Sunday, 7 September 2014

Langenfeld European Bouldering Cup

The second bouldering cup was held in Langenfeld, this was my final bouldering competition of the year so I wanted to make it my best one.

From St Leger I travelled back into England and got dropped of by my family at Stansted Airport, from here we flew to Munich and after a rather eventful car ride featuring a flat tire we arrived at our hotel at 3 in the morning!

We recovered and the competition was soon on us! I was climbing at about 11 o'clock and I did a really good warm-up with Tim involving lots of looking like an idiot but when I pulled on the wall it was worth it because I felt like I was moving well and felt like I could pull out some hard moves.

The clock ticked down to our start time and I checked out our problems, it was weird how they did the comp they made variations of the problems but essentially the same base moves for example we had a similar problem to the youth b girls but they had taken of three holds.

Right the clock struck 0 and it was time to climb, I watched Will flash the first problem so the pressure was on me to match his effort, I went for it but had to squeeze so hard to stay on and dropped it early. Another effort and I dropped the next move then someone came along and just went with the other hand and made it look easy, this did turn out to be loads easier so then I dropped 2 moves higher because of a silly slip! Fouth go and I stuck the second to last hold but then my foot slipped and I fell! Ah fifth and final go, I really had to compose myself for this and executed it perfectly it felt great!

After that I did the easiest problem, which was a proper dyno so I was surprised I could do it! Next was the youth B girls problem made harder, on my first three goes I dropped this hard press move to a pocket but then sorted myself out and managed to do a cheeky crimp in a bolt hole which isn't technically allowed but oh well and finished of the problem!

Next I tried the slab which was a youth B boys final but couldn't touch the way everyone did it, it just didn't seem possible for me so I left it, next was another dyno this one was a quick match and slap to a good hold which purely revolved around speed. I slipped on my first go and on my second stuck the move it was sick I have to say such a good problem, so after that all the problems where desperate but I tried different beta on the slab but unfortunately ran out of time for another go!

This competition was really well organised, great music, all explicit, good lighting and a great place so I really enjoyed it and I might venture to say that bouldering comps are pretty fun, and with a decent result of 25th I was pretty pleased with my trip.

Next was the finals and it was amazing watching Will crush to a silver position so close to gold, Tara finish 4th so close to 3rd! Also Max made a good effort and came 5th! Well done to all the team and thanks to the management!

Thanks to my Sponsors:
 Sports Aid
 North Devon Sports Foundation

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Hope, heat and heartbreaks

High on Black Mamba 8a

After sacking off Ceuse, we headed from the mountains and into the heat of the Provence region. Grape vines covered the slopes below Mt Ventoux in these was St Leger which I would say beats Ceuse but just for me because it has loads of good 8b's and 8b+'s which is just what I like. The style is pure fitness, you wouldn't fall off because the moves are too hard which I'd never really experienced. First, I finished off an 8b+ I tried last time and was please to find I had got so much stronger since last time and showed I could do 8b+ second go. This gave me help because I knew I could climb harder than that. I also tried and 8b called Praniania which felt really easy.

We spent most of our time at sector La Baleine which is a smaller looking version of Rodellar. It had two classic 8b+'s and two 8c's so plenty to go for, I started with flashing an 8a on the left hand side of the cave and it felt easy. I was feeling so good! Next I put the draws in Collection Automne Hiver 8b+ which was an epic. I took 5 10m whips when I was trying to put the draws in! I came down and had to call it a day because it took so much out of me. After a rest day we returned and I had three goes and dropped turning the lip of the cave twice, but found new beta at the end of the day. After more rest I tried again and managed to send it with the new beta. Me and Luke reckoned 8a+ to a rest then a roof which gave a hard 8b followed by a hands of rest then a technical 7c to the top. All in all I thought it was hard 8b+.

8a+ at Venasque

We also climbed at Venasque, which has some amazing rock with really cool features and some incredible secret walls. I managed to onsight my second 8a but it was a really soft one so I only felt like I had done a standard 7c+, and I have felt more psyched after 7b+ onsights. I just think I get most satisfaction from either cruising something or having a fight because with cruising I am psyched because I know I climbed really well and the fight just involves the most physical investment so you get great rewards. But I'm not sure which I prefer. I also tried an 8a+ which was ridiculously hard! Unfortunately I'd run out of juice after one go on this.

7c+ at Venasque

More rest and we returned to La Baleine, we'd left the draws in the climb so I just warmed up and went for an attempt on Collection Automne Hiver, I climbed to the rest really efficiently barely getting pumped, I left the rest and kept going the new beta worked but I still had to really keep it together while I felt like my arms would fail at any moment. Right onto the slab, I'd done the physical part now was time for the mental part. I'd never actually linked the 7c so I was nervous as I stood there recovering. I set off feeling calm and light, every move I executed perfectly but still it felt hard after climbing that much a 7c was a real challenge.

Heartbreaks, I think I'd describe them in a climbing sense as when you put all your energy into one attempt give it absolutely everything and realise that you just aren't good enough and no matter how hard you try you won't succeed. I tried this 8b+ called Jungle Speed, it was hard I would say it was 8a into another 8a with only a few shake outs with the crux right at the top. It was one of the best route I'd ever tried completely beautiful flowing movement, I had two days left and I wanted to do it so badly. I climbed fast, fluent and still found the going hard. On my first go I was going for the last hold with hard moves around it, but I wasn't close. Next go I fell earlier. This was at the top of a 35m route and every time I knew I had to climb back up to that point. On the same day Luke fell 3 times at the top of Collection Automne Hiver even after doing the crux move on the 7c he pumped out and dropped it!

Luke doing Coloscope 8a

The last day it was my last chance and I'd never wanted it so bad, I climbed the best I ever had never faltering or hesitating but still I got to the crux and fell a move lower from a stupid mistake, I knew I hadn't enough energy left, I wasn't frustrated just broken that I didn't have it in me to complete those moves. A true heartbreaker.
Thanks to My Sponsors: Dewerstone
Sports Aid
North Devon Sports Foundation
The massive cave!