Competitions. What a world of trying hard, excitement, confidence, slips, mistakes, triumph and disappointment. Those are the feelings I associate with competitions; some good ones and some bad ones. Being a consistently good bouldering competitor is quite a challenge, given the nature of the sport. It is so multifaceted in it’s execution, there are so many variables. One has to be good at a lot of things or hope that the competition plays to one’s strengths. That is the essence of a consistently good competitor: skilled all round, not having to hope that the blocs suit them.

I feel like I’m getting there. In previous years I have needed the blocs to suit me, my performance has varied massively depending on how burly or steep the problems were or whether there were lovely crimp ladders that felt like gifts. I have really upped my training levels recently and it is definitely paying off. It is so hard to know how much to do, treading the line between injury and success is a tricky business. I feel like right now, I am confident on that tight-rope of a walk; I train hard but I also look after myself. I may do ten climbing-based sessions a week with cardio and core added in around them but I also see an amazing chiropractor (Matt Pigden) regularly, get nutrition advice through the GB team from Rebecca Dent, and I always get a good night’s sleep. All work and no play, except work is basically play…

In the last couple of weeks I have done two big competitions: RocFest and the GB Team Trials. Both went really well – I came 2nd at the RocFest (Alex Puccio came 1st) and I came 1st in the GB Team Trials. These were both big achievements for me, I do not have a history of winning competitions or even coming second. More importantly I have shown some consistency and that makes me feel confident not only about my future performance but also about the training I am doing. I am no longer put off when there is a burly problem, I no longer shy away from a dyno. I look at problems and think  “I can climb that” rather than “oh god…”. For those of you that know me or compete yourselves, you will realise that that is a huge psychological step in itself.

So, next stop the Biscuit Factory comp on the 23rd Feb, then CWIF on the 2nd/3rd March…then the World Cups start…..

Thanks to everyone for your support: Rock Over Climbing and ArchClimbing for putting on great events, Matt Pigden for keeping me in one piece, Rebecca Dent for her unwavering nutritional support and encouragement, Tom Sugden for his managerial skills, UpRaw for keeping my hunger at bay and mostly David for a) all the training help and b) putting up with me! 😉

Here are some piccies:

Team Trials, Photo Matt Ralph

 Team Trials, Photo Matt Ralph

Team Trials, Photo Matt Ralph

  Team Trials, Photo Matt Ralph

Team Trials, Photo Matt Ralph

  Team Trials, Photo Matt Ralph

Team Trials, Photo Matt Ralph

 Team Trials, Photo Matt Ralph

Rocfest, Photo Ismail Aya

Rocfest, Photo Ismail Aya

Rocfest, Photo Ismail Aya Rocfest, Photo Ismail Aya