I arrived at Neil’s house and immediately drove down to Buthiers to get up close and personal with some wonderful sandstone. Just touching the grippy, dry, sandstone under my tips made me happy. It really made me feel good, which is probably very strange in the eyes of some people, but I really love climbing here in the forest. I’ve always wanted to try Big Bang, 8A+, but I’ve never seen it dry so I thought that it might be a good bet for the middle of summer. Not even after weeks of dry weather was it dry! There must be some sort of water channel down half of it from some shrubbery up above because one of the holds was wet, green, and beyond recovery. I wasn’t too bothered though because I was more psyched to go riding!

We headed out to a place we found whilst scouting a potential new crag up near Ballancourt sur Essone. It turns out we’d been the butt of an april fools, but after coming across an amazing set of trails we are the ones having the last laugh! There are some huge gaps, huge jumps, huge transfers, wall rides, berms, and a half built northshore section. It’s clear that a group of people have put in a lot of work to build it and it shows so well after riding it. The transitions are so smooth and it’s really well thought out. We got some footage and Neil put together a very short clip of some of the stuff. What really struck me though, is the amount of fun I had. It pretty much rained for the few hours we were there, sometimes light, sometimes heavy, but constant. I was out in the rain, having fun jumping around on a bike. It felt like a completely different world from that of climbing. The battles were completely different, first mental, then skillful. Basically it was about trusting the fact that I used to be able to ride a bike quite proficiently some years ago and then not hitting the brakes on the run in’s. It felt good to just have fun without the pressure of the send… and I’d definitely ride a lot more if there was somewhere so good near my home. In many ways this just reminded me that climbing is something I love but it’s not the be all and end all. Some people have told me they couldn’t live without climbing but I’m quite sure that I could. Life wouldn’t be as good because, even without climbing hard, I do love climbing but it would go on and I’d do something else. Riding today was fun. Here is Neil’s video of the day;


It goes without saying that the gaps look tiny in the video, but one of them was actually quite large, probably about 10-12ft from the top of the take off to the top of the landing. Some of the drops were also quite large, but it all looks paltry in the video. This made me realise that when you see guys going big on video it means they are going REALLY BIG in real life!