Monday 17 February 2014

Sochi - photoblog!

Andy hasn't got a computer with him out in Russia - so here's some pics to whet your appetite for when he gets back and writes up the trip…….

Today the ice wall is closed to be repacked and Andy had a visit from a couple of our cycling friends!
He also met Zoe Gillings the boarder-crosser although he didn't know it was her until he was chatting to her brother afterwards! Maybe she'll go back for a go on the ice wall???

Thanks to Jen Olson for sending me the pics.

Tuesday 11 February 2014

Saas Fee…….a few thoughts.

Saas Fee is always a massive round of the World Cup circuit - the entries are huge and it's always well attended by spectators. The venue inside the atrium of the multi-storey car park is really cool, but also feels quite intense.
My first experience of World Cup climbing back in 2008 was at Saas Fee and I suspect that's why I didn't try it again until 2013! It's hard and it's about as far away from Scottish winter climbing as it's possible to get and still be using axes and crampons (well fruit boots!)
This year I had hoped to come out fighting and put in a decent performance but almost from the first hook of my axe I could feel it wasn't my day. I just didn't feel comfortable or relaxed or smooth or strong or any of the things you need to climb well.
It was no surprise that I came off low down from a position that really wasn't that difficult. Frankly I was absolutely raging with myself and it took me a little while to calm down and reflect. All those thoughts of it being a waste of time and what have I been doing all year were very much at the forefront of my mind.

Mojo re-ignition required. I always find that unless I feel like I'm climbing well and have been doing a lot I struggle - so it's a really good thing that the major travelling sector of the world cups is over. I'm spending the next couple of weeks staying out in the alps in between the competitions and hoping to get some good climbing in. A little bit of time to enjoy it and not think so much about the pressure of competition.

On a positive note it was amazing to have such big team for Team GB at Saas Fee, there were 6 members of the senior men's team plus an extra, debuting were Andy Inglis and Pete Holder, Harry Holmes is practically an old hand now and Stevie who climbed well.  For the women's team we had Katy Forrester competing in her first world cup.
That's absolutely phenomenal - bigger teams than lots of the other countries that have traditionally fielded a team - although still a long way behind Team Russia!

For all the results from all the rounds so far you can find them here.

Sunday 26 January 2014

World Cup's so far...

Half way through the world cup whirlwind now and I'm not finding it any easier! Will write more at a later date but here's a few photos to give you all a flavour of the last couple of weeks - it's been pretty full on. First stop was Cheongsong in South Korea - what an amazing event - so well organised, great venue and we were all well looked after - the only thing not ideal is the time difference and the lack of a bed…….. floors all the way and that's in the hotels!

Opening ceremony - amazing!

The structure - not too steep but still tricky!

Ice sledding - AKA a way to break the climbers!

Ice sculpture

Some interesting food choices in Korea but tasty.
South Korea saw just Harry and I headed out and it was Harry's first World Cup - he was brilliant did really well and looks like he'll be a bright prospect for the future (damn these people with youth on their side!)
We even managed a bit of training at a climbing gym in Seoul before we came home, so hopefully not de-training too much.

Less than a week later and with a stopover of around 12hours at home it was on to Busteni in Romania.  A bigger team this time with Harry and I being joined by Stevie  and Anna - Anna's first world cup and she has an injury at the moment and was only climbing with agreement from her physio that she would just do the one comp. Would you believe she qualified for the sam-final - what a great start to a World Cup career!!
I had a frustrating qualification getting to within a move of topping out the route, which is what was required to go through - even more frustratingly I'd climbed fast enough to be almost a  minute ahead of the person who did go through in the 9th spot - ARGH!! So whilst happier with my performance than in Korea - annoyed with myself for blowing it so close.

Was great to have a team out in Romania and we all hung out together and even had a day at a local crag on the sunday. The local climbers had been super keen for us to visit the crag and get on their project, which we duly did and I managed to send it too - I called it "Grandad" after the guy who sent us to the crag as this is his nickname and it seemed appropriate!


Nearing the top of the qualifier - i.e. the long quickdraw just to the right with a blue hold.

Team GB -Romania

Harry on what became Grandad

Harry climbing

Enjoying watching the finals

The best thing about the Romanian comp was the men's result - the top 2 places were predictable with Maxim Tomilov and HeeYong Park, but the last spot on the podium went to the elder statesman of the Ice World Cups Sergey Tarasov at the grand age of 47 he took his first podium position - there's hope for me yet!