Thursday, 13 December 2012

Photos from Youth Open 2012

Photo: Pete Wuen

 Photo: Pete Wuen

 Photo: Pete Wuen

 Photo: Pete Wuen

 Photo: Pete Wuen

Photo: Pete Wuen



Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Head Games at European Championships Gemozac


            This post is quite late as the European championships were about a month ago. After I finished this competition it took me a while think what to write about. Turns out it is really difficult to write a blog post when you are disappointed with how you did in a comp. Anyway here goes…


                                                    Opening Ceremony

            I travelled to Gemozac on November 1st. The plane landed in Bordeaux and we then hired a car and Ian drove us to the hotel. We were staying very close to the climbing wall, as it was only a 10 – 15 minute drive down the road. Thursday and Friday were designated relaxing days, recovering from the travelling. We went to a local town as where we were staying didn’t really have much going on. The town we went to was really interesting and had a typical French feel to it. We even found a little climbing wall on the local playground. I still don’t know what the town we went to was actually called though.




            Competition day arrived and I felt good in the morning. I wasn’t tired as I had got a good night sleep and the breakfast really hit the spot. Fuelled up and ready to go we went to the wall for an early start. This was due to me being on one of the qualifiers first. I wasn’t too fazed by this as I had won a competition by going first on a route in a comp a few years ago. I warmed up on the less ample sized wall and felt like I was ready. My warm up had gone exactly how I wanted it to go and I felt strong. I went through to the main arena and waited for my go. I walked up to the seat where I tied on. I sat down, put my boots on and sat there waiting to be called onto the route. At some point in this tying in and boot putting on sequence I had got really nervous. It’s not normally like me to get nervous at this point, I will either get nervous the day before the comp or I will be ok. I walked up the route and felt tense. I pulled on to the route and felt strong. I pulled through the lower section really easily. I got to where there was a sequence of hard moves. Pulled through them and then hit this sloper. I felt so tired. I pulled up and left to the next hold and came off. Looking back at the route. I realise why I felt so strong and I why I pulled through all of these moves so easily. I was so nervous that I gripped way to hard and climbed really tense. This was my downfall on the route.



            After the first route I managed to compose myself and I was more relaxed despite my effort on the first qualifier. I planned the second route well and felt like I knew exactly what I was going to do. I tied into the rope and put my boots on. This time I felt ok, no nerves and felt relaxed. I got on the route and climbed the lower section slow and controlled but relaxed. I wasn’t feeling too tired. I got onto a harder section and felt strong but not in an over gripping tense way. I pulled through a hard move easily. Nice one. I carried on and hit a bit of a rest. I then stepped through onto a bad foothold and pulled up to a crimpy edge. I matched it and had a tiny rest. The next hold looked so bad and I had to cross over into it. I pulled through, crossed over, touched it and was off. I felt better after this route and felt like I did climb it better. I still would have liked to have been higher up on it though and I felt like I could have been higher up on it. I looked at the sequence later and realised that there was a few things that I could have done differently to make the route easier.


            I felt a bit rubbish after this comp and felt like I didn’t climb to my full potential by a long way. I sat down for about an hour after my two routes and wrote down my feelings from the comp. This is something that I have not done before but it seemed to work quite well. The first thing that it did was I was able to see what I thought I had not done very well and think of ways to address this. This worked well and I was able to think of something that I could do to every negative point to improve it next time. The second thing it did was it enabled me to look past the negatives. In my head all I could think off was that I had not done very well in the comp. Whereas when I put it down on paper and was trying to break my routes down piece by piece, I could pick out good points of my climbing in the competition. This second point was one of the most important things I took away from the trip. After I had gone through this process of writing it down on paper, I was able to forget about the bad result and look past the negatives to the positives. That’s what you need in any sport. Positives. Its what makes us keep going… 

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Senior World Cup Kranj


            Just over a month ago I was offered the opportunity to go to one of the senior world cup rounds being held in Kranj in Slovenia. It took a quite a bit of thinking as to whether or not it would be worth my while in going to an event like this but the decision was made in the end and I booked my flights.
            Joining me on the trip was two other members of the GB Climbing Team, Luke Tilley and Ed Hamer. Me and Ed travelled to Slovenia together which involved a very enjoyable sleep at Stansted airport on Thursday night. We got the train from Sheffield to Stansted and then found a cosy corner to bed down in. Amazing.
            Once we landed in Slovenia we waited for a couple of friends from the Swiss climbing team and got a taxi with them to the hotel. During the day we chilled out and relaxed from the travelling that we had done over the past day. We nipped to the local shop and stocked up on food we made need during the comp and then headed back to the hotel. We had dinner at a local pizza restaurant with the Swiss team and then headed back for an early night. Luke arrived later on this evening after hitch hiking his way from Venice all the way to the doorstep of the hotel in Slovenia in one car. Good effort to him…
            Comp day arrived and we made our way down to the wall for an early start. The men’s qualifiers were on in the morning followed by the women’s in the afternoon. I was on 20th on the first qualifier and 46th on the second qualifier. As soon as I started to warm up I realised just how hard this comp was going to be. I was stood there warming up next to some of the best climbers in the world. It was amazing and after a couple of minutes I got less nervous climbing next to these people and I just got on with what I needed to do. I route read the first route with Luke as he was on a few people before me and I had a really good look at all the holds through some binoculars. I felt ready for the route and I finished off my warm up. I sat down and relaxed for a bit before I was up on the route and did a few final checks. Sat down in the chair and tied into the rope, I took another few minutes to relax and I felt really good. I walked up to the route and pulled on. Climbing strong and controlled I pulled through the lower moves and found myself at one of the hard moves. I pulled onto the hold and as I went into match it I came off. The move felt very hard and in itself would have been hard for me but after I had done the lower section of the route felt even harder. I was happy with how I had done and I did feel good on the route so I felt strong going into my second route.
            For my second route I spoke to Ed about it as he had already been on this route. I got the beta off him and found out what he thought of the moves and holds. I stayed warm between my two routes and then got ready to go onto the route. I sat down in the chair and looked up at the route for a final route plan. When it was my turn to go onto the route I walked up and pulled straight on. It instantly felt a lot harder than the last route and I was fighting on every move. I nearly came off on a volume but managed to just stay on it and move past it. I then pulled over to the right and then as I was reaching up high with my left hand I came off. I was happy with this effort and was pleased with how I had done on the route.
            I finished in 48th, which for my first senior comp I was happy with. I also scored very similar to quite a few of the youth competitors who make finals in EYC comps on my second route. I had a really good trip and watching the finals was amazing.