22 January 2011

Saas Fee 2011

A great competition as always!

I decided a few months ago not to splash out on the earlier rounds of the UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup (luckily as it turns out - a broken ankle would have made it impossible to compete) I almost didn't even climb at Saas Fee.  I'm so glad I came to the comp though, competing gives a slightly different buzz from onsight trad or bouldering but just as much fun in its own way.  Sadly though my performance level had been decided months ago by a summer of mainly trad slab climbing followed by UK mixed which does not give a good build up for the powerful 6 minute sprint of a competition - that was before a month of demotivating sitting around with a damaged ankle.  I climbed ok but no where near what I'm capable of and will probably finish about 40th out of 70 (I usually place around 20th)  Next year, is the annually repeated mantra.  The feeling of having not enough strength to do the moves of the qualifying route highlighted to me how much training I had been doing previously, not a structured training routine, more like regularly getting out on steep ground with axes and trying hard.

It was cool to hear from the other competitors how well respected the Ice Climbing World Cup is around the world - there were 400 individual competitors last year and the total prize purse for this years Korean round was over 30,000 Euros.

Maybe next year?

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7 January 2011

Starting another hobby

Looking back to last spring.
Day Tripper, Lands End, BMC International Meet

Today I picked up my axes for the first time since I broke my ankle and went for a fitness test on the chalk.  FAIL.
My ankle has been improving steadily but the pace of improvement has slowed recently and I was starting to get a bit more bored and unmotivated.  An x-ray two weeks after the break showed that the bone was healing well but the fracture was still clearly visible and some foot movements make me jump.  Also on my mind is knowing that an x-ray doesn't even show anything that might have happened to tendons, ligaments or cartilage.

Thinking about the powerful style of world cup competition climbing leaves me knowing how badly prepared I am!!  Blasting up the steep routes for 6 minutes requires strength and power, even before the weeks of break induced eating and drinking my training had been long walk-ins and hanging on for days placing wires in icy cracks rather than one armers.  Oh well, I've got the memory of the highest UK finish (10th) in the world cup since the early days of the competition, with some support there is no reason why another UK athlete could not challenge for a good finish. I'm not totally giving up as there is another couple of weeks before the World Cup starts for me so hopefully I will be able to at least climb to my current potential and maybe part of the competition will be placing a cam behind an icy flake or driving a warthog in to a blob of frozen turf.

At least I can walk sort of normally on a level surface now and even kick gently with a mono point so that's progress but any ankle twisting makes me flinch.  I have been doing some stretching but the best physio was walking uphill from the pub with an alcohol anaesthetic.  Today though, trying to actually climb on chalk was like learning a new sport.

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4 January 2011

going nowhere fast

Sofa surfing and eating has been keeping me amused (just).

The highlight of my Christmas has been a book randomly picked from a pile of paperbacks in a club hut.
An Unexpected Light: Jason Elliot.

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