Injury: a ‘How-To’ Guide on not Competing in a Senior World Cup

By The Climbing Academy

TCA Staffer Roz was about to compete in the Bouldering World CUp 2018 in Moscow - but then disaster struck!

The Injury and How it Came About

About 6 months ago I got asked to join the Senior Team GB, and I was so happy to have been selected! At first I wasn’t sure what this meant in terms of competitions and other opportunities, so continued my day-to-day life of training, climbing outside and eating cake. About a month ago I got an email inviting me to represent Team GB and compete in a Boulder World Cup in Moscow, Russia. Being predominantly a sport climber I was a bit apprehensive, but how could I turn down an opportunity like that? I was psyched – I tried to up my training and reduce my cake intake (one of these was more successful than the other…)

But my first world cup didn’t quite go to plan. About two days before leaving for Moscow I was putting my ropes up to routeset in UCR – climbing a 6a (below my usual grade), I came down and felt a weird numbness in my ring finger, right at the base of my finger. It then swelled up so I couldn’t bend it fully and went really bruised. WHAT A NIGHTMARE! After a few hours of speaking to various friends, a hospital visit, many tearful phone calls to fellow climbing friends, and a visit to Simon at Rise Physiotherapy it was concluded that I had torn my A2 pulley. I would explain what this is, but being not quite sure myself, I’ll let this image do the talking which (hopefully) shows that the pulley attaches the tendon to the bone.

© Neumann, D. A. (2002)

Even though I really wanted to climb, it dawned on me that I probably shouldn’t. There was a risk of fully rupturing the pulley, or even straining another one. After numerous more tearful phone calls to close friends and family, I decided to head to Moscow anyway and at least spectate.

In Moscow

Moscow is a pretty cool city – luckily on Friday the team and I got to do a smidge of sightseeing around the city. All the buildings are crazy extravagant and use a very excessive amount of gold – this apparently symbolizes the wealth of the nation and used to install awe to the population. This includes the Metro stations – built in 1935 as a Stalinist device to amaze and control the populace, and give them an appreciation of Soviet realist art; they make Paddington and Victoria look like a portaloo. But anyway…

St Basils Cathedral. Built in 1555- 61 on orders from Ivan the Terrible, architects Barma and Postnik Yakovlev had their eyes gouged out after completing the construction, so as to never build anything as beautiful as this again… That seems fair.
One of the Metro Stations- They were pretty too.

The Competition

On Saturday the competition kicked-off! It was so cool to even be in the same room as so many world class athletes! First up were the men’s qualification round; we had a load of strong men in this: Matt Cousins, Nathan Phillips, Will Bosi, Aidan Roberts, Orrin Coley and Ty Landman. The boulders looked super cool with plenty of jumps, burly moves and super techy slabs. And all the guys looked super strong! Unfortunately none made finals although Nathan got close.

A few hours later the guys and I headed back up the arena to watch the girls in action. We got mildly side-tracked by a giant inflatable obstacle course. Turns out with a torn A2 pulley you can still go on these. No joke, the hardest cardio session I have had in awhile! It also turns out I am not very good at getting over these things fast…

More about Climbing

Shauna was out first, and unsurprisingly cruised into the semi’s (so strong). Next up was Immy Horrocks, then Jen Wood, both of which climbed SO WELL and I was so inspired to watch my super strong team mates crush! This was Immy’s first world cup, so her top 30 (in her group) finish was extremely impressive, and Jen was super close to making semi’s and utterly destroyed 2 of the blocs, wooooo!

Jen Wood topping her 3rd bloc.

After the comp we headed out for a meal, waited about 2 hours for the food to arrive and headed to bed. Sunday came around and I once again ate my whole body weight in porridge and cooked breakfast (we had an all inclusive breakfast for the whole time). Then we watched semi’s (again super impressive to see all these strong climbers in action), before grabbing lunch, cake, and taking some time to explore more of Moscow (including the space museum). Yes, my trip to Moscow revolved pretty much around the free food.

After this, it was the main event: FINALS. It is like nothing else watching a final live, the atmosphere is electric and it is so cool to watch all the world class athletes try these super fun (and nails) looking boulders. Rather than me try and explain what happens, definitely check out the finals for yourself below.

When the finals were finished, we headed to the hotel after party, drank some beers, played some cards and spoke to some foreign athletes about UK trad climbing – my lack of knowledge in this subject ensured it was a very short conversation.

It was home time: a walk in the park, a cancelled flight, a night in Frankfurt and a long drive back later and I was setting some comp-style blocs in UCR for you all to try! I was so glad I made the decision to go to Moscow regardless of my injury, it was incredibly fun to hang out and support the team, and a good introduction to boulder world cups for my next one (hopefully)!

So What About the Injury?

Regarding my finger (if you wanted to know), I was fortunate to be out in Moscow with the Team GB physio. He did some weird calibration pulley test thing and said that I had partially torn my A2 pulley and strained my wrist flexor – so it was a good job I didn’t compete, though he had absolutely no idea how I did this climbing a 6a. We concluded it was sheer bad luck. For me for now it is lots of core, stretching and running – some easy climbing in a few weeks, but no crimping for a while! I am pretty psyched for this, if you are lucky enough to know me, you’ll know I am about as flexible as a plank of wood, so hopefully I will be in the splits in no time!