On the saturday it was the seniors and the IFSC juniors turn to climb, and it was fantastic to watch, and my psyche levels were at an all time high, after being on my feet all day it was time to head home and get some sleep for the following day, when it was my turn to climb.
I am now in the IFSC Youth A category, and i will be next year, which means i compete in the junior competition, which was definitely a good thing. We arrived early sunday morning to register, get our vests and numbers, then spend a while scoping at the problems while the boys climbed, the girls didn't climb until 1pm.
Eventually 1pm arrived and it was time to head out into qualification, which was a free for all. It's hard to time yourself properly, if you leave the hard ones until last, you are tired and everyone is trying them, but if you try the harder ones first you may be too nervous and make mistakes, it's a fine balance. I was working through the problems well and i got to 80 points without dropping a climb, that meant 8 flashes. I had two more climbs to go, hopefully two more flashes. The problem i tried next was a blue volumes problem, and i worked through the difficult sections and found myself locking up to the last hold and i think i let my head go, i didn't keep myself composed and fell off the last hold. What an idiot. But i put my scorecard straight back in as the que's for the last two problems were ridiculous, and to make matters worse they overlapped so you had to wait for one person to finish before the other climb could be attempted. Anyway, my turn on the blue problem arrived again and i mucked it up completely, i think it was a mixture of being tired, greasy holds and feeling irritated at having hardly any time left. But i put my scorecard in on the final problem i had left to try, and it didn't look that hard, i could have flashed it which would have meant 90 points but we ran out of time and many girls couldn't even attempt the two overlapping problems, i wasn't happy about it at all. But i blame myself for not flashing the blue and that would have meant i would have had time for the final problem, frustration wasn't the word. But 80 points meant i was qualifying into finals in 3rd place, with Molly Thompson Smith and Tara Hayes in joint first with 97 points.
On the blue volumes problem in qualifying
Photo by Mark Stringfellow
Finals arrived and i felt totally relaxed and composed, and the format was 3+ which meant you had 3 minutes to attempt a climb and if you started the climb before the 3 minutes ended you could continue, but it would be your last attempt. And it turns out 3 minutes is hardly any time at all. But we did get a viewing time of each problem, and they looked very cool. But i was out 6th, and it dragged on, listening as each girl before me failed to top out, a few even falling off the last hold, and as Gracie Martin climbed i put my shoes on and got myself ready for the climb, her time was up and it was my turn. Problem 1 was in a corner and started on a volume, i lay-backed the volume and got my foot high, reaching for a round volume, once i got here i chalked up, the final hold was so near and i was indecisive to whether i should just go for it now, but i ignored the braver side of myself and reached out to a volume which had another two round volumes on the corner of it, i found myself looking up at the last hold, i kept my foot low and just threw up to the hold which was triangular shaped and not the best of textures. but i clamped my legs around the volume and gave a very satisfying match. Molly was out next and also flashed the problem. After Molly was Tara, and i could hear the crowd screaming, then she fell, and that was it, no top out for Tara, which meant Molly was in first place and i was in second because Molly scored higher in qualifiers.
Final Problem 1, pondering whether to go for the last hold now, maybe not..
Photo by Alex Messenger
Eventually my turn on problem 2 arrived and i gave the problem one last look, starting an a weird wiggly volume, out to a big round volume, with a crimpy undercut bonus hold next to it, and then a no hands finish quite a way above the bonus hold, just some tape marking it, and looking back i feel such an idiot, a complete moron, the beta was obvious, somehow i just managed to keep getting myself into the wrong position and i didn't go for the right beta once, i should have mantled the volume and got the undercut, then slowly stood up for the finish, but no, i contorted myself all over the place, only managing the bonus hold, my dad was right, i could have easily have done that problem, but i guess thats the way of the comps. And no other girls topped that climb, which meant i kept my second place at the moment.
Problem 3 was ridiculous, not one girl got even the bonus, it was a horrible press off your right wrist and then you had to get your foot onto your right hand hold, which i almost did, but my hamstring kept cramping up beyond belief, which was very frustrating.
The final problem 4 arrived and it looked just my style, a weird undercut-volume start, to another pinchy volume, then out through the roof to two round volumes, the left one was the bonus, then a crimpy finish, i should have nailed this problem, but i guess i was tired and a bit stressed because none of the girls were topping anything. I just kept slapping at the volume and tried all sorts, double handed to one volume, going straight to the bonus, nothing worked, and i waited as Molly climbed this problem, she got the bonus and the crowd went insane, which meant she had won, that was it, but she didn't manage to top it, which drove me insane because i could have won if i had done that 2nd problem, but by no means does that mean i wasn't happy with 2nd place, i was extremely happy with second place! And i also got 1st place in the Youth A age category, even better!
So after months of very hard training, and the BBC's being my ultimate challenge, i was very happy coming home sunday evening able to say i was Britain's top female Youth A boulderer, and the second best female junior boulderer. The best day of my life so far.. until next year!