30 oktober 2014

Asia trip Part 3: Worldcup Inzai

The Asia trip is over. After 3 weeks of travelling I am back home again. It was an amazing experience: so many new impressions, different cultures, nice people and good climbing. Although I had a really nice time in Japan, I also started to feel the consequences of all the travelling. Flying and changing hotels all the time was taking its costs. I felt more tired every day and I couldn’t catch up with sleeping. I decided to not pay too much attention to it and just enjoy being in Japan: training in the super cool climbing gyms and visit some touristic sights. I hoped this would give me some new energy.


At the competition in Inzai I realized I was just too tired to perform well in another competition. I climbed good mentally, but physically I felt empty. I couldn’t get pumped anymore and fell early in the route, placing 19th. All together it was an amazing trip with some good results,  great experiences and many nice memories I will never forget. Thanks to the Belgium team for adopting me for a week ;)

This weekend I will compete in the semi finals for the Dutch Championships. Right afterwards I will fly to Spain to get some sun and recover for the final Worldcup in Kranj.
Worldcup Mokpo (Picture by Heiko Wilhelm)
 

22 oktober 2014

Asia trip Part 2: Worldcup Wujiang

Some days have passed already since the second Worldcup of the Asia tour; the Worldcup in Wujiang. All the new impressions in Japan kept me from blogging, so let's get back to China. First of all I have to admit that the accommodation improved a lot since last year. The food was simply amazing (last year I had a hard time eating anything at all), which made our stay much more pleasant.

After one day of recovering it was time for qualifications. I already got pretty bored from doing nothing for a day, so I was super motivated to climb. I am so happy that I was able to find this feeling again after the beginning of the season! Qualifications were ok, but I climbed a little but too fast. I didn’t take enough time to rest, especially in the first route, but the mind was ok. I placed 9th and 10th in both routes.

After a good night rest it was time for semifinals. During observation I got even more motivated. The route looked great: many volumes and big holds, combined with some really small edges. When I started climbing I felt super relaxed. I think I haven't been able to climb like this in semifinals this season before. I found a good resting position in the middle and recovered completely. When I climbed on I made a mistake: I grabbed the wrong part of a hold with my left hand and made a heelhook on the previous hold to clip. Then I discovered that my right hand had to be where my left was. I couldn't climb back, because the previous hold was too small for both a hand and a heelhook. I jumped for the next and fell, completely fresh.

I was pretty disappointed about my performance and walked back to the hotel straight away, without seeing the others climb. When I got back some hours later, I heard that many others had made the same mistake and that I placed 11th anyway. I was really surprised, that's not too bad! But still, I had the fitness to climb finals that day. Anyway, I just made a stupid mistake, but the mind was perfect and that is the important thing for now. Up to the next Worldcup in Inzai!

14 oktober 2014

Asia trip Part 1: Worldcup Mokpo

3 competitions, 3 weeks in Asia. The big trip has started. Last weekend the first competition took place in Mokpo. I felt relaxed and super motivated. Climbing is such a mental game. By being in this state of mind, I made the competition pretty easy for myself (completely different compared to the beginning of the season). In semi-finals I was on the edge of falling a couple of times, but I could stay focussed, I kept on resting and I was able to push myself until I was totally pumped. I was really satisfied with my performance and it turned out to be enough for the 12th place. I guess I am getting back on track ;)
Worldcup Mokpo (Pictures by Ulf Lennertz)
This week we are staying in Seoul; do some sightseeing and some training. On Thursday we will fly to Wujiang for the next Worldcup. So stay tuned ;)
Sightseeing in Korea

17 september 2014

World Championships - 19th

The motivation is back! In Gijon I got super psyched when I saw the video demonstration of my first qualification. Earlier this season I kind of lost this feeling. I was just competing because I used to, not because that was something I really wanted. It's amazing how much some weeks of rock climbing can change. Just being outdoors all the time, enjoying the sun and the fresh air, the beautiful views, the amazing lines and the inspiring moves. It helped me to enjoy again, not only at that moment, but also back home, training. I made more effort to organize my trainings: meeting with motivating people, climb in different places and think of new, challenging training methods. This gave me a lot of energy. I expected the World Championships to come too early, but when it was time to leave, I felt much stronger already.
Competition wall
The Worlds were amazing. Like I said, the qualification were well set. It was much fun to climb them. With a 12th and 16th place I made it to the semi finals. The semies were a bit disappointing. The route didn't look that great and I lost the super energetic, psyched mood I had in qualifications. Anyway, there was no way of finding it back, so I just had to deal with it. Luckily that worked out pretty well. My climbing was fine. I could relax, look, feel and choose the right solutions. Unfortunately I didn't manage to make the super hard move in the middle of the route (where more than ten people fell), although I wasn't too pumped. Falling at the same place as so many others set me in 19th position after countback. I can be really satisfied with my climbing though, which is most important for now.
The coast of Gijon
The World Championships are always something special. Everyone is there. I really enjoyed the time after the competition, having fun with friends I already competed with since our first years in the youth. Also watching the finals was very inspiring. This competition made me notice what an amazing live I am living. I get the opportunity to travel to all these amazing places, to meet inspiring people who became really close friends and to be excited about something all the time. It's never boring and I always have a cool trip to look forward to. Next up is the Asia tour, where I will visit Korea, China and Japan to compete in the next Worldcups. But first some more training, yeah!

20 augustus 2014

Outdoor climbing in Val Durance

When we were planning this years summer vacation I had the idea that I was running out of good summer areas. Everything seemed to be too hot, too  crowded or I had already been there too often. After some research we decided to see what Val Durance had to offer. This turned out to be a really good decision. I am pretty sure I won't get bored of this place for the next few years!

First of all, being surrounded by high mountains, the view in this valley is simply amazing. Within one hour drive from the campsite there were too many areas to visit, all with different types of rocks, climbing style and grades. We climbed in three different areas, Ailefroide, Pelvoux and Tournoux. Ailefroide and Pelvoux were granite crags, something I am not used to at all. So the granite gave me a hard time even in the easy routes, but it was very interesting and a lot of fun. Tournoux on the contrary is a limestone area with long endurance routes which fit my style pretty well. After being sick for a couple of days I started slowly with some 8a's and 8a+'s (Cost of Freedom 8a and Loups Hurlant 8a+). When I started feeling better I decided to work the moves in Intime étrangère, an 8b+ which was said to be hard for the grade. The moves felt not too hard, but the route was super sustained without any possibilities to rest for 30 moves.

When I returned after a restday I touched the final jug in my best attempt. The next day I was able to send it! Another send of a super beautiful line this trip. That day I managed to climb Beauté de chine, 8a+ in my second go as well. A perfect end of a really nice trip. We filmed some of the routes we climbed . Watch and enjoy!


2 augustus 2014

Worldcup Imst

The Worldcup in Imst, what can I say… The first qualification went pretty well. There were some tricky, hard moves in the beginning but I was able to rest after every hard move and stay calm. I really enjoyed the climbing and got passed the move where most people fell. Although I wasn't really pumped when I came off, I was pretty satisfied with my climbing. 

My performance in the second route was terrible. I started all right and I still don't really know what went wrong. I missed the next hold in a tricky move in the beginning of the route, which set me almost in last position. With the good result from the first route there was still a small chance I would make it to the semi's, but unfortunately I came short two places and ended 28th.

It's been a long time since I have messed up a competition so badly. Off course, everyone makes mistakes sometimes and things like this just happen once in a while, but that doesn't make me feel any better. Yesterday we had a really good, long training session in the indoor gym here in Imst. That finally cheered me up a bit again. Just climb, have fun, getting really pumped and tired, enjoy the moves and the routes, things I haven't done enough this year. Maybe this is a good wake up call to start doing things I like in climbing again ;) The next two weeks that won't be a problem. Tomorrow I will drive to France for two weeks vacation. I can't wait to climb some rocks and set my mind off competitions for a while! 
In the first qualification (picture by Heiner Schmidl)

24 juli 2014

Briancon

After the Worldcup in Chamonix we spend the week in the Briancon valley, climbing outdoors. This week was perfect. We visited three very different areas.
- Le Randouillet:              On the first day, when we didn’t have a car jet, we climbed in a small limestone crag just above Briancon. This first day after the Worldcup I took my time to recover and just climbed some 7 degree routes, enjoyed the sun and read a book.
- Rue de Masques:         The second day we picked up our rental car and drove to Rue de Masques, a conglomerate area with an 8b (Racing in the streets) I wanted to try, I managed to send this realy cool piece of rock second go!
Racing in the streets, 8b (picture by Rogier van Rijn)
Punishman Park 7c (picture by Rogier van Rijn)

- Face bouc:       The last day Rogier van Rijn took us to a relatively new area in Ailefroide. This place was amazing. A big overhanging granite wall with many 8 degree routes and a beautiful view. Since I had never climbed on granite before I needed some time to get used to the style and just climbed a 7c. We spend the day mainly taking pictures for Mammut, because without them all this wouldn't be possible.

Sector Face bouc (picture by Rogier van Rijn)
This week of relaxing was exactly what I needed and I felt much better when the Worldcup in Briancon started. In my first qualification route I climbed good and placed 11th. In the second route I felt terrible. The moves were tricky and the conditions were far from perfect. I could give a good fight anyway and placed 17th for semifinals.

In the semifinals I climbed really tensed in the tricky beginning, but unlike in Chamonix and China I managed to take some rest and get it all together again. I am satisfied that I could make this switch and finally get pumped in semifinals, but the result was still a bit disappointing. I gave away too much in the beginning and ended up in 20th position. 
Semi-finals in Briancon