I know it’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog post and I apologise. The bottom line is, ever since we lost both our laptops, I’ve kind of fallen off the grid. I would go days and sometimes a whole week without checking my facebook page as well as my email. Whenever I did manage to find a free place to access internet, there was almost always a line up and writing a blog post just wasn’t one of my highest priorities. For the most part, I was getting ready to come home.
I left off just after the World Cup in Barcelona and I’ll kind of sum up the past month of my life. After Barcelona, Jamie Chong, Sarah Austin and I headed to Rodellar for a very quick trip. We climbed for two days and on the third day we drove back to Barcelona to pick up Mathilde Becerra. Since it was Mathilde’s 18th birthday on August 14, we went out for dinner and tried to show her a good time. After that, Jamie and Sarah went north and Mathilde and I went back to Rodellar. Jamie and Sarah took a train and eventually rented a car to head over to Italy and visit Pisa and Rome and then drive back up to Paris for a week. Along the way, they stopped in Torino and visited Lorenzo who is a climber that was training in Vancouver for a while. Mathilde and I went to Rodellar for 4-5 climbing days. While we were there, Mathilde redpointed her first 8a and I onsighted my first 8b! After Rodellar, we had planned to drive up to Imst. Since Mathilde’s passport was stolen, she couldn’t cross through Switzerland and had to stay behind. I made the 12 hour drive from Toulouse-Imst by myself alone in my car. I stopped once after 6 hours of driving for a quick 15 minute break to fill up for gas and check my oil. After another 6 hours, I arrived back at Jorg’s house in Innsbruck and started getting psyched for the comp. If you don’t already know, I managed to make finals and once again make it onto the podium at a lead World Cup. It’s only the second time I’ve been on the podium for lead and the first time was at the exact same competition one year ago.
After Imst, I drove to Lyon to meet up with the Canadian Junior National Team. Junior World Championships were held on August 27-30 and we were in Lyon a few days before the competition to get the team together before the competition. The day before I got there, the team went to a big garden that was filled with activities and the day I got there, we went to one of the climbing gyms to train before the competition. A couple of days before the competition, we headed to Valence and checked into our new hotel. The day before the competition, we wanted to keep everyone pretty mellow so we went on a short hike to a really cool castle close to Valence and at night, the whole team participated in a 3 table poker tournament. Junior Worlds was a lot different this year in relation to other years. This was the first year that I’ve gone to Junior Worlds as a coach and I think being there as a coach makes you look at the competition a different way. After the first two days of qualifyers, only one climber advanced to semis, Elise Sethna. She competed on the 3rd day and placed a very respectable 20th. I saw that a lot of the climbers were dissapointed with their results and I think that some climbers have unrealistic goals. Because I’ve been in Europe for the past 3-4 years for the 3 months of summer I know how hard climbers have to climb to make every round during worlds. In reality, for the Junior Boys category, if you’re not onsighting 5.12c on a regular basic, you’re not going to make semis. To make finals, you have to be onsighting 5.13a. If our climbers know how hard they have to climb to make semis and they know they’re not at that level, they should be training harder. To make semi finals at the World Championships is already an accomplishment for climbers coming from North America. Our sport is still growing and hopefully will continue to grow in the coming years.
Another thing that bugged me about being at Worlds as a coach is the amount of stress that the parents can put on their kids. I found that some of the parents weren’t happy just sitting in a group watching the competition. Instead, they would try and talk to the kids and eventually just make them more nervous. It’s hard to tell a parent that they’re not helping their kid by talking to them but in some circumstances I wanted to. Like I said before, it was quite different to be a coach at Junior Worlds than a competitor. Before I start ranting about nothing, I’ll get back to my trip.
After Junior World Championships I left my car at the Valence train station and went back to Toulouse with Mathilde. I stayed at her house for about half a week before I started making my way back home. After a 3.5 hour train ride turned into a 7 hour train ride because of a problem in Nimes, I was once again back in Valence. I drove 2.5 hours to the French/Swiss border and after a pretty sketchy encounter with the border patrol, I was back in Switzerland. I visited my friend Christina Schmid in Bern for a few hours then made it back to Basel. My friends Omar Momente and Diana Piazon live in Basel and it’s actually Omar who owns and insures the car that I drive around. I had planned on staying longer with them but because of the mis hap with the trains, I only got to spend one night with them. After 3 plane rides, 4 cokes and a lot of airplane food, I was back in the Vancouver airport, where I had started 4.5 months ago. My trip was finally over and it was one for the memory books. This year, I had surpassed all my goals and had the best summer of my life. Hopefully next summer I’ll be able to do the same thing…