17 april 2014

Siurana - back on rock

After a long period of revalidation, meaning little climbing and doing a lot of exercises, my knee finally got better. When my leg got functional again (before I was often falling of routes, frustrated from that useless 'thing'!) it turned out that I had gained a lot of strength. I was actually feeling stronger than ever. The recovery got just on time for my next climbing trip, which started two weeks ago. The initial plan was to visit some areas in Catalunya. We started in Siurana, which was so nice, with the scenic village, the beautiful view and the impressive walls. We decided to stay.

For training goals I started working on Migranya (8b) and Kale Borroka (8b+), which are two completely different routes. Migranya is short and powerful and super overhanging, known for the long moves. Kale Borroka, on the contrary, is a 40m endurance route on the overwhelming wall of El Pati, next to all the famous lines. I spend the first week working on those two routes and climbing many straight walls and slabby routes. I have never been really inspired by the straight walls, but that definitely changed in Siurana. I was happy to onsight L'escamarla 7c+, a super technical straight route. I had to fight so hard to get to the anchor and I really surprised myself by onsighting it. It's always nice to impress yourself on routes you thought to be your anti style.

The second week it was time to finish the projects. I had some doubts whether or not I could send them in the few days I had left. People always told me I shouldn't try Migranya. The moves would be morpho and for as far as I know, little or no women have climbed it. However, I could make all the moves and it was just a matter of time. But then it's always the question, how much time? After falling passed the crux a couple of times I was able to send the route many days before we left. This ascent feels more special than the other 8b's and 8b+'s I have climbed before. It's the first time I climb a project which doesn't really suit me. That made the mental game much harder, yet much more rewarding. 

The day after the ascent of Migranya we took a rest day. The day after it was time to get back on Kale Borroka. I executed the overhanging part pretty smoothly in my first go of the day. Then I got to the crux, a sequence of many tiny edges, more than 30m above the ground. I got really pumped and started to throw myself desperately to the small holds. Amazingly I kept sticking them. With one last desperate move I throw myself to the final jug and managed to hold it. 8b+ in the pocket! Fourth go.

I always need some confirmation about my fitness. I was pretty scared that I would have lost a lot of endurance and strength in those weeks I couldn't use my leg. This trip confirmed again that I don't need to worry so much when I get injured. I think it's just part of the game. Bit thanks to my sponsor Mammut for making this trip possible.

13 februari 2014

Knee injury

It has been really quiet here the last couple of months. Normally at this time of year I spend most of my time training, but at the moment I am spending more time on the couch then on the wall. Exactly three weeks ago I injured my knee during the training. Yes, seriously, I manage to get injured again...
The first week was pretty terrible. I couldn't walk, drive or cycle, so I had no choice but to stay at my parents (which took great care of me by the way, thanks mom!). The second week I was able to walk a bit, so I could return to my own place. Fortunately I am living basically in the climbing gym, so that gave me the opportunity to at least do some exercises.

At the moment I am walking again without support, I am climbing with one leg and I use the extra time to strengthen the muscles in my back, which was still on the 'to do list'. I hope I will be able to turn this injury into something useful this way. It's pretty hard to stay motivated for all the exercises with the little climbing I am able to do, but it's better then doing nothing. 

In the meanwhile the muscles in my leg shrank about 30%. Luckily muscle mass in your legs is not useful at all for climbing, so I don't care ;) Every day I am making progression. This week I was able to cycle on an ergo meter for the first time and today I managed to walk down the stairs with one foot on every step! If it keeps progressing this fast I will be able to get both feet in the wall again pretty soon I guess. I can't wait!

14 december 2013


The last climbing trip for 2013 has ended. I just returned back home after spending 3 weeks in Margalef, Spain. It was a super nice end of the season: camping, enjoying the sun, climbing whatever I felt like, just living the easy life. After about 1,5 week my skin was completely ruined. I was trying this project called Pal este (8c/+), which is extremely sharp. The route felt possible, but only if I would be able to invest a lot of time in it. The moves were really inspiring and I was super psyched for the route, so I decided to make it my main project. At one moment I was able to link about 2/3 of the route, but then the skin got so bad that I had to climb with my hands covered in tape. I was still trying Pal este, but my fingers didn't fit into the pockets anymore, so I had to give up this route. I switched to climbing 8a's which were possible with taped hands or bleeding fingers, which was a lot of fun as well.

I will definitely return to Margalef to finish my project when the skin is recovered. During the restdays we ckecked out some other climbing area's in Catalunya, which are definitely on top of the wishlist now! All together I really enjoyed the climbing. It was a really relaxed vacation after all the competitions. For now it's time to take a break. I will get back to my studies for 2 weeks before starting training for next year.

19 november 2013

Worldcup Kranj - End of season

The international competition season is officially over. Although my performance in Kranj last weekend was not what I had hoped it to be, I am proud to find myself in 10th position in the final 2013 Worldcup ranking!

The last week I have been feeling really tired and drained of energy. I was not even motivated for training anymore, which is a really bad sign. Saturday, during the final Worldcup in Kranj, I simply didn't have the mental energy to give a good fight. Maybe, if the routes in semi finals would have been really cool, I would have managed to get psyched for one more time. But the route turned out to be pretty nasty. Climbing felt terrible and I couldn't get myself together and get the right mindset. I fell pretty early in the semi finals and ended up 21st. 

It is a pity that I couldn't give myself 100% once more this year, but I guess enough is enough. I am really relieved that the season is over now. This Friday I am flying to Spain to celebrate my vacation, enjoy the sun and finally touch some rock again. It's time to celebrate the amazing season I had this year!

11 november 2013

National Lead Champion!

Last weekend I became national champion in Lead for the 5th time! The week before I was pretty tensed about this competition (like every year btw). I don't know why, because I can tell that it's not necessary and a pretty stupid thing to do. I guess it's because I have to win, which makes me extra scared for little mistakes like a slip with the foot or forgetting to clip a quickdraw. Anyway, luckily this feeling disappeared when I saw the first route. It looked super cool and I finally got psyched for climbing.

I managed to top out in semi-finals. The final route turned out to be even cooler! When it was my turn to climb I really had a lot of fun figuring out the bouldery moves on all the volumes. I managed to top out without getting really pumped, which really satisfied me. Special thanks to the route setters to set such a nice routes! That definitely made the mental game much easier ;)

With one more competition to go, the season is almost over now. This friday we will fly to Kranj for the final stage of the Worldcup. After that I will spend 3 weeks in Spain to finally touch some rock again! 

4 november 2013

Worldcup Valence - 11th

Last weekend the seventh Worldcup of this year was held. This time the venue was a lot closer to home. I was still pretty exhausted from the Asia trip, so it was really nice to just have two short flights and arrive in Valence a couple of hours later. The qualifications went down smoothly. I was not super satisfied about my performance in both routes, but it was ok and I placed 12th. The next day semi's were held. After making finals in China I was really psyched to do so again. The week before I was feeling really good in the training, so it should be possible, but it was definitely not easy.
During the second qualification (Picture by Wouter Jongeneelen)
When it was my turn to climb I felt pretty relaxed. The beginning of the route was a lot harder then I had expected, but it didn't scare me. Then, all of a sudden, when I was just starting to feel a little bit empty, but not finished at all, my hand opened , my body dropped and I fell. I didn't know why and felt really frustrated. Just the feeling that I could have done so much better made me feel really bad about my performance. I still couldn't and can't be satisfied, just because I couldn't push myself to the limit. It kind of surprised me that I ended up 11th, which is not such a bad ranking I guess.

I am still really motivated for the competitions and it's a pity that the season is almost over. On the other hand, my body seriously needs some recovery time, so a short break might be good. The next competition coming up is the Dutch Lead Championships, which are being held in Bussum this weekend. After that there is just one more Worldcup left for this year. In two weeks we are flying to Kranj, Slovenia.

20 oktober 2013

Worldcup Wujiang, 6th!

I still can't believe it. After being really close already three times this season, I managed to make finals in a Worldcup for the first time yesterday! This has been a really big dream for years. Last week in Mokpo I was feeling really good, my elbow injury had recovered and I had the mental part under control, but I just came a plus short for finals. Making finals was possible, but the mental game had started.

After the Worldcup in Mokpo we spent about a week in Seoul before travelling to China. Ulf and I wanted to see a lot of Seoul. You don't travel all the way to Asia to spend all day in the climbing gym and on your hotel room, right? So, in between the training sessions, we did a lot of sightseeing. All the nice, new impressions kept my mind of the competitions completely for a while. This worked out really well. I was super relaxed when we left Korea.

Arriving in China was kind of hard after the really nice experiences we had in Korea. Everything was dirty, grey and poor and the food was simply disgusting. Luckily the organization had arranged a really nice hotel, which made the stay much more pleasant. Besides my back had started to ache pretty bad from all the travelling and I felt a bit sick all the time. Not the best preparation for a competition. In qualification I climbed a bit tensed, but unlike normal, I could really fight while being pumped. In semifinals it was the same story. It was definitely not a perfect climb. I got really tensed on the straight wall in the middle of the route. After that part I clipped all the draws way too late, which resulted in a lot of back- and forth climbing. But unlike normal I just kept on sticking the hold. Every time I could find a place to rest again to get my head right for the next couple of moves. It turned out to be enough for finals!

Just before finals I was super tensed, but in a really weird, chaotic way. Luckily this feeling disappeared when I started climbing. I could take my time to figure out the tricky, hard parts and when I fell, I was completely pumped. It resulted in a 6th place. It was an amazing experience to climb finals! 
All together I really enjoyed the whole Asia trip. Special thanks to Mammut, for making it possible! Right now I'm heading back to Holland, really psyched to get back to training for the last two Worldcups!