Thursday, 20 August 2015

5 month round up! By Connor Byrne

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I last blogged, but yep I am still alive, survived my first year at Sheffield University and am still climbing.

British Universities and Colleges Sports - Bouldering
February saw me in another boulder competition; this was the British Universities and Colleges Sport Bouldering competition (BUCS), a massive event embracing many sports and about 6000 athletes. I was in the Sheffield University team in the Bouldering (no lead climbing comp), with about 200 competitors in the male bouldering and only 4 to go through to the finals I knew it would be a tough day; it was great climbing as part of the Sheffield team and I was happy with my bouldering but did not expect to be in the finals. I was amazed to find I tied 4th for a place in the finals. It was a great atmosphere in the Climbing Works for the final. I knew the three problems were going to be hard, and there would be one on a slab, (which would need more balance and flexibility than I have).  The slab problem took 7 goes to top, my lead climbing stamina came in as I could just keep trying in my allotted 4 mins.

BUCS final problem one, photo James McIlveen

I was totally stunned to find I had come third; beaten only by Joe Swales and Ashley Wolsey-Heard.

On the back of their BUCS success the University of Sheffield team were invited by the BUCS organisation to enter the European Universities Sports Association competition in Poland (more about this later).

Team Training in Europe and EYC Dornbirn (AUT)

My lead training had been going well, and over the Easter break I travelled out to Austria for some training on the walls at Imst, Trivol and Arco, with some of the GB junior team for a few days. There were some fantastic mountain passes we drove over, between Italy and Austria. And some pretty good ice cream to be had in Italy.  Then it was back to Uni before the first EYC of the year.

Finally, in May, it was out to Dornbirn for the first EYC of the year.  We had a day to rest and explore before the competition, Dornbirn is very quaint and at risk of sounding like the tourist office the countyside is quite beautiful too. 

The comp wall had plenty of overhangs, and after a good look at the routes I was feeling quite confident…  However on my first route I stupidly found myself wrong handed and all was lost. This put me really low in the group and I was very disappointed, yet again I have mucked up the first route, I know I could have done so much better. 

The first route (yellows), that caused my downfall.

I pulled myself together and had a much better climb on the second route; finding myself being joint 11th place on that route.  However my appalling first climb put me in 20th overall.  I need to seriously think why I don’t perform well on the first route at the International Competitions. I know I can climb so much better.  Hopefully I will resolve these head matters before my next International. 

Having a better time on the second route

Preparation for EUSA and World Cup

The EYCh clashed with my first year exams, a real pity as they were in Edinburgh; however the day job has to come first sometimes.  I am now busy getting my stamina back, a quick trip to Ratho last weekend shows I need to work a bit on this still.

A bit pumped, photo Ian Dunn

I have two main events over the summer that I am really looking forward to, the first is the EUSA comp in Poland (mentioned above) the University of Sheffield have been really supportive to me over the year, I am really looking forward to being part of the team to represent them, they have organised us some great kit and it’s going to be an interesting competition, a little different to the EYC format, although still overseen by the IFSC.
Each competitor has to do two disciplines, I have gone for boulder and lead (speed is not quite my thing), although I am a bit worried as the boulder comp is the day before the leading. Our teams consist of Jen Wood, Luke Dawson, Sam Williams and yours truly; we don’t yet know who are on the other teams internationally but hope to do really well.  As far as I know we are the only GB Uni team entered so we are also representing GB. Unfortunately this clashes with the EYC at Mitterdorf, it’s just not possible to do that event as well.

Later in August is the IFSC World Youth Championship in Arco, I need to get training hard. 

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