The first round of the YCS for South Wales this year was held in Dynamic Rock, this centre is only 45 minutes away from my house so we didn’t need to stay in a hotel. Like a normal competition we got up early and had a McDonald’s breakfast before heading over to the centre. I wasn’t allowed to compete as any competitors who are in the GB team and are in category B or above aren’t either. So I was asked to demo the routes for this years Youth Climbing Series. I was nervous but excited for this.
My little Brother Oscar is in Category D so he is still competing. He had been training very hard and I had a strong feeling he could win.
When we arrived at dynamic rock I dumped my kit in a cupboard and had a look at the routes. I felt weird not needing to guess which routes were mine. They all were! Although actually, I wasn’t the only person demoing. Richard my fellow team mate from Boulders Academy was also coming, along with Cai my other team mate – but he didn’t come until later.
So as the usual first round of the YCS goes, everyone had a briefing and got split into girls and boys and then further into the age categories. Boys bouldered first and girls lead/top roped. We only demoed the routes because that is what happened last year at the grand final.
I warmed up with Oscar knowing that my routes would start easy as the first routes for each category are always the easiest. My first route was a pink. It looked good for a first climb. I wasn’t very nervous for this particular route as I felt confident I could top it. When I got on I tried to climb it perfect, precise foot work, slow fluent movements, but ended up just climbing like I usually do – which isn’t too bad. I enjoyed it more than I tried to make it look good.
As soon as I came down I had a lot of judges ask me to do different demos so I had to go one after the other until all of the first climbs were demoed. This was really fun! And I didn’t fall off which was great.
I had a snack before starting to demo the second routes. I had to do the second hardest climb, blue-yellow. I thought I was on the pink so I kind of winged it! The first section was ok but by the time I was at the last third my arms were so pumped. Finally there was a good hold a couple of moves from the top meaning I could rest before trying to top it. In the end I got it. I was pleased, only to find out a few minutes later I was going to have to get on the final route for the same category. So I went over to have a look at it.
The small yellow holds looked positive but some were hard to see because the wall colour is yellow. I personally thought it looked a little easier. I was feeing confident about it. Pulling on my Genius climbing shoes takes a bit of time as they have laces and are quite tight so I started getting them on soon after route reading.
When my category was ready I started to demo trying to climb more smoothly than normal to look good! The mini roof wasn’t half as hard as the start of the blue-yellow, it had loads of good holds. The middle of the climb was harder but still ok. Lastly, when I got to the last little part there was a few mean holds (slopers). I used them slowly so I wouldn’t slip off making it past and to the top hold. Another awesome route! Definitely one of my favourites of the day.
After this the boys categories switched with the girls so they were rope climbing and the girls were bouldering. I then had to do a load of demos for the boys. This time I knew I would have to do the grey so I spent more time reading it. Also, I left a gap from demoing before I had to climb the grey.
I had to demo the grey for boys A so I was nervous about falling off as demoing people are not meant to fall.
I started the grey doing lots of big pops. The moves were quite big. I then got onto an easier bit on clip 3. Next were a few good crimps. I held them fine and clipped but struggled to go the hold out left. I went for it and almost got it. When I fell down I didn’t know what to do. My coach Simon told me to jump back on, which was what I wanted to do. So I pulled on and climbed the rest of the route by going straight upwards instead of left. This was a lot easier. The other half of the route was hard but easier than the first half and I managed to top it! It annoyed me that I failed the middle. If I could have another go I would top it.
That was the end of my day demoing so I put my shoes back on and went bouldering as the boys were finished. A lot of people were in the bouldering room so when it was time for presentations I stayed in there with Rich and we had the whole room to our self. It was much better. I climbed a few things but had to stop as my skin was too sore.
As soon as the presentations were over we had to go so I gathered my stuff and headed upstairs to the front door.
I had fun demoing and it wasn’t as nerve racking as I had thought, but I guess the grand final will be worse. I think it will still be fun.
The routes in the comp were really fun and the grey was awesome. Thanks to Simon for letting me help out.