01 02 03 thomasina pidgeon: Arco, Arco, county Wicklow... 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Arco, Arco, county Wicklow...

With only two competitions left after Munich I was looking forward to some rest. My shoulders had taken a hard beating from the very start of this year and looked forward to some real rest as in, no climbing whatsoever. 

Bound for the world championship in paris, we made a short detour to Arco, Italy to take part in the rock masters international. Note... international, not invitational. One has to actually get invited to the invitational events in Europe and to get invited, one has to place well, real well.

Arco was an epic; getting there and leaving... Google maps said it was a 4 hour drive from Munich. It should be noted on the site that this is tallied at driving euro speeds. Leaving Munich at 5 pm hoping to arrive before ten we ended up pulling into Arco at 2:30am wide eyed and  bushy tailed. After spending what seemed like hours circling around looking for the next "this way to arco" sign in a downpour our driving was slow and slower. With no idea if the comp was even going ahead due to the massive amounts of rain falling from the heavens I hoped it was cancelled so that I would at least have time to figure out where I was meant to be in 6 hours time.

After pushing the snooze button one to many times, I reluctantly awoke at 9 am which was 15 minutes after isolation closed. Wondering why the hell I even bothered coming I cursed my tardiness, the lack of road signs and my  seemingly chronic inability  to be organized a bit better. Meanwhile, I thanked the rain which hopefully put the comp off long enough so that I could get my ass to it. 

Unfortunately  the comp was not cancelled yet fortunately it was delayed. Some sleep and time to mentally prepare would have been of great assistance. I arrived just in time to hear tim announce the new start time and to hear people tell me that they had been looking for me for the last 3 days. I guess my withdrawal from the rope event was not finalized...! 

All the stress that I had created was pointless as always. I re-told myself, see? things usually work out and even if it didn't, does it really matter? No of course not and getting worked up about it is about as pointless as trying to control them. Cedar and I headed back to the van, ate some quick breakfast and prepared for some groggy warm up. 

The comp itself was rather relaxed even with many top European climbers on the same wall as I. My mental status was not prepared for this comp to say the least. The chaos from trying to get there and the morning rush had not given my head the chance to enter comp mode. I tried as best I could but my focus was a mile away. 

Despite that, I did have fun. The format was 8 problems in 90 minutes with lots of paper towel near by to dry one shoes from the puddles forming on the mats. The problems were hard. Harder than the two world cups that I had been to but really well set. Technical, very powerful, dynamic, and  confusing. I was inspired but the strength of the other women there and wondered what the hell was with the Russians.  Was it the water? How do they train? The Russian girl Olga was the only one to have  done 7 of the 8 problems with very impressive style. The most sent after her was 4, then 3. To make it to next event one had to do 2 problems fast. I did one and a bonus which was a little disappointing. Though the problems were hard, they weren't impossible and wishful thinking makes me wonder if i had summoned my grrr from the start well... perhaps that would of been most helpful. Maybe there are benefits to isolation format after all, at least for me as I feel I have more focus with that format.

And with that over and the continuing rain we made a small tour of the beautiful town while cedar ate a cone of gelato bigger than her head. Finally, we headed to paris. 
Well, at least we tried. First I ran out of gas. As my van chugged and sputtered its last breaths over the narrow mountain road,  i drove very slowly hoping to make it to the next town while trying to piss off the already impatient  Italians who were honking their horns at a rate faster than I was driving. 

Luck had me come to a rolling stop in front of a gas station which was just about to close. I pointed to my van which was at that point blocking traffic and he laughed at me and handed me a half full Jerry can. Thank you!

When in Italy, eat spaghetti. We stopped at a cute town just before entering Austria and ate the most delicious plate of pasta and tomato sauce. how do they make something so simple taste like a bit of heaven? 

Returning to the van with full bellies prepared for a long drive I found a dead battery or so was thought. I waved down the right couple. They tried to jump start my van while telling me about their cousin who lived in Canada. Unfortunately, the boost was useless. Fortunately they happened to know the mehanic who's house I had ironically broken down in front of and who just happened to walk by. The next morning, on his day off, Christian came to my van dressed in green overalls and diagnosed it's illness as the starter. Then he said in broken english that it was the engine. Very bad. A few tests later he discovered it was just a loose connection. Handing over a sweet fifty euros I thanked him for his kindness and time and thanked the universe that I didn't have to abandon my van for a tent and long bus rides. We happily waved good bye to him and the local fat orange cat and eagerly drove north. 

Paris, here we come!

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