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World Cups Fort William and Leogang
I was super excited going into the Fort William world cup because it’s my local track and it was my first time racing there in a world cup so I couldn’t wait to get riding!
First day of practice went really well, nice and dry for a change! Was having fun on the track and had the luxury of having top 80 practice and it was nice to have that extra bit of time for practice. Went home for some dinner and a good nights sleep ready for qualifying day!
Woke up nice and early to get some practice in before qualifying started, practice went good had two solid runs which set me up good for my run. Qualifying didn’t go to plan for me, had a crash in the woods which caught me off guard because it wasn’t a place where I had any issues in practice so I ran to get my bike and carry on but by that time my chances of qualifying were gone. I was totally gutted because I knew if I had a good run I could of made it in, but that’s racing for you!
I stayed to watch the finals and it was an awesome experience and it was super cool to see Danny and Brook on the podium!
Went home to get ready for a day of packing ready for the next round in Leogang.
My dad drove me out to Leogang which was cool because it was his first world cup experience away from Britain, and our first experience of being on a German auto ban, pretty scary when you have to overtake something and two seconds later there’s a big Merc right behind you flashing it’s lights!
We got to the venue in the dark so didn’t know what kind of place it was, when we woke up I was really surprised about how nice a place it was. Awesome mountain views and cool chalets half way up huge mountains.
Walked the track and it wasn’t what I was expecting, there was a lot more bike park in it than I thought which was a bit of a shame because the bits in between were awesome. The top had a few soft extremely slippy when wet berms which looked really good, the middle woods looked fast with a couple of tricky sections and the bottom woods looked amazing with loads of roots and sweet corners! Couldn’t wait to see how it would ride.
Practice went well and was feeling good on the course, it rode faster than expected which made the flatter parts good fun. There was two sections that I stopped to watch for a while to see what were the fastest lines, so once I was happy on the lines that was me settled for line choice and took it from there! I finished practice then went to walk the course while the top 80 were doing their practice just to see the fast guys riding, I met my coach Chris Ball near the top of the track so I walked the track with him which was cool to spend a bit of time with him.
Qualifying day, there had been a lot of rain during the night so I done three practice runs just to see how the track was going to change and where the holes were going to come out and mainly because I was loving it! Had some tuna pasta after practice which filled me up nicely ready for qualifying. The track was drying up all the time but I decided to stick with spike tires on and went up for my run nice and chilled out. Got to the top and the gondola hall was full of people on turbo trainers! All you could hear was the buzzing sound of turbo trainers, I warmed up then headed to the start hut.
The top half of my run didn’t go well at all, stalled in a few corners and lost loads momentum but I kept going and had a good bottom section but it wasn’t enough. I missed out by 1.5 seconds which was pretty disappointing, but the times were really tight so if I had a good top half I would of made it in which was good news to know that I’m on pace and just need to work on banging out fast runs!
So I’m really looking forward to the next two rounds in Mont Sainte Anne and Windham, can’t wait to get racing again.
Kabaah is an extension to Mecca which was 1st climbed by Mcclure.
My accent was the 3rd after Paul Smitton. Here are some photos taken by Ben Bransby.
Wow. Fort William world cup 2011 was some of the best racing/atmosphere i've ever witnessed.
From the get go everyone was flat out, eyes on the prize. With the top 15 being so tight, you can't hold back anything from your run, which in turn results in some amazing action.
We headed up early Wednesday to try and get a quick pre-bill ride, but the weather gods weren't playing ball. Trucking along the highland moors we stopped of at Glencoe mountain resort to check out the aftermath from the Nationals a week earlier... WOW. The track looks amazing... kind of like a messed up waterlogged, Peak bridleway in the heart of winter. I can see how the elements ruined things for the BDS guys though, it was really wild when we were there.
Thursday lead to a quick set-up after a few mis-haps with the grid wall. Finger trapping stuff....
The sun was out in force, topping up the farmer tan nicely, with a mid 20c glow. Track walk showed how loose and fast things were going to be, alot more bed-rock on show than last time. A real mans track, brutal from top to bottom. The motorway seciton at the bottom didn't look any easier either...
Friday flew by, with the schools hunting round all day for stickers and the like, lots of happy faces when they got a free t-shirt or two! Saturday was truely chaotic though...
Our game 'Guess the shoes' was basically, stick your hand in all 4 boxes, guess the model and colour, to be entered into a prize draw. Super tough seeing as there is 4 colours in some models.... subtle differences and a good eye for detail was key. Even I noticed some new differences by the end!
Queues went 10 deep at one point, as the word spread across the pits... we ended up with 12 winners, out of about 300 entrants, so well done if your reading!
The pits were rammed come Sunday morning, people hustling and bustling for a last minute deal and after 200 Five ten tees made their way out to the masses, it was funny seeing every other person wearing one!
I managed to catch the Mens finals, which resulted in the most nail biting/mental show of riding from the worlds fastest. Brook Macdonald came down early with a time that had him in the hot seat until the final 5. Minnaar posted a time some 2 seconds faster, which eventually gave him the win. Ride of the day has to go to young Danny hart who had the loosest/fastest run since Sam Hill at val di sole world champs. Flat out and on the edge, coming in just down on Minnaar, with an amazing 2nd place. The old guard has their work cut out as the youth keep on pushing.....
Steve Peat in a seriously tight race ended up a solid 11th, looking to build on this for Leogang. Joe Barnes and Frazer both crashed out in their qualis, which left them really dissapointed, but hungry for the next round. Jess Stone is still out with a shoulder injury, but was brave enough to try and qualify, missing out by only 3 spots! She'll be back on form this weekend in Leogang for sure! Adam Brayton and Harry heath both kept it together for a top 50 finish in the finals aswel.
Another amazing event, i'm already psyched for 2012.
All photos: duncanphilpott.com
Arc'teryx athlete Scott Milton demonstrates the super cool Pali Rope bag. Check out the video here... http://arcteryx.com/video.aspx?EN/video=Pali-Ropebag-Demo
Or the God Of all Traverses? I’m not the fittest of climbers, but it’s not often that I turn up at a cliff and only manage one route before crawling off exhausted! But the mega traverse at Craig-y-Longridge is way longer than the average route!
Craig-y-Longridge is one of those places that as a climber you just have to visit. Maybe not the most amazing cliff, but it’s got history and a share of fame. It was almost lost recently before the good old BMC bought it for us! I was on a Beal ropes training day near the Lakes recently and with an early finish I had a spur of the moment swerve off the M6 and went off on a hunt with some scribbled directions on a scrap of paper. But it was easy to find. I’d wondered if the traverse would be easy to find too, but actually it was totally obvious; start at left, finish at right. Use whatever, don’t fall off for over 100m! A timely phone call from Keith Sharples confirmed that the blank section in the middle was passed via a good break, but high off the deck at about 4 metres!
Trying to do this first go was the plan. With holds absolutely everywhere I figured trying to work it all out before hand would require more memory than I had available, not to mention energy and time. An onsight go, but a flash really as the holds are easily visible. So I bouldered around near the start in my trainers and walked up and down the traverse between warm-ups to see if there were any obvious rests before pulling on my boots for the first and only time and setting off.
Wow- what a monster! Within just minutes I was pumped, on the bit that looked easy, and the rest I’d spotted from the ground actually wasn’t that restful, and the next one was about 60m away! This needed respect and I dropped into conservation mode working any chill spots to the max with heel hooks and toe hangs and sprinting each hard section. The high up bit began OK with spans between slots until they ran out and then a committing hard section with my single boulder pad looking very lonely about 60m further back along the crag! With forearms almost exploding I made it to the only decent rest in a vague corner before the final hard section of a mere 20m!
So what to do at the end? Set of back I guess! So without rest I was away, faster now reversing the sequences, but it all felt a bit hard work, and I had to question what I was doing on the high bit as I literally fell across the traverse needing heel hooks to stay on above a back breaking fall! I got a fair way until my whole body shut down, not just pumped arms, but legs, stomach, back and all. I was off in a crumpled, panting heap. After 5 mins rest I still couldn’t even do a single move. Time to retreat, but something to come back for I guess – I hear the Ian Vickers, the master of Longridge can cruise it 3 times without a rest….
Check out the crag details on -
Here's some pics courtesy of Mark Savage of a new line in the Simonside area i nipped up last week as i had some work in the area. Its bloody good fun and has a sitter left to go (Shotgun...see what i did there) the boulder itself is a work of art, only touching down on threee plinths and with a perfect beach bivvy under it if thee are a traveling fugitive. I can't find a name listed for the crag anywhere (have checked OS and nmc online guide, as well as a few walking sites) So I'll propose Rocher Moaty for this bloc for now unless anyone knows different?
The bloc has a jaguar pounce to a 1 arm arete guppy, and it'd be rude of me not to give it 7C+ in true county tradition, what with The Shrubbery being swamped since i did it 3 years ago i don't think this area can stand much more bouldering attention, good job there's nothing left around there but moss, pines and rusty circa 1990 carling cans. I took my MTB up too and got a bit of singletrack action in on the way home at 10pm with Mark. Awooga seemed like a nice onomatopoeic name to sum up the last move.
Earlier in the day i climbed the wall just right of mysticeti via a lupino lane esque running start, you then double drag a 1 pad ripple and push on up the ripples. The jump is fairly ungradeable, easier than lupino in terms of speed and coordination but you latch a much smaller hold. after that its a cracking 7A with the crux at the top. Might call it the Holy Grain. It was pretty fun anyway and certainly got me some funny looks off the odd walker who came by. Interestingly i did both this and Lupino lane in Daescents, i'd like to see parkour types on that top out! Not a bad day for a pair of "trainers" really, MTB in, Holy Grain FA, then single track descent!
I’ve wanted to try the Quarryman for years, but it’s not something to casually walk up to. For a start there needs to be a willing partner, someone with the same desire. And the weather needs to be right; slate is instantly wet with a drop of rain and good edges become useless in the sun. Six days in Llanberis with 5.10 athlete Neil Mawson on the Marmot Rock Trip this was my chance.
The weather was all over the place, with torrential rain breaking to unbroken sun within hours! A weather window dawned sunny so we had a slow start. Our main mistake was totally underestimating the first pitch. Both of us for some reason just thought it would be a warm up! My flash go was rubbish, and continuing up placing RP’s with long run-outs took ages, especially with that ‘first go’ fire totally extinguished! We had both abbed into the bottom of the route at 1pm, and we were both still there, with no pitch ticked, at 4.30pm!
The Quarryman is really all about the famous groove pitch. An incredible natural feature; huge in both stature and status. Intimidating as hell! Entering the groove is the easy bit, but requires faith in poor footholds and contortionist moves. Then it all starts, or ends! The holds certainly end. Slate is famously smooth but the side walls of this groove seem to have been buffed to a sheen. Upward progress is the same as on a diff chimney, but somewhat harder! It’s all pushing, all of it. Within seconds the whole body is sweating and breathing sounds like you’ve sprinted the 200m. Then some holds come, all kind of in the wrong place, and actually barely any really, but at least it’s a chance to pull! Footholds are minute, match edges would be welcome! We were both wearing ‘The Whites’, and this gave us the edge, the perfect shoe for slate.
A lead looked very unlikely but I went for it and somehow made it past all the pushing expending all my energy in about 3 minutes. Breathing hard before the last hard move I realised I had no sequence, I seemed to be sliding down more than going up. Then an unlikely sequence started to come together, all bridging, smearing and palming right on the limit of friction. The finish hold was in reach. But the rule of slate is never over-stretch, keep it together. I over-stretched and my body collapsed out of the groove as contact from every limb disappeared.
Neil had a thorough go too, breaking triceps and legs, but we were out of time, darkness requiring a rapid jug up the abseil rope. Thank God it was there!
Weather totally stopped play for a few days, but first chance we had we were back. We set off amongst showers at a more considered time, and were quickly up the first 2 pitches. The groove pitch looked just as desperate as it had before. I went straight for it, and expended an entire fried breakfast before getting my feet too high and actually pushing myself downwards! I flopped off. Anyway, I needed to know what to do at the top of this pitch, because if I ever made it through the start again I definitely didn’t want to fluff the top! Next go was just as desperate, but somehow the belay appeared. I don’t think it ever gets easy! I’ve climbed 8c in shorter time and with less effort!
Neil needed a bunch of goes, the initial moves harder for him being taller. But eventually he nailed it but would have probably needed a few breakfasts for the amount of effort! I appreciated the rest! And the last pitch, famously desperate, UK 7a and described as ‘your mates big lead’, was almost a disappointment as I flashed it first go, making up a sequence on the spot. But that took nothing away from the elation. This is more than a route. I’d become a quarryman!
All that was left was for Neil to bang it out too. But crimping and stretching on the wafer holds to within inches of glory he was stopped by a flapper. A very definite end for sure! I owe him a belay. On a route like that there is no worries about going back!
Photo courtesy of Tim Glasby