I usually take the opportunity of the Easter holidays to climb on rock, but this year, Loïc Timmermans and I wanted to try another kind of trip. Structures for high-level training are lacking in Belgium, but they are more common in Germany and in Austria. We thus decided to move to those countries for two intense weeks of specific training before the start of the international season. Something else was new for me this year : at the university, Easter is a period of preparation for the examinations of June. Loïc and I thus got up every morning at 6:45 in order to study from 7:30 till 12:30. Then, we had all the afternoon to climb. 

Our first stop was at "Stuntwerk", a brand new bouldering gym in Cologne, where the German national team regularly trains. A section of this gym is fully dedicated to competition training, with very typical problems. It was very interesting for us because in Belgium, if one can easily find structures for physical training, there is no specific equipment to develop gesture, technique and coordination.

On the second day, we went to "Boulder Island", a bouldering gym in Mannheim. There were no boulders of a very high level, but we did find problems that were difficult enough to put ourselves in a scenario of competition. Furthermore, there were many volumes to exercise us on the reading. 

The next day, we drove to Darmstadt for a session of resilience. And yes, it happens to me sometimes! This training (lead climbing) was mainly for Loïc but it was not bad for me neither because there were jumps in the routes! 

Then, we stayed 5 days in a very nice apartment in Nurenberg. We started with a full day of study, which ended by a jogging in the evening. The following days were quite memorable: first we had the privilege to have a training session supervised by Dicki Korb (Alex Megos’ trainer) in the gym "Cafe Kraft", then we climbed one afternoon in Frankenjura where the climatic conditions were not very good. It was my first experience there and it happened to be a very pleasant discovery. We had the pleasure to climb with David Firnenburg, that we see regularly on the international circuit. One evening, David invited us for a dinner and he showed us the city center. When we reached the top of the Nuremberg castle, a firework in honor of the spring was activated at the bottom of the city. We didn’t expect this was going to happen and it was a magnificent surprise! After three days of training, we took a day off  (studying + jogging) and we drove to Austria. 

Since we were staying in Innsbruck, we could potentially climb at the "Tivoli" (the gym where the best Austrian climbers train), in Imst (which hosts one of the lead climbing world cups),  and in Zillertal if weather conditions were good enough for rock bouldering. We finally decided to have all our sessions at the "Tivoli", stimulated by the emulation of Alizée Dufraisse, Stéphane Hanssens and several athletes from the Austrian team. We did not go to Zillertal as initially planned, because our skin did not allow it after several days of intensive climbing. 

As our trip was coming to an end, our plan was to make a last stop at "Stuntwerk" on our way back to Belgium. But this last session did not take place because the gym had been booked for a joint training of the German and Austrian teams.  We haven’t been too disappointed since we were broken, and we could eventually  return a little earlier to Belgium and take a rest during our last weekend of vacancies. 

I am satisfied with this trip during which I learnt several things to refine my training. Even if I do not regret this choice, I must admit that the (Bleau) forest is missing me, and I know that I shall not return to it before long (my planning of the coming months is overbooked!). 

The Easter holidays have also been fruitful for other Belgian climbers that I would like to congratulate : Anak Verhoeven and Antoine Kauffmann for their first ever 9a (lead), Simon Lorenzi for his first 8c (lead), and Loïc Debry for his 2 first 8A (boulder) in Fontainebleau !