3 september 2016

Worldcup Arco - 26th

The Worldcup in Arco was pretty disappointing. On beforehand, I was a bit afraid that my endurance would be too bad for this wall and that the result would be worse than in Villars (in which the routes were short and powerful), although I had one extra month of training. However, during the first qualification, it became clear that there was nothing to be afraid of. I could give a good fight and fell two moves before the top. Not bad at all!

 After the first qualification I had to wait a long time before I could start in the second route. I used all the time I had to warm up and to see how other climbers solved the problems in the second qualification. That appeared to be a very bad idea. I had started warming up for the first route at 9:30 and finished my second around 17:30. At that time, I was totally exhausted from all the tension and holding my focus for so long. I felt weak and empty in the second route and fell way too early. A nerve breaking hour followed, because I was going to be just in or just out semi finals. Luckily, it was just enough and I was allowed to climb once more the next day :)
During the second qualification (picture taken by The Circuit Climbing)
Unfortunately, I couldn't climb the way I wanted in semi-finals next day. Since I was the first climber out, I had to climb when the wall just got in the shade. The holds of my route were black and slopy. That, in combination with the heat and the sun was not optimal at all. I was slipping of every hold and had a hard time to keep focussed. After a nasty start I couldn't keep myself together anymore and slipped with my hand during a dynamic move, which put me in 26th position. It always feels so unsatisfying when you can't fight in a route. But that's part of the game as well.

After some ice cream and a dive in the Garda lake I already felt much better. It's time for some more training now. Next up is the World Championship in Paris, starting 11 days from now. I am really excited to climb there, since it is probably gonna be a really BIG event!

2 augustus 2016

Worldcup Villars and some outdoor climbing

Two weeks ago I competed in my first Worldcup of this season. Since I am working on my posture this year, I will only do half of the competitions. This first Worldcup in Villars was meant to be a test. How is my fitness at the moment? What has to be improved? Which elements do I have to focus on during my training the upcoming weeks. I hoped to find some answers to those questions.

Qualification in Villars (by Sytse van Slooten)
And so I did. First of all it was a lot of fun to compete again. I was a bit scared that my fitness would be terrible and that I would not be able to even make semi-finals. But the opposite was true. Since I had no expectations, I could climb very relaxed and I could focus completely on the really cool routes. The routes were very powerful, a lot more than last year. I noticed the style of the lead competition is changing, it’s moving much more in the direction of bouldering. That was good for me, since I did not have time yet to build endurance. I guess that’s why I fell at move 26 in every route ;) It was enough for a 16th place. Not bad after such a long recovery period and definitely better than I expected!

Semi finals (by Sytse van Slooten)
After the Worldcup it was time for a small vacation. We spend 1,5 weeks in the Ailefroide valley, climbing in many different crags on many different kinds of rock. I decided to just climb a lot of semi-hard routes in many different styles. That turned out great. It was a really relaxed and interesting trip, in which I got my ass kicked every now and then due to the tough grading in this area (I climbed 8a's which would definitely reach 8b in the other areas I have been climbing in this year), but in which I also learned a bit more about how to move and read the rock in styles I am not used to.

Now it’s time for training again, because there is still a lot to catch up. I am super motivated to work on the things I lacked in Villars. Although the focus has to be on training this summer, I might find the time to climb a bit more outdoors. But for now, a muerte on plastic ;)

23 juni 2016

Frankenjura and Lead 2

The last couple of weeks were centered around climbing. First, I spend some time in the Frankenjura, to climb outdoors and train in Café Kraft. The first day, right after we arrived, I managed to climb Primeur de luxe (8a+/b) on my second attempt. After spending some days outdoors, we payed a visit to Café Kraft, where we met with Patrick Matros, to exchange some ideas about how to improve the positioning of my shoulders even more. That was definitely very useful and motivating!  Right after I arrived back home, I intensified my training and implemented the newly learned exercises.

During the finals of Lead 2 (picture taken by NKBV)

Next up was the second lead competition of the season, this time organized by my homegym Mountain Network Amsterdam. This competition was pretty special, since I did not only compete, but I had set the men's final route as well. To be honest, I was even more excited about how the men were going to climb my route, than about my own performance. Anyway, I managed to win again after giving a good fight in a pretty hard final. The men's route turned out to be great as well, so all together it was a really successful competition! Now the wall is fully covered in new hard routes it's time to get my endurance back. The first Worldcup I will compete in will be in a bit more than 3 weeks. So let's get back to training!

22 mei 2016

Zillertal and Lead 1

After a long period of mainly bouldering and adjusting my shoulders, I could finally start doing some lead again. In the first training sessions, the endurance was totally gone. I was exhausted already after the third draw. I guess I know now how a boulderer climbing lead must feel. Luckily, my endurance improved quickly. It's not as good as it was yet, but now that I could climb routes again, I was super motivated to go outdoors. So we got into the car and headed to Zillertal.

I had never been to this area before, but it really surprised me! Zillertal was perfect for my current endurance, because the routes are really bouldery. Even though I didn't have that many expectations, I still managed to climb an 8b, Sagaro, and a few more 8's. But more importantly, the routes we did were really beautiful! Adjusting to the granite was pretty hard, since I am so used to climbing on limestone. The rock forced me to move and think in a different way. However, this was really refreshing and inspiring. We found some perfect lines, like huge prows and overhanging arêtes, situated in an amazing alpine valley. All together, it was a really good trip and I will definitely come back here soon!
Electric Avenue, 8a
When I arrived home, I had some days to adjust to the plastic again before the first National Lead competition. The thought of competing made me pretty nervous, since I was not really confident about my fitness yet. But the competition turned out great. I had a lot of fun climbing the routes, since the setting was pretty tough. In finals I had to give a good fight and ended up two moves before the top, completely pumped! It was more than enough for the first place. Now it's time to get back to training. There is still a lot of work to be done.

15 maart 2016

Back to climbing!

It has been really quiet here the last couple of months, which is a good reflection of my climbing. I have been struggling with a lot of injuries during the past years. By the end of last season I was totally exhausted and all my motivation was gone. Me not being motivated for climbing is a really bad sign. Things had to change. The physiotherapists have been suggesting for a long time already that I have to adjust my posture in order to prevent future injuries and possibly make the next step in my climbing. Due to climbing and genetics my shoulders grew in a wrong position (way too much forward), which caused me many back problems and in the end also an always present pain in my elbows and fingers.

Luckily, I could do something about it, but it would set me back in climbing at first. To begin with, I was not allowed to climb for 6 weeks, during which I had to do a lot of stretching and exercises to learn how to position my shoulder the right way. Since I started climbing 15 years ago, I have never lived without climbing for such a long period. It made me realize that climbing became an important part of my identity. Therefore, those six weeks were not easy for me at all, but definitely learned me some big lessons. When I was finally allowed to climb again, I had to relearn how to climb, but this time with my shoulders in the right position. Learning new things is pretty amazing and I had not experienced this for a long time in climbing. It completely changed my perspective on the sport, which is really refreshing. Every training I can see the progress. I definitely found my motivation back. Climbing makes me feel super happy again and I do really appreciate being able to train at the moment.
No climbing, but trying to position my shoulders the right way
Last week the moment I have been waiting for finally arrived: my shoulders were good enough to go outdoors again. We spend 3 days in Fontainebleau. Such a relieve, being in nature again, looking for the beautiful lines. And the good lines we found. We only climbed things that felt really beautiful to me. Beautiful arretes, prows and other typical problems which can only be found in Fontainebleau. I was even able to finish Welcome to Tijuana, 7C (not typical Bleau-ish, but a really nice project anyway)! Although I am not back in shape, it's definitely heading the right way, much faster than I had expected.