How It Went Down
I’ve had a funny relationship with Rock Masters. An invite-only comp, it’s something that I make an effort to get to every year . . . even though I tend to dork it. I get to every comp feeling stronger, fitter, more confident, only to make some silly mistake and slink away, cursing the fact that there are so few competitions. But I’ve always enjoyed them and had hopes that the following year I would get it right.
2013 was the first year that I couldn’t manage to get there and I missed it hugely. After all, competitions are a little sparse these days. So when it came round to that time again, I began to hound the organiser for details so that I could make sure air tickets were booked and the trip was in the bag.
As with most competitions in this country, the female contingent was small. But still, I wasn’t going to be lulled into a false sense of security. So many times I had arrived at CityRock to hear Julia [Chen] and Rachelle [de Charmoy] carrying on about how little they had been climbing lately and how they could barely do a pull-up these days only to have them cruise past me on the routes, whether I dorked them or not. At the same time, spending the lead-up to a comp behaving like you are made of glass is not my style either. So as soon as I arrived in Cape Town I was already making plans to spend the day outdoors.
Marijus [Smigelskis], the most likely climbing partner, was unconvinced. He wanted to rest up for the comp that afternoon, but he played the good host and took me out to boulder in the forest. I played around on the first boulder we came across but didn’t push it. I might be relaxed about competing but I wasn’t stupid. It was time to go.
Words by: Illona Pelser
Image by: Joao Gaspar