Saturday 18 June 2016

European Youth Cup (Bouldering) Graz 2016

Travel and Friday

Last weekend was my first ever bouldering EYC, held in Graz, Austria. I flew out to Austria with the GB team on Thursday. It was a very small team going to this competition, only 4 competitors. Holly, Martha, Silvia and me. Our two chaperones/coaches were Tom and Michelle. We arrived at Vienna airport in the afternoon and then got our hire car and drove straight to Graz.

On Friday I got up late and after breakfast we drove to The Bloc House wall (the wall where the competition was going to be held) to see how long it would take to get there for Saturday. Then we parked in Graz’s city centre and had a walk around.

Next we went to Graz’s old town which had a big clock tower on the top of a large hill. It had a lot of steps! It was very hot and tiring walking to the top, but the view was amazing! You can see the art gallery or university from up there and it looked like a massive bunch of water bottles, as you can see from the photo. If you look closely at the picture on the ground  you can see the stairs leading up to the clock tower. 

We carried on walking up, and got to a little shop near the very top, where we had Ice cream before finishing the walk to the very to of Graz! The view from there was the best. It also had a metal plate with markings showing which direction different cities were. London was on it, but not Cardiff.

You had to pay to take the lift back down to the bottom so we walked and got the car. After dinner we did some mobility stuff ready for Saturday. 

The Competition

In the bouldering team they have a system at these comps. Everyone competing gets a buddy. The buddy follows them around, carries there stuff, talks to them and gives them tips of how to do the climbs. My buddy was Silvia.

I felt my warm up was good and was ready for the blocs. We had 5 attempts on each bloc and 2 hours to complete as many as possible. Here is how they went:

Bloc Description Pictures
Qual. 1 This was the second bloc I tried and it was the easiest of the 8. I wanted a top so I decided to get this one done. The start was fine and all of the holds were crimps on big volumes. I topped it easily and I enjoyed it.
Qual. 2 This climb was a roof. I got on it quick because there wasn't a big queue. The start was a volume and an under cut. I went over to the jug matched and then out to the crimp on the volume before moving my feet in close and going across to a mini jug. The last move was the hardest as the hold was shiny not grippy. I jumped right over it and pinched the top part so I couldn't swing off. I then matched.
Qual. 3 My third choice was this one as it looked top-able and really fun. It was a slab with a big volume at the start. I was most looking forward to the last move to see if I could stand on the tiny foot hold. When I pulled on and stood up for the first hold I got it pretty easily. The next move was to a two pinches. They weren't as good as I'd hoped but I managed to step my feet across and pull over to the big blue hold, it was so nice! And for the final move I stood on the tiny foot hold and popped up for the top jug. I held it and was very pleased with myself!
Qual. 4 My fifth bloc was the salmon. It had a lot of big holds which looked slopy and difficult to hold. I thought the top part would be the easiest but it was the other way around. I found the start moves easy but struggled a little on a rock over to the bonus. The next hold was a crimp which would have been really good if it hadn't of been turned slopy side up. It was horrible. Eventually I worked out that I just had to pull hard on it and got for the top. Once I did that I topped it.
Qual. 5 This was my first choice of bloc to try. On my first attempt I was shaky and managed to shake my way to the last move almost falling a few times before I got there. I stood on a slippy foot hold and pushed up for the top hold where I almost had it but slipped off. This put me in a bad pace of mind but I put my card straight back in. There was a 15min wait before my next go as a lot of people thought this climb was ok! I had composed my self by this time as was ready to finish it and move on. I was a little less shaky this time and my feet didn't slip around as much as my first go. I got to the last most again and this went low and rocked up slowly for it. I crimped the good bit and quickly matched.
Qual. 6 I left this problem until last as it was a run and jump. My worst nightmare! I was in a good state of mind at this point though as I had topped 6, 4 of which were a flash. I put my card in, pulled on and ran across the volumes turning the wrong way and spinning off! For once I just laughed at how rubbish I must have looked. Silvia gave me some tips and I had another go. This time I almost caught the aret and I knew how to do it, all I needed was to catch it slightly higher up. There was only one person in front of me as again nobody wanted to do this climb. For this attempted I kicked my leg back and bounced across the volumes and hit the aret with a straight arm tensing everything to hold the swing. I was so surprised that it actually worked! I managed to hold it. But this was only the bonus, I still had the big roll over to complete before I could be un-focus. I stood up on the foot hold and fell over into the finishing jug. I was so psyched!
Qual. 7 This climb took me 3 attempts. On my first go I got passed the bonus and threw out for the second sloper and couldn't hold the swing. The waits in between go's were so long but I just watched everyone and worked out what to do next. My second attempt was roughly the same. I got to the same place again but tried a few different feet but none felt good so I went my original way and fell again! Between my second and third attempted was the longest wait but I learned a vital tip from it, and with out it I wouldn't have topped the boulder. All I had to do was soap my feet around so I was off balance for a bit but could hold the swing between the slopers. I knew I could top it this go. I pulled on and climbed it as soothly as carefully as I could so I didn't mess up before I could try out the new beta. I got to the sloper and with out hesitation I put my left foot into the pocket and went for it! I got it easily! This annoyed me a lot but showed me that my route reading needs improving. I was also very excited, I managed to keep calm and put a foot up for the last move. I pushed up and got it! I was so excited!
Qual. 8 This was the hardest bloc and the only one I didn't top out of the 8 qualifiers. It was completely my style so I was disappointed not to top it. I had attempts at different times of the day. I had my first 3 go's in a row and then the last 2 later. On my first go I missed the bonus because I didn't catch the right part of the hold. On my second and third attempt I got to the same place, the second last move. It was so big and my arms could only just touch the hold. I then had to transfer my weight from one side to the other. I needed more shoulder strength for this. I tried a few ways but none worked. On my last go there was only a few mins left so I spent as much time brushing as I could to run the time down a bit so there wouldn't be time for many others to go. It was a bit mean of me but it was a good tactic. I messed up this go really bad. As I was jumping for the hold I fell of on, on my first go my foot slipped off the foot hold and I didn't have any power to get me to the hold so I ended up on the floor. I spent so much time brushing too! I was angry for a little bit until I realised that I did well on all the rest of the blocs and there was a small chance I could get into finals.

I packed my bags up and when the time ran out we went outside for lunch. As I was eating I saw people standing by the results and so I ran over to see if I was in. And I saw my name in 8th! The last placed finalist again! I was so excited! My Dad was watching the results on his phone and he got them before me! Holly and Martha also did really well finishing 22nd and 38th.

After I finished talking I went through the time table with Michelle and I had 4 hours to wait before finals because youth B make and youth A and Junior female still had to compete in their qualifiers.

Silvia was in A so we watched her qualifying. She had some of the same blocs so she already had good beta. She climbed really well finishing 16th.

By this time I had to go into isolation. Tom came in with me. And I was in there for an hour! The food in isolation wasn't as good as Imst because this time they only had fruit no celebrations!

There were 4 blocs in the final. You had 5 mins to do one then 5 mins rest. There were also bonuses to get. The finals went very quick, here is how I got on:

Bloc Description
Final 1 My first move was a dyno which I managed to get on my second go. Then next was to a small crimp (the bonus) I held it but it was very sloppy and so I jumped for the next hold but couldn't hold the swing. On this attempt I did the dyno and found a good bit on the crimp. This then made it easy to do the next move. It was to a sloping hold with a nice edge on it, I matched it then went to the final hold. This hold was a big sloper but easy to match with my foot up high. I was so happy to top it!
Final 2 My second bloc was a slab and it looked doable. On my first attempt I got onto the volumes and fell off trying to put my foot up. This was really annoying but I got back on and managed to put my foot up slowly. The next holds were OK and I had to switch my weight from one hand to the other so I could reach further. This part wasn't as hard and it was really fun. The last few moves had lots of feet and good holds. I remember smiling as I matched the top hold!
Final 3 This bloc looked completely my style and I was very excited for it. It had positive holds but it was overhanging which made them not so good. I pulled on and did the first move wrong handed this then messed up the next part and so I fell off. In total I had 5 attempts which was way too many as I was so pumped. On attempts 2, 3 and 4 I kept missing the bonus because I was pumped. On my last go I had a longer rest and did all the moves right  getting the sequence correct before grabbing the bonus. This was great. I knew the next move would be very difficult as getting the bonus took all my strength. I was also aware that time was running out and  I needed to speed up a little. I put my foot up and went for the second top hold. I didn't get far enough and fell.
Final 4 My last problem. It was again my style but looked like the hardest bloc. The first few moves were ok up until the big move to the volume. I went for it and held the swing well. This is the bit I am so happy about, I think I was the only person to get the bonus first attempt! After holding another swing when catching the bonus I was getting pumped. I now know that  I should have used the under cut I originally planned to used but made a quick decision (which properly lost me the top) to go for the second to top hold which I didn't get. This out of all my goes was the best. I think the previous boulder tired me out.

Overall I was pleased with my performance but I made some mistakes that could have boosted my final position by a lot. On the results it showed that my final position was 6th. I was happy but felt annoyed that I didn't top the last two blocs as I knew I was capable of doing them. I let the pressure and time force me into mistakes. Next time I will be more comfortable so should climb to my full potential.

Thanks to Tom and Michelle for coaching and taking us to Graz. Also thanks to Silvia because you helped me a lot going around in qualifiers. I had an amazing first bouldering EYC.

Saturday 11 June 2016

Junior British Bouldering Championships (JBBC) 2016

After school on Friday my mum and I drove up to Manchester for the Junior British Boulder Championships 2016 which was being held in the depot. We stayed in a Premier Inn ready for the comp on Saturday. On the way up we realised my Dad had forgotten to register me. But we called Rob and he said we could register on the day.

It was an early start on Saturday. I wanted to be there early so we could register quick and look at the blocs.

I had a Premier Inn breakfast and got to the centre for 7:45. There was already a small queue at the door because the doors weren't open until 8. We shouldn't have arrived so early.

Eventually the doors opened and we went in to register with the wall and the competition. We were due to start climbing at 9 so I started warming up straight away.

The blocs looked really fun and do-able so I felt confident. The last two Boulder comps I have lost to count back so my goal for this comp is to not loose to count back! This means pressures on qualifiers.

The comp was running late so they decided to start it at 9:15 instead of 9:00. After briefing I topped up my warm up and went to the easiest bloc. Here are the qualifiers and how I did them. (Not sure if the numbers correspond to the right bloc though)

Bloc Description
Qual. 1 In my opinion the hardest bloc and I left it until last. Nobody topped it and the furthest I got was touching the bonus. It had a big first move and then another big move to the arrĂȘt. I am not sure about how the top was meant to be done but the last two holds were blocked!
Qual. 2 This problem was the most overhanging of all the blocs. It looked my style and I was looking forward to it. All the holds looked good and easy to catch. Again I watched a few people first before getting on. The first move was to a good hold, the I jumped to a side pull and held it. The next move was the same and the next hold was a core pinch which was better than it looked. The last two moves were easy and it gave me a lot of confidence topping it.
Qual. 3 I hadn't seen anyone top this bloc. A lot kept missing the top hold. I had a go and the first part was the hardest for me because my foot felt unstable. But I managed to go slowly and keep my balance. The next moves were to an undercut and then to another undercut. The last undercut was a screw-on foot hold and wasn't that good. For the last move I rocked over and popped for the last hold and I held it. I was surprised, I don't usually do well with slabs!
Qual. 4 I didn't watch many people on this, but all I needed to see was someone try the first move. I decided to not use the starting foot hold because it seemed to be stopping people doing the next move. So I did a pull up and chucked my hand out to it. It was decent and I matched it. The next two holds were spaced out and of similar shape. They were slopey holds but good enough. It wasn't as hard as I had expected. I topped it.
Qual. 5 This was just impossible and was one of the problems that if you were taller it was easier. I only heard of one person getting the bonus. I had three attempts but couldn't do get the bonus.
Qual. 6 Definitely the easiest bloc for me. It was the first one I did. I saw many people top it before me. I was confident for it. It took me a bit longer to get the first hold but then the rest was easy.
Qual. 7 A lot of people topped this but lots of people didn't. The starting volume wasn't very good but I moved off it quickly onto a jug. I then rocked over to the bonus (a screw-on foot hold) and stood on the volume. I got ready for the jump and wobbled almost falling but saving it just! I got ready then jumped for the two big volcano shaped holds. They were good and I got the jump just right! I was surprised again because jumps aren't usually my thing. For the last move I put my foot high and pushed up for the top. I got it!
Qual. 8 This was my nightmare climb. First go I completely missed the first move. The second time I got close but fell again. And the last time I went very slow rocking over and I grabbed it. It felt very good because I knew the top was my style. I jumped for the bonus and then to the next hold which was a nice crimp. And finally I grabbed the last hold and went again for the got the finish.

I was happy with my qualifying performance and I got first place meaning I was in the final! And I had completed my goal of not loosing to count back! The last two rounds I lost to count back.

Finals was at 1:00 and Kitty and Holly kindly came to get me because I didn't know we had to be in isolation.

We were only in isolation for 30 mins before we went out for observation. The blocs looked really fun. We had one really hard one and two OK ones.

Bloc Description Picture
Final 1 This looked the hardest but really fun as it was a massive overhang with lots of pockets. When I went out I was nervous but excited. I pulled on and found that the holds were a lot worse than I thought. But I went slow and tried to get each one perfect. I got to the hold on the volume and couldn't move off it. I tried jumping and a weird heel hook thing but I couldn't get it. I was disappointed I didn't even get the bonus but ready for the slab.
Final 2 The Slab. I was really excited about. I am not that strong with slabs but that day they seemed easier. I pulled in for my first go and slowly found the right part of the volume to stand up on. I got the big sloper and felt around for the right bit. I reached out for the bonus and got it. I then went back to the sloper though, because I needed to put my foot over first. I then tried a stupid method of holding the volume which resulted in me back on the mats. I went straight back on and topped it easy using the splits move. Again a little disappointed.
Final 3 Finally, the easiest problem. I knew I could flash it and that I was strong enough. But I was still nervous. I pulled on and did the first few moves easy and was just going over the roof when my foot slipped off making me fall and ruin my flash. I was so annoyed but forced myself to have a quick breather. I got back on and was determined not to slip. I found the Boulder ok and did it easily compared to my first attempt.

Overall the comp was really fun and the best part was definitely the final blocs. They were amazing!

Thanks to the BMC team for a great comp.