Archive for December 10, 2017

When the final isn’t THE final

Snow is threatened!!!

Just what you need to hear when you have a journey to Newcastle to make for the final round of the BmC Paraclimbing comps for 2017.

So, to cover all eventualities a pup sitter was sourced for both Vicky and Fizz (us humans getting stranded in the snow is one thing, but not at all suitable for a dog; extra layers and clothes packed; along with extra car supplies SHOULD we end up stuck.

Driving up wasn’t an issue, apart from the odd icy patch, we managed to make good time.

Saturday morning we awoke to frost, but thankfully NO SNOW.

But the temperature was too cold.  It would actually have to warm up to snow.  And I am sure I have mentioned before how cold weather and climbing centres don’t really mix?

Especially when said climbing centre is inside an old church….

So, base layers, t-shirts, jumpers, coats AND hats at the ready I was warm. (But totally unable to climb with all these layers.

Newcastle Climbing Centre had restricted entry, it was only available for the competition, which made for a much quieter and less stressful day, but it was really REALLY really COLD.

The first top rope route was long, it wasn’t technically difficult, but such a high route in a cold setting and about 2/3rds of the way up I found myself having to move quickly from each hold, while at the same time unable to move quickly because of the temperature.

This very problem caused me to come off rope rope two at a move that I should have had no trouble with.

Top rope three was quirky, it saw me challenging my climbing style and making moves that I wouldn’t normally do, but these moves saw me reach higher than I ever expected.  I was proud of this route, even though I didn’t too it.

The bouldering problems were much easier to warm up for.  Boulder problems are set on lower walls, with bigger crash mats underneath and as such, this area of the centre appeared warmer.

Route one on the boulder saw me miss out the top hold for fear of sitting down and pulling up.  Route two was more of a traverse around a corner and then up on a diagonal, a route where I managed to get the start of on my final try, but then slipped further on on it.

Route three was a pig!  I am being kind here because it would be rude to swear.  It was a route that started in an almost horizontal laid back position and then you were to climb backwards before moving upto a standing position of height.  I was put off this route by watching some of the climbers I would count as ‘elite’ not managing to get past the backwards climb section of the problem.  Not surprisingly I got to the starting golds of this route (where all my body was off the floor) but only managed to move one hand before coming off.

My efforts were not in vien, these little ‘extra point’ moves saw me gain silver for this round of the competition.

And accumulatively see me awarded with Silver for the series.

………

However, the results of these competitions is not how the 2018 Paraclimbing team will be selected.  This time around there will be a selection day in February in Sheffield.

So watch this space …. My climbing has changed dramatically in the last year, but will it be enough?

An Open Letter

DEAR CAR DRIVERS

Thank you for your kindness. I do not want this post to sound ungrateful. Really I don’t:

When you see me and my working girl (guide dog) Fizz waiting patiently at the curb edge to cross the road, I do not think you rude for driving on.

Stopping and (I can only assume) flash your lights, waving at me or even tooting your horn, (this I can hear) will not make me walk out into the road.

By stopping early for the junction you are being kind. But you are also putting me in danger. If I were to cross in front of you, your engine noise could mask that of a car coming the other way, or a car behind you could decide to overtake.

Unless I am on a designated crossing, Fizz is trained to not go before you. So I will stand and I will wave you on. I will put my hand up to wave a thank you, or give you a thumbs up; but please just keep going.

(Even more so when it is dark, both me and Fizz will be in high viz, but we are both dazzled by your headlights)

When I wave the first car on, why would I then walk before the 2nd? I am not doing it to be ‘carist’ I will wave each and everyone of you on.

I am not being rude, I am ensuring my own safely. Please understand, by stopping early you are often creating traffic build up, reducing the ‘natural gaps’ that would enable me and Fizz to cross safely.

I am not alone with this, all guide dog owners are taught this, as are all (or where when I was trained) long cane users.

If I am with a friend or a kind stranger has offered to help me cross.  AND if crossing in front of you would be the only option, I will drop Fizz’s harness handle (walking her just by her lead) and taking the arm of the person with me.  This removes the responsibility to guide me from my guide dog and is the only time I will ‘break the rules’

This is because we have assistance from a sighted guide.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter xx

safe travelling to you all xx

Warm Wishes xx Tink

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