I knew I didn't need to do well in qualifiers but I nevertheless wanted to achieve a qualifying position anyway to prove my consistency to others and myself. Fortunately many of the blocks were technical challenges so I was able to top a good number (22 of 25) achieving 210/250. However I fell off a moderately easy problem first go as I jumped straight on it in the heat of the day, only to discover that the holds were glistening with sweat and I had forgotten my chalk bag! I got back on it, equipped with chalk and a brush and got it easily second go, to my frustration. Apart from this, the qualifiers were good fun and well set. My favourite problem of the day I didn't top as I couldn't reach a hold on it. However the first part was very fun, involving a bat hang and a no-hands rest on a volume.
I thought I probably hadn't done enough to get a top 5 position due to my mistake on the easy problem I fell off.
To my surprise, when the finalists' names were announced, I discovered I had qualified in joint 4th, meaning despite having qualified automatically, I had also qualified in my own right! We weren't in isolation for very long and soon enough it was observation time. With 2 minutes to read each of the three finals blocks we didn't have much time to get a sense of them. I was pleased to find that my first block consisted of good crimps and did not have a weird sequence. However, my second block started with a kick off two volumes to grab another, sloping volume. The rest of the problem looked easy but I doubted I could do the first move. My third block appeared to have a very odd sequence and was long, meaning I would probably only have 2-3 good attempts on it.
I was second out on block 1 and felt a buzz of anxiety rush through me as I knew the previous climber had flashed this so I couldn't afford to mess up. Fortunately I found the holds grippy and positive and managed to flash it without too much hassle. The second block was more tricky and I didn't have much faith in my first 2 attempts, throwing myself half-heartedly at the volume and sliding off. However, on my 3rd attempt I went more slowly, balancing on my feet and dodging around the volume to grab the top and side, meaning I was more secure. The last part was droppable and I knew if I fell off I probably wouldn't get the first move again. However, I climbed carefully and topped.
For the final problem I knew I stood a chance of placing on the podium- two of my competitors hadn't topped the second problem and one hadn't flashed the first, putting me in joint 1st with Gwyneth Uttley. I knew the game wasn't over yet so I went out to the third block determined. Infuriatingly I was called off on my first go as apparently I hadn't matched the starting foot hold ( I was sure I had!) so I threw away the flash. On my second go I got through the first part, coming from a hanging start to an undercut, up to a slot and onto a volume, before coming around the corner to the bonus hold-a side pull. However, I wasn't climbing carefully enough and slipped coming round the corner to the next hold. Now tired from a long attempt I let the time run down to 10 seconds left before jumping back on the wall. I got through the first part quite easily and rested on the volume-this was my last attempt and last chance to podium. I carefully came round the corner and pulled up to the last hold-a round volume. Matching, I jumped down relieved and watched the others.
I was slightly disappointed not to win, as Gwyneth topped the last one second go, putting her in 1st place. However I was thrilled to come 2nd in my first senior final, beating many strong climbers. Unfortunately I won't be able to attend the final round next month as I have another competition then, but I'm happy to end my Blokfest season on a high!
|On the podium! (photo credits: Joseph Schenk)|