71 is the only two-digit number n such that (nn-n!)/n is prime.

The last two days have seen bad weather, but among the rain and clouds I found something I’d been missing all week. To train you have to be motivated, and to be motivated you have to be inspired, and to be inspired you have to find and hold on to that inspiration. Different people get inspired by different things, but I know what I get inspired by. I am inspired by greatness. When I see great climbers I am so inspired to increase my own level and to improve in any way I can. In fact, I’m inspired by so many people around me because they are better than me in one way or another. From the very first time I saw Neil Gresham in the Castle, locked off with 1 arm, looking as casual as you like, to the first time I walked into the school only to realise just how weak and talentless I really was. All these moments were my inspiration, which gave me my motivation, and led me to where I am today. My greatest inspiration came in the form of meeting and getting to know Richard Simpson. I have so much respect for Rich, in so many ways, but mainly for always working super hard in everything that he does. That is something that inspires me so much. Maintaining goals over a long period of time is something that separates the great from the could have been great. This week I once again found my motivation, my inspiration, and my desire. So I’m back on track and ready to once again start moving forward.

With the weather being bad, I have done a bit of training the past couple of days, which always feels good. I’ve set a couple of hard moves and decided to warm up in the woody whilst deciding where to go today. It was rather warm (16C) and the odd shower had permeated the forest, so conditions weren’t great. I wanted to try something that I could get done, and remembered a problem I tried 2 years ago, but couldn’t do. Fata Morgana, 8A, was a sad story of what could have been. At the time it would have been the hardest thing I’d climbed, but I never managed to suss out the crux move. Essentially it’s a one move problem, with the sit start adding some fairly easy moves, but the main meat just being the single move to the pocket on the lip. That one move had stood in my way two years ago, and I don’t think I’ve tried it since. I might have tried it last year very briefly with Longshlong but I can’t remember doing so. Anyway, I suddenly decided to go back there to finish this story, and find out what a difference 2 years makes. I’d not been back to Fata on purpose, because it was a chapter I’d opened with Sara, and I really wanted her to be there when I did it, but these things don’t always work out. Whilst warming up I set a move on the board that resembled the crux of fata and then tried it for 10 mins to warm up a bit more. I eventually did it, but decided it was most definitely harder, or my memory was deceiving me. Certainly a lot can change in 2 years, and this really hit home as I walked up to Fata Morgana. The first time I went there there was barely a path up the hillside to the block but now there is a 1m wide path leading the way. Clearly this is the natural development of a crag that climbers visit, but it just reminded me that nothing stays the same. You either choose to improve or you don’t, and if you don’t you regress. I cleaned all the holds, and found the top ones were a little damp, including the pocket, but I didn’t think it would present a problem. Nothing a bit of chalk couldn’t sort out. I tried the crux move and it came as a massive surprise when I slapped round but couldn’t even feel the pocket! When I looked at my finger marks I realised it was because I’d gone 2 inches past the hold, which was a welcome relief! Next go I did the move (without even cutting loose!), but had the pocket badly and slipped out as I was reaching up to the left hand pocket. This was already a massive improvement on 2 years ago so I was pleased. Third go I got the pocket again, got the next left hand pocket, and was setting up for the final move to the jug. It just felt so easy, like I couldn’t even comprehend how I’d failed 2 years ago. Just as I was reaching up to the jug, and probably already tasting victory, my right hand violently ripped off. My left hand was first to hit the ground, missing the pad, and getting very muddy in the process. My bum hit the ground next and my head barely missed the boulder behind the problem. I was initially in a bit of shock because it had hurt, but that soon turned to being a bit pissed off. Ripping off had really trashed my right index finger, and it was hurting a lot. I tried to pull on again but the pain was a bit too much and I couldn’t bare to weight that finger. Oh well, sometimes you win, and sometimes you win. I’d won, because in my mind I’d done this problem. Clearly I’d fallen off, but the demon had been slayed. It felt easy and I knew it would only take another go or two to actually get to the top. I really wanted to try Satan i Helvete, 8B, anyway, so a return visit was already pencilled in to my minds diary. My session was over, but I was taking something really positive away from it. I’d returned to a move from 2 years ago, and as such was able to compare, very directly, just how I’d changed as a climber. Not only am I stronger now, but I’m more aware, my footwork is better, my understanding is deeper, and this is progress.

Although I think I’ll only stay for a few more weeks, I’m feeling positive that I can get some more things done that I want to do. I’ve also rekindled some love for training, and I’m hoping that I can get some sessions in too, so I can begin the long process of increasing my base level. The bottom line is that I’ve found my motivation and it all came from a small piece of inspiration which was Ramon Julian saying how he trained 6-7 hours a day. As soon as I heard that I just wished I could be training 6-7 hours a day. That is what makes him great and puts him on top of the sport climbing world. Thank you Ramon.