So once again I decided to take the plunge- excuse the pun, and enter the DWS comp for the third year running. This year entered into the dewerstone team with local legends and WADs Mikey Clevedon and Tom Bunn, I was psyched to do my bit for the team.
Not usually being a competition climber anymore, this was the one comp I wouldn’t miss- with there always being such a great atmosphere, friendly faces and of course the notorious splashdowns, it doesn’t so much feel like a comp, more of a social. Also, as it is in my second home of Exeter (where I went to uni), it’s a great excuse to catch up with old friends and find out all the South- West gossip.
The man behind the lens for most of the weekend, Tom Bunn.
It all kicked off on Friday night with the junior qualifiers- wow, there are some seriously strong kids out there! The standard was very high with many girls and boys topping all three routes- though the compulsory splashdown for topping the final route made sure every competitor got a thorough soaking though!
Mikey Cleverdon, about to own this route.
Saturday was the senior’s time to shine- and luckily the sun was shining too, this encouraged more and more crowds which made the support immense. After a quick warm-up in the Quay and many minutes of gossip and beta discussed with the other female competitors: “what’s that hold like,” “do you think I can span that,” “do you think I can crimp that sloper,” “do you think he likes me” (thanks for putting up with me girls,) it was time to get on the barge and over to the wall.
Our qualifiers had some pretty amazing moves in (hats off to the route setters), Route 2 spat a few people off with a committing jump to the last hold, and route 3 had a wrecking ball (yes, just like the one in Miley Cyrus’s video) as the last hold, making it difficult to match. Despite some pretty dubious nicknames from the route-setters and commentators (fridge-magnet, frugglenet etc…) I was the only one to top all three, putting me in first position after the qualifiers- I was psyched, totally had not expected to do that well!
That wrecking ball...
I managed to catch some of the male qualifiers, which were super impressive to watch and had some great splashdowns- like face first, belly flop style! The evening was finished off with some Tex-Mex style food (dinner of athletes), thanks Chef Paul!
Roz takes on route one... Credit to Ben Armstrong.
SUNDAY- SEMI-FINALS/ FINALS DAY!!
After a quick route read with some junior competitors from South Wales (my real home town) for their semi-final routes, I got cheering- they all did amazing! Then it was to the quay again for a warm up, jittering beta talk and cake again. I was definitely more nervous- the pressure of qualifying in first was really on! As the boys were splashing down dangerously close to each other, there was a slight delay in timings, meaning my warm up wasn’t great. When we finally arrived on the barge, the heavens had opened and it was raining (having more than two sunny days in Britain is pretty impossible). As I was last out to climb, I was hearing rumours of wet holds, slippy feet and gopping jugs- great! Luckily the route setters were feeling kind and dried the holds when they could, to minimise slippage; and thankfully, the rain stopped a few minutes before I went on my second route!
Crimping the slopers on semifinal 2. Credit to the DMM Team.
Our semi-finals were a bit harder than last year, and the standing round in the rain didn’t help my warm up, so I got a flash- pumped on the first route (thanks Emily for helping to de-pump my forearms). The second route had a dyno, and the third a bunch of crazy slopers- which we were all freaking out about. Luckily the dyno wasn’t too far, and I could sort of crimp the slopers. I managed to top the first two routes, but fell on the final route with one hand on the final hold… SPLASHDOWN!! This meant I qualified in second, behind the ever lovely Emma Twyford. I was a bit annoyed at dropping the last move as I probably could have done it; I just needed to take a breath before committing to the move... But oh well!
SPLASHDOWN from Semi final 3. Credit to Ben Armstrong.
All too soon it was finals time! It was into the quay to warm up again and get psyched. The finals were a slightly different format to the qualifiers as the routes were speed-difficulty, so whoever was the fastest up the route won. We got taken out on a little boat and shown our route, then it was go time- the whistle went and I climbed as fast as I could- though I made lots of little mistakes (sorry to the route setters on top of the barge who could hear my screams)… But, I made it to the top in first place! This wasn’t quite enough to win; there was a super final for the three fastest climbers, so all too soon it was time to get out on the wall again. The whistle went and the cheering was immense (must say a big thanks to everyone who cheered and shouted- made such a difference), I raced to the top, jumped for the bell, took the plunge into the water and was quickly rescued by the Haven Banks Team… I heard a huge roar from the crowd and was happy to see my name at the top of the board; I was fastest and had won- 6 seconds faster than second, and 8 seconds faster than my previous run! WOOOOO!
I was super stoked, I had just enough time to watch the male super final- they were fast!! And before I knew it I was happily sipping me G&T (thanks team dewerstone), and standing on top of the podium! What a fun weekend!
Thanks to all the route setters, dewerstone for entering me and for the lush new clothing, and all the support. Until next year!