We arrived late at night at our hotel Campagnola. The place is called Riva del Garda which is about 3 km away from Arco.

The hotel is quite nice. There weren’t many spots available to park our car, but there was plenty of space across the street.

Elko and I shared a room which was faced on the streets. Our room had three beds, wireless internet, a small fridge, airconditioning, tv and a balcony.

Below you’ll see a few photos.

After a night of rest, I made breakfast in the hotel lunchroom the following morning. Nikki and Ralf were already enjoying their breakfast, precisely at 9 AM. It will be a nice day for Nikki, she will climb her qualifications today. As usual her hair was set tight, not a single hair was lost. Probably it’s her competition style.

After breakfast Nikki checked some movies on her notebook and read a book in the backyard.

The backyard was really nice, we could enjoy table tennis, basketball, had a swimming pool, trampoline, you name it and we got it. A very relaxing and amusing area to spend our morning. At 1 PM we’re leaving together to the competition venue.

I was the driver the whole week. We had this huge car, a Fiat Doblo. It had a big trunk and 6 gears to shift, awesome right? I was being a taxi cab and drove us to the competition venue.

The competition venue was surrounded by gates. There were people everywhere from the organisation, checking up on competitors for their athletes card. Without that card, it was impossible to enter the area. Luckily no one forgot that card though.

Here are some photos of the venue.

Nikki’s personal experience about the world championships are available on her webpage. While Ralf was checking in the isolation area behind the wall, Elko, Tom and I were standing in front of the wall to encourage Nikki.

Later I ran into Jorg Kemner, photographer from our climbing federation.

On request he was present to shoot awesome photos from the lead competition. Team member Jorg Verhoeven was present as well. He’s going to join us with the lead competition yeah.

The next day it was our turn to climb. Elko had to start early. I was just a few climbers after him. I felt so psyched and couldn’t wait to climb! I took lots of time to prepare for my first route. I borrowed Nikki’s goggles to check on the holds. It’s so nice, because you’re quite far away from the wall. I didn’t know all the holds though, however I had a good feeling about my first route.

The isolation area was a gym, not far away from the competition wall. We’re able to warm up there. It felt like a cozy gym in no time. There was a small wall outdoors as well, bit more overhang. The sun was shining and most of the climbers were warming up inside.

After warming up I went outdoors again. Walking in this hot sun towards the isolation behind the wall. Ralf was there to check up on us. It was nice that he was around. Just 4 climbers before it was my turn. I still had some time to warm up. Probably I have to climb at the same time as team member Jorg.

Before I entered the wall, my eyes got a quick peek at the route. Okay I know what to do, now lets go!

I was quite confident when I started my route. It went well! No problems with clipping quickdraws, I like this.

The distance between the holds were getting bigger and I start to doubt for a second. Should I put my foot higher or not?

My right hand was half locked off however I couldn’t resume my movement anymore and slowly gravity was winning. Noooo, I was falling in slow motion out of the route!!

Grrrrr, why is this happening to me on a competition? Why didn’t this happen to me during a training? Within a few seconds I’m standing on the floor. No, I don’t need any help to untie the rope. I can do that myself.

What a lame action. It’s time to get out of here. Dramatic disappointment.

I’m trying to accept my situation in the isolation area. My stomach feels funny though. I need some time to get over this. While Jorg, Elko and Tom are going for a bite, I decided to stay behind in the isolation area. I’m eating another sandwich with ham and take a powernap. Then I’ll go outside to the wall to prepare the second route.

I have all the time of the world to prepare this route. After a while I see Ralf appearing behind the wall. He’s giving me a signal that I’m up soon.

Behind the wall I’m getting ready for my second route. I spot photographer Jorg high in the scaffold with a big lens. He’s raising his thumb!

I know I can do it. I think this route is more continuous. From the first movement, it’s my goal to climb a bit faster than usual.

The first 3 clips with right, next with left and then right again. Easier said than done though. I’m not even half way the route and it feels good. Every move feels good. And I’m going to this side hold. I don’t know why I didn’t get this hold on top though, but I grabbed this hold on the side. There was no edge there! Suddenly I fall out of the route, just like that!!

I can’t believe this, yet again I’m standing on the floor without pumpy arms. I’m looking at the hold where I just fell out of the route. Sigh.

After an hour I start accepting my situation. I just screwed up my first World Championships. But I should be glad to be here at Italy. Jorg however climbed really well and sent the first qualification. His second route went well too, just a few holds below the top. It’s enough to advance to the semis!

Friday it was time for the women’s semis and finals. During the semis I think Jain Kim was climbing very steady. She managed to climb high, highest hold of all the ladies!

The finals were in the evening.

I think the route was nice but the end just sucked. There was a dyno in there, where everyone fell out of the route except one lady. Such a pity though. It shouldn’t be like that.

I think the women’s finals should be a route worth fighting for and they should get pumpy. Setting a dyno in a route, 20 holds before the end is just lame. Well that’s my opinion.

On the same day we went to the Garda lake. The sun was shining and it was nice to get a tan.

Chocolate brown yeah! It was nice to enjoy the environment and relax.

Saturday Elko and Nikki wanted to climb at Bolzano, because the Swiss team were climbing there as well. The semis starts at half past 4 in the afternoon. Without a driver my team members couldn’t go climbing. I tagged along and drove to Bolzano. It’s about an hour driving to get to the venue. We wanted to be there on time so we skipped our lunch. On our way to the venue, Nikki shared cookies which was nice when you feel hungry however not energizing for me. Our drive took us 2,5 hours because we got in a traffic jam!! We got lost at Bolzano as well. Fortunately Elko spotted a Salewa building and we managed to get there.

My plan was to climb some with Katherine Choong, but she was playing hard to get. Oh well, climbing with someone else from the Swiss team was nice as well. I didn’t climb more than 5 routes that day, my stomach was just too empty. Elko and Nikki climbed a lot though. I think this gym at Bolzano has nice routes!

We left at quarter past 5 and our goal was to support Jorg in his semis. He’ll climb at 6 PM. Unfortunately our ride back took us longer than expected. Again we got in a terrible traffic jam. I didn’t have time for this and had to anticipate while being stuck in a trafficjam. I could have gotten a ticket for my actions though, driving on the spare lane to escape the traffic jam and driving against traffic wasn’t a problem at all. The police was there to point us where we should drive. Due to this traffic jam we missed the semis. We ended up ordering a mix pizza in a restaurant. We enjoyed our pizza’s in our car. Such a horrible day for me, hopefully we’ll still make it back in time to witness the men’s finals!

With some luck, we made it just on time to witness the finals. We had enough time to get an icecream downtown.

Frits and Abel spotted us when we were back at the competition venue! Abel informed me about the finals. I didn’t even know who advanced to the finals. Unfortunately Jorg was not in it…The men’s finals had a nice route. I got sweaty hands by just looking at it! The small strong Spanish guy, Ramon, sent every route and won the finals. Very nice to see how strong he is during the finals!

On Sunday there was the Arco Rock Masters on the same competition wall. With different routes, only the best climbers were able to enjoy the routes. Two identical routes, set for duel climbing. Rules were easy, the first one to send the route without falling, wins and advances to the next round.

Again it was nice to see the first few climbers, but at some point it got bored. Except the finals, it went so fast and it was so exciting. Eventually Adam Ondra won this competition, Thomas Tauporn got second and Jakob Schubert was third in this event. The fastest time was set by Cedric Lachat. Really nice performances! The women’s results was surprising. A Russion woman Yana Chereshneva won and Johanna Ernst got second and the blonde Sasha DiGiulian ended up third.

The results can be found here.

Anyway, I enjoyed my time in Italy.

I had mixed emotions during my first World Championships. At this very moment I do feel exhausted, weak and tired. Lately I have been training irregular. I want to train on fixed days again. For now I’ll be back in The Netherlands for a while to fight gravity. It’s hard without rocks though, but I have enough time to prepare form y next international lead competition which will take place at Puurs end of September!

More photos will be available on my Facebook page!

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