Thursday, 24 May 2012

First European

Not been on for a while, been training so much recently there just hasn’t been the time…

This weekend was something I’d been waiting for essentially since I started climbing: my first European competition. Due to my poor performance at the assessment day, this was my first one for a while so I needed to make it count.

We flew up on Thursday (on a flight that was more going up and going down than anything!) and arrived in a rainy Edinburgh late afternoon. The hotel was extremely dull, so after 2 days of that I was happy to be climbing again!

Saturday morning started early with a 7:30 wake up, breakfast then off to the wall. Our routes were being demoed by video, something which was new to me, but that wasn’t due to start for another hour so we set about reading our 2 qualifying routes. The first, a hard green on the old comp wall which began with a technical start that moved into some powerful spans and then an endurance-fest to the top, looked doable, but the long moves in the middle were likely to be the ones that threw me off. The second, a pumpy, technical roof with lots of heel hooks and some big spans looked far more my style, which was good as I was on there first.

This comp they had decided to split our category (as we were the largest) into 2 groups, running the 2 qualifiers simultaneously with some people doing route 1 first and the rest route 2. I disagree with this on the basis that this is applying 2 different groups to 2 different set of circumstances, which isn’t a fair system.

After we’d seen our demos, I was 11th on our first route. The first straight up section looked fairly simple, with most coming off on a spanny traverse across the steepest section of roof onto a volume. I got to this section not too pumped, and moved through relatively easily, although I was now pumped out of my mind. I got a small rest at the volume, although wasted a huge amount of energy trying to clip a draw that was just too far away. I tried swinging the draw but it was still too far. I gave up on the clip and went for the move around the lip, something that lots of people had been falling on, and stuck it, although only just and got a toe hook on the volume. I was now beyond pumped, stuck one more move, and just couldn’t get my heel up for the final move. I slapped, touched the final hold but I didn’t get the best bit of the hold and was so pumped I couldn’t stick it. I was happy, but one more move could have topped me my first 8a flash! I was placed 6th on that route, getting the furthest of anyone who didn’t top it by 3 or 4 moves.

I’d managed to pull my quad on the first route, so got it taped up before my second route. This looked much harder, and I got to a good rest on the volume and could feel a flash pump coming on. This was bad. I have a problem where after a short session of 6 or so routes, I seem to flash pump on absolutely everything. It doesn’t matter whether its 6a or 8a, I just can’t hold on. This time it just seemed to happen quicker than normal though, and I made the next hard move, a long, powerful reach into a thin crack before my arms just stopped working. I came off without having moved enough to warrant a + point on that move.
I was livid for coming off so quickly, but figured I still had a chance, as many of the climbers had come off a reasonably hard move much lower down. When the results came in I was gutted. 11th, one place off a final and even worse I was just a + point on my second route away from coming in 6th. Such a small margin, and due to the way the scoring worked I’d actually climbed further than many of the climbers in the final, but they beat me on position by making it that one + extra.

I know 11th is good for a first European, but its just frustrating that it was by such small margins. On a positive note I ate lots of food that evening, won a trip to Spain for a week and am now training hard for my next European in Imst, Austria in August. Good timing, as I arrive back from Ceuse the week before, PSYCHED!!!!