I am going to write 2 separate blogs for the World Cups. One for Toronto and Vail and the Other for Haiyang and Laval. This is just so I don't bore you with endless amounts of words.
As you may know, I injured my hand 3 weeks prior to the world cups. I tore the lumbrical muscles between my ring finger and little finger. This put me out of the first half of the season. Obviously I was devastated as I felt the strongest I'd ever felt. I knew I had to train safe and hoped that I would be able to maintain some strength and be able to compete later in the season. I set my self a goal to make a semi-final at least once, but I wouldn't mind if I didn't. this year was all about gaining experience.
My hand recovered enough to start my season in Toronto (Canada), the 5th instalment of the World Cup Circuit. Before the competition we had a session at Climbers Rock with the Australian Team. We also went to see the incredible Niagara Falls!
This was my first ever international competition as a senior, and I had a bit of first comp nerves. I went out after Ty Landman the only other Male climber competing for GB. The first problem was a vert 2 mover. I managed to top after a few drops of the last move. I was really happy; I had topped a World Cup boulder!
After that I got another bonus but struggled on all the rest of the boulders. It felt I gained a lot of experience from this first comp and I would apply it in the next one. Ty managed to make semis, and Shauna made finals. The crowd was amazing in Toronto. So loud and super psyched for everyone. Even clapping when someone fell off...
Photo by: Eddie Fowke (The Circuit)
On the way to the airport before leaving for the USA we managed to visit "Nathan Phillips Square".
From Canada we flew to Denver (USA) and drove to Boulder at 4000ft above sea level. On the first night I got to meet and have dinner with someone I had seen in climbing videos for years, Chris Schulte, along with a couple of really nice people who cooked and welcomed us into their home.
We spent a couple of days in Boulder where we had a session at the Spot Gym where I got to see how strong Daniel Woods and Carlo Traversi are in real life. They are very strong by the the way... Then we ate a lot of pancakes... Vail is 9000ft above sea level so before heading there we drove up Mt Evans, all the way up to 14000ft in the hope that when we got to Vail it wouldn't feel nearly as bad as up there. I really struggled with the altitude. I had a couple of nose bleeds and a really bad headache coming down from Mt Evans. I just had to make do.
A short video of us climbing at the Spot Gym in Boulder. Video by: Shauna Coxsey
When we arrived we got upgraded to an amazing suite with 3 chandeliers! I had a 4 poster bed to myself!
The competition was part of the Go Pro Mountain Games so there was a lot of other events going on that we could watch such as the Slackline World Cup and Slopestyle Mountain Biking. Oh yeah and this weird contest involving dogs jumping into a paddling pool.
Anyway, time to compete! after being in isolation for 4 hours it was finally time to get on the wall. I felt more relaxed this time and felt good. I struggled on the first boulder but regained myself to get the bonus on the second. The third was a 360 campus on 2 finger pockets. I hadn't tested my hand on pockets in a while so I thought I'd give it a go gently. As soon as I started to weight it it really hurt and let go. I had to do the move off my front 2 fingers and did it next go. I reached the bonus several times but could not finish the boulder.the 4the was really hard and after a moment of stupidity not seeing the blue hold on the blue volume I topped the last problem. Another slab! Leaving this comp I knew what I wanted to do in the next comp. top a burly boulder!
Photo by: Eddie Fowke (The Circuit)
Before leaving America we headed out to Independence Pass with Chris and some other friends. And got to see the amazing ice caves. They were so cool and can only be expressed in full by actually seeing them in person. It rained so we went into Aspen for a hot chocolate then got to do a little bouldering when it dried up before getting snowed out. After all that we finished up with a greasy burger before leaving for the airport.
For now it was back to the UK for training and much needed sleep.
Haiyang and Laval blog will be up in a few days.