With the final comp of the season finished, it’s safe for me to say I’m happy for this season to be over.

I got what I came for, experience. I wanted to learn more about my climbing and where I can improve. Now I’m feeling impatient and I desperately want to start training for next year.

I’m going to go through a big transformation and I will be keeping you up to date on my progress in both strength and fitness. I’m very excited for next season to begin and to get two British girls into a World Cup final. Shauna has flown the flag for us for so long on her own, I hope to join her on her solo mission.

My goal is simple and I’m being very open about it; I want to make a World Cup final next season. Believe me when I say, I will do everything I can to make that happen. I don’t expect it to happen, I want it to happen.

Looking back over the short comp season this year, there have been ups and downs. Like I said, I learned a lot, but not just about competing, also about travelling too. The season so far has taken me to Innsbruck in Austria, Toronto in Canada, Vail in America and also Haiyang & Chonqing in China. I have always loved travelling and as you well know I love competing… which is why I was surprised to realise there were aspects of the adventure that I wasn’t enjoying. There were so many times that I craved home comforts and my own bed. What would you do?

The ‘Western’ portion of my travels went fairly smoothly and I had a lot of fun climbing inside and outside when I wasn’t competing. The first time I experienced ‘home sickness’ was whilst travelling in China. Before I had even landed in China I could feel a drop in my psych. The plane journey wasn’t a pleasant one for a start. One of the most unpleasant I’d ever experienced in fact, but I won’t go into the nitty gritty of that.

We landed safely and I reunited with Shauna ready for the first comp. I did my best to keep my focus on the competition which took everything I had, especially after a full day of tricky travel the day before. I wasn’t keen to admit it, I didn’t want to make excuses, but the travelling had definitely taken it out of me and it showed in my performance.

Between the two China comps things became increasingly difficult as we became more and more confined to our hotel room.

First was food. Planning ahead and on the advice of other competitors I had travelled with all of my own food, relying on the foreign cuisine had proven costly to competitors in the past with people suffering from stomach bugs and food poisoning. After checking a few menus out of curiosity, I had made the right decision, everything felt alien. It was tricky eating the same thing every day, especially wanting to experience authentic culture, but it felt like a price worth paying.

Then there was the staring. Every time we walked anywhere, people would stop in the street, jaws on the floor, pointing at us. Shauna Coxsey and I are both blonde. It would seem that Chinese people, both men and women find blonde hair ‘beautiful’ as they put it. We both found the photos, the pointing and the general lack of personal space boundaries quite invasive, when we needed time to relax and recuperate. We dealt with it in the best way we could, avoiding unnecessary travel on foot.

China is on the circuit again next year and I feel much more prepared for what is ahead. It will be a long season but all my training mentally and physically this winter will help keep me in shape. I entered this season with minimal preparation and told myself that I would have to be patient with my results. Patience is hard work and patience is the biggest lesson I have learnt, in performance but also in life. Things will happen when the time is right and if you put the effort in. You have every chance of being successful and competition climbing definitely includes a bit of chance.
So here’s to patience. And hoping one day my time will come.

Article originally published on the Arch Climbing website.