After school on Thursday my brother, parents and I traveled up to Edinburgh, Scotland for the BMC youth climbing series final 2015. Me and my brother had previously qualified for the final a month ago at the Beacon climbing centre in North Wales.
It was a long drive to Edinburgh and we were going at a good speed until our car went into limp mode for the last 2hrs. We arrived at 1:00am so we went straight to sleep.
I woke up late and had breakfast at McDonald’s as it was too late to eat in the hotel. My family and I then went to EICA Ratho (the centre where the comp would be held) for a light session before the comp. It wasn’t a very light session because I ended up trying an 8a I got half way up. When I dropped the rope I fell and it got tangled around my leg which spun me around. I expected it to hurt but it didn’t which was good. We went into Edinburgh for lunch and to do a bit of shopping. When we were shopping for hats we found Chris Hoy’s golden post box. This is the second one I have found on my travels.
I woke up early and got ready. We were planning on eating in the hotel but it was too busy so we went to McDonalds instead.
We went to the centre and registered, the t-shirts this year were yellow and looked nice. I was excited so I went straight to look at my routes. Because the standard of last years competitors was so high all the routes and boulders were set a lot harder.
Each category was split into two groups X and Y I was in X, this meant I had a different timetable to group Y.
At 10:00 the competition started and I started my first boulder problem. I was really nervous for the first time. When I got to the long move I shook my head and gave up without thinking. This made me really upset so I went off until it was my next turn. I managed to complete the problem on my second attempted but I was annoyed that I had given up on my first go.
Next we had the second boulder. This boulder was really difficult and reachy. I was up first and I fell off the first move because I went the wrong way. I got annoyed and sad and went off crying to my coach Simon. He made me feel better and I followed the sequence on my second go. I got to the fourth top hold. On my third go I messed up the start and didn’t get any further. I thought I was doing badly in the competition.
There was a long break before the first route. I moped around the centre feeling sorry for myself until it was time for me to climb. The route was easy and I managed to top it. I felt a bit better because not everyone managed to top it.
There was another long wait until my third bouldering problem. On my third boulder I was nervous because everyone before me had fallen off. I started the problem well and managed to hold each hold slowly so that I wouldn’t come off. There were lots of features which made the problem a lot easier and most of the holds were pretty good. The hardest move was the top, but I went for it and got the top jug. I was very pleased and it made me happier.
There was yet another long wait before route 3 (the hardest) which group X had to climb next. I spent the time reading the route and making sure that I was warm. When it was my go I climbed the first part really well and managed to get to the undercut on the second grey panel. But I made a mess of the next move and didn’t quite get it. I was annoyed after this and thought my climbing was awful. Even though I was disappointed with my hardest climb I still got the highest out of my group.
After I had recovered from my disappointment I focused on the route 2. I watched group Y climb this route and they did well so I knew I had to top it to win the competition. I read it really well and knew exactly what to do. When it was my turn, I felt a bit nervous but not as much as I did earlier on the bouldering problems. The start of the climb and just over the roof was easy and pretty much everyone got to that place. The next two clips I did were harder. I came to a big move and didn’t know what to do. I saw a really good crimp feature but I didn’t use it because I didn’t think we were allowed to use features for hands. So I decided to jump for the sloper and got it fairly easily which I was surprised at because I don’t usually jump for holds. The next bit wasn’t too bad because all the holds were good and there were good clipping positions. But when I came to the crimp section I was a bit pumped so I shook out. I love crimps so this section of the climb was pretty easy. When I got passed all the crimps I clipped the chain from the third top hold still on the flat wall so I could safely top it before doing the last two moved anyway. I don’t feel it is a proper top unless you do all the moves.
I felt awesome and relieved and knew that I had won unless someone in group Y did really well on route 3. I watched the other climbers excitedly but I still got the high point.
I was pleased that I had won for the third year running and I thought the competition was run really well. It was very good that the problems and routes were much harder this year.
I have learnt to not beat myself up after every small mistake. So, hopefully, in the European colours festival I will be better at this.
Thanks to my coach Simon for helping me out mentally in the competition and it was largely thanks to him that Wales came second overall as he coaches the whole of the Boulders team and a lot of the welsh team were from Boulders.
We went back to Ratho on Sunday and I was climbing much better than I was on Saturday. I got to the third top hold on route 3 and topped some of the other category’s climbs.