29 november 2015

Dutch champion in Lead - my 10th national title

Yesterday I managed to successfully defend my national title in Lead again. As many of you might know, this competition is always pretty hard for me. The pressure is high and every year I get more and more afraid that I might make a mistake one day. Luckily, that day wasn't yesterday.

The past two weeks were terrible. I just needed the season to be over. After being sick and weak for many months I just couldn't push myself anymore. I was done with training or caring about my food. I decided to just give myself some slack and see what happened. You don't lose the fitness you have been training for the whole year in just one week.
Finals (picture by Sytse van Slooten)
That turned out to be a good decision. When the day of the competition arrived, I didn't feel sick anymore. I was still a bit tired, but I could move normally. The final route was simple and suited my style pretty good. I managed to top out without getting pumped or really having to try hard in any move. In the end, it turned out that the number two had topped the route as well. I was relieved that the competition was over, but again, the pure happiness I experiences the first times I won the title was not there. Partly because I didn't have to fight or work hard to get to the first place. Hopefully the routes will get a bit harder in the future. That won't change anything about how I feel before the nationals, but it might make winning a bit more satisfying ;)

For now it's finally time for vacation! In less than an hour I will take the plane to Turkey. Time to soak up some sun, relax and climb some rocks!

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)

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!

12 maart 2015

Santa Linya and Boulder 2

After two weeks at home I started to feel a bit restless. I needed to get back to Spain, get some sun and climb some rocks! But actually I had to be in Amsterdam to go to university. I managed to find a five day gab where I could escape without anyone noticing. So I booked my flight and Frank came to pick me up in Lleida. This times destination: Santa Linya. I had spotted a route in this impressive cave I really wanted to try: Rollito Sharma, 8b+. The moves are super athletic, with many heel- and toohooks, drop knees, jumps etc. On the first day I managed to stick all the moves, but the crux was really desperate. I could only make it 50% of the times after hanging in the rope, and it was actually only this move the whole route was about for me, not really my style since I normally project huge endurance routes. I decided to just commit for this one, since the route was really cool and it was a good power training anyway. On the last day I could climb the first part to the crux moves more or less effortless and I was really close to sticking the last hold of the crux, but unfortunately I just needed some more time, which I didn't have. It was a really good trip though and I got really motivated to train again and to come back to this place. Hopefully I can plan a longer trip in the near future ;)
 
Finals at boulder 2 (picture by nkbv)
Back home I got straight back to training again. After climbing 6 days in a row it was time for my first national competition of the year: Boulder 2. It has been a really long time since I have competed in bouldering. After my knee injury last year I got really scared of falling, so I decided to just quit bouldering for a while, because it only frustrated me. When I started bouldering again this February the fear was gone, but I totally forgot how to make all those crazy circus moves ;) So to be honest, I was pretty nervous for this first competition and I was thinking about not competing at all.
But things turned out great. In qualifications a lot of those scary crazy problems were set, but I managed to flash 7/8! This gave me a lot of confidence and it really felt like a victory every time I grabbed the final hold of a scary problem. That good feeling made me flash all the problems in the finals as well. A good start of the competition season I guess! 

1 februari 2015

Roadtrip Spain - part 2

Right after I wrote my last post I injured myself (never try to go to a mono dynamically!). Fortunately I was allowed to climb again after only three days of rest and already after a week I could work in hard routes again. I guess I was lucky this time ;) But I had only two weeks left before going home and I still couldn’t hold any pockets with my right hand. With the bouldery routes in Mallorca this appeared to be a bit problematical. When it started to rain very heavily the decision was quickly made: Let’s go to Alicante! So the next day we took the ferry back to the mainland.

Our first stop was Gandia Bovedon, a big cave near Valencia. On the first day I managed to send Trasnochando, 8b, on my second go!  The days after I climbed the best routes here and then we moved to a new sector, Bovedos. In just a couple of days we worked the best lines in the two area’s. With long days of onsighting 5 or 6 7b/c+’s I was completely exhausted but really satisfied after four days in Gandia. What a nice place!
Since we had climbed the best-looking lines we decided to spend the last two days in another area near Alicante, Cabezon d’or. This might be one of the best area’s I have ever seen! Gigantic walls, all slightly overhanging, covered in tufas and most of them not even developed yet. It was the perfect place to finish my trip. On the last day I even managed to flash another 8a, a 40m mega pitch! I definitely have to come back to this place.


Now I am back home I will get back to training. I got so motivated after this trip! I have seen many routes I am really eager to climb, but I guess I have to get stronger and improve my endurance to be able to. So it feels good to be back and to start working for those routes!


A small ticklist from this trip:
- 5 8b's
- 1 8a+ second go
- 9 8a's of which 2 flash
- and a bunch of 7's onsight / flash

17 januari 2015

Roadtrip Spain

I have spent the last 1,5 month in Spain, climbing outdoors. The trip started in Margalef, where we stayed for a couple of days before going to Oliana. The plan was to do some small projects. I managed to finish two 8b's I had tried last year, Batuka and Rocaïna Dura (8b/+), both in the second go of this year. That was a good start! Right before we wanted to leave Margalef it started to rain very heavily. All the routes were wet so we decided to leave for Oliana early.
Rocaïna Dura 8b/+
In Oliana the weather wasn't any better, but at least the largest part of the wall stayed dry. On the first day I managed to flash Mishi 8a and I worked the moves on Fish Eye, an 8c which is on my wishlist already for a long time. The end of Fish Eye was wet, but I could do the crux moves pretty easily so I decided to wait for it to dry up. For the next days the rain didn't stop and most of the routes were soaking wet now. It was hard to try Fish Eye, so I kept working it in parts.

After a couple of days we were getting bored of the projecting in routes which were not fully climbable, so we decided to take a break . We drove to Villanova de Meia to do a multipitch. It has been a while since I have climbed more than 50m and I have to admit, I was pretty scared ;) But it was a nice adventure and by the end of the day we could look back, satisfied, on the 8 pitches 7b MP.
Back in Oliana things didn't get any better. Fish Eye was dry now and I could make all the moves, but winter started to kick in, and it got pretty cold. When it was sunny, conditions were perfect, but the crag seemed to attract fog. I had one very good go on Fish Eye the first day, I fell only 5 moves before the anchor of this 50m monster! The days after we were waiting for sun, but every day we walked back to the van early in the afternoon, too cold to give any proper goes. The waiting didn’t pay off, the fog returned every morning and we both got pretty sick (literally) of the long days spend in the cold air. We decided that this wasn't any fun anymore, that we had to drop our projects and head for a warmer place.
Flashing a 7c+ in the 'secret' sector Es Grau des Ruc on Mallorca
Next day we took the ferry to… Mallorca. And guess what? It was super warm and sunny. What a relieve!  At the moment we are exploring the island. The hard climbing isn't as developed as in Catalunya, so it’s harder to find the nice, hard routes. But the climbing is really good so far! I managed to climb Commando Madrid (8b) and Capitan (8b) both third go. Stay tuned for a bigger report of the climbing in Mallorca!
Sunset at Mallorca 
Working in Odissy L1, 8b at Mallorca