Last BWC in Innsbruck and The Opening of Lead Season
Bouldering started great. I flashed the first four boulders with ease and did the last one in 3 tries. I felt power and control. Women had a day off, to swap with men, who had it in Brixen. I enjoyed commentating and watching Men's bouldering. The next day was time for last action on the World Cup circuit, as well as to fight for a higher ranking spot, as I was on 5th place at the time. Then I completely busted my performance. I had one top and two zones. I was not able to use any power. As if someone stole everything I had physically and mentally over 48 hours. It was a bad day with a very very bad timing, putting me on 16th place and 8th in general ranking, leaving me in tears.
I participated in the Lead event as well, even though I didn't have time for any proper preparations, as the Boulder season was extremely packed and intense, leaving no space for proper trainings. I took part anyways and enjoyed some pump, achieving 35th place, with much room for improvement.
Hot Summer Disappointment in Brixen
Pics by Ryu Voelkel (1&2) and Lena Drapella (3&4)
Two sad rounds in the USA
2nd round - Korea
Prior to this trip, the last time I visited any Asian country was back in 2018, before my knee surgery and before the pandemic. I had never visited Korea before (besides a 2h layover on the airport), therefore I was very excited about the whole trip.
We arrived in Seoul on Tuesday before the competition, to have enough time to fulfil the Covid19 requirements (double testing), to adjust to the time zone and climate.
Luckily, I experienced a very mild jet lag, I climbed in two of the many bouldering gyms in Seoul (The Climb and Climbing Park Hanti), but I did get pretty tired on the sightseeing.
The qualification round was pretty physical. I topped all the problems, but I definitely worked hard for them. Sometimes I think to myself, why do I try so hard in qualifications, then I climb at the very back in semifinals and struggle with friction. Exactly that scenario happened in semifinals - it was hot and humid, plus chalked up. I barely fought my way up on number 2, which I managed to top, and number 3, where friction definitely wasn't on my side. The 4th problem - a slab - I flashed, using my height to skip the last move and match the top earlier than intended. Three tops got me through to finals in 6th position, starting first.
In finals, after each boulder, the live results are available for competitors to look at. I was never a fan of this rule, but I always looked at them. Now I decided not to. I am experimenting with different mental tactics, as the final round is for me, mentally the toughest. The final lasts very long, you can hear what is going on for each climber and the rests in-between are so long all kind of thoughts can crawl into your head. This time (and a few successful times ages ago) I managed to completely isolate from the rest. I believe now in Seoul I got a different vibe compared to the finals last year and compared to Meiringen this year.
I found the final boulders pretty exciting to climb. I was very proud to have flashed the mantle move on no. 1, as I have struggled with the technique and power required for it the whole winter - the desperate work on it finally payed off. No. 2 was a slab which could have been more difficult for me due to my height. I felt like I froze in the middle, unable to move my feet higher. On the side note, the zone hold was the most useless handhold on the wall. This happens often recently, that the zone is basically a foothold, then you have critical judging decisions, appeals and a mess. Sometimes I really wonder why routesetters make this so much more complicated, instead of deciding for a more useful hold.
Zone hold is rewarded if the hold controlled: (Control means, for the purposes of judging and scoring, that a competitor has made use of some object/structure to achieve or change a stable body position ).
If you can't hold it or use it, why is that the zone??
Anyways, I topped the dynamic no. 3, which I really enjoyed. The 4th one I unnecessarily complicated at the start, losing all the time, passing the crux at the very last attempt and running out of time 2 moves away from the top. Sad, but educative. The funny trick to doing the first sequence was to push the forehead against the wall to create the upward force. Then it was all on balancing the feet and hands and slowly turn around - that part I found weird. That top would have gotten me on the podium, but I would say 4th place is also fine :)
Currently still 2nd on the World Ranking (12 months, including World Champs) and 3rd in the World Cup overall for 2022.
The first World Cup of 2022
There is no better way to start a season than to be in the finals of the first World Cup. Meiringen was a great host as always, although we all got rusty into the new season, including the IFSC (more thoughts will follow).
I didn't believe my semifinal performance was going to be sufficient for the spot in the finals. I achieved two tops and four zones, having fallen very close to the finish of the boulders #3 and #4. I already lost a lot of skin on the jump in the last boulder, but also half of my thigh skin from a deep kneebar on the #3. It all still burns. It was extremely intense to follow the change in results, but somehow, I managed to stay on the 4th place and proceed to the final round!
I was very excited. It's been years since I last made it to finals in Meiringen. I warmed up well and I felt pretty fresh. During the observation I thought that I am capable of doing all the boulders, with some concerns of the traverse of #1, the top of #2 and the jump at #4 (which seemed like an obvious downward jump - for which I asked and complained, but the routesetters pretended not to understand my question and the jury president said it was "fine"... okay).
It turned out that the #1 was perhaps much more difficult for my height.
On #2 I felt a tweak in a joint of my index finger during the full-crimp. The more I pulled, the more pain I had with a very weird sensation of hyper-extension in the joint, so I dropped down and ended my attempt. It didn't cause further problems (as I had no more crimps to take).
I misread the slab or thought that the beta I chose would be easier (closer) than it seemed. I got scared. I tried to avoid switching the feet but it only led me into positions which felt like suicide.
feeling terrified and kicked out of my head from #3, I had little mental energy left for #4. I couldn't generate the swing and lost the battle with the (another scary) downward move.
All in all, I feel like I am on a great path. I am more than excited for training and really looking forward to the next World Cup in Korea!
Getting ready for the 2022
As the pandemic is still taking lives across the world, we can only hope, once again, to have a normal season ahead of us. Nobody is fully aware of how the restrictions will limit our travels, training and performance across the globe during the upcoming season, but we can all do our best to be ready as if everything was normal.
I have been a part of German team simulations almost every weekend for a month now and each one of them presented a different challenge. However, the path finally has some concrete basis, the hopes are up and the body is adapting to the new approaches, and new bio-mechanical circumstances. What a funny thing a human body is. Every year there are new obstacles to overcome. At least it is never boring.
The short trip in Chironico yielded another solid 8A+ boulder. After a few days of projecting, fighting the fears at the topout and adapting to the length of the boulder, Delusion of Grandeur finally surrendered. Very tiring on the right hamstring and requires good explosive power and contact strength at the beginning, as well as some power endurance and a strong head at the top. Fun boulder.
Another World Championship Medal
Back from Moscow with another medal this year and another bronze on a World Championship. The finals presented a great emotional and mental challenge. I started in a pretty nervous manner but managed to pull back the focus and secure a medal with the top of the last boulder.
Three weeks in South Africa felt like being on another planet. It was my first time in this bouldering heaven. The first week was smooth and successful, having climbed The Arch 8A+/B and Shosholoza 8A+ (FFA). After these, I sent Pendragon 8A in a day, but struggled with dabbing. Some days later, I stuck the dyno and ticked the Oral Office 8A+. The last and the toughest climb was Mooiste Meisie 8B. It took me 5 heavy projecting days, with emotional failures. On the second to last day of the trip, the freshness returned and I gave it a first female ascent on a wonderful sunset. The last day I gave Black Shadow some tries, but that is left for my next visit. Check out the video of the ascents, by Matthias Woidneck.