After graduating from Sheffield University last summer I had put aside this year to train and compete almost full time. I spent most of the winter indoors at the wall or on the fingerboard building up to the CWIF, the competition used as team selection for the year ahead. I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform well, determined to be selected for the World Cups. Luckily, despite quite a few wobbles, I finished in 10th place and qualified for the full World Cup season.
The first World Cup was in Meiringen, Switzerland. It was flipping hard. Despite doing a couple of boulder World Cups back in 2014 it definitely felt like a new experience to me. The field was huge, I was in isolation for hours, and I found the atmosphere quite overwhelming so couldn’t perform at my best. The comps at the start of the season are pretty much consecutive weekends so I chose to work on two things before the next round in Moscow; stepping back from the wall and brushing my own holds. They sound simple and obvious, but with a large crowd behind you I often find I huddle into the wall when I feel under pressure. These simple goals made sure I took the whole boulder in and embraced the atmosphere. It worked great. I started to feel more comfortable on the big stage and got a couple of tops in Moscow and finished 47th, a big improvement from Switzerland. Next up was China. With such a great team atmosphere this year a lot the trip felt like a holiday. It was really interesting exploring a country with such an extreme difference in culture to our own. We explored temples, parks, shopping centres, restaurants, and obviously all the climbing walls. Having such a good time around the competitions helped reduce the pressure and in Tai’an I improved my result again to 28th with 3 tops. By the Japan and Munich rounds I was pretty drained, although I didn’t notice at the time. Because I was getting used to competing at that level my results were improving at every comp so I overlooked just how tiring all the travelling is. I had a great time however in both the last two World Cups and learned so much from each one but looking back I think I had lost a little bit of fight. But that was all part of the learning process for this year. I wanted to see how it felt to do the whole season and learn how to recover between each round.