Monday, 21 June 2010

YCS Final

On Staurday the 12th June I took part in the Britsih finals of the Youth Climbing Series (YCS) at EICA. I had got a place in this comp because i had come top 3 in the regionals.

On the week up to the comp i was really really nervous and worried that i wouldn't do that well but after a talk from robbie i became less nervous and more psyched. On the day i walked into ratho and started looking at the routes, this got me psyched. I was hoping for atleast a top 10 finish but wasnt sure if i would manage this.

After looking at the routes we all warmed up and my age catagory got split into 2 groups. I was in group B. We started with the first climb and Group A started with the boulders. The first climb wasnt to bad with only one awkward move off a undercut. Everyone topped this so it didn't really show me how good everyone else was. We then moved onto the boulders. The first boulder was really straight forward jug,jug,jug about V0/1 and again everyone topped it. The second boulder was a bit harder with small crimps and big pinches. I found this one quite hard because my fingers were hurting but again i managed to do it first time.

We then had a break before moving onto thesecond climb. This was the climb on the competition wall and the one I was most worried about even though it wasn't our hardest. I was something like 14th on so got to watch a lot of people try it before me which to be honest just made me even more nervous as noone was reaching the first lower off. Everyone was struggling on the one move off a volume and clipping. When it was my turn to go i tried to calm down and got tied on. The start of it wasnt too bad and when i reached the first volume there was quite a good rest. I shook off and prepared for the moves further up to the second volume where most people were falling off. I got to the second volume and managed the move off it and got the clip which meant i had gotten further than quite a lot of people. I then moved off the volum up to a jug and my feet flew off meaning my hands slipped out the jug so i only had the tips of my fingers in it. I made the next move and fell because of this. Even though I had got further than a lot of people I was still really annoyed at where I fell.

After another break we went onto the last boulder which was all slopey with a hardish move to a jug at the end. I was near the end in the line to try this but when it was my turn I got it first time. I was really pleased with this and now all I had to think about was the last climb. I hadn't thought about this climb much because I was more worried about the second one which meant I was more calm about this one. I watched a few people trying it before me and saw that most people were getting onto or to the top of the second overhanging section. I knew that if I had any chance of coming top 10 I had to get above the second overhanging section. The first part of the climb up to the second overhanging section was pretty straight forward and the actual overhang wasn't too bad either just quite pumpy. I then got to the move out left from the overhang where most people fell off. I pulled back and pulled towards the hold, I missed it at first but then managed to just grab it and get clipped. I was so pleased even to get here. I then moved up another clip to a crimp. The next move off the crimp was quite hard because it was a big move up to a palm on a volume. I fell off here. I was really pleased with where I got to.

After finishing all the climbs and boulders I had no idea where I was placed as it was out of 33 people. Although I knew I had done quite well on the second and third climb so was hoping I had managed my aim of top 10.

There was then about a 2 hour wait till I found out the results. I was joint 3rd with Alasdair. I couldnt believe it, I was so happy with getting onto the podium.

I am now really psyched for future competitions.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

First Week of Plan Complete

So I have just come to the end of my first week of my 25 week training program that was given to me by Robbie. (Apart from c.v work which I will do later today) It has been a really good week of training and even although it has only been a week I think I have learnt more about training in this week than I have in the past month.

I started off on Monday at Glasgow Climbing Centre doing 4x5's. I had been shown basically how to do these in a session with Robbie a couple of weeks before but that had been at Ratho so this night I had to see what climbs at Glasgow suited the 2/3 level of pump needed. My first set was 6c,6b,6b,6b+,6a. This went well and i managed to keep to 2/3 pump without it being too easy. My next set was 6c,6b,6b+,6b,6a. Although this looks similar to my first set, more of the climbs, including the 6c, were done on the main, pumpier wall at Glasgow which meant this set was too hard and I hit level 4 pump by the end. I know this shouldn't have happened but it was good to learn my limits in 4x4's and what I can and can't do to stay at 2/3 pump. My next two sets were about the same pump as the first one which meant I had learnt my lesson about not doing too many on the main wall. They were 6b,6b,6b,6b,6b and 6b,6b,6b,6a+,6b. I finished off the session with 30 minutes of regeneration climbing and after this I really felt like even in this one session I had achieved something.

On Wednesday I was back at GCC doing my bouldering session. I started off with some easy boulders to warm up then headed up to the Training room where I was to make 25 move minimum problems on the 45 degree board. I really struggled with this, I don't know whether it's just that I wasn't creative enough with the moves or what but I just could seem to make 25 moves that I was capable of doing. I will need to have a chat with Robbie about this and see what I can do. After trying this I headed back down, quite frustrated about not managing to make good problems and finished with regeneration climbing.

On Thursday, unable to get a rest day because I couldn't do routes on Friday, I went for my hard route and 3 second locks session at GCC. I started off by warming up on boulders and a couple of easy routes 6a-6b. I then moved on to the hard routes. I started off with the Tan 7b on the main lead wall. I checked out all the moves then tried it. I found it really reachy and pretty pumpy so I only made it to the 4th or 5th clip. The next climb I tried was the Yellow 7b on the DR lead wall. I found this really really hard because the moves were massive and only made it to the crux at the 3rd clip which is a move over a whole panel. I then moved onto the Green 7a on the main lead wall which I flashed with no problems, this made me feel a bit better after not getting up the other two. I then done the Green 6c+ on the DR wall and my heal popped off clipping the first clip so technically it wasn't a flash but I done the rest of it without stopping. I then did it again so I could do it without my heel popping this time. I then moved onto 3 second locks which were the 6b black on the DR lead wall, the 6a White on the Main lead wall and the 6b black on the Main lead wall. I didn't find these too hard so I think I will have to maybe put the grade up a bit. I then finished with regeneration climbing.

My last session, 4x4's, was done on Saturday at Ratho with Rachel. I started off with 6b+,6b+,6b,6a+ and found this about right. I then belayed while having a rest and moved onto my next set which was 6b+,6b+,6a+,6a+ and that was fine again. My third set was a bit easier grade wise 6b,6b,6b,6a but still gave the right amount of pump. I finished off doing my last set on the speed wall mainly because we were running out of time. This didn't really give me the right pump but was really tiring. This was another tiring but productive session and I finished it with 20 minutes regeneration climbing.

During the week I tried my core exercises. I had given them a shot in the Ratho gym with Robbie and let's just say it didn't go too well. I was fine with the crunches but I basically fell everytime trying the Russian Twists and Med Ball Leg raises. This time, at home, I was determined to at least finish the sets. I gave them a few practises and managed to do them, if not very shakily. I then started the sets, starting off very shaky then gradually getting better. By the end of the three sets I wasn't actually bad at the, still a bit shaky but I think over time I should get used to it.

Now I just need to do my 45 minute c.v work and that will be me finished completely. This has probably been the hardest I've worked in climbing in a week because it has been structured. I am now looking forward to progressing through the rest of the plan...

Saturday, 20 March 2010

YCS heat 2 - Glasgow

Today was the second heat in the Youth Climbing Series. It was at Glasgow Climbing Centre (my main wall). I was pretty psyched and confident for this comp with it being at my usually wall but still extremely nervous at the same time.

I arrived early and began to route map our boulders and routes. They all looked pretty good and our last climb (Robbie's red) looked especially interesting with technical parts and big moves. The boulders look ok except from our last one which looked quite technical and had some big moves in it.

After route-mapping we had a group warm up and began with our boulders. We started off with our most straight forward boulder which was blue tagged holds. It was a juggy problem which everyone breezed up with no problems. It was probably V0/V1? We then moved onto our hardest boulder because the area around our second boulder was filled with other people. I was a bit worried about having to do our hardest boulder so early on but after some careful thought about it and some wise words of Robbie I was good to go. I was near the end in placings so I got to have a good look at different people's styles at trying to climb it. I got past the first bit quite easily as it was mostly on jugs (although a slight misjudgement of my hand placement nearly had me going the wrong way.) This made me realise I really had to think about the route more before starting and not just rushing onto it. Once past the easy part at the start it came into a side edge then down onto a crimp. I managed this ok, then it was out to the edge of a volume. I grabbed the volume and held it which meant i got the points but when trying to match it my hands slipped off. This didn't bother me too much though because I knew I still had another two shots to go. I watched Jamie breeze it shortly after it. Beast! My second go resulted in the same way because matching on it this time my hand was on the tape so it slipped off it. On my final go I got to the same place and felt my hand slipping so I lunged my hand forward so I would get extra points. I wasn't really too bothered by this because we still had all the climbs and another boulder to go. Probably V3/V4?

Our mid-graded boulder was a tan in a corner which needed reach and careful foot placement. I watched a few poeple go before me and worked out a sequence in my head. Abi crushed it without any hesitation! Taostaah! When it was my turn to go I found out that the moves weren't as hard as I thought they would be and managed, because I was slightly taller than others, to reach to the last hold without having to get my legs in any awkward, stretchy position. For taller people I think it was probably V2?

We stopped for lunch then went straight onto out easiest route. This was a white juggy climb on the wall that moves to the side at GCC. I watched Robbie demo it and when it was my turn to go I tried to get as psyched as I could and started. I wasn't very confident at first making fumbly movements with both my hands and my feet but as I moved up in the climb I got more confident. I managed to top this. When I came down Robbie went over with me that I was still being very static in my moves on the climbs and that I should relax and loosen up a bit, be more dynamic. I took this in and tried to relax for the next climb.

The next route was a red problem up one of the easier lead walls in GCC. It wasn't too bad, with only a few technical parts in it but after closely watching Robbie demo it I managed to wrok out a sequence which worked well and got me to the top.

I had gone 4th in the second route which meant I was going to be 2nd in the final route. When it was time for the final route we all sat down to watch it being demoed. I was pretty shaky think about where I could go wrong and whether I could reach some of the holds but I knew I had to get this out of my head so I sat down and just thought about getting to the top. Robbie made it look easy (beast!) After watching the person on front of me it was my turn to go. I walked up still full of nerves facing up to the route. I tied my shoes, chalked up and tied in. I shook of my hands trying to stop them from shaking and began the route. The first part up until the over hand wasn't too bad with some juggy and pinchy holds. Then it was onto the overhang, the first part that looked hard, with a massive move in it. I got onto the middle of it and shook off before the big move and just went for it. I got my finger tips on then bumped my whole hand up onto it. It was a massive jug so I managed to hold it. I moved up onto what was another jug and clipped. I was pretty reliaved to get past this part but I still had 4 more clips, and another big move to go. The moves up to the next clips were on quite small holds and required a SAAHH! Then it was onto a good hold and then a big move up to a side ways jug. I got into position for the big move and hearing everyone shout my name I jumped for it. I got it with my fingertips and my feet came loose. I thought I was coming off but slamming my feet back on the wall and a SAAHHH I managed to get my hand right into the jug and clip. Then it was 3 more decent holds and I topped it. It felt amazing and I was pleased I had managed to top all the routes even if it was with some power screams!

I watched the other try the route and there were some pretty awesome attempts, Jamie was so close to the end just missing out on the holds near the end and Euan managed to leap for the jug on the overhang and hold it which was a pretty amazing sight. Well in mate!

After everyone had climbed I was the only person to top the climb, I was pleased with this and it has really brought my confidence up for future competitions. Overall with the points from the route I came 1st! I was so pleased that I had managed this, and at my home wall! haha.

Well done to Jamie for coming second, Abi for coming third and everyone else at the competition. Also thanks to Robbie for the awesome support (and demoing) at the comp!

Next, Dundee :)

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Robbie's Coaching

Last night was me, Jamie and Abi's coaching session with Robbie. We were all pretty psyched for this because we know his sessions are usually "a muerte!" and that we manage our best grades whilst climbing with him. This was probably my best session with Robbie as I think he managed to get me up climbs I otherwise wouldn't of even thought of trying.

We started of by being given routes Robbie wanted us to try and onsight. Jamie and Abi had the purple n the old comp wall and I had the yellow. As this was an onsight attempt Jamie had to stay in the bouldering room whilst Abi climbed, this gave us the chance to get warmed up and psyched for the onsight attempts. After we were warmed up it was Jamie's turn to try the purple, which was graded at 6c. It looked like it had some really tricky moves in it and a very powerful roof. Although none of this affected Jamie and he breezed the onsight.

It was then my turn to try the Yellow 7a+, if I managed it, it would be my best onsight grade at ratho. Robbie went over different onsight techniques like making sure my shoes were tight and that my figure of eight knot was right so that whilst climbing I would know nothing was wrong. We then went over route-mapping and I took a while to look over the route. I managed the first few clips well then I found a good rest before moving onto what looked like the crux of the climb. I moved through it trying to believe in myself that i was capable of doing it, finding rests where possible. I got past this part and all that lay ahead of me after this was the roof and up to the finish. I got onto the roof and rested on the jugs before reaching above and onto the sloper above it. As soon as i grabbed the sloper I freaked out and couldn't move off of it, not knowning what the next hold was like. I thought about clipping off the sloper but by this time I was pumped and had to ask Robbie to take. This was really annoying, being so close to the end then messing up because of what was going on in my head. Robbie talked to me about this and after I felt like I was ready for my next onsight attempt, the blue 7b+ on the old comp wall.

I stayed warm whilst the others tried their next onsight attempts and route-mapped the blue. When it was ready to try it I went over everything in my head, shoes, chalk, knot and looked at how I would clip the first few clips. I then started and found the first few clips okay. The next part was on a slight slope and this was the part I wanted to get past. It wasn't actually as bad as I thought it would be and I got passed this part and onto the crimps above it. I then moved up a few clips above and moved out to small undercut with my left hand. I gripped it then my left foot popped and I came off. I was gutted, this was the best I had felt on anything graded above 7b and my foot had popped. I was completely un-psyched after this but after another talk with Robbie I was thinking about trying it again later on in the night.

Near the end of the session I decided to try the blue again since i was back into the right frame of mind. I got the same part again quite easily this time and moved out to the undercut making sure this time that my foot was firmly on the wall. I moved past this and onto the crimps on the arete. When I grabbed this I wasn't sure where to go and didn't want to move off it. My arms soon got pumped and again my head was running through lots of thought that could happen if I missed this next hold. I fell off here. Again my head had stopped me from going "a muerte" This is something I am going to have to work on as Im sure I can improve once getting over this.

This was a really productive session, nearly getting my best onsight at Ratho and doing well on a 7b+. I am now looking forward to the second heat of the YCS on Saturday and our next training session.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

SYBC - Aberdeen

Yesterday was the SYBC (Scottish Youth Bouldering Championships) in Aberdeen. I qualified for this by placing top 5 in last years YCS, although earlier in the week they had made it and open competition so everyone could do it. Jamie and Abi also qualified so I went to the comp with them.

We travelled up to Aberdeen on the Friday night, to save having to get up early on the Saturday to get there in time for registration. The car journey was pretty fun and actually went quite quickly. We arrived at our hotel, which was better than I thought it would be, and Gary and my Dad went to get Chinese (really healthy for the night before a competition) We got to bed at 12 which was probably a bit too late.

I got up at 7 the next morning, had a shower, had breakfast and we headed off to find the climbing centre. Registration was at 9 so there wasn't really any rush. After a couple of de-tours and asking people on the street we finally made it to Transition Extreme. It's a pretty cool climbing centre with some awesome looking routes. I walked in a saw that a lot of people were already there checking out the boulders (numbered 1-20) I got registered and got given a number (28) I was in the 14-16 category (more like 14-17) which meant we had to do boulders 11-20 and we had 4 hours to do them in. 10 boulders to do in 4 hours, we had hundreds of time, so we just took our time going round them together, along with Ali. We had to finish the boudlers with two hands on the top of the wall which was quite odd because when I get to the last hold I am used to just coming down after matching that. So that took a bit to get used to.

Most of the boulders weren't too bad, a couple of tricky crux's but I wouldn't say anything was over V4. There were some juggy powerful ones and some small crimpy ones, a good range of stuff. I think the best one was number 17 tan. I was the first to try it out of Me, Jamie and Abi. It had a few good holds then onto a horizontal roof which you cleared with two juggy holds. Then it was out onto another jug then across to an edge then up to two crimps then quite a good hold to finish. Watching others I noticed that you were meant to rockover above the roof to get up to the two crimps but when I got there I thought this seemed two hard so I missed out one of the holds and just campused to it. Jamie also did this.

I managed to top every boulder first time except for number 20. Not being able to do this was down to my height. It was a sit start on an edge then a big move up to another crimpy edge. This was the move I couldn't do, even standing up I was about 2 inches too short. This was soo annoying because all the taller people managed it fine. All of my three tries resorted to the same end no matter how many different ways I tried. It was set to use a triangular feature for your hand but this just wasnt possible, only Chris Sharma could of held this feature. Jamie managed to get past this part and onto the "Bonus" hold which gave him one extra point and meant he qualified for the semi-finals. Abi also qualified for the semi's.

I was the only one out of the three who didn't get into the semi's and needless to say I wasn't very happy and I was in a bit of a mood for about an hour or two after. Although another pep talk off of Jamie helped. We went up to the cafe and had something to eat and watched the skating, whilst we waited for the semi's to begin.

One thing I should point out is that the three people ahead of Jamie were 17 and basically built like tanks, which made the competition a bit unfair.

I watched the semi's and Jamie and Abi did really well ! Jamie managing to get the furthest on the second boulder. This second boulder was a sit start up to a massive sloper then you just had to palm yourself up to the top, nobody topped it but Jamie was inches away. Their first boulder was a slopey black one and Jamie didn't quite manage to top this but the other did which meant two of the older guys went through to the finals. Abi also just had a place in the finals taken from her by a few points. Well done to both Abi and Jamie for doing so well and getting to the semi-finals !

After this we packed up and began the journey back, not before a stop at Burger King though. It was a really good weekend and I ended up coming 5th.

 The Grey Boulder (number 20) I couldn't do

Saturday, 27 February 2010

YCS heat 1 - Stirling

Today was the first heat of the Youth Climbing Series, in Stirling. It was my first time at the Stirling wall so wasn't sure what to expect at all. To be honest it's pretty small so fitting all 51 competitors in it was a bit of a squeeze.

I arrived early, got registered and went over to join Jamie and Abi route mapping. This helped a lot because it got all the moves into my head. We then all went off to the sports hall where we warmed up, with a good old game of tunnel tig... and stretches.

We got called into the wall and were to start with the hardest of our boulders first, which was a bit odd but the rest of the wall was taken and that's all that was left. I was 4th to go for this one and watched everyone before me. Most people topped it first time, taking time working out the moves. When it was my turn to go I was pretty nervous. It moved off a juggy hold and a feature to start off with, then up to a small sloper with your left hand bringing your right hand up onto a feature to balance yourself. It was then a long reach out to a feature, which was the finish. I managed it quite well and didn't find any of the moves too challenging. Probably V3/V4.

Out next route was an Orange lead, the easiest of our leads. It was basically jugs the whole way up which meant everyone topped it easily. 5+/6a ? We then moved onto our next boulder, which was our medium graded boulder (this was also the one that turned out to be my nightmare....) It was only 3 moves. It started with two hands round an arete and we had to get our feet on and stay in control for 2 seconds. Then it was quite a big reach up to a higher part of the arete and once you got this it was a dyno to a massive jug at the end. Didn't look to bad I thought to myself watching others on it. Then when I got to it my thoughts changed quite a bit as I fell of the first move. This changed my whole view of the route and probably put me in a negative frame of mind for the rest of it. My second and third try both ended the same way. I don't even think I would grade this, it was that odd! After this I was gutted!! To say the least!! ( I think my facial expressions showed it all ) This boulder had put me into last place, which meant I felt like the competition was over, even though we still had 2 climbs and a boulder left.

I was in such a negative mood after this but after a talk off Jamie, Grant and Gary (and some noodles) I felt like I still had a chance of coming back.

Our next thing to do was the easiest boulder. Jug, Jug, Jug. Not surprisingly everyone topped this again. Probably V0/V1. We then went straight onto our medium grade climb. It was a Green climb, with mostly pretty decent jugs, pinches and edges all the way up. The hardest part was probably not letting your foot move over past the white line, where we weren't allowed our feet. The line was only about a foot away from the climb so when you tried to flag or balance yourself you had to be really careful. Apart from this, it was quite an easy climb and again everyone topped it. 6b?

We then had a bit of a rest and it was then time for the last Orange climb. I was told it was a 7a+. It was full of rubbish pockets, small crimps and slopers. Mostly crimps though, which was good! Although added into that was big moves to slopers (bad!) We watched Rachel demo it for us and that cleared up some thoughts I had about how to do certain moves. I was 6th to go on this climb and after watching everyone on front of me fall off at various parts of it, I was pretty nervous. The first two clips were easy, using really positive pockets then up to some good crimps. Although hearing a shout of "Go Gromit" by Jamie kind of put me off. The next part was then some laybacks on some edges which wasn't too bad and then up to a small crimpy, slopey hold which could only fit two fingers. I managed to clip off this which made the next move a lot easier. It was then up to a sloper and then a small pinch, and a big move up to another sloper. The next part was the hardest, it was out with your left hand to an undercut crimp then out with your right hand to another undercut crimp and then a big move up to a big pinch. I managed to do this quite easily because I got my foot up high, although by this time I was starting to shake a bit, (but a power scream seemed to help this, SAAH!) Then it was crimp and jug for finish. I topped it which felt amazing.

After working out the scores, i had come second because topping the last climb had given me enough points. I was soo happy considering I had been last earlier. Jamie came first after topping everything! Well done mate! Abi got sooo close to topping the last climb (2nd last clip) which put her in 3rd place!

We had a little prize giving at the end when we recieved our certificates. It was pretty embarrassing having my name called out, and then hearing cheers of "Go Gromit!" (thanks guys)

It was a really good competition and we managed to get Me, Jamie and Abi all in the top three which was awesome! Well done to Jamie for coming 1st, Abi for coming 3rd and everyone else who took part in the comp!

Bring on Glasgow !

1st,2nd,3rd (Jamie, Me, Fraser)