It has been a while since I last wrote, partly because of weather and party due to lack of psyche. We had a really fun new year with friends in Fontainebleau but most of that was inside playing games while it was rainy and foggy outside. So our psyche took a bit of a hammering at the start of our time in Font. I then went back to the UK for a long weekend to see family and to take part in the British Bouldering Championships that was held at the London Excel centre this year as part of the Outdoor Show. I was quite psyched for the competition and was feeling pretty strong on the rock after some recent successes in Ticino. I was hoping that this would transfer to climbing on plastic (as I hadn't climbed indoors for nearly 4 months), but it really didn't. I didn't feel awful but I felt like I didn't have the raw body power that you get from indoor climbing and also I didn't have the fitness to go with it. Indoor climbing can feel so different and be such a different style to climbing outdoors. I made it to the final and came in 5th place which wasn't bad but wasn't what I had wanted from the day. A real highlight from the day was Shauna Coxey. She flashed all the problems in the competition and was just brilliant. Very strong and powerful, very natural and definitely the rightful winner!
So with my psyche and confidence a bit damaged I returned to Fontainebleau where the forecast was looking up.
However, back in the forest I was struggling. I was feeling pretty homesick after seeing friends, I had a cold and I was climbing rubbish. I had completely lost my mojo. I was trying a problem in the forest called Les Beaux Quartiers (on the Gecko block) and before my trip to the UK I had done it without the first two moves but when I got back I was getting nowhere near despite the good conditions. I felt very despondent for a few days and even considered cutting my trip short and just going home. I thought that, despite all the climbing outside, perhaps four months with no training meant that I was just getting weak.
I decided to stop trying any of my projects and just climb things that I could do quickly to get some confidence back and rediscover my love for simply climbing with no self inflicted pressure. It worked a treat. I didn't do anything hard but I had a good time and I tried some things I had never seen before. My wish list grew as I saw more things I would like to try and do, and this in turn took the pressure off my desire to finish Beaux Quartiers.
Here is a little video of a soft 7C at Gorge Du Houx:
So, a week or two later with my mojo back in toe, I decided to try again on Beaux Quartiers. It was a perfect day, 0 degrees. I warmed up on a fingerboard at Maisonbleau and headed out with Kook. I was struggling with doing the first crux move on the link (a move I could do in isolation) but eventually I managed to hold the top of the shield from the start and then I knew it was on. A bit of a rest and I managed to pull it out of the bag. Very surprised – it could easily have taken longer!
Here is the video of how it went:
And some pics:
So now psyche is back and the conditions and forecast are perfect.... :)