Romain Desgranges, a French professional sport climber, won both the Lead Climbing European Championships and Lead Climbing World Cup in 2017. We met him and asked him everything we wanted to know about his path toward excellence!
Q: Romain, how would you explain your success?
A: Explain, I don’t know… Sometimes you can’t explain everything and understand everything. Previous seasons I was probably stronger physically, but this year I was better! The competition is full of surprises. I managed a nearly perfect year while training. I was less strong without “superpower” but I climbed to 100% (probably more than 150%) of my capacity during competitions.
Q: Did you always have this goal in mind?
A: Yes, always. I get up every morning with the desire to go training, the desire to go to the gym and the desire to win competitions. I like this! It’s funny because I do not think I’m a competitor in the soul. But the competition transcends me and the training is a drug. If I miss a session, I have a bad feeling.
Q: What’s your secret?
A: Unfortunately, there is no secret. Training, training, training, and training again. Whatever the results, the envy or the temptations, go back to the gymnasium and train and work. For many competitors, it is often easier to give up and cross a cliffs than to go back to practice. If there was one secret, it would be to be stubborn and bounded!
Q: How and when did you end up in the climbing world?
A: I started climbing at 12/13 with school. After high school, I went to Chamonix to do a sport-study climbing program where we had 2 days off every week to train and climb. Slowly, my life was 100% dedicated to climbing. I was a young volunteer; all 12th and 13th of July, I belayed king Yuji Hirayama at the Chamonix World Cup and it was just transcendent. After that, we just wanted to climb and climb again.
Q: What about your first competition? Do you remember it?
A: It was school competitions… for a long time, the competitions made me more afraid than brought me pleasure. A lot of insomnia! But often, fear is turned into excitement… you do not sleep much more but it’s more positive.
Q: What is your best exercise?
A: Those that hurt your arms… I make high-intensity loops around on my boulder … I love it. I do a lot of it and I even think I’m crazy enough to keep working on my loop project even when I stop competition.
Q: Tell us more about your goals for the future.
A: In the short term, I am dedicated to 2 competitions: the World Championship and the Chamonix World Cup. Then a short 10 months for a new season “a muerte”.
After, I think the Olympics can be a good and beautiful adventure. But for the moment, I remain at 300% for the lead competitions. Training for the Olympics now can put down my chances for the lead competitions, so for the moment, I’m staying focused on training!