Three more comps helped me sort my comp head.
At the European championships in Gemozac, France, I was quietly confident I could make the final. On my first route I was up 2nd. It looked about 7c+/8a. I only managed to about half way up before I pumped out. I had been over gripping from the floor, nerves!
Relax for the next route. It suits me - low percentage tech route - but the same thing happened. Although I felt like I got some flow back just before I fell, I tried to lock a move and should have been more dynamic. It felt like I had given up and let go, a feeling I used to get a lot in comps but had got rid of. I came 20th. The next day I did the speed for fun and came 20th out of 22.
I decided to go to the Welsh championships after Gemozac to try and sort my head out for comps. Great event, but less pressure, so how would I react and what would I learn? I arrived to find everyone who made the Youth A podium at the BLCC was there – me, Connor and Luke. I was psyched.
The comp was in a different format to usual, having three qualifiers, a semi and a final. Me and Connor were the only ones to top the qualifiers and went into the semi in joint first. I went out first and topped the route, climbing with a relaxed style which made me enjoy the climbing. No-one else topped. I went into the final in first place. In isolation I could tell from the crowd that people had come close to topping the route. I knew what I had to do and did it. I had won without a fall. The comp really helped teach me how to relax and I was excited to use this new frame of mind in Kranj, the final round of the Europeans.
After a good warm up in Kranj’s weird corridor boulder wall, and watching the older group go up our route first, I was ready for my first climb, which took the left hand line of very steep wall in a sports hall.
The route had an easy start, which led to a powerful crux. I did the first two crux moves easy. Drilled my foot. Made a dynamic move to the next hold. The quick draw got in the way. Whacked it with my hand. I fell. I was a little disappointed, but felt much more relaxed than most recent comps. I was joint 15th on this route. We went back to the hotel and eight hours later I was back beneath the wall ready to climb my next route. This route seemed to have a series of mini cruxes. I found myself at the rest before the top composing myself to tackle the volumes above. I made the hard slab move. Yes. Next move. Feet cut loose. Back on. Come on, I think to myself. I slapped into the hold but beneath me my foot popped and I was off, pumped!
I had a decent fight on this route, which I have not had for a while in a comp due to being too nervous to get into full fight mode. Finished 16th. Well done to Molly who came 2nd.
So it was the end of my first year of Euros in Youth A. I had two goals – a top 15 ranking and a final, and I made the first one, finishing ranked 15th, and 14th in the world because of a different scoring system. Good. But I didn’t make a final. A 12th, 13th, two 16ths and a 19th, so never out of the top 20, but not a final.
But over these three comps I realised I needed to relax, and I did enough to have a good fight at Kranj.