18 november 2015

Worldcup Kranj - 19th

Last weekend, the final Worldcup of the season was being held in Kranj. Unfortunately, I got sick the week before the competition. I hoped to be recovered in time, but when I woke up the first day of the competition I still felt pretty bad. Luckily our qualifiers started in the afternoon, which gave me some time to get myself together. 

Considering the circumstances, qualifications were not that bad. I could still move normally, but I got pumped way earlier than normal. However, I managed to give a good fight and qualified for semi finals. During semi finals I had nothing to lose. I gave all I had at that moment and ended in 19th position.

The Worldcup season is over now. Since I got injured last summer I have been really tired and sick on and off. It feels like it's time to take some rest and get fit and healthy again. In 1,5 week I will defend my title in the National Championship in Lead and after that it's time to relax!

26 oktober 2015

Autumn in Rodellar

This year, I decided not to compete in the Asian part of the Worldcup season. Since it was only one competition it was not worth the energy of travelling all the way to China and back, getting jetlagged and all. So, for the first time in years, I was free to go outdoors in October! October is supposed to be one of the best months for climbing outdoors, which made me decide to plan one more trip to Rodellar.

I had already been in Rodellar for two weeks this spring. Although I had climbed a lot of routes during those two weeks, the wishlist grew and I had to come back for many other hard routes. In spring I had been doing lots of onsights, so this time the focus was on projecting. I ended up ticking quite some routes of the wishlist (which grew again…), some of the best I did:

      - Botanics, 8b+ (6 tries, amazing athletical route, went down really smoothly when I finally figured out the right beta)
      - Ixeia, 8b+ (Had been wet most of the time, but on the last day it dried up. I decided to just give it a try. With botanics already in the pocket I had nothing to lose. And wow, it went down in my 3rd try! I am still a bit surprised ;) 
      - Gladiator, 8a+/b (A 40m physical monster. It spit me out twice, because my biceps were not strong enough to make the next move. I think they grew a little during the last try, which made me send it one my 3rd go. Feels more like 8b to me)
      - La kanabica, 8b (Second go on one of the last days. Amazing line, crossing many tufa's and ending up with a technical crux on the straight wall. Super nice!)
      - Kings of metal, 8a+ (Recommended by Frank, who has been talking about this one for months. It was a bit wet, but after all those stories I just couldn't walk past it without trying. You were right Frank, it is an amazing line)
La Kanabica, 8b (Picture by Michel)
All together it was a really good trip. It remembered me how much I love being in nature, how motivating projecting can be and how perfect the simple life is when climbing outdoors. I want to go back! But no, for now it's back to plastic. I will be training for three more weeks for the last Worldcup of the season. It's time to find the motivation on plastic again.

29 september 2015

Worldcup Puurs - 14th

Because the recovery from my back injury took much longer than expected, I had already accepted that I wouldn't be back in shape in time for the Worldcup in Puurs. However, since Puurs is so close and it's no effort at all to go there, I decided to just give it a try. The last days before the comp, I took some extra rest and I finally started to perform better in the training. Maybe the competition was not totally lost yet.

So I went to Puurs without any expectations. I knew I didn't have that extra bit of power and endurance I had before my injury, but it wasn't too bad either. Since I had nothing to lose, I climbed without any pressure during qualifications and managed to give all I had, and placed 13th.
Qualifications (picture by Sytse van Slooten)
The next day semi finals were being held. When I got the first glimpse of the route I got super excited. It looked so cool! I was a bit afraid of the slabby beginning, but when I rehearsed the route in isolation together with Anak, we came up with many good solutions for every problem and I started to feel confident. Indeed, the beginning wasn't problematic at all. The moves felt easy and I executed them smoothly. Then, all of a sudden, the route got really hard. I could just hold on to the small edges, but my hands felt empty and started to open. I managed to make the first hard moves, but soon it was over.  I hadn't been able to fight at all and I expected myself to end up at the very bottom of the field. However, it turned out the others had been struggling even more with the small edges and my performance wasn't that bad after all. I ended up in 14th position, which I should be satisfied with for the moment. Not bad after such a bad preparation!

The next Worldcup I compete in is being held in Kranj at the 15th of November. That means there is a lot of time to go outdoors! I will spend two weeks in Rodellar in October. Can't wait!
Semi-finals (picture by Systse van Slooten)

18 augustus 2015

Silvretta, Imst and the Verdon

Three weeks ago we left rainy Holland and headed to Austria. This time we did not only bring a rope and quickdraws, but a crashpad was stowed in the van as well. Plan for the trip: first stop, Silvretta, then head to Imst for the next Worldcup and finally drive to the Verdon to discover some of the new sportclimbing area's recently published in the 'Grimper'.

Bouldering in Silvretta

Me bouldering outdoors is definitely an exception, but lately I felt more and more attracted to it so I decided to give it a shot. And indeed, it turned out to be really motivating! First of all, Silvretta is simply a beautiful place. High in the Alps we woke up the first morning, surrounded by cows and with a really impressive view. When we went bouldering, I felt like a little child, running around between the boulders, trying everything that looked good, no matter what the grate was. Since my personal best was still 7B outdoors, it was pretty easy to push my limits. Sometimes it's nice to make some easy progression ;) In 2,5 days of bouldering I managed to send my first and my second 7C with 2nd Skin and Atomblitz. I would have loved to spend some more days here, but we had to go to Imst to be in time for the competition.

The Worldcup in Imst was, what shall I say, a special experience. I really surprised myself in qualifications by placing 5th in the first route and 10th in the second, just missing the final hold. Woow, I was super excited about my performance, but I had to stay focused for semi-finals which were held the same evening. The route looked cool and I was keen to climb it. Unfortunately, I misread a move in the beginning of the route and fell way too early. Argh! It's so frustrating to mess up like that after such a good qualification round.

The next day we decided not to stay and watch the finals, but to drive to France immediately. The disappointment of the previous day disappeared the more we drove south. With the Gorges in sight, the competition was quickly forgotten. What a beautiful place! Massive walls where ever you look. The approaches were often scary, traversing at the top of the Gorges with hundreds of meters of air underneath, but they led to the most astonishing climbing areas. All kinds of styles, from huge overhanging walls covered in tufas, to blank straight walls with tiny holds. All the sectors we visited had some things in common: 1. The routes were still very new and hard to read, since there were no chalk marks to follow, 2. The rock quality was super high, 3. The routes were super long and demanding and 4. The grading was HARD. So we got or asses kicked, but it was definitely worth it! In the end I managed to climb 1 8a flash  (Fly on the tox, Bauchet), 1 8a onsight (Babobabo, Courchon) and 1 8b (Plus tonique, Courchon).

A perfect dinner spot in the Verdon

Before the end of the trip arrived, I got some serious trouble with by back. The pain got worse every day. At one point, I could not find a way to release the pain anymore and I could not deal with it either. We decided to go home early, but first went to see a doctor, who subscribed me a massive load of painkillers. Those suppressed the pain enough to make the journey home bearable (and made me kind of funny ;). I was actually planning to compete in the next Worldcup in Stavanger upcoming weekend, but at the moment it’s uncertain if I will be able to start. First wait for the results of some physiotherapy treatments. 

20 juli 2015

Worldcup Briancon

After spending a couple of days outdoors in the Briancon valley, just climbing some semi-hard routes to relax and recover from the Worldcup in Chamonix, it was time to get focused again for the next Worldcup: Briancon.

Before the start of the competition I did not feel as confident and eager to climb as I was before Chamonix. Furthermore, it was insanely warm and I started late in qualification, which was a big disadvantage in this situation. I started the first route a bit nervous, but when it got harder I found the fight mode until my hand slipped off. Before I knew it I was back on the ground. Fortunately, I had already passed the crucial section when I slipped, so no stress. In the second route I was not focused at all. I was only thinking about how warm and slippery the holds were and I could not fight at all. But all together it was enough for semi-finals, a new round with new opportunities.

In semis I climbed super relaxed and dedicated, exactly the way I want to climb in a comp. However, a sudden super hard move disturbed this flow. The move really surprised me. I got a bit stressed and fell, still feeling pretty fresh. At first I was disappointed with my performance. I have been training a lot of resistance and power this year, to be able to fight myself through those kind of moves. At that moment, all this training seemed not to have paid off. But I was not the only one struggling with this move. Many competitors starting after me fell at the same move as well. In the end, the women ranked 12th to 21st fell at this point. Due to my bad performance in qualification, I placed 19th based on countback.

In two weeks the next Worldcup is held in Imst. My climbing in Briancon made me super eager for this comp. I will spend some time at home now to train and gain that extra bit of confidence I had in Chamonix. I can't wait to start again!
Semi-finals (picture by The Circuit World Cup and Performance Climbing Magazine)

13 juli 2015

Worldcup and European Championships in Chamonix

Although the Worldcup in Chamonix is held every year, it was a special first competition this time. Since the IFSC had some trouble finding a location for the European Championships in Lead, it was decided to fuse the Worldcup and the European Championships. This resulted in an enormous number of athletes and an extremely  strong competitive field. Luckily I had gained some confidence about my shape the weeks before during the training and above all, I was really looking forward to start!

I had to start really early in my first qualification route. Although I climbed super relaxed and dedicated, I fell too early by copying the solution the demonstration video had showed, which turned out to be way harder than the solution the climber after me choose. But no stress, the second route looked much harder and powerful, exactly the things I have been focusing on this year! I managed to keep the positive mental attitude and placed 10th in the second qualification. All together it was enough to make semi finals.

The semi-final route was simply amazing to climb. I managed to find an almost perfect state of mind, which allowed me to rest, relax and push my limits. I gave everything I had and fell really pumped in the last couple of meters. This resulted in a 14th place in the Worldcup and a 10th place at the European Championships! Today we drove to Briancon, which will be the next stop for the Worldcup, but first we will spend some days outdoors :)

23 juni 2015

8 number 100

I've spent the last couple of weeks doing a lot of lead climbing. Two weeks ago, the second National Lead competition was being held in my home gym: Mountain Network Amsterdam. I managed to top out all routes and ended up 1st. Although the routes were not that hard physically, it was a good mental preparation for the upcoming Worldcup season. Furthermore, I was asked to test the men's routes before the comp, which was a lot of fun and a good opportunity to do some onsight training.

Lead 2 finals (picture by NKBV)
The week after I finished my last subjects in University, which means I have completed my Bachelor now! As a reward we decided to spend some days in the Frankenjura, so we picked up the van and drove East. It felt so good to touch some rock again. Although the weather was pretty bad, we found some beautiful dry lines. In my opinion, a lot of the routes in the Frankenjura are not really worth climbing, but it is the seek for those nice lines that makes climbing in this area special to me. In the end I managed to climb the really short and bouldery 8a Leftfield (super cool moves!), the more sustained 8a+ Desperado, the super classic 8a+ Witchcraft and some 7c/+'s flash. Whit those 8's I reached the magic number of 100 8-degree routes!

Now it's time for the last bit of endurance training before the start of the international competition season, which will start in a bit more than two weeks in Chamonix.
Lead 2 finals (picture by NKBV)