December rolled around more quickly this year, at least that’s how it felt, but I’d been training hard ready for the team selection competitions the month bought. It was my first competition in the upper end of A, but strong climbers I hadn’t competed against for a couple of years were now back with me, so I was keen to see how I’d get on.
We travelled to
Sheffield, the home of the weekend’s competing, on the
Friday evening and arose bright and early for the bouldering at The Works on
Saturday. The problems looked perfect, and after a warm up in the cold wall, I
managed to top 7 of the 8 techy problems, which qualified me for the final in 2nd.
The final problems contained a great spread, with some techy and a powerful one. The first was a flexibility requiring high heel before a massive last move to a giant jug. I cam out knowing no-one had done it, so I went out looking to take an early advantage. Unfortunately, it was just too hard and after making it to the final move several times, I had to settle with a bonus. The second was a lot more powerful for me, but whether I had the beta wrong or not it felt absolutely nails. I was attempting to hang a swing on a one arm lock, but to no avail and I walked away from the problem without even a bonus.
Problem one in the final
I knew the last problem would suit me when I saw it, but I knew it would be the same for others in the final so I was not confident it would be of any help. I came out and, after a bit of fumbling about, managed to top it first go! I was happy with the climb but not the final overall, but had managed to secure 3rd place overall, putting me in good stead for the overall championship.
The next day I woke up tired, aching but massively psyched for the lead comp, ready to crush at The Foundry! I was up early on my first route so began warming up as soon as I got to the wall, to give me enough time before I climbed. It was not as long as I was hoping though, and I got on the route without being ideal, but fortunately I managed to top the route, along with about 6 others in the category. A good second route would still be required to put me safely into the final.
The good route I needed tackled the very centre of the wall and looked really quite hard. It was all on tufas and slopers and just looked sketchy and difficult. People were falling off quite low down on a difficult move, so I was very much hoping the same didn’t happen to me! I was on almost last in the category, so had a while to wait, but while warming up got horrendous stomach cramps, not the ideal preparation for a competition route! Never the less, I managed to get warm and relax, ready for the second route.
It was balancy and rather awkward on the slopers from the ground, but I managed to get up into the steeper, more powerful section, but the slopers (not my forte) had got me far more pumped than I should have been after only that long. I pulled hard, but with a misjudgement of beta on a tufa brought about by pump-panic, I was off. It was enough though, and I was through to the final.
Isolation was long, and I was tired when warming up. I really dislike the format the BMC brought in last year. Having 2 comps on the same weekend doesn’t make sense for those looking to perform in both. I personally need to be fully rested to perform at my best, and having a hard boulder session before an important lead comp would be ridiculous for me, yet anyone with ambitions in both lead and bouldering is forced to. In my eyes it devalues the lead competition. I know there would be an increased cost to run them both on separate days, but if climbing is to be taken seriously as a contender for an Olympic spot then I think we have to make changes like this.
Back to isolation, and I was warm and psyched. I came out and saw draws swinging really high, so I knew Pete had done well. I pulled on and sauntered up to the steeper section. It was hard, on slopers and tufas much like the first route, as well as up the steep wall once again. I powered my way onto a volume, but had completely run out of foot holds. I swung them up high to my hand to get some push across to the next tufa, but to no avail. I peeled off backwards into space, far short of the
Getting twisty in the final
I ended up 4th, not the best result but it was enough to get me reselected for the GB lead team as well as the GB boulder team, so bring on 2014!
Thanks to Peter Wuensche for the pictures!