CWIF has been a very erratic comp for me. In my first year (2013) I made it to semis in 16th and finished in 8th. At age 16 I was 2 places off a final in a senior competition.
In my second year I went in hoping and expecting to do something similar, or to at least make semi-finals. I didn’t, I slipped off 5 attempts over 3 problems and finished 22nd. At 17 I was 2 places off a semi-final place. Not quite what I’d hoped.
|Photo by Reindert Lenselink|
So this year, at 18 I had no idea what to expect, I wasn’t sure if I’d make semis; if I’d be happy with my climbing; if I’d even climb many of the qualifiers problems. I went in with an open mind and came out smiling.
I definitely couldn’t have done it without my team. Bigrigg were supportive and encouraging, and although they may have cost me some sleep before semis, they still drove me to isolation early Sunday morning and sat supporting me the whole day when they could have been out on the rock. Mike Mullins, my coach and owner of Bigrigg, was the reason I did so well in qualifiers, mostly because it felt so good to rub it in his face that I’d beat him on 2 problems even if he totally kicked my ass on the other 6 he did and I didn’t. He also gave me the confidence to do the problems and went first on all of them so I could know what to do and feel better about the challenge.
Although we didn’t stick as a team the whole time, we still climbed like one. I split off a couple times when the guys decided to start on the really hard ones before even seeing the easy ones and being the wimp I am, I decided to go easy. I watched the beast Tara Hayes crush a couple, and then a few of the foreign powerhouses in attendance, so I wasn’t short of beta, but I was alone and didn’t know them as well so I did fall off a couple as expected. I managed to do ones I didn’t expect to and nearly all those I did get I flashed.
At the start of the day I’d set myself a goal of getting 16 problems because last year I’d only topped 15 and it wasn’t enough. So when I flashed my 16th problem I was happy, I’d met my target and I was happy with my climbing bar 2 problems. To then go on and get a 17th and get 2 bonuses I didn’t expect to, meant I was more than happy with the day. I didn’t know if it was enough for semis and I didn’t want to get my hopes up so I focused more on the fact that I’d managed to beat Tom Greenall (junior team manager). Simple as it was I will be holding that over his head for as long as I know him.
Semis would have been great at this point but I was more than happy with a couple of problems that I’d flashed so I wasn’t too worried because I was leaving the Works with a smile on my face, even if my team wasn’t. They were well on their way to eating their feelings.
I left that day excited for dinner more than anything and when my fellow competitor Ajda messaged me to say that we had both qualified, I couldn’t believe it, and I made her double check. I was so happy and excited and nervous and just filled with emotion. For the second time this year I’d done well in a senior British and International comp. I went to dinner with the guys and then to the pub to watch them have a drink as I worried about semis. At the end of the night all I could think about was the next day, how would I do, would it be like the first year or would I totally choke. I would just have to wait.
I woke up nervous and all I could do was think about the Superbloc competition the previous month when I finished 6th. What had made me succeed? I realised it was because I didn’t care. So I did that. I stopped caring about how I looked, where I would rank, how I would climb and I just did it. I warmed up with Jen, Ajda and Flo and went out to climb. Felt pretty cool to be going out at the same time as junior European champ Baptiste Ometz, (not that he had noticed or knew who I was) but in that moment I thought to myself, I was up there, I was with the champs and this would be my year. I was going to top and get bonuses and climb my best and sure enough, I did ok…
|Photo by Dom Worrall|
First one was a slab just like last time, I looked at it and couldn’t see why it would be hard which sounds cocky but it was a rare sighting to see such big foot holds on a slab. I had no need to worry. I stepped on and walked my way to the top with a slight feeling of ‘oh crap’ as a felt how bad the final few holds were but when I made that last move and grabbed that last hold, I felt great. I jumped off and smiled my way to the bench to wait till problem 2.
The second climb (pictured) looked easier than it was and my eyes may have been bigger than my biceps. I fluffed the first move once and then continued to slip off the bonus several times. I stood at the bottom looking and thinking I should jump with two hands but for some reason I didn’t even try it. If I had I probably would have got that bonus which is what irritated me most.
The third problem went a little better, even though I fluffed the first move yet again. I managed to get the bonus and to get to the crux but by that point my biceps were burning from qualifiers and I didn’t have the energy to make the hard move which I thought was bad of me, but in retrospect not many others even got there nor made the move. The last one was a lot like 2 years ago in that I got nowhere on it. It was super sweaty and when I did finally figure out the beta I greased off the holds just before the hard bit was over even if it didn’t really ease up after that.
Overall I was happy, I finished in 11th, I moved up 7 places almost like 2 years ago, I was 4th out of the British girls, the top junior girl and a bonus attempt away from 10th. I like to think that last year was myoff year but I won’t know till the Euros come around. Next year I will make the jump. I hope.