24 juni 2014

Worldcup Haiyang

I just came back from Haiyang, China, where the first Worldcup of the year took place. I ended up 15th, which was not really satisfying. In qualifications I was looking for the right mindset. I couldn't find it in the first route, but in the second route I almost got it. It has been a while since I have been climbing competition and I am still missing the confidence to climb well. Before I went to China I was not sure at all about by fitness. In semifinals I started pretty calm, but already really early in the route there were some tricky moves. I could easily make those moves, but not statically. This kind of scared me and made me climb the rest of the route really tensed. I forgot to rest and just speeded up in automatic mode. When I arrived at an even harder, trickier move I didn't think for a second and just pushed it, which was not the right decision. All the other climbers hesitated for a moment and then changed their plan. I should have done that as well. In fact, if I would have been more relaxed and confident I probably would have feel that it was too hard this way. Anyway I didn't and I fell off.
Semi finals (Picture by Heiko Wilhelm)
The result was pretty disappointing, especially because I was not pumped and only a little bit tired when I fell. It's always annoying if you can't give all you have in a competition. But there were also some positive points and I gained some confidence out of my climbing in semi-finals, that I am fit enough. Now there are some pretty clear things I have to work on before the second event, which will take place in Chamonix in a bit more than two weeks.  

16 juni 2014

Dutch Champion in Bouldering

The national boulder championships are always a small celebration for me. I am not favorite for the title and bouldering is not my discipline. So I can just relax and enjoy the competition. In lead, on the contrary, the national champs are terrible. There is so much pressure, which makes it really hard to climb well. 
This year this contrast was even stronger. Since I have barely done any boulder training in the past months, I didn't have the illusion that I could win. The day before the competition I was super relaxed, like there was not even a competition coming up. This feeling stayed during the competition. The only thing I was a bit tensed about was my knee and the fact that I'm still a bit scared to fall. Luckily I flashed all the boulders in the semi finals, so there was nothing to be afraid of. 
In the finals I managed to flash the first two boulders. Then I failed on the slab, partly because I was scared, partly because I am not used to this bouldery style anymore. It's crazy how much the type of movements in bouldering and in lead drifted apart the last couple of years. I seriously believe that practicing the 'boulder competition style' has become absolutely useless for lead competitions. Bouldering and Lead are becoming two different sports, in which the way you have to move and position your body are almost contrary to each other.

Anyway, since Vera and I had exactly the same score after the third problem, it all came down to the last boulder. This turned out to be so extremely hard that we both didn't manage to reach the bonus hold. Since I had a better score in semi finals, I won the national title based on count back. 
Now it's back to lead climbing. The day after tomorrow I am flying to China for the first World Cup of the season. I am really looking forward to start again, although I am also a bit tensed about the influence my knee injury has had on my current level. We will see, I can't wait to start! 
Podium (pictures made by Sytse van Slooten)

9 juni 2014

Rodellar and Berdorf

Some weeks ago, when I booked by flight to Spain, the conditions in Rodellar were perfect. Unfortunately this period of nice weather ended just before we arrived. All the tufa's were wet and it didn't stop raining until our last day. Surprisingly, I had a really good time though. We decided not to wait for the big walls to dry, but to start working on the smaller sectors which stayed dry during the rain. Those sectors were covered in 7's, which forced me to spend my days onsighting loads of routes. I just had to accept that I was not going to send something really impressive and started to see this trip as a nice opportunity to train in one of the most beautiful surroundings I have ever seen.
During my stay I onsighted 20 routes 7a and harder, including one 8a named De vuelta al convento. All together it was a really good training for the upcomming competition season. By the end of the week it felt like I could 'read' the rocks much faster and my climbing felt more natural. Besides I worked the moves in some hard routes I really wanted to try. The holds were too wet to really give it a go, but I will definitely come back for those lines!
Back home I repacked by bag to spend two more days outdoors, in Berdorf this time. It has been two years since I last visited this area. During that trip I worked some of the hard lines, but failed in nearly all of them. Only in Hermann Buhl (8a+) I could make all the moves, so the goal for this trip was clear. When we arrived the rain was pouring down pretty heavily (again, pfff ;) ) but we could climb a bit anyway. The conditions were horrible though, which we didn't notice until the next day, when it was sunny and the moves felt much easier. I managed to send Hermann Buhl on my third try of the trip, after two workout sessions (one with humid and one with dry holds). What an amazing line! I finished the day with a good attempt on Borderline (8a+/b), which felt definitely 'do'able. I guess I have to come back soon to finish it!
Hermann Buhl, two years ago (Picture by Rogier Mattens)