Exams are finished and everything is ready for my first trip of the year. For the third year in a row I am going to Sheffield to train for the upcoming world cup season and have a short break from my ordinary routine.
It all started on 5th of February with flight from Venice. The journey was smooth and it passed by really fast. Therefore after taking the train from Manchester to Sheffield I suddenly found myself at the Climbing works. That’s is the gym to train at if you are in Sheffield, especially with their new addition to the wall, built just for practicing competition problems.
It always feels good to have a session after a long day of traveling even if you’re not feeling in the best shape. It will usually help you to recover better the next day. Some bouldering and conditioning and I was knackered and just waiting to arrive at the place where I was staying. Last year I stayed in the student apartment from Jim Pope and this year was no different, the only difference was that Jim moved since my last visit. The new apartment was even closer to Climbing works than the last one.
Jim Pope was my host and training buddy for my time in the UK. I really can’t thank him enough for taking care of me while in the UK and I’m hoping to return the favour one day, when he comes to Slovenia.
The next day we were not training at the Climbing works but were headed to London. There was a climbing competition called “Blokfest” at the Mile end climbing wall. Jim was asked to test the problems and I was tagged to come along. It was my first time working with setters to ensure the problems were suitable for all levels. It felt great trying out both final and qualification problems and to be involved in the setting process. I definitely learned a thing or two. While in London we also had 2 sessions at the Castle climbing wall. Another huge facility with some great problems.
Since this was my first time in London I had to go in the city center and look at some of the famous sights. Short recap of the things I saw: Big Ben, Picadilly circus, ferris wheel, Buckingham palace, the London market,… It was a great day full of new experiences and at the end of the day I was feeling fairly tired. It felt like if I had a proper session on the wall. Being a tourist is not an easy job! +Fun Fact: London has population around 8 million, while Slovenia has 2!
Back in Sheffield
After finishing London tour we came back to Sheffield for the next few days before heading back home. We had a successful session on the 11th. We were training in the Climbing works new building and we managed to do all the competition problems. With our body sore and very thin skin, we decided to take another rest day and head to Manchester on Wednesday so we could have a session at the Hub. This is the place where British team has their national trainings and the problems are always good practice for a world cup.
With everything ready for us to leave for Manchester, the gym owner called us to let us know that the competition wall has been stripped for some high school competition… That didn’t went the way we planned, but nevertheless we had to train. Back to Climbing works! We did a whole competition circuit on the boulder wall and then followed with some proper board climbing.
About board climbing. If you’re not from the UK or you are climbing just for recreational purposes, then you’ve probably never heard of it.
Long story short, board is an overhanging wall with normal or wooden holds. In addition to that you have really bad footholds and you are only allowed to stand on those and not use the handholds for feet as well. True British climber will also tell you that there is no matching or skipping holds.
So basically it’s a wall that helps you get better at finger strength and campusing. It is a really great thing to get you stronger but the downside of climbing too much on the board is that you lack climbing technique. That’s why it’s always important to combine technique training with board climbing to get the best results.
It’s a wrap!
And… That’s basically the end of my trip to UK. It could surely be longer, but all things have an end. For all those who have been wondering whether to come train to the UK or not. I’ve done some thinking about coming to the UK every year and my answer to that question is this.
The thing I’ve been discovering lately is that everyone is talking about having scarce training conditions and not enough infrastructure. That might be true to some extent, but by the end of the day all that matters to train good are good holds(A.K.A the ones used in world cups) and strong training partners which can push you towards being a better climber. And that’s why I go to UK every year, because of all the motivated people and chance of being surrounded with them just gives me more motivation for training and helps me climb harder.
Definitely gonna miss all the strong climbers in the UK but it’s time for me to head back home and make final preparations for 2019 season. Only a week at home and I’ll already be on my way to Germany with national team. It’s gonna get really busy and I love it!