Tete de la Course. This made the 1000-foot ascent about dead even. I was hoping to just break 19 minutes to ease back into fast climbing, but with Stefan trying to break 18, I went a bit harder.
I mostly stayed behind Stefan, but would something take a turn at the front on the flatter section. I was working pretty hard, but trying to stay relaxed. I ended up doing 16:24 to the junction. My best time is 15:35, but I've only broken 16 twice. This is a really good time for me, especially considering I've only ridden less than ten times this year. Stefan was right behind me. He's amazing. I think he had to stand pretty much the entire way.
We descended to the Monkey Traverse where my goal was to get four laps clean, since my record was three laps. I did the first one quickly, but bungled the finish a bit and struggled. I went too fast for Stefan to see the beta. He had never done the full Monkey Traverse, only because he doesn't boulder. I don't really either, except for the Monkey Traverse, which I have ruthlessly wired. That's the only way I'll be able to climb V4 or 5.12a: by trying it a hundred times. Stefan got a huge flash pump doing everything wrong, but being too strong to fall off. I talked him through the finish and he got it clean first try. I was able to do it three more times, with the second feeling the easiest and the fourth really pushing me. Stefan just worked on the sections since he was still so pumped. This was a bizarre situation for me. At no time in the past have I ever seen him even struggle on a route that I'm falling on (with the single Vertigo exception). But if you have something wired, that makes all the difference. I'd expect by his third visit, he'll be doing this backwards and forwards until he's just too bored and steps off.
We biked back to work. What a great lunch-time workout. Next up: I need to finally climb this things backwards (left to right). I've done the sections, but never linked it. I'll start working on that now.