Thursday, 2 December 2010

Awesome Walls Open Youth Comp - 27th Nov

On Friday afternoon I drove RB down to Liverpool for another competition.  It took us around 5hours to drive to our hotel from Dundee, dump out stuff and straight to the hotel restaurant for tea (which was dire by the way, I'll never stay in Premier Inn again!)  The room was cold but we blasted the heater up and then went for an early night, to get up at 6.30am.  I had to bring our own breakfast as the hotel didn't serve breakfast before 8am!
It took us a while to find Awesome Walls, getting a bit lost (rubbish directions on the wall website) but we were really impressed with the wall once we got there.  It's an ace looking wall with a good bouldering area, steep leading walls and a featured tower, slabs, top roping walls.

RB's age group started off on a crimpy and technical route (not sure of the route) and RB did amazingly well on this one, slapping the top hold.  2 GB team members topped out and another team member and RB came joint 3rd.  The second route went up the back overhanging wall which starts off slightly overhanging, becomes really overhanging and convex, then eases back to less overhanging.  A few girls managed to top out on this route, both RB and the girl she was neck to neck with fell off 5 holds from the top.  It meant that RB was knocked down to 5th position, but was still into the final.

The kids went into isolation for some time, but luckily RB's group was out first to check out their final route.  I wasn't able to speak to RB so was praying that she was noticing where all the holds were and that she'd do good.  Because 2 girls were drawing for 1st place, and RB was drawing with someone else for 5th place, it meant that 10 girls went through to the final and RB was up 5th to climb.

I was gutted for RB, she didn't manage to climb as well as she normally does.  I don't know what happened to her, but she seemed to get a touch of 'tunnel vision' and couldn't see a foot hold out on the left wall (it was a corner route)  I was silently willing her to see the hold and work her feet up the wall, but she just didn't seem to spot the hold at all.  The next handhold up was too much of a reach without that foothold and RB fell off.  She was really upset, as she knew that the girls she'd beaten previously had gotten to a higher point and we were both confident that she can normally do better than she had done. I tried to console her, sometimes it just happens, you miss a hold, you have an off day, your foot slips, happens to the best of them.

Anyway, that was RB knocked down into 7th place but she put on a brave face and soon cheered up.  I could see she was hiding her disappointment, but she coped well and went off to have some post comp fun with some of the other competitors, which I believe involved locking someone up in one of the lockers!

I went out for a short walk to stretch my back, but the biting cold soon forced me back and the fact that there wasn't much to see!  We didn't stay until the end as I was eager to get off early, get some tea, an early night and be home early to try and miss the bad weather forecast.

Hah!  That wasn't to be!  What an epic getting home!  Signs up the M6 were saying that the A9 was shut at Dunblane, but a phone call to D suggested that the road was clear now.  We hit the first of the snow at the Lakes, but the roads were still fine, hitting snow on the roads once we were near Glasgow.  Once passed Glasgow, the going was really slow and at one point folk were driving through a gap in traffic cones to get into a faster mover lane so I decided to join them.  There was a huge dip in the gap and I was glad of my winter tyres!   More signs that the A9 was shut at Dunblane and D checking Traffic Scotland website who were still saying it was open.  We stopped at services in Stirling for lunch and a hot drink then went on our way, only to find that surprise, surprise, the A9 was shut at Dunblane!  Rats!

Drove into Dunblane and tried to get back onto the A9 at the other side.  Other folk were having the same idea and there was a massive queue of traffic through the town.  A couple of pedestrians were walking up the snowy road at the side of the cars so I asked them how long the queue went on for, only to be told that it went right to the roundabout at the end of the road but folk seemed to be turning back round again.  Sod waiting for that!  I did a U-turn on the snowy road (thank god for the tyres again!) and headed back to the roundabout where the A9 was closed, preparing myself for a long wait.  I got RB to text D and my Dad to see if the road between Stirling and Edinburgh was open, looks good.  Shot off down past Stirling and onto the M90, road was good.  Before the Forth Road Bridge we heard on the radio that the M90 was shut before Perth due to an accident, aarrrgggggh!  Decided to risk the A92 through Fife and was amazed at how black this road was in comparison to the major roads.

Hit Dundee, then stopped by my folks for something to eat and another hot drink then went on our way.  Traffic Scotland said the A90 North of Dundee was shut due to another accident (jeeze, folk don't know how to drive in snow!)  They said there was a local diversion in place so we went anyway.  Um, where's the diversion?  We ended up driving through all these side streets in Fintry, me hopelessly lost!  Eventually found my way back to the dual only to see a car heading up the road past the 'Road Closed' signs.  Followed and found the diversion.  A policeman standing out in the cold wind and snow telling folk where to go.

We had to take the Arbroath road home and again this road was brilliant in comparison to the main roads but once we left Arbroath and onto the Brechin road, it quickly deteriorated (thank god for winter tyres, take 3!)  9 hours later and we were home and cozy.

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