First comp of 2013. Emotional roller coaster would be a massive understatement. I was really excited about competing again. I have watched so many comps over the past 8 months and started to get way too familiar with spectating. I felt very ready to get back on the wall and feel the buzz of competition climbing again. However this was not a smooth process and the CWIF qualifiers were far from great fun.
I have been back climbing now for about 3 weeks so at first it was touch and go whether I would be able to compete. Physically I was ready and fit. My finger had been feeling better and I was starting to feel good and move well on the wall again. After so long off not feeling like myself when climbing this was a massive step for me.
CWIF qualifiers took me by surprise, I hadn’t prepared for the qualifiers at all. I wasn’t ready to be climbing with so many people, hanging around waiting for problems and for that kind of pressure. I fell off lots, got frustrated and didn’t know how to make sense of what was going on in my head! I was aware that if I didn’t do something I wasn’t going to qualify so decided the best thing to do was just go climbing, take the pressure off and use the experience as training mentally more than physically. A big thanks to Dave Barrans who got me psyched to pull on some of the problems I would have otherwise totally ignored, gave me no sympathy but lots of motivation. I shook my way up a few moves and slowly started to feel more comfortable on the wall.
Credit: Mark Stringfellow
Credit: Mark Stringfellow
I qualified for semi finals in 4th place which I was happy considering my performance and I was really looking forward to the world cup format in semi finals. No more waiting around in a crowd of people just 5 minutes to climb, 5 minutes rest. This is the format I am familiar with and it feels like I have a lot of experience doing this style of competition. It allows me to focus on me and my climbing and nothing else. Which I guess seems kinda weird considering the crowd of people watching.
It felt quite unusual to be in isolation again the whole environment was very familiar yet I felt like a bit of an intruder. For a period of time I went from one competition to the next and everything became so routine. I didn’t have to think about what to eat or when to warm up. I didn’t take much notice of what others were doing because I was so confident in my own preparation. But this time things felt different. 8 months is a long time and I felt like i’d forgotten everything. I hadn’t thought about any of this being an issue. Luckily my instinct took over and everything went well but it did make me feel much more nervous and unprepared than usual.
Semi finals were exciting. Apart from being a bit hesitant when crimping with my injured finger, which was to be expected, everything went well. The problems were fun I had found my competition psyche and I completed all four boulder problems. Qualifying for finals in 3rd place.
After a 3 hour rest it was time for Finals. Warming up felt more natural in isolation and I was getting excited to see the boulder problems. I didn’t know what to expect coming into CWIF. 6 weeks off climbing totally, less than 3 weeks back into climbing and my first serious comp in 8 months. My finger was feeling really good and I was ready to go out and climb. Take each boulder problem one at a time and see what happened.
The final problems were lots of fun, well set and I was very happy with how I climbed. I flashed 3 problems as did Leah Crane which meant I won on count back. It was quite surreal. The whole competition had been such a test for me. Its hard to explain the psychological pressure, stress and exhaustion that come with competing. Climbing is definitely not all about the physical elements.
Credit: Alex Messenger
CWIF 2012 was a significant moment in my climbing and CWIF 2013 is no different. Thank you to the Climbing Works for putting on yet another amazing event.
In two weeks time I will be in China getting ready for the first round of the 2013 Bouldering World Cup circuit. It seems like so long since I last did a world cup yet its hard to believe how fast it has come around.