Urban personalities, sport-inspired trends and timeless icons.
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THE URBANITES

MANU ROMAIN, URBAN CLIMBER

IT'S ALL IN YOUR HEAD

When it comes to climbing, you have to have the proper mindset. Some people see psychologists; I work on my breathing. That’s what helps me concentrate. And I have my rituals, of course. They never change. The left shoe, then the right shoe. Then “chalk”, magnesium carbonate, after the shoes. Stretches in a specific order. Everything is ritualised in a specific order.

STORMING THE CITY

In a city environment, you can improvise. Climb monuments, statues, buildings. The quirkier the architecture, the more fun it is to climb. You sometimes have doubts on older buildings: is it going to hold? But you don’t take unnecessary risks. For instance, you never climb in the rain.

Urban climbing style

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NEW PERSPECTIVES

In a climbing gym, you can climb as high as 15 metres. But you can go much higher in the city. I’ve been as high as 50 metres off the ground. Of course, being up high has its own appeal, but you don’t have protection in the city. You absolutely must not fall. And all the hard things we climb are beneath our true skill level... We leave ourselves some leeway.

LIGHTER THAN AIR

To feel good, I need to feel light. Fortunately, I have a metabolism that burns off all fat. I’m 5’6” and weigh 123 lbs (1m70/56kg) without following any particular diet. But most climbers follow a diet. Because we all know that an extra kilo to pull up the wall is huge.

Urban climbing style

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The quest for pleasure

Urban climbing isn’t about performance or speed. We’re looking for thrills and pleasure. In the world of traditional climbing, these things are frowned upon. My coaches would rather I did nothing but train in the climbing gym. But here is where I get the most out of it.

Training programme

You have to train a great deal to get past the question of technique and really enjoy what you’re doing. I train more than 20 hours a week. On top of that, I do abs and toning exercises, and I run. Three or four times a week. If I do less than that, I don’t feel good. And I don’t climb well.

Altitude is everything

Climbing is my life. I’m a mountain boy – I ski, do mountaineering, and I’m currently training to become a mountain rescuer. I think this feeling of being up high, being suspended above the world, is something I really need.

Urban climbing style

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