|climber at Irish National Lead Comp 2010, Dingle, Ireland|
Climbing in general can be quite an isolating sport, basically just you and a belayer much of the time (and in theory, bouldering you can be solo). While this is part of the allure, i.e. it's not a team sport, it can also make it trickier for getting together as a community.
The IBL does this back in Ireland in many ways, similar competitions here in the UK likewise, and I always just imagined that these can be good if you're into competitions. But what I'd forgotten completely about is the positive energy that comes from watching other people pushing away and seeing each other's enthusiasm. I see a lot of this now that I'm lucky enough to have the Climbing Works a 5 minute walk from the house, but as a general incentive for training throughout the winter, there's really a lot to be said for the comps. And this isn't even for top-end climbers, but for those of all grades - you'll arrive at next summer after a dark and gloomy winter (1 degree here in Sheffield on Wednesday morning) actually stronger than you were last summer, setting you up for a fantastic summer.
I do a lot of training myself personally, I rarely struggle for motivation in that - I enjoy punishing myself, what can I say? :) - but I'm very bemused by the sheer energy and drive I've had since the comp. That's not just to get onto the fingerboard, or more to the wall, but it's given me good food for thought about where I've got simple tasks to fix. For me? I've got a bit of mental focus to sort out, I'm not sure why it happens but being back in work seems to kill my drive on routes. If I look at how I climbed this summer, I was much more unfit and weaker, but I was driven on routes. So for now, I'm attacking all routes and boulder problems I try as onsight, do-or-die attempts, to remind myself of the best way to climb :)
Since a lot of people who were at the comp read this blog, feeling psyched? learn anything about your climbing?