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Tells Us About Your Latest Trip!

 Page 2 of 9. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 60 | 61 to 80 | 81 to 100 | 101 to 120 | 121 to 140 | 141 to 160 | 161 to 168
Ever wanted to go to World Cup?

6:09:12 PM
Wow! Looks amazing!!!
9:10:04 PM
Well today is my last day in Paris. I arrived last Thursday night, and I leave this afternoon (Wednesday). As I have been to the gym most days, it now feels a little like home there, and it is sad to leave behind the friendly climbers I met (and who, I might add, didn't seem to be offended that I do not speak French).

In addition to training, I spent some time visiting the sights of Paris with some other travellers from Mexico, Argentina and England. We did a lot of walking on Monday, so I am really tired now!! Pablo the Mexican and myuself foud ourselves having to catch the Metro during the Paisian rush hour the other day. My goodness. The train arrived, and there were so many people on it that their cheeks were squashed against the windows! Pablo had no choice but to board the train, because he had to make a connection with another train to Barcelona. So I told him not to panic - if worst came to worst, I would push him and his backpack onto the train and make him fit somehow. He would not miss his train to Barcelona. Anyway, turns out I managed to squish on as well, though stupidly missed my window of opportunity to remove my down jacket (which has been washed and tumble dried recently, and as a result is ultra fluffy and warm!) OK so eventually I was no longer standing in an upright position. I was on a diagonal... only prevented from falling over thanks to the countless bodies pressed tightly against all of my vital organs. All passengers were looking in desperation at the windows, wishing more of them were open to provide some fresh air.

Our stop was second last, and still the train was packed. Pablo stressed we would be unable to get off, and I assured him that our plan was to scream "excusez muoi!!!" and if noone moved, scream "allez! allez! allez!" A local Parisian overheard the conversation and was unable to stop himself from laughing at us.
9:12:43 PM
So my train bound for Valence leaves at 3:24pm and it takes just under 3 hours to get there, where I check into hotel World Cup, and the hype begins. Registration is Thursday night, so while you are sleeping on Thurs nite, I will be getting my first glimpse into just what goes on at World Cup. I will bring you more news as it comes to hand. In the meantime, feel free to peruse the Valence World Cup website!
5:39:09 PM
Hi Jac - great to hear you're having such a good time, that pic of the wall looks a bit frightening! Me thinks I'll be hiding that one from mum! Best of luck, really enjoying reading about your trip.

Take care of yourself... are you eating enough? No? Give me strength!

Lotsa luv

6:10:36 PM
Is there a website that we can bet on you Jaq? Whats the odds anyone? [melbourne cup fever!]
6:39:27 PM
On 27/10/2005 nmonteith wrote:
>Is there a website that we can bet on you Jaq? Whats the odds anyone? [melbourne
>cup fever!]

Hi Neilio,

I don't believe there is any such site, no. The key aim is to get off the ground on the World Cup route!!! And ideally get a few clips up before being spat off he he he he. If I manage to make it into the roof I will be ecstatic. Also there are usually some large restful holds in the roof which is always nice :-)

Day 1 is the qualifying round(s). Not sure if that means 1 or 2 climbs as yet. A bunch of people will get knocked out in the qualifier. Semis and finals are on day 2.

6:44:25 PM
On 27/10/2005 SNM wrote:
>Hi Jac - great to hear you're having such a good time, that pic of the
>wall looks a bit frightening! Me thinks I'll be hiding that one from mum!
> Best of luck, really enjoying reading about your trip.
>Take care of yourself... are you eating enough? No? Give me strength!
>Lotsa luv

Hellooo little sister. Yes, I am eating enough. Probably a few too many treats from the chocolatiers :-) The town of Valence is really cute... heaps of shopping streets that appear to be pedestrian zones only (ie no cars) and lots of cute little specialty shops. Very nice. At the hotel they speak English but apart from that I am on my own. I went to the butchers yesterday and thankfully he had lots of little toy statues of all the respective animals (rather amusing, I thought), so I was able to point to the cow to indicate I wanted to buy some beef. I added to that the word "petit" and he appeared to understand I wanted a small piece of beef. He he he he he.

Lotsa luv

6:44:28 PM
On 27/10/2005 climbingjac wrote:
>A bunch of people will get knocked out in the qualifier.

Sounds scary. Is there a blood rule? ;-)

6:49:55 PM
On 27/10/2005 nmonteith wrote:
>On 27/10/2005 climbingjac wrote:
>>A bunch of people will get knocked out in the qualifier.
>Sounds scary. Is there a blood rule? ;-)

lol, France free for alls!!
2:51:28 AM
Good evening Australia!

Day 1 of the difficulty (ie onsight) competition is now over. Before I give you a rundown of the day, I'll tell you a bit more about the buildup so you can understand what I came here to achieve.

Some of my biggest fears regarding the competiton were:

1. Hurting my ankle again and being unable to compete and therefore possibly never finding out if I was good enough to pull some moves on a World Cup standard route. I had two close calls in the 48 hours leading up to the comp; one such occasion was when I was fully loaded up with my backpack!

2. Not being good enough to even pull myself onto the wall.

3. Falling off the route embarrassingly early.

4. Becoming gripped with terror about big falls from the route.

What did I hope to achieve by coming here?

1. Take a good hard look at just where the top world climbers are at.

2. See if I come even vagely close to them.

3. Climb on a route which was specifically designed to test the world's best climbers.

4. Experience the atmosphere of such a big event.

5. Show the world that Australia WILL be a big player in the future!!
3:01:14 AM
So here we go. I arrived in the town of Valence a full 24 hours in advance. The reason? This allows margin for error with train cancellations, me getting lost etc. It allows me to settle into my accommodation in a relaxed fashion, and try to make it feel a little like home. In this way, it helps me to feel like I "belong" on the World Cup circuit. I have had time to locate shops that sell suitable food, and make friends with some of the shopkeepers. Well... as friendly as you can be when you do not speak each other's language, anyway. I stocked up on chalk at the local climbing store, where the vendor accidentally charged me too much. I didn't even realise and was surprised when I returned to myhotel and there was a message from a very embarrassed shopkeeper to call the store because he had overcharged me. He had a stall at the comp today and went out of his way to return the 2 euros to me. 2 euros equals 3 aussie dollars. As such I thought it was very kind of him to even bother for such a small amount.

On Thursday night, we were required to register at the venue sometime between 5pm and 8pm. We turned up, they crossed our names, and we left. We came back at 8pm for the technical meeting, where any changes to the rules are explained, we are introduced to the routesetters, we are shown isolation, and we put our watches in synch with the official World Cup clock. Isolation was in a massive gym hall a good 4mins walk away from the actual event building, so they advised us there would be a car to shuffle competitors back and forth. We went back to the hotel, had dinner and got an early night.

Argh, the internet cafe is closing now. I will write more in the morning.


10:48:45 AM
arghh the suspense!! log on jac and fill us in on what happened!
12:09:14 PM
That's like a huge arena. Why don't they build one of them and run part of the world cup in oz?

3:07:42 PM
dont reckon its got the market for the spons to justify it
7:03:29 PM
On 29/10/2005 whitos wrote:
>That's like a huge arena. Why don't they build one of them and run part
>of the world cup in oz?

I heard just yesterday from one of the Austrian officials that a World Cup event might be held in Sydney in 2007 !!
Big Arms
7:17:21 PM
hi jac,
so when does the climbing actually begin? or has it
7:29:11 PM
OK sorry I had to leave you in suspense, but I was at the mercy of yesterday's schedule and the opening hours of the internet cafe.

Right. Comp day. The alarm clock went off at 6.30am... and surprisingly I had slept well through the night. I had a quick shower, and had my breakfast (eggs, bread, OJ). While it is extremely forbidden to use personal stoves in the hotel rooms, a lot of climbers do it. This is so you can eat food you know you will perform well on, rather than leave yourself at the mercy of the food that is available in the town. Extra clothing was thrown into my bag so I could have a choice of attire if the temperature in the hall was not as I expected it to be. My hotel neighbour (the other Australian competitor in Valence; Sarah Matthews from NSW) met, and we started heading across to the climbing hall... in the dark. It is very weird walking across town in the dark when the street sweepers are still working.

Argh my concentration is lapsing. The owner of the internet cafe is talking to friends, or should I say YELLING. It is grating on my nerves.

Anyway, we turned up at the Polygone; the venue of the comp. The actual competing takes place in one hall, while isolation and the warmup area are in a separate gym hall several buildings away. We noted it was odd that there were no signs to guide us there, but we knew when we had arrived at the right place, because there was a handwritten sign stuck to a tree that said something like Coupe du Monde d'escalade. I can't remember exactly what it said, but it was truly hilarious and I took a photo. So, straight into isolation and got our names marked off. There were 8 separate warmup walls to use... some harder than others. There were the obligatory massive mats beneath, and there were a bunch of thinner mats around for us to sit on when not warming up. Tea, coffee, fruit, cake and CHOCOLATE were provided. Woo hoo! Pity I was due to climb early. Cake would not help my cause.

So I started warming up. You do not wait for somone to finish on a wall or offer you a space... you just pull on and start climbing. I had an hour in isolation before it was time to view the route. I had to take all my things with me, because I was fourth climber up (on account of being a newbie to the circuit). After viewing, I would instead return to secondary isolation and continue to warmup and prepare there.

While we were walking over, I realised I was really nervous, and incredibly stressed about being faced with moves so hard off the deck that I'd never even get off the ground. We arrived in a dark passageway behind the comp wall, and we could hear the comentator hyping up the crowd and saying a bunch of stuff in French that I didn't understand. I swear, it was a little similar to the scene out of "The Gladiator" when the poor guys are waiting for the evil gates to open and their fate to be decided. In this case, I reminded myself, we were here to have fun, and if we didn't climb well then, oh well, life goes on. The commentator said a bunch more stuff I didn't understand and then our large group of 34 women and 50 or 60 men was surging forward in a big rush (because viewing time is 6mins and it had just begun). Once again, in front of the wall, most courteousies go out the window. If you want to see something from a particular vantage point, you pushed your way into position.

I was incredibly relieved to observe that the two holds I'd be using to pull off the deck were big... albeit facing weird directions, being a tad pinchy and offering very small footers. It was clear I'd at least make it off the ground. Yay! So it was a pull off the deck and a snatch to a large undercling with the left hand. Then up to a longish thin hold with the right hand, and then... oh dear. The sequence here is not obvious. I have learned from comps in Australia that if a weird looking sequence early on in the route has you puzzled, you do not disregard it and assume that it will be fine when you are on the wall. Just because it is early on in the route, it does not mean it will be easy. There were three holds close together; the long thin one which looked crimpy but positive and feasible to match on; to the left of that, a small chunky layback hold designed for the righthand; or a really bad slighly upside down gaston with the left; and to the left of that, a small piece of rubbish that was slopey and I was 99 percent sure it would only be useful as a footer. As such, I considered that I should sort out my hand sequence assuming it was just a footer.
7:42:37 PM
So eventually I found a glimmer of light through my haze of nerves, and realised I might be able to go from the left hand large undercling; up to the long thin hold with my right hand; match it; execute an awkward crossthru to grab the small chunky layback hold with my right hand; get my feet up; pray; and launch up to a largeish looking pointy slopey hold. I counted the bolt holes; 6 up and 1 across. I compared my reach with bolt holes near the ground and confirmed that in theory I had the reach to execute the launch. But my backup plan would be to grab the small chunky hold with my left hand instead; and attempt to move upwards in this way. This move was of great concern to me, being so close to the ground. Well, I had a plan and a backup plan, and I'd used my binoculars to confirm the crap hold was in fact crap. Time to check out the rest of the route.

Right, looks like a match on the largeish pointy slopey hold; and then reach right into a pocket which is of course not positioned in the most convenient fashion. Then.... ooooh. Another problem. A long shouldery move to the left to one of those holds with heaps of ridges on it. I couldn't tell if any of the ridges were any good, but based on my body position when I arrived at the hold, I would be wanting to grab it as a sidecling. I felt I could see just enough shadow being cast by the ridge on the side to assume that the sidecling part would be sufficient. Either way, there will be some serious body tension happening on that move. Then out to another pocket; then reposition the feet; and reach up a long way to a double ended sloper with a hold on the top, and a slopey undercling on the bottom. After that; you're in the first roof. Woo hoo! Big holds.... but of course feet in all the wrong places. Pull the lip of that roof to a massive jug; take the feet off; dead hang; match the massive jug and turn upside down and put your feet on it. Maybe rest there a bit if possible. And then, the piece de la resistance... THE FIGURE 4 !!! Yes!!!! The hold to do it from was ernormous. There were no feet anywhere convenient and the reach wasn't excessive. An obvious figure 4 sequence. Yee-hah! Then a couple of moves scuffling to the left before the holds get smaller and pinchy and it really hits the fan. The officials called time, and I knew from reading the rules I must leave the viewing area immediately or risk being yellow-carded.
Big Arms
7:43:26 PM
and then ?
7:46:42 PM
Five men and five women (me included) got sent to secondary isolation (one room for men and another for women, each room with its own woodie) and the others were sent back to the main isolation gymnasium. Then it got sort of quiet... apart from the commentator hyping up the crowd and saying something which sounded to me like the French version of "five minutes". OK, time to panic!! I was still really worried about that move low down on the route. I found a perfect replica of the small chunky sidecling hold and checked it out. As a sidecling it is great. If I try to match on it; or use it with my left hand, it could end in tears. Argh!!! My backup plan is not so great afterall. Right. No more worrying, I'll take it with my right hand and do the launch. It WILL work.

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