Being ill in bed last weekend had its upsides as I got to watch the Bouldering World Cup in Laval. It’s always great to see Shauna crushing, but what I found really inspiring that round was watching Michaela Tracey take 11th place just a week after being crowned British Bouldering Champion at our own national competition.

In recent interviews, Michaela has made no secret of the fact that she hasn’t been happy with her performances in the past and that she’s been working very hard over the last few months to get where she wants to be. It was very refreshing to hear someone admit so openly to this, and it was fantastic to see her finally achieving some excellent, and well deserved, results.

[caption id="attachment_6253" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Summer Psyche Finals - Problem 1 Summer Psyche Finals - Problem 1[/caption]

My own climbing has been a source of some frustration over the past year or so. Although I know I’ve got a lot stronger and fitter, this hasn’t been reflected much on paper. A string of “almosts” and “nearly-ticks” can only satisfy you so far. So at the start of the year I decided to shake things up a bit in order to break the stale-mate. My two biggest weaknesses are technique and climbing well under extreme pressure. I’ve made a lot of progress in the latter over the years, but my mental game still isn’t 100% watertight. I made a decision to take the bull by the horns and face these two problems head on by entering as many climbing competitions as possible. This would force me to boulder a lot more, and also become accustomed to climbing in the most stressful situations I could imagine. This was quite a new departure for me as I’d not competed for about 9 years, and bouldering (the discipline which most of the competitions in the UK are in) is not one of my strong suits.

[caption id="attachment_6254" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Summer Psyche Finals - Problem 2 Summer Psyche Finals - Problem 2[/caption]

So far the results have been mixed. The increased focus on bouldering has helped me concentrate a lot on movement and body positioning, and I can see that my technique is improving a lot in training and at the crag. I’ve also had some success at the local competitions, winning the Barn Wars at the Barn Climbing Wall in Bingley and coming 5th in the Summer Psyche Competition at Awesome Walls Stockport (both excellent comps and well worth going to if they run again next year). However, at the British Bouldering Championships last weekend I tanked horribly. My problem reading skills let me down, and I tensed up through nerves at the top of one of the easier blocs which cost me a place in the semis. I’ve still got a way to go before I am where I want to be.

[caption id="attachment_6255" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Summer Psyche Finals - Problem 4 Summer Psyche Finals - Problem 4[/caption]

Sometimes it’s hard not to get despondent when you aren’t getting the results you were hoping for. However, Michaela’s recent success and her determination to go on to bigger and better things next year, which I am sure she will, has inspired me to keep on going until I get where I want to be. I came across a Japanese proverb recently which says “fall down seven times, get up eight” and, with this in mind, I am psyched to keep going and take part in the British Lead Climbing Championships in October. My eye is still firmly on the prize of learning to climb better in a competition setting and going on from there to achieve my goals on rock.

Wish me luck!

Being ill in bed last weekend had its upsides as I got to watch the Bouldering World Cup in Laval. It’s always great to see Shauna crushing, but what I found really inspiring that round was watching Michaela Tracey take 11th place just a week after being crowned British Bouldering Champion at our own national competition.

In recent interviews, Michaela has made no secret of the fact that she hasn’t been happy with her performances in the past and that she’s been working very hard over the last few months to get where she wants to be. It was very refreshing to hear someone admit so openly to this, and it was fantastic to see her finally achieving some excellent, and well deserved, results.

[caption id="attachment_6253" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Summer Psyche Finals - Problem 1 Summer Psyche Finals - Problem 1[/caption]

My own climbing has been a source of some frustration over the past year or so. Although I know I’ve got a lot stronger and fitter, this hasn’t been reflected much on paper. A string of “almosts” and “nearly-ticks” can only satisfy you so far. So at the start of the year I decided to shake things up a bit in order to break the stale-mate. My two biggest weaknesses are technique and climbing well under extreme pressure. I’ve made a lot of progress in the latter over the years, but my mental game still isn’t 100% watertight. I made a decision to take the bull by the horns and face these two problems head on by entering as many climbing competitions as possible. This would force me to boulder a lot more, and also become accustomed to climbing in the most stressful situations I could imagine. This was quite a new departure for me as I’d not competed for about 9 years, and bouldering (the discipline which most of the competitions in the UK are in) is not one of my strong suits.

[caption id="attachment_6254" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Summer Psyche Finals - Problem 2 Summer Psyche Finals - Problem 2[/caption]

So far the results have been mixed. The increased focus on bouldering has helped me concentrate a lot on movement and body positioning, and I can see that my technique is improving a lot in training and at the crag. I’ve also had some success at the local competitions, winning the Barn Wars at the Barn Climbing Wall in Bingley and coming 5th in the Summer Psyche Competition at Awesome Walls Stockport (both excellent comps and well worth going to if they run again next year). However, at the British Bouldering Championships last weekend I tanked horribly. My problem reading skills let me down, and I tensed up through nerves at the top of one of the easier blocs which cost me a place in the semis. I’ve still got a way to go before I am where I want to be.

[caption id="attachment_6255" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Summer Psyche Finals - Problem 4 Summer Psyche Finals - Problem 4[/caption]

Sometimes it’s hard not to get despondent when you aren’t getting the results you were hoping for. However, Michaela’s recent success and her determination to go on to bigger and better things next year, which I am sure she will, has inspired me to keep on going until I get where I want to be. I came across a Japanese proverb recently which says “fall down seven times, get up eight” and, with this in mind, I am psyched to keep going and take part in the British Lead Climbing Championships in October. My eye is still firmly on the prize of learning to climb better in a competition setting and going on from there to achieve my goals on rock.

Wish me luck!