It's currently 1:00 in the morning here in Paris, making it my official last full day here. My two week trip is coming to an end and as happy as I am to see all of your smiling faces again, I wish I could stay here forever. This trip has been a whirlwind of competition and climbing while trying to squeeze in a little photo editing and as many macarons as possible.
This particular post is a short one about the first week of my trip which was spent "coaching" (according to my badge), photographing, and cheering on my friends Jillian, Sean, Sierra, and a bunch of new friends from paraclimbing who were all competing for the US Team in the IFSC Climbing World Championships in Paris, France.
Our story begins with Jill coming back from Paraclimbing Nationals with a first place medal and an invitation to Worlds. I had previous plans to use my vacation days for a road trip through Colorado with my dog, but as all of us who are friends with Jillian know, her excitement is contagious and she soon convinced me to join her in France instead. Flights were low and Airbnbs were plenty, so with my passport in hand and crème brûlée on my mind I said au revoir to my loved ones and email inbox. After a small miscommunication with Amtrak and a hasty rescue from the ever amazing Alexis Diller, Jillian and I found ourselves at LAX ready and eager for the rest of the adventures that lay ahead. One long nap and new friend later (I hope Portugal is treating you well Leah!) we were walking down a street full of strip clubs trying to find our hostel. The hostel ended up being quirky and cute with a short walk to Notre Dame and my favorite gelato stand. We spent our first two days walking around the city and visiting the gardens of Versailles while adjusting to the time zone.
Jillian's first round of qualifiers for Paraclimbing was on Wednesday, where she kicked some serious ass and climbed her way into fourth place. On Thursday I ran around the stadium nonstop in order to catch Jillian's second round of qualifiers as well as Sean's qualifiers in Lead and Sierra's qualifiers in Bouldering. Jillian scored high enough to land a spot in finals the following day where she secured the fourth place spot in the Women's RP3 category. Ronnie Dickson also placed fourth in the AL2 category in his final World Cup competition. Maureen Beck took home gold with a first place victory in AU2 and Connor King finished with a sweet third place finish in RP1. Climbing competitions here in Europe are way bigger than anything I've ever witnessed in the US and it was a PSYCHED crowed that packed the AccorHotels Arena for finals on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Since Jill will be writing her own extensive blog about competing I'll leave the post here for now. To see more photos from behind the scenes of the first day of the paraclimbing you can click here. Stay tuned for another blog about week deux in Fontainebleau to be followed by a post full of film from around the city.
It's now 2:30 am and I need to get to bed. Good Night!