Chocolate, fingernails and climbing

By Kenny Stocker

The day of the BBCs saw all extremes for me. First I was psyched. Following this I was just having fun. Then I was low, very low. Next I was ridiculously happy. Then I was nervous, then I was happy again and finally I was unable to sleep, although I needed it!

Originally this was going to be a fun, relaxed, care free competition: I’d just finished exams and had a few months off training. And of course, I’m a leader. Sadly it’s impossible to not get psyched and hyped up for crushing when you see the awesome and interesting problems that had been set for the qualifiers. So that was my carefree attitude gone!

My new attitude meant I thoroughly enjoyed, and crushed the qualifying problems, topping far more than my original target. I was on a role. I didn’t follow the crowd and got on unclimbed and ‘scary’ looking problems everyone was avoiding. This was an essential tactic for getting the 10 problems finished in such a short time.

Very frustratingly I still ran out of time. This was my low point. I hadn’t had time to get on one of the easier more possible problems. This meant my score was lower than it could have been, and I never got to try and crack it! I had to leave with out even attempting it! Fuming, I went and had some chocolate and grumbled. Then they read out the qualifying 8 competitors.

I had done it. I’d made the final I’ve been aiming for since I was 12. This was most certainly my high point. I was literally on top of the world. Then we were put in isolation. I calmed down. I got my boots back out. I re-warmed up. I stayed hot in my down. I went to the loo countless times. I ate all my finger nails off. I was some what nervous now. It was my first ever BBC final.

My nerves escalated until I was called up to climb the first problem. Then I was utterly composed. It was just climbing. It was an interesting final to say the least, the route setters may have over estimated our strength just a little bit. But I did my best, almost topping one of them… And I thoroughly enjoyed attempting these bizarre and obscure creations.

It had been an amazing competition and I was on another high when I discovered that I had come 3rd in the youth A category. My best result to date, I think.

After my buzz had begun to subside a little, however, I began to notice a pain in my shoulder. It seems I gave a little more than I had to give to this competition and am sitting writing this drugged up with ibuprofen and a hot pack on my arm - the reason for my inability to sleep. Hopefully it will heal fast and I will be able to get on with some hard core training ASAP!

It wasn’t just me at this comp though, even coach Benny was climbing! For full results visit the BMC website.

Naomi Tilley

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