Round 4 of the Paraclimbing series for 2016, the final in this years competitions, another great location and my chance to shine.
Newcastle Climbing Centre is set within the walls of an old church, one that was much larger and steeped in more history than that of the Climbing Centre in Manchester. A building that fed my love of design, my ‘eye’ for detail and my passion to climb. What more can a gal ask for?
The day started with a stressful tummy, a fear of failure and without my faithful Fizz, a feeling of falling flat on my face…… Which given my already bruised and broken face, would not be a good look.
Anyway, I’m stalling; Dispite the nerves, the worries and the irrational fears, I did feel more confident, I had trained with a different mindset, I felt more prepared for this comp, maybe it was the return to Calshot or the long break between Round 3 and 4, who knows? My confidence was noticed.
Fellow climbers who took the time to great me and speak to me made comments to this; I am not able to see my competitors, VI’s don’t really have ‘a look’ I could recognise some of the other competitions, one for the beautiful head scarves she always wore, one for the her blue/turquoise coloured hair, one for the sound his crutches made and another for her bright and bubbly hello as she spoke with everyone who walked past her!
I had found myself able to make more recognitions as the series had progressed, but not with any of those in my own category. I don’t think I ever spoke more than 3 words to my own competition. Not for lack of trying, but when you can’t see someone and they can’t see you, the introductions don’t happen naturally.
The climbs were set, this competition saw me undertaking climbs that my partner in crime didn’t, as with Edinburgh, different routes had been set for different disabilities, to enable each climber to work with their abilities, not to be disadvantaged by them.
I set myself a personal challenge, I challenged myself to ‘just go for the hold’ not fear falling, instead reaching for it and letting the rope do the work if I didn’t get it.
This worked well on all 3 of my climbs, I made the moves, sometimes it paid off, sometimes it didn’t. But as I only got one shot at each route, it enabled me to gain more points, it also gained me a rather large bruised thigh when I came off the wall and hit a volume !!
The boulders were interesting, with three tries for each I was over the moon when I got the first route first time! The 3rd wasn’t so clear cut, my balance or rather lack of it let me down, but I gave it my best and even though each of my 3 tries scored the same points I could walk away knowing I had given it my best. My 2nd boulder started off wrong footed, so my second attempt saw me improve, although not gaining anymore on my 3rd shot. My points added up, my points beat those of my climbs in Edinburgh, Manchester and London. I finished knowing I had given it my all.
I didn’t know how many female VI competitors were in the round, I just knew I had beat myself.
So, to hear my name called out for 2nd place in my catagory was a shock! Yes I was 2nd out of only 2, but it didn’t matter. I got to stand on the podium and I got to bring home a silver medal to add to my two bronze.
My partner in crime was also awarded a medal, he ranked 3rd in his category. Unlike me, he was 3rd out of 5; which given that the pair that came 1st and 2nd hadn’t dropped more than 7 points between them, the boy did good!
After the round 4 results and podiums it was time for the series winners to be announced.
The series winners were different; series winners had to rank in at least 2 of the 4 rounds, this I found difficult to understand, but basically it meant that not all of the categories gained a series ranking due to lack of competition.
In the Female VI category 3rd place was read out, the winner wasn’t actually at Newcastle to accept their award, then came 2nd, this was the girl who had come first in Newcastle.
“And First place for the 2016 Paraclimbing series female VI goes to ….. Theresa Osborne-Bell.”
I didn’t believe it, I just stood, I was pushed upto the podium and completely dumb struck to be handed a trophy! I was in total shock and amazed they had called my name. I found myself shaking, I struggled to hold myself together, I just about made it back to the crowd before being unable to compose myself any more and I found myself quietly crying, tears of pure joy!
I am still in amazement of what I have achieved in the last four months, the experiences I have gained from climbing in different locations and the friends I have made in that time.
And now one week on the 2017 team has been announced, I am not in the list. This is ok though, I learnt a lot during the competitions and now have 9 months to train, to be a stronger competitor next year……. Now to fire off an email to Santa for a Beastmaster hangboard.
I will be watching the team, following some of them through this year and build myself up, both physically and mentally to be ready to hit the ground running come September 2017 !!