A French Adventure
A couple of weeks ago I competed in the Nuit Centrale Verticale, an event in France. It was also the first event that I have been invited to, well exciting! The event has been running for 9 years and has grown into a weekend of action!
The weekend was held at a newly built university on the outskirts of Paris, with a whole building dedicated to the Climbing wall it was pretty impressive. I flew out the day before the comp to chill and also watch the Saturday event.
The Saturday event brings together students from universities all over France. It was basically the French equivalent of BUC’s (the final of which happened last weekend in Sheffield). Competitors do both boulders and routes, and then the top climbers qualify for the final in the evening. It was great to see so many psyched people all encouraging each other to try hard.
Saturday also allowed me to check out the beautiful surroundings of the university, made even prettier with the large amount of snow which had fallen! A good day!
Sunday arrived and with it the event I was there to compete in. There were a number of the French team there and also a couple of other very strong people from other countries. The qualifiers consisted of 40 boulders(!). They all ranged in style and were grouped into 4 difficulty bands. You could be quite tactical with the ones you climbed, as if (for example) you topped all the medium ones then you automatically got the easy ones. The risk however with this was was that if you couldn’t do one, you would then have to climb all of the easier boulders too (as you wouldn’t automatically get the points). It definitely made it more interesting! There were some really cool blocs, a few run and jumps, lots of 3D climbing and a few ratty crimps thrown in for good measure! I think the qualifiers were a great range and certainly split the field. After a couple of hours of trying flippin’ hard (and surprising myself on a number of boulders!) I made it through to the final. Psyched!
The final was a strange format – 5 boulders with 3 attempts on each boulder. You had to wait for everyone to have 1 attempt though, before you could have your 2nd and 3rd try. Odd! But also pretty cool! I think it was good for the crowd, but maybe not so good for the climbers, as it was hard to learn the movements (if you were struggling on a move) due to the wait time between attempts.
I managed to hold my qualifying place and finish 4th – a result which I was pleased with. I think I could have maybe climbed a little better on one boulder, however this wouldn’t have affected my result. It’s the first time in a (what feels like) a very long time where I was content with my climbing in a competition environment. That is a really nice feeling and a massive confidence boost.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to compete in this event and it was great to compete and climb with some of the strong World Cup climbers! Everyone was so very friendly and welcoming, I really got made to feel at home.
Hopefully I will be there again next year!