Tuesday 26 July 2016

European Youth Cup (Bouldering) L'Argentiere 2016

On Saturday I travelled down to London with my parents. I was dropped off at a Premier Inn near Gatwick Airport where I met Tom (GB bouldering team coach) and some other members of the team. We were flying the following day and needed to get up at 4! I shared a room with Sid and Holly. 

We got up at 4:30 and only just made it downstairs on time. The rest of the team were ready so we all walked to the bus stop and took a bus to the terminal. I checked my bag in and went to get some breakfast. Our plane was delayed by 20 mins but apart from that it was really good. We flew to Marseilles and then drove for 3 hours to L’Argentiere-la-Besse. Our house was massive, it had three floors and a hot tub (we didn’t get a chance to use it though). I shared a room at the bottom with Holly which had a balcony. After unpacking we drove into town and had some food in a restaurant. 

Everyone had a long lie in on Monday before getting up and doing some mobility and get ready for the competition. We did some TRX exercises which I found really helpful and I can use in my training. I also used a foam rolled and lacrosse ball to get rid of any tight muscles. I did a little bit of finger boarding too. Later in the day we went to a lake near the climbing wall. It was really nice and there was a cafe too. I had an ice cream and put my feet in the water.

Before going to see the wall we went shopping to get snacks for the competition. I didn’t bring my own food from home because they sold it in all the shops abroad last time and so I thought it would be the same this time but I was disappointed to find they don’t sell half the stuff I wanted. 

It was very hot at this time of the day so I found it quite nice standing outside reading my problems. The wall had a self standing bloc and a long row of walls. It was much smaller than I thought which made me feel a lot less nervous and really excited about the competition.

For dinner we helped to make a big bolognese and we ate it outside in the garden - I really enjoyed it.



It was an early start for us Youth B’s as our qualification round was first. The warm up area opened at 7:30 so we went down just before to read the blocs again. I felt a bit nervous but ok. I went straight into the warm up room at 7:30 and started my long warm up. I felt that it went well and I was ready to go. Here are descriptions of all the blocs.

Bloc Description Pictures
Qualifier 1 A balancey problem on the self standing bloc. It starts on the big sloper and then goes over to a small crimp on the tip of the volume. I locked off and reached up for another longer crimp which was easy to hold meaning I could stand up on the volume and edge over and bridge between a big and small volume. I couldn’t quite reach the top from this position so I started to get a bit stressed out. I knew I had to move my foot up but I was too nervous to do it as I didn’t want to fall off. Eventually when I was calm I moved my foot up and matched to top with ease. It made me look a bit stupid!
Qualifier 2 One of my favourite blocs because it had lots of crimps and was overhanging. It started on 2 crimps and then went over to a decent gaston I locked off and reached to the top of a volume and then flipped my hand to an undercut, this allowed me to get the next volume. From this position I dropped my left foot and threw my left hand to a side pull and my right hand again up to a volume. The last move I popped for, because it was a good jug. I matched it and jumped down.
Qualifier 3 I think this was the pink overhang. It had many big moves to small sloping crimps - my ideal climb! It started off with a big move to and good crimp followed by another big move to a small slopey hold. For the next move I stood on the black volume and jumped for the same slopey hold as i was already holding and then swapped feet before jumping to a sloper. The sloper was on a volume so it wasn’t so bad. I heeled my hand and went over to the final sloper which I then jumped off to get the finish!
Qualifier 4 I didn’t like this one. It had a massive sloper at the top and lots of people were falling off trying to get it. It starts off matching a good sloper which you lock off on and reach up to a sloping crimp. I then rolled into a mini jug and stood up over to a gaston crimp. I put my foot in the middle of the black volume and rocked over to the sloper. I didn’t quite get around it enough and almost slipped off but I managed to hold on. So I came back to the gaston and shook out quickly before having another go. This time I went a little bit quicker and managed to reach it and swap feet quickly to secure my balance. I reached up for the final hold which was a crimp on the side of a small volume. I got it with one hand a touched the other to it. I closed my eyes holding on really hard mainly so I wouldn’t have to climb that horrible climb again. I heard the judges call and I jumped down.
Qualifier 5 Pinches. This climb started on two crimps with a big cross over to a long pinch and then a quick move out to another pinch on the opposite side. I then bumped up my left hand and stepped though to a good foot hold. I then crimped the top right of the next hold and came into the middle with my left hand. And with my left hand again I jumped for the top jug and got it! It was one of the easier routes. 
Qualifier 6 This bloc was half balance and half strength. The start move you balanced three points on the yellow volume and one hand on the white sloper. I then straightened my arm and rolled over to the white crimp blocked by another hold, this allowed me to move my feet up and lean into the side pull underneath my left hand. Once I had this I jumped for the crimp on the volume trusting my route reading, and it paid off! I caught it with one hand and placed my foot onto the blue volume and matched my hands. I rocked up for the almost upside down gaston which was good before kicking my foot out and slowly pushing over for the top crimp. I matched it and jumped down.
Qualifier 7 This bloc looked really fun and is the one I am most proud of. The start was fine and it included a heel hook which I managed to stick which I was really pleased with as I hate them! Next was a long move to the flat sloper followed by a toe hook. I was really nervous about this because I had never done one before ever! I decided to try it because every single person who had been on it used it. I put my toe under the hold and pulled myself up to the ball and got it! I was very surprised! I crossed over and used everything I had to try and get the second top but I was powered out so I fell. I knew all I needed was a rest and to stick to my plan and completely go for it. No hesitation! I kept my card in and waited forever while it went round the other competitors watching them to find any extra tips. Finally it was my go. I chalked up and completely went for it! First heel was perfect and my toe hook worked really well! I went for the second top and got it! The last move I was loosing energy but I jumped and held the top hold. It was an easy match but a rubbish top hold because it was all slopey.
Qualifier 8 This was my least favourite out of the whole competition. I started off on two crimps and a rock over to the top of a volume with a small intermediate. Next you flick out to the crimp on the volume which is good. Up to here is reasonably easy. Then you have to either heel the volume and hold the barn door or use your outside opposites which involves twisting and lock offs. I went for the twisting way first because it felt easier. This almost worked but I didn’t quite get the bonus. I only got to have two more goes because there wasn’t enough time and everyone took forever on each go.

Altogether I thought the qualifying blocs were really fun and I enjoyed them. My ending score was 7 tops in 8 attempts and 7 bonuses. I was happy with this but I feel I need to work on my volumes a lot more. When the results finally came out (I kind of thought I was in anyway from talking the the top girls but) it was official that I had made finals! I was 5th place! That is 3 places better than last qualifying!

For the rest of the day Holly and I watched the rest of the qualifiers. Here is a link to the results:




Another early start but not quite as early as the day before. I was there as soon as warm up area / isolation opened and Ellie (GB senior lead team coach) came in with me and helped my warm up. It was weird in isolation because there was only 8 of us whereas yesterday there was over 30. Ellie made me some good blocs to do and I felt ready to go! 

Soon I was called out and I followed the official over to the back of the climbing wall. I sat down on the chair facing away from the wall. 5 minutes until my final started.

Bloc Description Pictures
Final 1 Was on the same wall as my first qualifier and was again a balencey climb. I stated matching the blue and then went to the volume which had a hold on the corner. I held the hold and heeled the blue starting hold. I shuffled my hands up to the top of the volume and put my foot on the hold. I then pushed up for the Bonus (a square brick slopy side up) and my foot poped off. I was so disappointed as I knew I would have finished it if I had got that hold. My next go was better and when I went for the bonus my foot stuck. I matched it and rocked over pushing the bonus behind me, I was then just standing knowing that I was going to have to step down onto the starting hold and then ping up for the top hold. The top hold was a massive sloper of a volume so easy to catch. I was nervous about the jump as I wanted it so badly. I messed around with my feet and then went for it. I stepped down wards onto the start hold and launched for the top sloper. I got it and it looked quite smooth as well. You can see the top move of this climb if you look carefully on the video of the competition. You can find the link of my Facebook page.
Final 2 This was a dyno problem. I started on the volume which had a nice crimp on it. I pulled over and got a hand on the flat crimp which was on a sloping black volume and then matched it putting my hand on the crimp below. From this position I jumped for the decent crimp on a triangular volume. I got nowhere near it. On my next go I almost got it. Its a shame I didn’t get my third go on video because I got the hold with one hand and face planted the floor because the swing was too big. After this go I had enough knowledge to get it. I threw double handed for it and held it. The top was my style, I leant away from the side pull volume and reached over to the big round sloper that I matched carefully!
Final 3 The easiest climb. It was almost all volumes. It started as a short move to an undercut volume. I then matched it and went up to a pinch volume, I stepped through and stood on the long flat box and went out to the triangular volume which had two holds on it. I matched it and got the second last hold, I guppied/undercut it and jumped for the the top volume. It was very good and I matched it. 
Final 4 I didn’t do very well on this boulder. It was going between volumes with rubbish crimps. I started on two crimps then moved over to a volume with I guppied and then tried to match into the crimp underneath but it was too hard. Over my next 6 go’s I got closer and closer to the bonus which was the move after the match. You come into the match then flick out to the bonus. On my 7th attempt I finally held the bonus. I tried to rock over onto the volumes to a tiny screw on hold but I didn’t quite make it. I was really disappointed and I need to do a lot more work on volumes.

After the competition I chatted to Ellie and Tom about the competition and how they thought I did. I waited for the results with Michelle and when they finally came out I was 5th. I was a bit disappointed because it came down to attempts between me and 4th. But 5th is one place better than my last EYC.

Over I really enjoyed the competition and I want to say a big thank you to all the coaches and team GB for all their support throughout the competition. 

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