Tuesday, 15 June 2010

British Youth Climbing Finals 2010 - 12th June.

This was it, the big day that RB had been waiting for.  She had gotten herself a good nights sleep after seeing how important it was after the Scottish finals and was ready to jump into the car at bang on 7am to head to Ratho.  The drive took a bit longer than expected with an unexpected stop and when I had to go round a roundabout more than once because I missed a turn off!  So we arrived at Ratho around 8.30am where RB registered, grabbed her competitors T-shirt and a Scotland South hoodie and went off into the bouldering room to warm up.
There was a long wait until the comp began, which was good as it gave her ample oppurtunity to get her legs stretched and arms warmed up.  As there were 31 girls in Bekah's age group, they were all split into groups of 2 and RB and her friend went into the same group which was nice and they both went off to do the easy boulder problem first.
It looked nice and easy and everyone in the group managed it fine.  They moved onto the 2nd problem, which looked a bit harder.  Thankfully RB wasn't first to go, but no matter as she cruised it anyway and my heart could calm down a little.  By this point the other group of 14-16 girls were still climbing the 1st route, so the judge decided that the girls would take a break and meet up at the 1st route later.
The first route was easy as usual, and I think most made it to the top.  The girls then went off to do the hardest boulder problem.  This looked desperate!  Myself and the rest of RB's family who'd come to support her, went up onto the balcony to get a better view.  RB really struggled on this problem.  It was just too reachy for her.  It started off really overhanging on 2 okay ish holds, then a big move up to 2 crimps.  RB is brilliant at getting her legs high, or twisting in to get more reach, and is starting to do egyptians too, on steep ground, but none of that was of use to her here.  Most girls were locking off at this point and were tall enough to just reach up.  But RB had to try and lock off and jump for the next hold.  But she's just not that great at locking off and making a dynamic movement so she came off at this point.  I was gutted for her and I could see that she was so disappointed too.  After she came off at the same point on her second go I could tell that she felt quite dejected and I knew this was going to hit her confidence bad.  I try to console her, but it's no use.  I tell her not to worry, remember that she fell off the 2nd boulder problem in the Scottish finals but still managed to scrape back the points on the routes. 
They were then told that they were doing the hardest route next!  This was on the right hand side of the severely overhanging competition wall.  I'm not sure what grade the route was, but after an okay start, it looked to get progressively harder and harder.  There looked to be a tricky move above a big feature, up to 2 massive round pockets, then it looked juggy, but sequency and getting very overhanging.  Then it got even more overhanging, to the point where it looked almost horizontal, but the holds got smaller too and they had volumes to contend with too, until the point where there was a series of holds on a flat panel above, which traversed across to the finish.
Many girls came unstuck before the juggy overhanging bit, and most came unstuck on the bit, too pumped!  One girl then managed to get across to the 1st volume on the horizontal section and another girl got to the end of the horizontal bit.  Then it was RB's go.  Boy, my wee girl climbed like the wind!  She flew up the easy section, danced through the 1st hard bit, flagged her way through the overhanging juggy bit and then I think all her roof practise got put to good use as she was heel hooking across the horizontal and even managed a toe hook on the volume.  I was cheering her on like crazy!  She then came to the point that the leading competitor had got to, held the pocket over the lip of the roof, swung her leg over her head to heel hook over the roof, but her other leg was dangling and I could see her struggle.  She jumped for the next hold, but to no evail, she was falling.  But what a route!  I think that's the best I've ever seen her climb, and loads of folk were cheering her on, it was amazing.  She came down looking a bit out of breathe and shaky but pleased with her result.  And I was so happy for her, it was just what she needed after the confidence knock of the last boulder problem.Video of RB on final route here
Only one girl managed to complete the final route, an older girl from Wales, who we'd been told was one of the contenders to win the competition.  But RB's spectacular performance, boosted her back up into 5th place overall.  Of course, the other group had yet to complete the final route, and RB's group still had to do the 2nd route.  I'd had a look at the other groups scores for the 2nd route and only 2 of them had managed to complete it, meaning it must be harder than normal.  Only one girl in RB's group managed to complete that route and that wasn't even the girl from Wales.  RB came unstuck at the point that most were, and as she jumped for a higher point, she smacked her hand off the wall and came down with a nice wee graze and blood to show for her troubles.   We then went off to watch the last of the girls complete the final route.  Only 3 of them got to RB's high point, and the 2 girls who RB was competing against in the Scottish Finals didn't get anywhere near RB's high point, which she was really chuffed at.
So, she ended up in 8th position overall, which was an amazing acheivement for her.  RB was one of the youngest girls in that age group, competing against girls a year older, and many were 2years older, so it really bodes well for her in the coming years. 
In the last year alone, RB has gone from leading 6a's, to trying to onsight 7a's but getting them redpoint.  She has onsighted 6c with climbing just 2 sessions a week.  One session is bouldering and the other is climbing routes.  We started to up our climbing hours just before the comp, maybe around a month or so before, but this was too broken up with school trips away.  We're now climbing 3x a week and RB mixes this up with having sport at school 4x a week and she goes to the school gym to run and do weights once a week and then does some interval training with me in the evenings too, having the weekends to rest and chill.  And we've recently been advised on how to train her lock off strength.  Hopefully this extra training will see her climbing to an even higher standard next year.  This is her dream anyway.

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