Tuesday, 16 July 2013

British Bouldering Championships 2013

photo- Sandy Carr

The British Bouldering Championships this year were held in Sheffield as part of the Cliffhanger Festival on the 6th-7th of July. The Qualifiers were on Saturday, with the Men's in the morning and the Women's in the afternoon. This suited me because it meant I could travel up in the morning instead of staying in Sheffield the night before.

I arrived early enough to watch some of the mens qualifiers. The problems looked great (but extremely hard!) which got me psyched and excited to compete, even though I wasn't climbing for hours.

When the time finally came for the female category to begin, I went into isolation. Unfortunately, I still had a big wait because I was the 20th competitor to climb.

photo- Sandy Carr
After a very tedious wait in the heat and a long warm-up, it was my turn to climb. I went out to the first problem feeling quite confident. This is because from the crowd cheering I knew that a lot of people had topped it.
However my confidence dropped when I saw the problem. I distinctly remember thinking 'where are the holds?!'. I had no idea what to do, but I didn't want to waste the 5 minutes so I decided to just get on with it. Luckily my instincts were better than my route-reading and I managed to flash the problem without too much trouble.

The second problem looked simple and definitely do-able therefore I felt quite annoyed that I couldn't get passed the bonus hold. The third, fourth and fifth problems went really well, as I got another three flashes.

photo- Sandy Carr

I finished feeling really pleased because I felt like I did my best and was confident I'd got a good position. However it wasn't util I saw the scores that I realised just how good a position! I was joint 3rd with Mina! In first and second were Shauna and Alex.

Results board after the qualifiers!

Orrin Coley also climbed awesomely in the mens and despite being a junior, qualified comfortably for the semi-finals - well done! Overall I thought it was a really enjoyable day - especially because I achieved a much better result that I expected!

On Sunday, I had another really long wait in isolation because the start order was in the reverse of the results from the qualifiers. This meant I was out third last.

The semi-finals didn't go nearly as well for me as the qualifiers did, and I only managed to top 1 problem. I became even more disappointed when I found out my position had dropped 5 places! This meant I finished in 8th. Looking back, this was a good result considering I'm only 16 and it was a senior competition, however it was disappointing to drop 5 places.

I'd like to say a massive well done to Jennifer Wood who's still a junior but qualified for the finals in 5th place, holding her own against the Senior British Bouldering Team! And also to Orrin Coley who improved his position further, coming 10th and beating a lot of strong seniors on the way! Awesome effort!

The competition was over for me, however I wouldn't miss an opportunity to watch some of the World's best climbers fighting for 1st place, so I stayed to watch the finals. In the end Shauna Coxsey and Dave Barrans both retained their titles as British Bouldering Champions - well done!

Also, thank you to all of the roue-setters, organisers, volunteers and anyone elso who helped to make it a great weekend.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

European Youth Cup, Sofia, Bulgaria

On Thursday 27th June I arrived in Sofia along with the rest of the GB Junior Bouldering Team for the first of the European Youth Cup of the season. The team that had been selected was: Nathen Phillips (Junior male), Me, Rachel and Gracie (Youth A), Sidonie (Youth B) and James (Youth B male). Tom and Michelle were also there as team coaches and chaperons.

As our flight was extremely early on Thursday we arrived at the hotel in Sofia with most of the day left. We decided to go to the wall so that we knew exactly where to go the competition.

As it was, the wall wasn't hard to find at all because it was in the main shopping centre! This was great because there were also plenty places to get food nearby, which ensured we were eating properly in the run -up to the comp.

The climbing wall was really cool and completely different from any other walls I've been to! There were grooves that lit up and changed colour and it wasn't shaped like a typical competition wall.
Photo of the wall from Tom's tweet

Another view of the wall.... Tom's twitter pic

On Friday we had a whole day to fill, so we had a look around Sofia at some quite impressive buildings that were worth seeing. The atmosphere was really relaxed which suited me because it meant I didn't get psyched out.

The day of the comp finally arrived, however I was able to have a leisurely morning because my category didn't start until the afternoon. Me, Gracie, Rachel and Nathen went down to the wall earlier that we needed so we could support Sid and James who climbed in the morning.

Watching and waiting (photo by Tom)

The warm -up wall was good so I was able to warm up properly. This meant I was feeling quite confident before I began climbing. The problems also looked good (but hard!!) which helped me to get psyched.

There were 8 problems in the qualifiers and each of them had a bonus hold. You could have a maximum of 5 attempts at each problem and we had 1 1/2  hours to climb them.

The problems were numbered depending on how hard they were (1's easiest, 8's hardest). I tried problems's 1 and 2 first and topped them on my first attempt. This gave me some confidence and helped me to enjoy the rest of the competition.

Later on I decided to try problem 8 - and managed to top it on my first attempt! I also got 7 out of 8 bonuses in 7 attempts.

Though my overall position (10th) wasn't great considering that there weren't many competitors, I'm feeling positive about my performance. This is because I think I've got the ability as I flashed the hardest problem. So I think my results will improve as I get more experience on European problems. Also I might have been able to top more problems if my tactics / timings had been better.
You can see some great photos of the comp here:

Overall, I think it was a great trip and I had a fantastic time! Thank you to Tom and Michelle for taking us and for all your help! Also thanks to the rest of the team for making it so much fun! :)