Molly Thompson Smith

Molly Thompson Smith
Edinburgh EYC 2013

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Another long trip - This time... Austria

Route 1 in Imst 
After being at home for only 5 days, I headed out to Austria for 2 more competitions – the first a World Cup held in Imst and the second a European Youth Competition in Längenfeld 2 weeks later. I will be brief: Imst was another disappointing competition for me… in fact all of the World cups have been disappointing.  I’m not saying I expected to go out and find the compeititons a walk in the park, I just know I didn’t climb as well as I could’ve.

Training in Vienna with Georg
The conditions in Imst were pretty good; Sunny but the air was fairly cold so friction was high. The first route was quite techy and I managed to get through half of it before feeling the pump kick in. I found that clipping really messed me up in this competition; on the first route where I fell, you had to get a clip from a certain hold otherwise it was too far to reach from the next holds. I felt too pumped to get the clip from the awkward crouched on a volume position and so went for the next hold but by then the clip was out of reach and there was no way I could continue. Again I messed up a clip on route 2 which was, frustratingly, more my style and I think I could’ve got pretty high on if I hadn’t have gone passed the best place to clip a draw from. This meant I wasted energy climbing up and down to try and clip and when I did get the clip in I had become too pumped and fell on a hard rollover 2 holds higher.
The Längenfeld competition wall

After Imst I was very motivated to train hard and was looking forward to spending the two weeks between the World Cup and the EYBC in Austria. It was so cool to use their amazing facilities and visit walls in Vienna and Mitterdorf. And I even managed to climb on some rock too!

I really wanted to improve on my performance in L’Argentierre and my goal for the competition was to make the top 10. I really enjoyed the set and felt pretty strong on most problems. I got off to a good start but started making errors and slipping. I finished with 6 tops in 9 and all of the bonuses. Unfortunately this was not enough for finals but it did mean that I had achieved my goal, finishing in 9th place. I was pleased to have achieved my goal but not satisfied. I was so close to finals; I needed one more top and on my flash go on boulder 2, I fell after touching the last hold which if I'd have topped would've pushed me into finals. Every other go on that problem my foot popped. This was really frustrating for me as I was so close to making the finals and when it comes down to things like foot slips which can easily be avoided it makes it even more annoying. Sadly Längenfeld was my last international boulder competition of this season but I wish the boulder team the best of luck for the European Championships in Arco in a couple weeks!

Crew in Längenfeld
Focused! Picture by Heiko Wilhelm

Now I’ll focus on lead again as the World Youth Championships is quickly approaching! With a month to go I’m extremely motivated to get that last bit of training in before we literally travel to the other side of the world to Noumea (New Caledonia).

Finally I’d like to say a massive congratulations to Will Bosi for his well deserved 2nd place in Längenfeld, and Tara Hayes and Max Ayrton for their strong performances in the finals J

Thanks for reading!

And thanks to my sponsors:

Lyon (La Sportiva, Petzl, Beal)
Berghaus
NuLine
Natoora
Michael and Lauren Clancy
Sports Aid
Sport England
Westway Development Trust

My Grandparents :)


Saturday, 26 July 2014

France Blog

Chilling in the apartment in Chamonix
Supporting the boys in Chamonix during qualifications 
My journey started on the 9th of July with an early flight to Geneva. The first of my 3 French comps was the Lead World Cup in Chamonix. I was really excited for this one, as I’d never been to Chamonix and the wall looked amazing. We arrived the day before the men’s quails to miserable, grey conditions... not what I’d been hoping for! The weather stayed like this for the whole trip, which was quite disappointing, but bearable on women’s qualification day (Men’s was horrific; rain and super cold temperatures). For me Chamonix was a disappointing comp… I knew I wasn’t as fit as I’d like to have been and that the routes would be hard. The first route was average – I fell at a cruxy section where you had to spin so that your feet faced the audience and work them around, eventually spinning back around. So yeah, confusing. The second route I felt pretty good on and knew what I had to do…. But decided not to do it and put a toe hook rather than using a heel, resulting in a fall. So I was very disappointed with my climbing in Chamonix but enjoyed watching the very wet and cold finals! Such a great atmosphere despite the dreadful weather.

Chamonix Qualifications Route 1

Sunday came and once my dad arrived to join myself and my coach (Rob), we drove to Briançon. The week between the comps was a relaxed and very hot one! We managed to get out on a bit of rock, doing some easy routes and a few hardish boulders but it was high 30s every day. It was also super cool to watch the French National comp that was held on the Briançon wall a couple days before the world cup.
Route 1












A couple days later I was the one competing on the Briançon wall. My routes looked incredibly hard with superstars like Dinara Fakhritdinova only getting just above the half way point on the wall on route 1. Warming up I felt psyched but unfortunately it just wasn’t meant to be and I didn’t get very far on either route, falling on crux moves just before the big rest jug. My performance was frustrating but I thoroughly enjoyed watching the semi finals which had been brought forward to that same night as the qualifiers.  This was a good decision as the finals the next day were cancelled due to a horrific storm. They semis had the atmosphere of a finals so it was amazing to watch and really made me feel psyched again.

Climbing on warm rock!
Lonely Brit - Presentation in Briançon
On Sunday I joined the youth boulder team in L’Argentiere La Bessee, a short drive from Briançon. Our pad was amazing and we had a few games of darts, jungle speed, many horror film viewings and even a BBQ. I had so much fun on this trip and I was with a bunch of really great people. The comp started on Tuesday… and it was hot. I found it pretty hard to climb when the sun came out; I could really feel it zapping my energy and my shoes felt smaller than ever. The blocs were hard but I think the set kind of suited me. I managed 3 flashes, a hard bloc 3rd go and another bloc which started with a sidewards dyno into a slanted volume and round hold on my last attempt. I was really pleased I could do that bloc as jumping is not my thing! 2 more of the blocs I think I could’ve done if I had had more time. It was an interesting qualification round and I could really see the things I needed to work on and become more comfortable with.


Overall I had a tough climbing time in France but really enjoyed hanging out with my friends. I am really excited to go home and train with a new attitude. Things are going to get much harder!

I’m looking forward to going to Imst for the next World Cup next weekend and then staying out in Austria until the next youth boulder European competition in Laengenfeld.

Thanks to my sponsors:

Lyon (La Sportiva, Petzl, Beal)
Berghaus
NuLine
Natoora
Michael and Lauren Clancy
Sports Aid
Sport England
Westway Development Trust
My Nanny and Grandad :)



Sunday, 29 June 2014

Getting a feel for rock

Bouldering at Carrock 
So after the EYCH in Edinburgh I headed back up North to the Lake District, home of the Hitman (aka Liam Halsey) and his girlfriend Lucy with my coach Rob Russell. I was spending a week at Liam's so I could get out on some rock. The trip wasn't focused on me 'sending hard things' or 'crushing', I just wanted to experience the whole process of going out climbing for a day or week. And I can definitely say it was very new and uncomfortable!

After a 5 hour drive we arrived at the Hitmans, had some pie and headed off to Carrock for an afternoon/evening of bouldering. I was still tired from the Euro champs and so I was relieved to find out the walk to the boulders we would be climbing was really short. We warmed up on some easy blocs and then moved onto less basic things. I really enjoyed the bouldering on rock and found it pretty similar to indoor bouldering.
Having some fun ahah



Climbing Pierrepoint at Gordale

Tuesday saw us travel to St Bees for a day of bouldering by the sea. The weather was absolutely amazing which is why we decided to go there. The approach was a bit sketchy but I loved St Bees so much; the rock was so attractive and the moves really cool. I enjoyed climbing everything - from the really basic blocs to trying much harder problems. I especially enjoyed working 'Headbanger' - the first move was the hardest for me and after some helpful beta from Dan Varian I managed to get it many attempts later. I also had a play a few other harder blocs and had fun trying to make up new sequences to make the moves easier or more doable for myself. My favourite problem I tried and watched Liam demolish was 'Floating Points'. It was like a board problem... so my favourite type of bouldering!

Pierrepoint, Gordale
The next day we travelled up to Malham. It was really hot and the midges were out in full force meaning we bailed after one route. Although I didn't get to climb anything the rock looked really cool and hopefully I'll be back soon! We moved over to Gordale after an ice-cream and tea break. I found it so much harder getting used to climbing on a rope outside... I would look at the wall or look at Liam climb something and not see anything... it was just blank to me. This meant that I was just patting around on every route ha! Obviously I will get better at seeing things over time but it was something I struggled with. It was great watching Rob and Liam climb... it was clear they were very experienced and knew how to read the rock so it was really helpful being able to try and learn from them.


Thursday we were lucky enough to visit the Lyon HQ in Tebay and have a tour... it was really nice and interesting to see what actually happens behind the scenes! So thanks so much Lyon for having us and Corin for the t
Beta from the Hitman
our! We also picked up some amazing gear which was so good to use. After, we travelled up to Troll Gill (not sure of its actual name!) and again had to bail due to ridiculous midges
. It was really frustrating to walk in to the crag and see how cool the rock and the lines looked but be so distracted by the midges and have to leave. But thats just how it is sometimes. It was nice to have my first rest day in a while anyways!

Friday we decided a day of bouldering would be best and hopefully the midges wouldn't be so bad. We spent most of the day at Virtual Crag which took me a while to get used to the rock. I found it quite sharp and the holds uncomfortable. But I got used to it and managed to do a few cool blocs which was fun :) Afterwards we headed to Langdale boulders and lazed around in the sun (and did a bit of climbing!).

La Sportiva Katanas ft. Rob



Saturday we retuned to Gordale to get another ropes day in. Rob thought it'd be cool for me to have a play on the famous 'Supercool'. It was such a nice route with really really cool moves. I really want to get back to Gordale again and get on the route again some time.

Sunday we drove home, myself and Rob both shattered! It was really nice to experience a week outside and I certainly learnt a lot! It was pretty uncomfortable for
me at times as I'm used to a nice café on site or at least some toilets! And walking through glass
Chillin at Virtual Crag
doors to get to the wall rather than a half an hour walk in! But I'm really glad I've had a proper introduction to rock climbing and I plan to get out a lot more and get more confident on the rock!

Big thanks to Liam and Lucy for putting me up and to Rob for putting up with me for a whole week too!
And a massive thanks to Steve and the Lyon guys for all the awesome gear and also to Berghaus for the super comfortable clothing.


                                                       
Trying hard on 'Floating Points' at St Bees.

Thanks to my sponsors:

Lyon (La Sportiva, Petzl, Beal)
Berghaus
NuLine
Natoora
Michael and Lauren Clancy
Sports Aid
Sport England
Westway Development Trust



And to Rob and Liam for the pictures

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Gold and Silver - The Euros

I've decided to not write a massive blog on what went down in Imst as I think the few articles that have been published have done the job pretty well and I don't want to just repeat them! So here's a quick bit about my preparations and feelings in Imst and a few links to any articles on it if you haven't seen them already.

Imst Qualification Route 2
Imst Final Route
Usually I feel pretty nervous before a comp… not bad nervous but good nervous. But for Imst I felt nothing. I’d gotten ill the day before I started my GCSEs which was gutting… It was ridiculously difficult to study, sit the exams and even harder to train! Almost 3 weeks later Imst was creeping closer and closer and as I was not really getting much better my parents had decided I wouldn’t go to Imst. Of course I was mortified and so tried everything I could to get better quickly… steaming, medication, rested from training… and it slowly got better. I just about convinced my parents to let me go and headed to the airport for a long journey to Imst. The day before the comp I decided to not leave the hotel and stayed in whilst the team went out to explore and ride the Alpine Coaster. I’m pretty proud of myself for being mature enough to tell myself to stay in and not go out with my friends so I would hopefully not feel any worse for comp day. Whilst the team was out I watched a couple films and had a really good yoga and meditation session, which calmed me down a lot. After a restless night I woke up pretty tired and demotivated for the comp. Nevertheless, I did what I needed to do and made finals in 8th. I was really nervous for the final route - the most nervous I'd ever been which i found strange. I gave myself a little pep talk down in the holding area beneath the wall and really got in the zone... something I'm going to try and do more often! Somehow I managed to pull one out of the bag and have a great final climb leaving me with a massive grin and my first gold! :) It was so rewarding to finally be on the top step of the podium and it was also really special for me to be able to share this moment with the team. 
Gold!


Here are the links:


UKClimbing
The BMC
Climb Magazine


Okay, now I thought I'd give you some thoughts on rye European Youth Championships in Edinburgh last weekend:

The 14th and 15th of June saw Europe's best climbers come to Edinburgh for the second major event, and first championship event of the season. I was slightly nervous about this competition as all I had been hearing for the past two weeks was 'Good effort in Imst Molly, I'm expecting another gold in Edinburgh!' Safe to say the pressure was high but I didn't mind.

Final Route Edinburgh
The qualifications were frustrating for me. My first route was on the old comp wall on the line i had had the previous year... Rope drag city basically! This route wasn't exactly my style so I decided to take my time in order to avoid a costly foot slip of misjudgement of how good a hold was. Unfortunately, I took my time too much and ended up being called down for time 2 holds from the top. I was so angry because I knew I could have easily topped this route... what made me even more angry is that my silly error had left me in 16th place on the route with a spot in the finals looking out of reach.

The pressure was on for route 2. Being on the Hangar wall it was automatically more suited to me. I managed to pass a hard move 4 clips up and continue to the roof resulting in a 3rd place on that route and a 7th place overall... finals were calling.

EYCH Edinburgh Podium
Sunday morning came and I was psyched. After my best comp warm up this year I walked out feeling ready. The final route had an easy start with the holds gradually getting worse. I fell at a really big, hard move at the beginning of the roof. I was annoyed because I knew that if I had been able to stick that move I think I could've made it to the end of the roof. Expecting my competitors to breeze up the route, I watched the rest of the girls climb with my team mates and Ian (Team Manager). Surprisingly, all the girls were dropping off beneath my highpoint... it was like deja vu; the same shock and disbelief I had in Imst! I was in first up until the last climber, Alina Ring of Switzerland. Alina looked strong up until a couple moves before where I had gotten to where she started to look pretty pumped. Part of me thought maybe I'd scrape my second gold but Alina fought a good fight, coming off at the same place as me. Following the rules of countback I finished in 2nd place, a result I'm please with as all I want is to be consistent. 

I just want to say a massive thanks to my lovely Mum and Dad who I owe everything to... I wouldn't be able to climb without their amazing support. I also want to thank my teammates for helping me climb to gold and then silver and congratulate them all on their strong performances. And lastly, a huge thanks to my sponsors:

Lyon Outdoor (La Sportiva, Petzl, Beal)
Berghaus
NuLine
Michael and Lauren Clancy
Natoora
Sports Aid
Westway Development Trust
Sport England



PS.Thanks to Tanya Falling and John Ellison for the pictures 


Sunday, 4 May 2014

Flog - an outpouring of feelings

Recently, someone told me they were fed up of hearing about what everyone was sending and wanted to read something that actually made them think - something with substance... so here's my attempt, sorry its quite a long one!

First I want to talk about competition day. I always struggle to eat breakfast the morning of a competition. People always tell me that its just nerves and to hurry up and eat something. But it doesn't help; I just can't. I can't really explain what it is to be honest, but I don't think its nerves. Im not saying I don't get nervous, pretty much everyone does! I get a buzz of pressure, its just the way I work. On comp day, everything feels quiet: breakfast, packing up, the car journey or walk to the wall. It all feels slow and quiet. That is until I get to the wall where everything suddenly gets crazy loud and time seems to skip around the clock. Theres a strange atmosphere - a mix of seriousness and excitement. I like to see my friends from other countries to chill out a bit; the Euros always appear so relaxed and de-stressed. So I hope being around them makes me feel similar.

As with any other (competitive) sport, competition climbing is extremely frustrating. Not that I have much esperienvce outdoors but I guess its the same too. Frustrating. One of the most frustrating things for me is not climbing as well as I should have; foot slips and missing out holds shouldn't happen. Silly mistakes like that, missing out by small margins is devastating. Knowing that if I had rested for 0.5 more seconds on that rest hold or twisted my hips into the wall 2degrees more I would have got that next hold... and the one after is annoying. I often find myself going on a walk or avoiding people after a disappointing climb. Its easier to go through it in your head when team members/parents are trying to be supportive (which I do appreciate!) and telling you how great you did when really, you know you should have done better. Sometimes, I find I need someone, if they're going to say anything to me, to say "Look I know you're angry and you should be, because you can do better than that. So go out and do better on your next route." For me, sitting by myself, removing myself from the situation and waiting until I've calmed down is the best way to deal with disappointment. Once the climbing day is done and I'm sat in bed before I go to sleep I like to analyse my performance and watch the videos of me climbing, seeing what I did wrong and almost beating myself up about it so that I can learn from my mistakes and move on.
         Because after all:
    "The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake - you can't learn anything from being perfect."
                                                                                        Adam Osbourne

Lately I've felt myself start to stop enjoying some boulder competitions. To be honest, I just find them so much more frustrating than lead comps. It's easier to escape and bring things back in a lead competition; you don't have to stay focused for long periods of time like a boulder scramble qualification round or finals when you're in and at of isolation. I find it really hard to keep my head on straight when at a bouldering competition when it's not going well... if I drop somehitng early on that I shouldn't have have, I'll still be thinking about it 3,5,7 blocs later. A good example of a disappointing comp was at a Superleague round. Although these rounds were supposed to be fun, I found myself more stressed than ever! I remember having to pull my shoes off, walk out of the wall and sit down and check my Facebook just to avoid ripping someones head off! I found this so weird as I'm usually pretty collected at comp - It felt like a cared more about not flashing a bloc there than competing in a national or even international event. Somehow the pressure was just too much for me (this is a rarity!) I felt out of control, something I hate. When I feel out of control, I can't bring it back and I'm totally out of the zone and I'm out of the game.

When reading something on the internet I came across two questions that really made me think... and I wasn't sure what to make of my answers.
What is it that motivates you? What is more important: results or achievement?
These questions really stopped me because I realised that I do climb for results most of the time. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love climbing and can't imagine not doing it but I am a competitive person and I feel at home when competing. However, I believe my feelings towards these questions will change once I become more familiar with outdoor climbing. I believe that if you do something you should do it to the best of your ability, but then I also believe you should only do something if you enjoy it, there's no point if you don't. But then sometimes I don't enjoy it. It's hard being committed to something that can provide so much frustration and disappointment - it would be easy to just take off my harness, put my trainers on and go home to the sofa but then I'd be bored and have nothing to enjoy, nothing to challenge myself in. So I do climb for the results... but I do enjoy climbing for the results - I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment when you succeed and you can be thankful you did that extra lap or went to your local climbing wall however many years ago. And yes I do it because I want to be the best. That's what motivates me and what I enjoy.

So that was a messy outpouring of my feelings (or a flog as I call it). I know some things don't make sense and don't agree with each other but thats just the way I think.

Here's another quote I really like:

"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."                   Michael Jordan

Thanks for reading,
Molly