Sunday, 14 October 2012

The BLCC 2012

The BLCC had come back around, once again being held in the depths of the Ratho wall. Equipped with layers of clothes, including my new PrAna trousers and an opportunity to get selected for the last European youth cup of the year in Kranj I was psyched to get my boots on!

I was up about 10th on my first qualifier, I was feeling good, I had warmed up well, and even my hands were immune from the biting cold of Ratho. This is a problem that many competitors have - losing sensation in their fingers. The climb worked its self round the corner of the old comp wall, looking a bit sketchy at times, technical at others and powerful at the very end.

On the long journey to Scotland I was so bored and cramped I decided to listen to a deep relaxation tape and it turned out to be a very valuable decision. After 20 minutes of relaxation I opened my eyes and experienced the calmest, most relaxed feeling I have ever had.

You’re probably wondering why I’m telling you this. What has it to do with climbing? In fact, I feel it played a big part of understanding my head and learning to control my nerves. I could relate back to that feeling while climbing to control my unease.

I got on to the climb feeling confident and set off with a good start, clipping well and going smoothly. After unbalancing a little I readjusted my position, greatly helped by my sick new shoes doing their job. I surprised myself as I found I was a hold away from the top. The last move was big and felt even bigger as my arms were slowly got more pumped. I finally went for the move, after spending a little too much time ‘preparing’ myself for it. The hold felt my palm willing me to grab hold of it, but all too soon the chains were flying away from me.

Meanwhile, as I was undergoing my qualifier, the first ever category of the female veterans had started their climb. With their entry fees donating to epilepsy action and a cake sale running throughout the day as well, they had a great atmosphere. I believe the vets will write up their experience.

With qualifier 1 down, I was feeling confident. This climb was still on the old comp wall but on the more slabby section. The Youth A boys had been up before us so I had a good idea of the route. It too looked technical and sketchy. I was 4thup this time; I felt, a good position to be in. As I had finally sussed out my nerves on the last climb I was sure that this would no longer be a problem, it wouldn’t affect my performance. I was, with great relief, right. I now feel much more confident, un-sketchy and have found a new enjoyment to competition climbing. My head was focused on the climb, on every move, on my feet, on my hands. I worked up most the climb with ease, finding a good shake out just before the final powerful steep section; going over the lip. I pulled on and set off for my final battle. With some awkward heel hooks I managed to pull my self over the lip onto a volume. I knew I had little power left, so with one last effort I locked off to get the 4th last remaining hold. I tickled it, teasing myself, I thought had got it but the tickle wasn’t enough and I came rapidly down.

From my performance in my qualifiers I got in the final in 4th place. Unusually our Youth B category had 7 in the final, instead of the normal 6 due to a draw in 6th place. After half an hour in isolation we were sent out for our 8 minutes viewing time. Our final was also on the old comp wall, however this time looking much more powerful, with, what it looked like, cruxy sections on the over hanging parts. Back in isolation, I started to slowly warm up, psyched to get on the route. I was finally called to go. With all my gear in hand I set off for my final.

I got on the rout feeling slightly more nervous than I did in my qualifiers, however I still climbed alright. I reached the end of the first over hang, jumping to a hold and only just holding it, my arms were at full stretch and I was unable to get a good enough grip to pull up and get my leg across to a vital hold to be able to do another long and powerful move. As I came down I knew this wasn’t the result what I was hoping for and was even more disheartened when I found out that I came 6th over all.

However although the out come was not what I wished for I had sorted my nervous, performance knocking head out and replaced it with a controlled, confident and even more psyched head, ready for competitions!

I would like to say a massive thank you to my new sponsors, Evolve, PrAna and Metolious for their gear and for inspiring me to climb that little bit harder!

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