05 Jun 2013

Canadia

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So the sixth world cup of the year took place in Hamilton, Ontario last weekend and was a great experience. This was the first ‘long haul’ comp I have done outside of Europe and also my first time to Canada.

Straight off the plane we were treated to some fantastic Canadian hospitality with local couple Keith and Caska waiting to drive us to our hotel. For the next few days they were incredible hosts ferrying us around from pillar to post. A massive thank you from all of the team.

They even organised a trip for us to visit Niagara Falls which was breathtaking. I have obviously seen the falls before in pictures and films but none of them can do it justice. Although very touristy in the surrounding area they truly are one of the great natural wonders of the world.

The following day we headed into central Toronto to have a mooch around and got up close with the CN tower.

The comp itself was a slightly different affair for me and I had a real shocker. The competition took place in a giant warehouse made out of metal and in 30 degree heat it felt like a sweat box. I’m not sure what the reason for my poor performance was but I think the heat  was certainly a contributing factor. I think also the jet lag, lack of proper training for 5 days before and diet also played a part. Anyway these things are sent to try us and despite being very annoyed I know I have learnt allot.

Following qualification round I was asked if I would act as ‘Technical Analyst’ on the live stream for the semi’s & finals. To be honest I was very apprehensive about it as I have no experience in both commentating or competing in world cup finals. It was however great fun and a welcome change to simply spectating on yet another set of finals I have not made. Added to that some people have been very kind with their feedback which is great.

I am now sitting in our apartment in Vail preparing for the next comp on Friday. I say preparing as i have been finding the acclimatisation process very interesting. Vail’s average elevation is 8,150 feet (2484 m) above sea level and doing anything feels like a bit of effort.

So far I have managed a short climb and stretch session at the local wall and a run up the side of a mountain. The latter was unbelievably hard not because I was getting physically tired but from the lack of oxygen. It is something I have never experienced before and will certainly be interesting to see if it affects me on comp day.

Vail Town CentreVail is a beautiful place and it kind of feels like Disneyland. Everything is perfectly kept; gardens, houses, roads, shops. It is however extremely expensive and walking past an estate agents window I noticed some lovely places, if anyone has got a spare $6.5 million I have some great suggestions. It is so peaceful here too and I imagine what one of those celebrity rehab places might be like (minus the bars).

Although my girlfriend Victoria has been with me throughout the whole season this year; due to holiday restrictions from work she has been unable to come out and I have been missing her allot.

Tom NewmanOn the flip side I have been room buddies with Tom Newman for the whole trip which has been great. Here is Tom ‘giving me those eyes’ before bed. We both have very similar routines and our girlfriends are also friends back home and get together to support us from the UK which is great.

Getting to compete out here has been a fantastic opportunity and one that I am extremely thankful for and will never forget. I literally would not be out here without the help of some very generous sponsors so to all of them too; thank you.

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Totally obsessed with climbing & training.
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