Wednesday, 20 March 2013

James Garden - RocFest, GB Team Trails and The CWIF

When I first heard that the Bouldering team would only be sending 4 men and 4 women to compete in the World Cups this year, I knew I had to be in that 4 and that I would have to work pretty hard to secure that place.  Not being selected was not an option. I wasn't going to sit on the bench waiting for somebody to drop out so I could step up. 

So I took on less work and trained more, really focusing on basic power and contact strength. Using the symmetrical board at Rock Over really helped me to work on these weaknesses along with regular trips to The Works. The thing with competition climbing is you have to be good at everything, slabs, sloppers, dynos, pinches. Its no good hoping the blocs are your style of climbing and it will all work in your favour. 

My first test was the Rock Over competition.  This consisted of 25 qualifying problems spread over 3 hours and 4 final problems with the 4+ format. The competition went well and I went into the final in 2nd place. After flashing the first problem I thought I was going to win. I got the second problem on my third attempt after making some daft mistakes and not topping the third problem at all I didn't win but finished up 2nd behind Ned Feehally. Not a bad start to the year. 

The weekend after Rock Over was the big one, the Best of British team selection at the Biscuit Factory in London. I prefer this style of comp, you’re in isolation and you have 5 minutes on/ 5 minutes off and there are five boulder problems. You don't have to fight your way onto problems, or run around trying to find them, you don't even have to brush the holds yourself.

I qualified into the final in 5th place and was feeling pretty nervous knowing I had to gain a place to be in the team of four. The first problem suited me and after missing a hold on a volume on my first attempt I got it next go. The second problem was all about balancing up an arrete, this went ok. The third problem was pretty nails but went 3rd go and the fourth problem I just couldn't touch so I finished up in 3rd place.  Get in!   I had made the selection !

Next up was The CWIF. Usually a competition I get really nervous for. Getting into semi finals is pretty hard, there are 30 droppable qualifiers spread around the Climbing Works on the arretes, grooves, slabs and vertical walls. There are so many competitors they are split into 2 groups, I opted for a morning session with the idea of having more rest time if I was to get into the semis. This year it all went well for me and I qualified for Sundays semis in 10th place.

The finals were to be a big affair, the CWIFS just gets bigger and better and I knew if the semi's weren't too technical it could go well. I qualified in 6th place for the finals which is last, but I didn't really care, it kind of starts all over again once you ‘re into the finals anyway. They were a lot of fun, having a quality boulder problem in front of you and massive crowd behind you cheering you on is pretty exciting. I climbed well and was on the podium in 3rd place, my best ever CWIF result, I was made up!

Rock Over picture by Beanieboyimages.

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