Friday 31 May 2013

Oceania Championships 2013

NoumeaNew Caledonia

I’m currently on the flight home after a weekend in Noumea, New Caledonia (a French owned island about 3hrs plane trip North-East of Brisbane. I was pretty nervous about coming to a comp so under-prepared (in terms of training) as I've had a wrist injury for a while now and literally have not trained in months. So I wasn't really expecting myself to do very well considering.

Anyway, it turns out I completely surprised myself by topping out all 4 routes (2 qualifiers, semis and finals) and placing 1st. I was the only one to top the semi-finals and the finals route. I really can’t believe it. Yesterday feels like a dream.

The comp was organised really well and it was obvious they’d put in a lot of effort… they made it feel like a World Cup. I've always dreamt about how it would feel to top the finals route at an international competition and having the crowd go crazy behind you. It was such an amazing feeling and it was just as good, if not better than I’d dreamt.

I was the last person left in isolation but I was in a really good and relaxed head space before I got on the wall, but physically ready and excited. In this comp you only had 40 seconds to get from isolation to get on the wall (as opposed to when time starts just when you turn to view the climb). So when my name was called I just ran out and jumped onto my route. I took my time with it, resting when I had the chance even if I wasn’t quite pumped yet, and just taking the climb as it comes… climbing as I would any other climb. I knew the climb looked doable, so in my head it was going to be done, and then I did it. I dunno what magically got me up there but I remember getting to a cruxy-ish section and giving it everything in a controlled execution (ish) then seeing the last hold in front of me and thinking “oh my gosh… you’re right there!… and I'm actually going to get you… There’s only a few more moves left, all of which I know I can do… then it’s the last hold.” I grabbed it like I’ve never grabbed a hold before, clipped the last draw and punched the air like I've always wanted to do, but have never found a time appropriate enough.

When I was coming down the crowd was wild with cheers of support and it was hard to believe that it was me that they were all cheering for. When my feet were on the ground some guy stuck a microphone up to my face and said something in a very strong French accent but I had no idea what to say let alone what he had said. I probably went bright red and said something boring like the route was pumpy... which it definitely was. The officials then wanted me to go pee in a cup to make sure I wasn’t doing drugs or something. They handed me about 5 bottles of water, all of which I skulled and then found I had to wait for all the other podium placers to pee first. So when it was finally my turn... lets just say I was well and truly ready.

On the podium, Carlie LeBreton and I took out the first two spots and Sophie (a New Caledonian who grew up in France) came in third. Axel and Scott from the AUS team also took out the first two places in the Open males category and across the youth categories it was great to see so many Australian’s on the podium. They gave us beautiful trophies and medals and played the national anthem of the winner in each category.

So after a weekend in Nouvelle Caledonie, I’ve had a taste of France and learnt a touch of French, made some New Caledonian friends, had a heap of fun, learnt a lot about myself, and hopefully only slightly delayed the process of my wrist healing. I think I got a lot out of this one. So glad I came.

Merci Nouvelle Calèdonie escalade!

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