Sunday 29 June 2014

British Final of Youth Climbing Series 2014

My mum got me a pair of lucky pink shorts, a lucky pink hat and a lucky pink buff. I put these on to give me luck for the competition.

We had hash-browns for breakfast in the Premier Inn and we drove down to the centre to bagsie some seats before a load more people turned up. On our way into the centre we parked  near my coach Simon's van and saw him going into the centre. We carried in the box of Welsh team hoodies that some of the team hadn't picked up. When we got into the centre we registered and got a red t-shirt which clashed with our lucky pink stuff. We checked our routes to make sure they hadn't changed - Oscar's had changed so I helped him read the new route.

Boulders competitors met on the balcony in Ratho and Simon said to be that the year Rhos won she had a green route on the competition wall on the right hand side - the same as my final route. This gave me confidence for the competition.

Oscar and I decided to start warming up ready for when they called us to sit down on the mat. After our warm up they went through the rules and relevant stuff with us. The GB team led a group warm up and then we started the competition.

First of all I did route 1 - I was 8th in line to do it. Oscar was bouldering opposite me so my parents wouldn't miss either of us climbing. Route 1 looked easy and when it was my turn I managed to top it.

I thought next we were doing our pink route on the Sardinian Pillar. We waited until eventually someone came up to me until someone rushed me over to my first bouldering problem as no one had told me we had changed to do that. I was really nervous because I wasn't prepared to do this next but I had to put my shoes on a chalk up quickly because I had to climb immediately. I had a two second route read and off I went. I topped this problem but I didn't feel like I was prepared. I was glad I got that over with and was definitely going to be more prepared for the next climb.

Next I had my second bouldering problem. It was an orange which went upside down. I was really looking forward to this problem - it looked really fun. It made me feel relaxed like I wasn't competing. I was 5th this time so I started getting ready when the first person start because I thought the attempt would go quickly as this was a hard problem. I had read this route lots of times because the roof bit was very close to the floor and one touch of the floor with any part of my body would be the end of my attempt. I really wanted to flash this route so I tried my best. On the roof part of this climb, to get any of the moves statically without cutting loose, I had to move my legs around the wall so I was almost facing the wrong way so that could get the holds in a good position. I managed to do the main roof part and got to the first jug on the flat wall. I put my heel on and my toe and rocked over to get to the next two mini jugs. I knew once I had got these that rest of the route would be easy. I managed to get the next hold and put my foot on a snake shaped feature to reach the second top and the top hold. I matched the top and was really happy to complete the problem.

I asked my chaperone if we could have a break for lunch and she said yes. So we had some food - hooray. After lunch I waited an hour and a half for the boys to finish the pink route on the Sardinian Pillar so we could have our turn. The pink route looked really fun and we were allowed to use all features for hands and feet otherwise everyone would crash and burn in the same place! I then found out that I was 16th out of 17 people which meant it took an extra 40 minutes before my turn. While we were waiting I was able to help Oscar do his third route which was the yellow on the speed wall. He did really well on this and equaled the best in his group. Eventually it was my turn to climb. I managed to do the route up until the feature with the hole in it pretty easily. I then grabbed the feature and pulled up to the lip feature above it. This was the best feature I have ever held in my life and I managed to move off it to the next jug. I clipped off this jug because it was good and then matched the double undercut/jug. There was another undercut/jug which I moved off to the small jug just over the lip of the top of the sardinian pillar. I was pleased to get this but couldn't see the next hold. I put my foot up and tilted my head around the other side to see another jug. I didn't take my eyes off that spot and pushed off the foothold cutting loose at the same time only just grabbing the side pull. My heart was beating fast after this move because I had almost come off the climb. I put my feet back on and shoved them in a hold so they wouldn't come off again. I used my heel and rocked over to the jug on the last horizontal part of the climb. Once I had got this hold I knew I could top it from here and I had already made the mistake so I didn't have to make it again. I clipped from the next hold and manged to top the climb. I was relieved to have done the climb because I wasn't expecting to after cutting loose and nearly falling off.

Group X had completed bouldering problems and they went on to the green route which was the last one. This meant we had to do the last bouldering problem. The last bouldering problem looked hard so I had to read it a lot of times before doing it. I was really disappointed to be 13th in line to do this climb but I expected it to go fast because it was much harder than the other bouldering problems. When it was my turn I was allowed to feel all the holds I could reach as long I didn't jump off the floor so I felt as many as I could. I started the climb by going to the wrong hold first so I went back to the start without touching the floor and then moved to the right hold. Once I had got this hold I quickly moved to the next hold getting it in the exact place I did last time. The next hold was a jug - I knew this because I had seen how everyone else held it. I got the jug. The next holds were crimps - the bottom one was ok but the top one was bad. I got the bottom one ok and I moved statically to the top one making sure I had a thumb wrapped around the knob at the side of the hold. I got this securely and jumped for the final hold. I manged to stick it and matched it on my first attempt. I was really pleased, but now really nervous about my last climb because if I completed it I knew I would have topped everything and would definitely be first unless there was a super final.

We waited for a while and I was 10th in line to do my last climb. I watched everyone really carefully and did a route read about 50 times. Finally it was my time to climb - I almost cried at the start because I was so nervous. Once I got on I manged to get to the peach volume with no problems. It got slightly harder then because it got to the more overhanging part of the wall, but this didn't stop me getting further. I managed to get to the red volume four holds from the top. I put my foot high and rocked over to get the next hold and quickly moved on as this hold wasn't very good. I didn't know whether to clip from hold or move to the top - I had to make a choice fast so I went to the top hold and clipped from there topping the route. I was really pleased when I came down because I was definitely winning.

Now I just had to wait for the other competitors to finish before I knew if I had won or whether there was going to be a super final. I had to wait a while but eventually Pippa managed to top all the routes as well so she was in a super final with me.

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