30 augustus 2013

Injury

Unfortunately my elbow didn't recover fast enough to compete in Eindhoven tomorrow. It is improving a lot though, but I wanted to keep it that way. If I would compete I would risk some other weeks without climbing, which would make me very unhappy in the first place and I would probably start stressing out about the lead Worldcups as well then. So it feels like a good decision to skip the European Champs and focus on the upcoming lead world cups. I can't wait to start climbing again!

Because there is nothing exciting going on at the moment, here are some pictures from my Ceuse trip this summer, taken by Raf Gorissen.
 
                           Really happy with the milk foamer                                 Encore 8a+
                         
Slowfood, 8b+

27 augustus 2013

Hot chili-X, 8c!

A couple of years ago, when my mum was driving me to a training, she asked me what I expected or hoped to climb outdoors once. 'I hope to climb an 8c once', I replied. I had never expected that dream to be fulfilled so soon. Last week I managed to send my first 8c!

At the beginning of the summer I decided it was time to challenge myself outdoors, to see what my limit is. I had set a goal: climb 8c. To do that I had to go to the perfect area, a crag with huge overhanging walls, pumpy routes and tufas. Some friends and I were really psyched to go to Gorges du Loup, but we had some problems arranging the trip, considering I was the only one with a driving license and we were all way too young to rent a car. In the end we found a company who would let us rent a car, so we were off to the south of France.

At home I had already selected three 8c's I wanted to try. The first day I started working in my first choice: Hot chili-X, a combination of the hardest parts of a very popular 8b+ and an 8b I had already worked in four years ago. I managed to make all the moves pretty easily in the first workout session, but the hardest part was linking them. Hot chili-X is a super sustained route with only one bad rest in the middle. After three days of red pointing I fell in the last hard move (one hold before the end). On the fourth day I fell at exactly the same place. I was losing confidence: was my endurance good enough to link this last move as well? The answer came in my next try. I managed to stick the last hard move this time and clipped the anchor!

Hot chili-X, 8c (Pictures by Daan Groskamp)
There were many more routes in this amazing area I wanted to try, but unfortunately I injured my elbow on the same day I sent Hot chili-X. I haven't been able to climb since. I hope to recover soon enough to compete in the European Championships in Bouldering which are held in Eindhoven this weekend.  

9 augustus 2013

Worldcup Imst

One slip with the foot and it's over. That's the game which makes competition climbing really hard, but also really interesting. Many people ask me why I prefer lead climbing over bouldering. I always tell them that it really inspires me that in lead climbing you've got only one chance: if you fall it's over. You have to control the mental part perfectly to perform well. Yesterday I didn't, I slipped with my foot during the semifinals and threw away that single chance. It sucks, but that's climbing.

I qualified for semifinals in 10th position. I was not really satisfied about my climbing though. In the first route I got surprised by the tricky and hard moves in the beginning. I started trembling and couldn't climb relaxed at all. Fortunately I managed to pull myself together in the second part and topped out. The tricky beginning had really scared me though. I was really nervous for the slabby start of the second route. In the end the beginning turned out to be pretty easy, there was nothing to worry about. The tension had cost a lot of energy though, which made me getting pumped pretty early. I could fight for some more moves and fell. The ranking turned out to be fine anyway, which gave me some confidence for semifinals.
During the first qualification (Foto: Heiner Schmidl)
After the stress in qualifications I really had to think of something to get in the relaxed-competition-mood again. Semifinals were held that same day, so there was not much time. I spoke to some people and managed to fix a lot of things in this way. Before semi's I felt much better. The start of the route went down smoothly. I could take my time, feel the moves and look ahead. When I started to feel a bit tired I reached a big hold, clipped, matched to get in a good resting position, and then all of a sudden my foot slipped off. I was really annoyed and didn't know what happened!  I guess I was a bit too tensed, or a bit too relaxed, or it might have been just bad luck. In the end I placed 21st.


I really feel like training now, so that is what we're going to do today here in Imst. Tomorrow we will fly back home where I will have some days to recover, sleep a lot and train in between. Thursday I will be flying to Nice to climb outdoors in Gorges du Loup for 10 days. That will definitely help me to get rid of the frustration I am feeling now!

2 augustus 2013

Céüse

I've spent the last ten days in Céüse and it was an amazing trip again. After the excitement of the first two international competitions of the year it was good to take some rest. Climbing outdoors makes recovering from competitions and preparing for the next ones so much easier, for me at least.  Imagine, waking up, taking a long, long shower followed by having breakfast in the sun. When it gets too hot you move to the shade to read a book or listen to music for a while until it's time to walk up (I have to admit, I am really going to miss the one hour walk up!). When you finally arrive at the crag the scenery is beautiful. The walk up is definitely worth it! I have spent many hours the last  few days just sitting there and enjoying the view. 
When I visited Céüse for the first time last year it really impressed me. It is definitely one of the most beautiful climbing areas I have ever been. The scenery is amazing, the atmosphere is really nice and nearly every route is of super high quality. Therefore I wanted to climb a lot of routes this trip, not specifically hard ones, but just beautiful lines I had seen last year and didn't climb by then. So that is what I did the first week. I managed to send many routes from my wishlist (like Encore 8a+, Petit Tom 8a and Sueurs froides 8a+, all second go) and they were as good as I had hoped.

By the end of the trip I started to feel a bit restless. I really needed a project to work on. On my second last day of climbing I finally found one. I worked the moves in Slow food, an 8b+ in a huge overhang with a tricky, bouldery beginning and a pumpy end. I had tried this route last year, but I didn't manage to make the moves by then. Although it was a bit late to start a project (with only two more climbing days to go after the workout session) I decided to give it a try. The first day of trying I fell in the pumpy end with only one more move to go. Afterwards I was too exhausted to give it another proper try, so it all came down on the last day. When I woke up that last day I felt terrible. I was tired, my skin hurt really bad and I even got a bit stressed from the time pressure. The first couple of tries in the route were terrible. I kept on falling in the beginning and my skin got worse with every try. I decided to take a longer rest, laying down underneath the rock, enjoying the view, chatting a bit. That worked out well. The next try I still felt pretty tired, but I was psyched again to finish the route in a last, desperate attempt. I managed to climb the route on this last try of the day.  It's so amazing how strong you can be when you just find the right mindset! A perfect ending of a nice climbing trip.