Shauna Coxsey needs very little introduction, Britain’s most successful competition climber, BMC Ambassador and an overall very inspiring young lady. Ian Parnell caught up with Shauna to chat about her competition season, injuries and future plans.
This summer you managed to travel to South Africa in between competitions, is travelling to different areas important for you, and how does it benefit your climbing?
Travelling to different climbing areas is really important to me! Spending time rock climbing, in new areas with good friends has a huge impact on my ability to stay motivated throughout the hard training months. I love seeing new places and climbing in new areas. I think it is also massively beneficial for my climbing.
What attracted you to South Africa? and what was the most memorable moment of this trip?
I have wanted to go to Rocklands for years! There has been so much information about the place all over the internet. Countless videos and pictures of this incredible landscape with more climbing than anyone could ever imagine. Everything about it just looked totally epic. We booked this trip before the World Cup season began and before I injured my finger. I really struggled to make the decision whether or not to go. I didn’t really climb a lot when we were there but I am really glad that we went and I would love to go back. The most memorable moment of the trip would have to be watching Ned’s flash attempt on El Corozon. He was painfully close. It was incredibly exciting that he’d got so close to flashing it yet unbelievably frustrating that he’d just missed the last hold.
The South Africa trip came just before the final World Cup round in Munich, do you think that time away from the comp circuit was a crucial part of your success in that last event of the world cup series?
It’s always hard having such a big break in the World Cup season. It can be difficult to decide what to do in that time. For me taking a break away from training and going away was the best decision this year. Although, it was really frustrating to be surrounded by hard boulders that I had been desperate to try and not be able to really try them. I had a lot of time to think. This was really important for me.
You finished the World Cup with a bang winning the final round in Munich, was that a surprise or did you have a feeling it was going to be a special day?
It was a total surprise. I barely climbed at all in Rocklands and when I got back I only had a couple of sessions before the World Cup. My finger wasn’t feeling great and I knew I wasn’t at my strongest or fittest. I went into the comp ready to give everything. I hadn’t gone into the comp thinking about winning I just wanted to give my best performance and finish satisfied with my climbing.
You’ve described the final, where you flashed all four problems as a ‘dream’ – is that the best you’ve ever climbed?
It still seems a little surreal. I mean who wouldn’t want to win a World Cup by flashing all of the final boulders. I am really happy with how I climbed but I still feel like I could have done better. Maybe it’s the best I have ever climbed but I still want to climb even better and I feel like I can too, which really motivates me.
You’ve had a finger injury for a large part of this year, how has it affected your climbing, and have you been able to learn anything from the experience?
My finger injury has had a huge impact on my climbing this year. It’s been infuriating. I do feel like I have learnt a lot from this injury though. The biggest battle for me this year was keeping my head together and staying strong mentally when I knew that I wasn’t at my physical peak. I was determined to compete in the World Cups if I could. So I did. Thinking back it’s hard to say if this was the best decision. However, this experience has made me a much stronger competitor.
We filmed part of this Epic TV series with Mark Glennie, your coach, what difference do you think working with him has made this year? Also the pressure in that final round was immense do you think the Shauna from 2 or 3 years ago would have been able to handle that as well as you did in Munich?
Mark and I have been working together for some time now. I couldn’t ever imagine working with anyone else. He’s transformed me into an athlete both physically and mentally. We have worked hard to get to this point and I think that my performance in Munich was a representation of the hard work we have both put in over the past years.
Akiyo Noguchi won the title this year – what is she like as a competitor, and do you think you can get stronger and beat her next year?
Akiyo is such a lovely person as well as being an incredible climber. It’s amazing to get to compete alongside someone that I have looked up to for so many years. All of the athletes will go away and get stronger and fitter. I think it will be a really exciting season next year.
What plans have you got for the rest of the 2015?
Right now I am focussing on training. I am working with Mark to get myself in the best shape possible for next season. My fingers are now stronger than ever and there is still a lot of progress to be made. I’m hoping to find some time to get out on some real rock too though!
Thanks a lot Shauna, and good look in the future!