24 May 2012

BWC Innsbruck

On 18th and 19th May Innsbruck held the fourth round of the 2012 IFSC Bouldering World Cup.

Innsbruck is possibly the perfect city for mountain people and with the competition being held in the central market square with the awe-inspiring ‘Nordkette’ mountain range as a backdrop, the competition was bound to be well supported by the local population.

Innsbruck has built up a solid reputation as the World’s capital of competition climbing and expectations for the event were high. Athletes from all around the World battled their way through the difficult qualification round on Friday. Shauna Coxsey, Ned Feehally and I made it through to the semi-final on Saturday. Dave Barrans and Mina Leslie-Wujastyk just missed out on qualifying.

Saturday morning soon arrived and the athletes made their way back into the isolation zone situated next to the River Inn. I was out first and although I was relatively relaxed, I still wanted to do well and secure a much sought after top-10 placement. After a good warm up session with team mate Ned, I felt prepared and managed to flash 3 blocs. Ned was soon out and managed to top 3 blocs. We discussed the blocs after and realised that we may have secured a place in the final that evening. Ned had a nail-biting wait as the World Champion, Dmitrii Sharafutdinov, attempted to climb the last semi-final boulder. He needed a good few attempts to start it meaning that Ned had gained a place in the final. Shauna Coxsey put in a strong performance on the semi-final boulders securing a place in the final too.

Three British climbers were going to be climbing in a Boulder World Cup final that evening!

The bars and restaurants surrounding the market square soon filled up on Saturday evening ready for the final. The athletes were called up one by one for the presentation in front of a sea of 3500 spectators. The atmosphere was fantastic!
Shauna Coxsey looked as though she was going to take gold until a few mistakes on the final boulder left her in 2nd place behind the local girl Anna Stoehr. Kilian Fischhuber took first place ahead of Rustam Gelmanov and Sean McColl. Ned and I ended up with 5th and 6th places respectively.

The competiton was shown on Austrian national TV, check it out here

The next round of the 2012 IFSC Bouldering World Cup will be held on 1st and 2nd July in Vail, USA. Mina Leslie-Wujastyk, Shauna Coxsey, Tyler Landman, Dave Barrans and David Mason will be competing.

I have a short break from competitions now before the World Cup in Munich in August. I have a few projects planned for the next few weeks and a trip planned back to the UK for my brother's graduation day.

Thanks to Heiko Wilhelm for the images.

10 May 2012

Peak to Creek

As I often do, one evening I was staring up at the mountains contemplating, when my phone rang; it was Lukas 'Sir' Ennemoser.
A short silence.
"Yes Lu, what's up?"
"What are you doing next Monday?" 
"There is this event in Oetztal, Jan Ullrich will be there and loads of other famous athletes, we just need to climb a route, it'll be easy!"
I was obviously keen on taking part and checked out what Lu had got me into. It turned out to be a relay race from Soelden to Oetz involving most of the outdoor sports that Oetztal has to offer. Some big names in alpine skiing, mountain biking, mountain running, cycling, ski-touring, para-gliding and kayaking were involved and I felt privileged to be a part of it. We were split into 3 teams involving one athlete from every sport in the race. My team consisted of Guenter Mader (alpine skiing), Simon Scheiber (mountain biking), Markus kroell (mountain running), Jan Ullrich (cycling), Alexander Fasser (ski-touring), Thomas De Dorlodot (Paragliding) and Jakobus Stenglein (kayak). As the teams raced through the valley of Oetztal, locals were confused by the chaos and the deafening noise of the Red Bull helicopter following the athletes. The teams ended up in rafting boats in Oetz and we all paddled like mad men to the finishing line at Area47 to be greeted by a beach party with a Red Bull stunt plane flying over-head. A fantastic event.

1 May 2012

BWC Vienna

This year's competitions are not going too well so far. I can't seem to get into the all-important mental zone at the moment. I feel stronger than I have in previous years but seem to have lost confidence. The field is, as always, very strong and one is unfortunately left no room for mistakes. I have just over two weeks before the next event where i'll be attempting to climb on the rock as much as possible and regaining the invaluable confidence an athlete needs in competitions. The competition season, however, is going very well for some climbers. Shauna climbed exceptionally well and finished in 4th. Dave Barrans just missed the semi-final and the Austrian Team are on fire. The next round is in Innsbruck. It's going to be a mega event.