New year 2015 and I’m happy to announce that La Sportiva is my new sponsor! Wuuhuuuu, I’m so happy!! :D

Today I picked up a parcel at the post office. And I will share you what’s inside the parcel.

Unboxing

I will introduce you to these lovely Futura Blue climbing shoes! I’ll give you a short review.

Out-of-the-box

What’s your opinion about the design?
I just unboxed it and these shoes really has a sick design! As you can see, the colours are blue, yellow and black. Perfect colour design if you ask me. This model is toedown and pretty narrow. I’m not sure about toehooks, I haven’t tested it yet. However on top of the shoe there is some rubber at the big toe side. The heel is hard and on the side it’s soft because of the leather. Therefore you’ll be more aware of the heel placement on the surface. My heel fits really nice in this shoe. There is almost no dead space in the entire shoe for me, which I think is really important when you want to get the most out of it!

Will the rubber stretch?
To be honest, I’m not sure how much the rubber will stretch as I still have to break it in.

Vibram-Rubber

Are the sizes the same for all models?
My regular shoe size (Vans) is 41. For this model I wear size 37.5, the smallest model I could fit. I know this model is comparable with the Testarossa: 37.5, whereas the Solution differs one whole size up to 38.5 and on the contrary Python fits me size 37. The models are different and the sizes too. I suggest you to fit all sizes and see which one fits you best.

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What are the down sides of this model?
Well, considering the rubber is quite flexible, I think it could wear down fast if your foot placement isn’t accurate. The price (+/- 126 euro) is a tad high however you’ll be purchasing 100% quality.

Futura Blue in a nutshell:
You could use these shoes for sportsclimbing and bouldering. The material is made of calfskin. The sole is Vibram XS Grip 2 (3 mm) with LaspoFlex midsole which means you can really bend the middle part of the shoe. The edges are PD 75, and highly asymmetrical. It has a strong pre-tensioning and a fast lacing systym, similar to the Solution model. The weight of the shoes per pair in medium size is 450 g. This model is available between 32-46. Extra is the pull on aid and the all round rubber protection.

Futura-Blue

Well as of now, you’ll see me climbing on La Sportiva shoes! A big thanks to Summit Outdoor!! In the future I will post more reviews about different models.

Have fun climbing :D

Good afternoon you all!

Dust 2015 was a great event yesterday! I was waiting in front of the gym at 9.45 AM, so psyched to climb!

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Photo credits: Chris Waitzman

I wasn’t the only one waiting at the door though. Among a crowd of psyched climbers we were all waiting for the gym to open.

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I felt quite excited when I peeked through the windows and saw Monk was ready to receive 250 (!) climbers.

Prep

And at 10.01 AM the gym doors were open and I was the first climber who received a scoreform!

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Yeah I was ready to climb. Once again my mind was set to climb the most boulders of the day. I didn’t want to spend many attempts on each boulder, simply because there was no time for that. I was aiming to climb boulders which could lose lots of texture after many climbs. After that I spent time on some hard boulder problems. It took me quite some time to finish 8 hard problems. I decided not to spend more than 5 attempts for each hard problem. I think that worked out well.

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After that I spent time on queuing and climbing many problems. I liked many problems, different styles and different kind of holds. Some of the holds were really sharp! Some of the boulder problems I didn’t even try, it would take too much time waiting. The new walls are definitely a nice add on to the gym!

At the end of the day I was quite surprised my skin was still okay. I expected to have bleeding fingers but that didn’t happen. I climbed 78 problems out of 94 total problems. Even though my top 8 wasn’t really high, I was proud at myself of achieving such a list.

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This year Dust felt dustier than ever. In the ranking game I ended up 9th with my top 8 hardest problem. In the All You Can Boulder category I ended up 2nd with 78 problems.

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Tim sent 92, quite impressive! I guess I could call my day a success :D

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With 4 bags of chalk, I’m good to go for another few weeks ;) Thank you for the great boulders Monk and thank you Black Diamond for supplying me with chalk :D

Last weekend I signed up last minute and joined the first comp of the year which was Boulder 1 competition at Sterk Bouldergym. I knew I couldn’t go all out 100% due to my leg injury which doesn’t seem to recover. Anyway, I wanted to test myself among this strong competiterfield.

It felt like a test to see if I was fit or not. I arrived on time despite the cold icy weather (code yellow). I checked the problems before I changed my clothes. The 8 qualification problems looked cool at first sight.

It was time to start and I felt confident enough to start with the 2nd boulder problem. I could flash it in my first try. Awesome but I wish this boulder was set harder to make more difference in this field though!

On to the next vertical problem number 8. I had to be careful because the volume where I would put my left foot was set really high. Before I started, I brushed the holds with an official extended brush. I could feel the balance in this boulder and could match the final hold in my flash attempt.

Boulder 1

I didn’t set up a plan for the boulders. I was missing a few judges during this comp though. I was looking around and handed in my form where there was no queue at all. I ended up at this jump boulder where you have to aim for 2 holds set on a volume. This boulder was shared with the ladies. Somehow I couldn’t reach the 3rd hold on top of the volume. You couldn’t see the hold from the start position, so I had to jump blind for this one. Unfortunately I didn’t succeed however the rest of the boulder looked fairly easy with 2 screw on edges.

I went to boulder number 6. This one contained small screw on crimps. This should be no problem. Dennis started first and slipped away hard on the edges with his fingers. It was my turn and the same happened to my right hand. In my 2nd attempt my left hand slipped away on the hold. The screw on holds looked kinda chalkless if you know what I mean. Everyone slipped off these holds. I was waiting for a bit and let other climbers climb on these holds first until they looked better to me. It was my turn again and the edges felt so different, I could even chalk my hands during the problem.

Crimps

I admit this felt really different with unchalked edges. It was unnecessary to fall in my attempts but eventually I managed to send this problem.

The same judge was judging boulder number 7 on a vertical / slab. I noticed this boulder could be send easy if you were a bit taller by immediately go to the left volume and put a heelhook next to your right hand. This was impossible for me. I climbed onto the volume first and went for a jump to the left without any handholds.

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After 5 attempts I still didn’t succeed and went to the next problem.

Boulder number 4 was a sitstart with a double dyno to left. I tried 2 times and didn’t even get close. I knew this boulder wasn’t meant for me and gave up on this one.

Then I went on to a boulder on an arrete. This was the first qualification problem. It went okay but I spent too many tries. I had to place my left foot high on a hold and put pressure on it. This didn’t feel so good but eventually I could match the final hold.

Boulder number 3 wasn’t set for me. From the first sloper to the 2nd sloper was a shouldermove and reachy as well. I was fully stretched and couldn’t move. Even with an intermediate crimp in between and a toehook with left on the side this felt like a challenge way above my level. I felt upset that I didn’t fit in between but I just have to accept it.

From my point of view I think the competition would be nicer if there were more judges observing around. It would also give more peace as a climber because there are fewer long queues. Anyway, the qualification went not too bad. The atmosphere was nice and within no time we’re climbing in a dust cloud :D

I ended up 10th with 4 tops in 9 attempts and felt quite disappointed. I needed at least 5 tops with 1 or 2 attempts each to advance to the finals. It was a pity that I couldn’t fit in between some holds and couldn’t try the rest of the problems. I have to accept it and will keep on training and get stronger to make this up next time ;)

Finals

The finals was set spectacular. A lot of reachy moves however it looked like a nice challenge! During the comp I was missing a host / speaker. I volunteered to be the MC during the finals. Tim liked it and set me up with a mic!

Speaker

The audience was sleepy and I had to wake them up first. Once they were awake, they were cheering the finalists yeah. This was pretty fun!

Speaker-action

Eventually we ended up before 6 PM including the price ceremony! Check out more photos here, here and there. The complete results can be found here.

Merhaba climbers! I’m back on Dutch soil! It’s nearly Christmas time and I’d like to share my holiday story with you.

2 days after the national competition I entered the airplane at Schiphol. I was hoping for some sunny weather during winter. It was an escape from cold Netherlands. I was thinking of Spain or Greece or Turkey. I picked the latter :D and I think it was a good decision.

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Photo: Geyik Bayiri – Sarkit

Nowadays you’ll need to register for a visa in advance. You can do that online here.

From Schiphol I flew to Istanbul and from there to Antalya. A flight from Amsterdam to Istanbul takes about 3 hours. From Istanbul to Antalya is just 1,5 hour. In Turkey I went to Geyik Bayiri, which is a familiar climbing spot 30 minutes away from Antalya. Many campsites offer a pickup service from the airport, which was quite convenient. You can arrange that in advance by contacting the campsite. I visited this place for a few weeks and was really looking forward to it!

The first day was a rainy and cold day when I arrived in Geyik Bayiri. It was my first restday. Speaking of restdays, I stayed 22 days and had 4 real rest days :D

During my climbing days, I visited several crags in Geyik Bayiri: Sarkit, Trebenna, Dragon and Mevlana. When you stay in Geyik Bayiri, you won’t need a car. Within 20 minutes by foot you can visit these areas. For sunny hot days I’d recommend Trebenna. On cloudy/mid sunny days it’s good to visit Sarkit / Dragon. When it rains you can still climb in Mevlana. This area will stay dry for a long while. I also visited a new area Çidtibi and some local climbing areas which aren’t in the topo guide. For these area’s you’ll need a car and some motivated (+local) climbers.

I met some new climber friends in Jo.Si.To Guesthouse Camp. It’s the basecamp where I stayed for 3 weeks and where many Germans, Americans, Swiss and Dutch climbers met.

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Photo: Impression Jo.Si.To

Compared to Climbers Garden, which is 10 minutes further down the road, Jo.Si.To is ran by German expats and has nice hot showers and good value meals are served, whereas Climbers Garden has Dutch owners and has a slightly better wifi, warm common kitchen and a really good restaurant where the steak is superb. I ran into Jeroen Kuipers at Climbers Garden, it was good to catch up with you again!

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Anyway, I will stop comparing campsites and continue about my climbing adventures! During winter I was looking forward to climb in the sun. In advance I was checking the weather and it was between 10 – 15 degrees. I’m not fond of climbing when it’s too cold and can’t feel my fingers though. However, when it’s between 10 – 15 degrees in Turkey and the sun is shining, the conditions are perfect. In my opinion, 12 degrees + sun / cloudy is perfect to climb in a t-shirt! In the evening when the sun is gone, it can cool down fast.

I was super motivated and climbed 4 sometimes 5 days in a row before I had a real rest day. I used some active rest days as well, which means that I just visited Mevlana or Sarkit and climbed just 1 or 2 routes.

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Photo: Packing for a restday – Climbing Technology

It’s quite funny when you wake up in the morning. Most of the climbers won’t say:

heey goodmorning

but instead they’ll ask you:

Heey are you climbing today? Where will you go today?

During a real rest day, I visited a local market to do some groceries (Sunday).

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It is easy to hitchhike towards the local market. I got picked up by a lorry driver and a Turkish lady dropped me off at the campsite. It’s also nice to have some tea and ekmek (bread) there.

Every now and then it was also pouring rain, which means no one is able to climb.

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Photo: Weather forecast with a lot of rain in one week :(

Obliged rest day. All the rocks are so wet, it’s ridiculous to see waterfalls on the rocks.

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Photo: My yellow tent kept me dry

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Photo: Rental tent enjoyed the swimming pool

Even the campsite are flooded, there are rocks on the roads everywhere and the roads are sometimes over flooded. On such a rainy day, it’s nice to go to Antalya by car and visit a cinema :)

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Photo: Ordinary mall in Antalya

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Photo: Turkish delights

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Photo: Dinner out at Alabalik restaurant

Some extra information: A power failure can always happen in Geyik Bayiri, always bring a headlight with you. Antalya doesn’t have much climbing materials for sale or a climbing shop. It’s good to know this in advance so bring enough chalk with you.

At Jo.Si.To I met some climbers who were really nice. Daniel Schmid, Jürgen Bormann and Sven Albinus. It’s good to climb with Daniel, because he has the same height and therefore we could work together in same routes. Jürgen is one of the bolters in Geyik and knows a lot about the areas. Sven is nice and really fond of Mammut. I climbed with them most of the time and had oodles of fun together.

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We also met Tobias Haug (camp owner) and Duygu Yarsar – insanely strong and technical climbers – who took us to Çidtibi.

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Photo: Tobias & Duygu

When Tobias is behind the steering wheel, he can be a rally coureur ;) you’ll be sitting on the edge of your seat all the time. Çidtibi is about 20 minutes driving and has an altitude of 1000 meters. This world class crag is amazing! When it rains in Geyik Bayiri, it’s possible to climb in Çidtibi. It can be cold during winter, but nevertheless the climbing is so cool! The wall in the Canyon seems endless, super overhanging and contains a lot of perfect tufas. As some Germans say, these routes needs some ‘traffic’. It’s so new and feels like breadcrumbs which makes it nice for onsight climbing. Tobias has bolted a few lines there since 2002.

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Photo: Çidtibi – Having fun in the Canyon

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Photo: Çidtibi – Madame Bleue – 8a+

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Photo: Çidtibi – Madame Bleue – 8a+

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Photo: Çidtibi – Je suis cuite – 8a+

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I didn’t climb so many times as I wanted in Çidtibi. At some time it started to pour rain, that everything in Geyik Bayiri was impossible to climb. Even Çidtibi was all wet except for a few routes near the cave.

I also visited a super big cave on 1000 meters altitude. This cave isn’t mentioned in the new topoguide. It’s not easy to access, because you’ll need a car and hike up for 1 hour.

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Photo: Mega cave

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Photo: Panorama view from the cave

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Tobias recommended me a route which was in the cave. He bolted this line and it’s called Aaron – 8C, named after his son and such a steep line. I figured out the sequence and was able to make all the 60 moves until the end.

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Photo: Workout in Aaron – 8C

All I had to do is to link it together and hope it would stay dry for the next few days. Unfortunately the rain messed up my plan :( and I’ll have to save this sweet line for my next climbing trip…

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After seeing and working in such a cool route I didn’t want to pick any other hard projects. So the rest of the time I enjoyed climbing around Geyik Bayiri since these 2 spots were wet. Probably next year it will be dry again. I do have to mention that the grades in general are quite easy graded, which feels good though. In my opinion, all the routes that I climbed up to 8a are a bit under graded. Perhaps I just love the 3D climbing style, which makes it a bit easier for me. Anyway, if you’re interested in my climbs, click here.

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Photo: View from Mevlana

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Photo: Restday in Mevlana

Saturday december 13th when Daniel, Jurgen and Sven left, I felt a bit upset. I climbed in Sarkit that day when it was nice and sunny. I had to find new belaying buddies.

A little highlight of the holiday I’d like to share with you is Donkey Jump. Duygu introduced me to this local crag Eşek Uçtu (Donkey Jump) which also isn’t in the topoguide. It’s like a 7 minutes drive from Jo.Si.To but still you’ll need a car though.

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Photo: Impression of Eşek Uçtu

In the morning the sun is warming up the wall, after 12 o’clock noon the wall will be in the shadow and it can become quite cold. The last 4 days I spent my time there and she showed me this line called Enjoy the Silence. This line contained every style. Starting on a vertical wall, roof climbing, overhang, sidepulls, knee bars, crimps, pocket and so on – in my opinion a steady 8B of 35 meters, it has more hard moves than Over The Top.

As my holiday came to an end I was getting pretty close on climbing this line. The day before I left Turkey, 4th climbing day in a row, I barely had skin left on my fingers. Unfortunately I couldn’t climb it and cleaned some quickdraws at the top. I knew I could climb this route, I just needed a good rest. I should come back well rested for this. That evening I went to Climbers Garden with Geiske and Will for a nice steak. We celebrated the end of the climbing holiday. During dinner Geiske suggested me to go climb in the morning and I should give it another try. I have nothing to lose. Why not? Well, because I don’t have a car and the next morning I should pack and leave to the airport at 11.00. But then again, why not??

After dinner I ran back to Jo.Si.To and asked Tobias and Duygu a favour.

Do you have plans the next morning, if not, would you please like to belay me one more time in Enjoy the Silence?

Duygu thought I was making a joke.

Come on, it’ll be your 5th climbing day in a row. Are you serious?

I nodded my head and said yes I’m serious. Tobias will have to work and it was all up to Duygu. She asked me 5 minutes to think it over and then walked to me.

Okay tomorrow morning you’ll be ready at 8.30 AM. 1 condition: promise me that you’ll climb the route.

My answer:

Yes of course! I will promise you that :D

I was so happy and started to pack some luggage in advance.

The next morning I was up early to pack my tent and my luggage. During breakfast I started to wear my harness to save some time. At 8.45 AM Duygu showed up and we drove off to the rocks. The weather was 10 degrees. It was a bit humid and cloudy. I set my alarm to 10.30 to get back to Jo.Si.To.

I warmed up in Game of Thrones, until I got cold fingers and feet and felt a bit pumpy. Then the sun started to shine a little bit on the rocks. It kind of felt like a competition, climbing early in the morning. And then I looked at the route one more time, took some quickdraws with me to set the end of the route. Duygu played some music: Daft Punk – Lose yourself to Dance, while belaying me.

I started my climb, felt super and passed all the cruxes super solid. I nearly finished the route and knew I would send it and then suddenly a hold broke off! It was a tiny flake which was quite essential to climb the end of the route. I crimped this flake and now it was gone. I fell after 30 meters and couldn’t believe this. WHY?? I was so pissed! I’m so sorry for breaking off this hold though! I went back in the route to find another solution, instead of this flake, there was a super small crimp. It should be possible to use this mini crimp!

When I came down on the ground, it was 10.00 o’clock. Duygu said it was a super good run and thought I would send it. She looked on her phone and said I still have some time left…
I rested for 15 minutes and knew this would be my last climb of the holiday. Time was ticking. I knew I could climb all the cruxes. I felt super excited and really wanted to send it. I was ready to climb one more time. Music on: Daft Punk – Get Lucky. Everything went solid again, I enjoyed the view over Antalya as I was resting in my final attempt.

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Photo: View from Eşek Uçtu over Antalya

I told her I will be fast so we still have some time for a coffee at Jo.Si.To. I used Tobias’ and Duygu’s beta for some moves. From toehooks to heelhooks, drop knees, and knee bars. I was running in the crux and was a bit nervous about the small crimp. I kept my head cool and sent the route just on time! I will never forget this experience. It was 10.29 when I clipped the anchor and Enjoyed the Silence!!

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Photo: Just Enjoyed the Silence – 8b

I was so happy :D ! It was the perfect time and place to be and such a nice end of this holiday. Special thanks to Duygu for supporting me until the end!! We drove back to Jo.Si.To at 10.45 where I changed my clothes, enjoyed a latte macchiato with Duygu and packed my luggage into the bus to the airport. Goodbye Tobias, Duygu and the rest of Jo.Si.To! Thank you for the sweet time together.

Arriving at the airport, I couldn’t believe my holiday passed by so fast. I was also looking forward to my home again. And some rest during Christmas and spend time with family and friends.

Anyway for now, I hope you enjoyed my story and some day I hope you’ll visit Turkey too. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy & healthy 2015! Hopefully next year you’ll climb more than this year, stay motivated and injury free, improve and last but not least enjoy climbing!

Yesterday I joined the car with Dirk, Jorg and Timo to Amsterdam. I felt quite relaxed for the competition.

Once we entered the gym in Amsterdam, it was quite crowded. I was thinking of warming up in some routes instead of warming up in a boulder area. I found myself a belaying buddy and climbed a few routes. The judges informed me that there was free food for the competitors while I was belaying. After climbing I enjoyed my free meal in the isolation area.

Soon the finals were about to start and we were briefed by Jorg and the judges about the finals. The ladies went out first and I was still in the isolation with the guys. I knew I had to start first when the ladies were done climbing, so I tried to keep myself warm.

It was finally time to get out the isolation. We were first introduced one by one to the audience. It was super crowded. I was standing in the spotlights, had my shoes ready and thought I had to stay after reading the route. When I first saw the route I was quite impressed. Immediately my eyes were focused on two volumes with a crack in between. Awesome! I knew I had to make a double handjam, but I had never done that before. Anyway, the rest of the route, seemed quite nice. There was a hidden knee bar, a lot of heelhooks, crossing over and no dyno’s! I was focusing at the spots where to clip the draws. The prep time was over and I had to get myself ready in the isolation.

When the speaker announced my name, I felt quite energized! I ran towards the wall. I just felt like climbing. I was enjoying every moment of it.

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Photo credits: Sytse van Slooten

The first part of the route was a warmup, until I had to conduct a double hand jam. It was okay to put one hand between the crack, however when I tried to match my right hand, it felt awkward. As if my left hand was about to slip out of the crack! For a moment I looked at my own hand, was it damaged? No it wasn’t. Great! So lets give it another try and jam it in there. I thought it was quite funny though. It didn’t really work with my feet below me. I needed more pressure on my foot to keep myself in the wall. I climbed back and thought of an alternative as I was resting for a bit. This time I placed a heelhook just below my right hand and matched my hand deep in the crack. My theory was the more skin between the crack, the better it stays in there and it worked! Pfff, 2 minutes later, I finally passed that first crux and I was still 6 meters above the ground.

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Photo credits: Sytse van Slooten

Then I went onto the next holds, which were all positive. Until I grabbed these 2 white holds behind the volume, slopey holds which you had to pinch. From here, I felt a little bit uncomfy. My feet placement were directly below me as I had to go to the volume above me. I felt like I was going to launch myself like a rocket. There was no other footholds, except for that huge green hold. I chose not to use it and place both my feet below me. I launched myself like a rocket without even getting close to the volume. Shit. That was it. I knew that wasn’t the right position for this reachy move. I’m upset that I couldn’t fight until the end. On the contrary, I was happy to be part of this event. I had some mixed feelings, knowing that I could have done much better. Anyway, I accepted the fact and it was time to move on and cheer on the rest of the competitors!

As I untied myself, I was instructed to seat next to this guy with a red hoody. I was on a doping control! What in the world? Are you serious? I wasn’t allowed to go to the restroom and was under surveillance until the end of the competition.

After the competition, I had to go outside, step into a big van and piss under commando. Well, it took me quite a while. To be honest, it’s quite a tedious process. Fill in your name, address, doctor, coach and having this guy observing you while you do your thing in a restroom in a van. Anyway, when that was all done, I went back to the gym. Most of the competitors and friends were gone. Such a pity, I wanted to share some emotions about the route. Time to go home.

I was happy for Tim who topped out the route. Unfortunately I didn’t see any of the ladies climbing live, but I watched the streaming when I was home. It was fun to hear the comments of Paul and Dirk. The ladies had an amazing route as well! I ended up last this final (click to see final scores here), but I had oodles of fun and enjoyed being in Amsterdam. @Jorg, thanks for setting such an awesome route!

Note to self: I know what to work on, climbing cracks!

Watch the finals back here. My action starts at 01:08. Have fun!

Video: NC Finals 2014

Come Saturday november 22nd the last lead competition of the year will be held in Amsterdam. This venue has a great atmosphere to host a championship.

I haven’t competed in many lead competitions lately, so I’m really excited to be back in the spotlights again!

Video: Promo Lotto Lead 2014

During the semi finals a few weeks ago, I barely advanced to the finals. I guess I was lucky and now I’m one of the 8 finalists who may climb a final route set by one of the world’s best allrounders Jorg Verhoeven. I’m curious about his setting style and I hope it will suit me!

The Lead National championship has a day programme where I will start climbing exactly at 20:15 hours. I will enjoy the most out of it. Anyway, see you in Amsterdam, otherwise if you cannot make it, there will be livestream available.

Wish me luck :D :D :D

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