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)

28 mei 2015

NKB - 1st place!

Last weekend I competed in the National Championships in Bouldering. It's only now that I am starting to recover mentally. It was such a nerve breaking competition! Before the start of the comp, I knew I could outperform the others on the big overhanging walls, but I certainly would have a hard time to keep up on the slabs. That turned out to be well estimated. In semi-finals I just managed to finish the slab in time, after which I sent the three overhanging boulders pretty easily. That resulted in a comfortable first position, but finals still had to be climbed.
The nasty slab (ByRyan Photography)
After a long break we were up for finals. The first boulder was not too exciting: just some volume pulling in the overhang with a slightly tricky jam in the end… flash. The second boulder was my worst nightmare, a really nasty slab. I had no clue how I would even get off the ground. But hey, a top in this one would not be necessary with two overhanging boulders ahead. That thought calmed be down a bit and I managed to climb the slab in the very last attempt. Good job to Kim, who managed to flash it!
Topping the third problem (ByRyan Photography)
The third boulder was indeed a big overhang. Although I had to scream a bit in the last dynamic move, it went down in my first attempt. I was in first position again. But then I got a nasty little surprise. The last boulder wasn't an overhang like I expected. It was a straight wall with a big mantle move. Not exactly my strongest point, but it didn't look too hard though. However the pressure was high, I had to climb this one to win! Normally I would have been shaking off the wall, but this time I felt totally in control and I flashed the problem. Maybe I am not as bad on slabs as I think and should just stop complaining about it ;) It was really amazing to notice how pressure can make you stronger. What a cool experience! I managed to secure the title again, pfoe :)
In controle in the last problem (ByRyan Photography)

29 april 2015

Rodellar

I just came home after two amazing weeks in Rodellar. Although I had been to this place already twice, I never had the chance to really experience it due to bad weather or limited amount of climbing days. But this time, both were on my side and it turned out to be better than I could dream of. The place is covered in beautiful, hard lines, all fitting my style pretty good. There were so many things I wanted to do that the only way of getting close to fulfilling my wish list was by climbing really efficiently: just sending every route as fast as possible to move on to the next astonishing line. The goal of the trip was to do some semi-hard projects combined with hard onsights to prepare for the competition season.


This made me really motivated for my onsight or flash attempts, resulting in the right mindset to send some hard stuff. I managed to climb my first 8a+ onsight, with a 40m endurance monster called Paideia! Later that week I added my second one and they were followed by four more 8a’s onsight / flash. Woow, I really surprised myself. In the meanwhile I had time (and a little bit of energy haha, those routes really drain you) to send  Espirit Rebeld (8b), El chorreras (8b/+) and Philipe Cuisinere (8b+).


So all together I had a really good time, just enjoying climbing routes that really inspired me. Although I ticked quite some routes, the wish list is only halfway done and it only got longer. I have to come back a couple of times more to finish it, but I guess that won’t be a problem ;)


The ticklist:
- 8a Gracias fina - flash
- 8a El corridor de la muerte - flash
- 8a Pieds nus dans la terre sacrée - flash
- 8a Coliseum - onsight
- 8a+ Mal de amores – second go
- 8a+ Paideia - onsight
- 8a+ Las dos golondrinas de la piscineta - onsight
- 8b Espirit rebeld – third go
- 8b/+ El chorreras o la belle inconue – third go

- 8b+ Philipe cuisinere

13 april 2015

Training, outdoor climbing and competitions

The last two weeks I spent travelling from one place to another to compete, climb outdoors and train, which was a really nice combination, although the start was pretty shitty. Two weeks ago, the third national boulder competition was being held in Rotterdam. I didn’t enjoy the competition at all, due to morpho boulders, high walls and mats which felt like stone. This combination made me feel really scared again (which I have been a lot since my knee injury and which was actually getting better) and I could not enjoy climbing at all. I even considered going home after the second morpho boulder in finals, but I decided to keep my head up and at least finish the competition. I ended up 3rd, feeling terrible.

Luckily that didn’t last long, because the next morning I took the plain to Spain to climb outdoors in Montsant for two days. The moment we arrived in Montsant I already felt much better. What a beautiful place! Situated in the middle of nowhere with an amazing view, this area provides some of the best climbing I have ever seen. Huge walls up to 70m, all covered in super sustained mega routes. I seriously doubt if I have ever been so pumped before ;) Attached to a rope, I felt super confident again and I immediately took my revenge the first day by onsighting Hidrofobia, 8a (although it took me the rest of the day to recover ;) ). We climbed a bunch of amazing 7 degree routes and on the second day I managed to send Falconetti, 8a+, on my second go. I felt completely recharged after climbing so many great routes in such a beautiful place. I definitely will come back here!

After two days it was time to fly home to leave for the training weekend of the Dutch Team. We spent four days in Germany training in Stuntwerk, Köln and Boulderwelt Frankfurt and bouldering outdoors. It was nice to be away with the whole team, get to know each other better and get my ass kicked by the little boys, who are getting older and are already a lot stronger then I am ;) After four days I was completely worn out but satisfied.

Lead 1 finals (picture by nkbv)
A few days at home gave me time to recover and catch up with my studies. Yesterday the national lead competition kicked off in Mountain Network Nieuwegein. I managed to top out all routes without getting pumped. I already felt confident about my fitness, but this definitely proved I am on the right way. It was nice to challenge the mental part again in a competition.

Now it’s time to go outdoors again, for longer than two days this time. Today I am flying to Rodellar where I will climb for the next two weeks. The wishlist is long and the motivation is high. A muerte!