Millau – France – Bouldering World Cup
There was just one weekend between the first two World cups. It was Easter weekend filled with some quality family time, training, a little interview on Radio Four and maybe a few Easter treats too.
Millau seemed to creep up on me. The world cup season last year was like one constant epic journey, everything went by so fast it seemed hard to keep a grasp on reality. It’s easy to get lost in a world of flights, trains, changing time zones, different languages and new surroundings. I have a feeling this year will be no different.
The journey to Millau was not so fun. We were up at 5.30 to get the train from Sheffield to London, then we flew to Montpellier and then drove to Millau. However, it was quite nice to arrive tired and ready for bed as girls were climbing first and isolation closed at 8AM! I still haven’t got used to climbing third in qualifiers. It’s quite scary. Qualifiers went okay. I had a little issue with a big scary move on problem 4 and stupidly backed out and I also made a few silly mistakes but I was happy with my climbing and even happier with my attitude which had been an issue for me in China. Luckily my mistakes didn’t cost me too much and I came 6th.
Photos David Barrans
Nerves. I don’t understand them. This semi final was possibly the most nervous I have ever been in a world cup. The sickly butterflies feeling that I have never understood now makes so much sense. I have never really had issues with nerves so I don’t really know what to do with them but I guess I was about to go out and compete regardless so all I needed to do was what I know, go climbing.
As I have said before and many others will too, climbing is not all physical. Having the ability to do 1-5-9 won’t get you to the top of a world cup boulder nor will being the most confident person out there. There is a complex mix of components that can effect a performance. Every time I compete I find new strengths and weaknesses and learn more and more about the complexities of these components.
In China my head let me down. I didn’t try hard. I have come to realise it isn’t always easy to try hard. It takes practice. But it is possible to practice and it feels so good when it all comes together. Which is exactly what happened in Millau on problem 3 in semi finals. After falling once on a hard press move I pulled on again knowing what I needed to do but unsure if I could make the move. I had to fight pretty hard. I found what had been missing from my climbing for so long. I put everything into the boulder that I could and found myself at the top.
Photos David Barrans
I qualified for finals in second place. I was very happy with my climbing and really excited by how hard I had pushed myself. Unfortunately when you push yourself something usually gives and my back was quite sore from all the twisting and jumping. But I was happy and psyched for finals.
Observation of the final boulder problems left me feeling a little worried. The first boulder was a run and jump. My WORST nightmare. It’s not that I am bad at them but I really dislike them! It’s easy to think that something you don’t like is a weakness when that isn’t necessarily true. I had to over come this in front of a crowd of people and thousands watching online. It was frustrating, funny, terrifying, awkward, embarrassing, rewarding and actually kinda fun. I failed at the run and jump 7 times. I wasn’t even close to holding the holds. On my eighth attempt I decided to actually look where my hands were going, not just concentrate on my feet. It worked somehow. Finally!
The finals got better and better. I topped the second problem second try after a silly mistake and flashed the third. The last boulder looked fun but hard. When it came to my turn to climb it seemed only Anna had topped it. Which meant if I did to I could place second. After missing the awkward dyno a few times I got to to the top. I was happy with the performance I gave and excited to see the results. After getting my things together I wandered round to the front of the boulders only at this point did I look at the score board. I had 4 tops in 14 and Anna had 4 tops in 13. I had NO idea it was so close. This brought a great smile to my face. To come second to Anna is never a disappointment. She is simply incredible and a massive inspiration to me. To be that close behind was awesome! After a comp of battles and overcoming barriers I could not be more pleased with my result.
Photos Jen Randall
Millau was a really fun trip. We had a team of nine competitors 5 girls and 4 guys. Victoria, John Partridge’s girlfriend also travelled with us. A big thanks to her for taking the role of Mum and always knowing where we should be and when! It really did feel like we were a team! Congratulations to Leah and Mina who both made semi finals! Leah put in an awesome performance and just missed out on finals! I think it’s going to be a fun season!
We had fun! Bring on the next one!