https://www.pinnaclesports.com.au/ambassadors#FloraWritten by Pinnacle Ambassador Flora Froese
After travelling interstate a fair bit for comps in recent months, it was nice to have a competition in Brisbane. Sleeping in my own bed, no transport hassles, and plenty of familiar faces around. I had been looking forward to the Queensland Open States. This is my first year as a legitimate competitor in opens so it was exciting to put myself up against the best Queensland has to offer and try some of those intimidating routes I usually just watch from the audience. I’ve been working a bit on my competition head space and goal setting with fellow pinnacle ambassador, Tiffany Melious, so I was keen to see how that was working for me.
I went in to the qualifying round feeling strong mentally, I was calm and focused but physically I had been fighting a cold all week so I was a bit weak and achey. The two qualifying climbs looked challenging with the first climb requiring strength through a steep overhanging section and the second a technical slab with tiny crimps.
My field was about fifteen of the strongest women climbers in Queensland and from interstate. I had the opportunity to watch a few women climb the first route before me so when it was my turn I was nervous but confident. I made it through a few difficult sections, including a dyno which is not my favourite move and managed to top the climb! That gave my confidence a boost and I then had plenty of time to rest and stay warmed up before hitting the second route.
The start of the second climb was harder than I expected, being quite pumpy. Luckily I stayed on and got through the rest of the climb and before I knew it I was at the top, I had topped both my qualifying climbs!
Not only had I made the final but I had qualified in equal first place with three women i admire so much, Pinnacle’s Lucy Stirling, Emma Horan from Sydney and my training buddy Lil Scacheri. I felt great going home to dinner with my family and a good nights sleep in my own bed.
The day of the final I was still feeling relaxed and confident. I knew I couldn’t win against that field but I was stoked to go out and give my all to what was bound to be a well set, tough climb.
I was still struggling with headaches from the cold I had had all week but going into isolation I was able to stay focused and begin to warm up.
We all came out as a group to view and sequence the climb. It looked crazy hard but I remembered my training and just tried to break it down to a series of elements and identify the cruxes and rest points.
Back in isolation I kept working through my warm up.
However, shortly before it was my turn to climb I became overwhelmed by nerves. I suddenly felt sick to the stomach, I was shaking like a leaf and my muscles turned to jelly. I couldn’t seem to get on top of it and unfortunately, this was how I felt walking out before the crowd to climb. I couldn’t hear anything but a dull roar in my ears. I turned to face the climb and spent a last minute reviewing my sequence before pulling on and praying that I would even make the first couple of moves. Every single move was hard but I manage to get through the first sequence quite brusquely before pulling into an unexpected knee bar which was great for a rest and clip. In hindsight I probably should’ve rested longer but it is hard to slow down in the pressure of a competition.
I continued up to a big sloper and in my hast to get to the next clip I failed to secure my feet and slipped off the wall as easily as peas off a knife.
I was still so shaky as I came down and untied and slid into the crowd as quickly as I could.
The next woman after me was Emma who topped the climb and won the comp. She is an amazing climber with incredable strength. I finished up in 5th over all and 4th for Queensland which I feel is a respectable result for my first Open comp, but I’m frustrated by falling from a silly mistake. I wasn’t at all pumped, I definitely had the strength to climb further, and if I had stuck that move I think I could have got quite a bit further, but that is just the nature of lead climbing completions. You only get one chance at it. I hope I can learn from my mistakes and come back next year stronger and smarter, ready to move up a few places and challenge the podium. Until then I’m just looking forward to Youth State Lead Championships in April and then Nationals in May. There are lots more climbs for me to climb before then.