This weekend passed by as a dream. After a twelve hour sleep I awoke this morning trying to organize my thoughts on the craziness that happened this weekend and the events/finals in school to come. Here’s a recap of the weekend as best as my sleepy brain can manage
Most people can relate to being excited about things or events to come by not believing it until the last minute. My excitement came in a completely different way; I had thought about this competition since the very second I signed up, but when it came down to leaving, boarding the plane, even landing in Boston–my nerves were completely gone and I didn’t really believe we were there or going to compete. We landed in the afternoon just a few hours before athlete registration and kept pretty calm throughout the traveling (minus a small camera incident ). At the hotel we regrouped and met up with friends from the south, eyed our competition, registered, and killed time by videotaping silly things for an idea for video (making a nationals video with absolutely zero climbing footage. look for that soon, haha)
That night we went to the Daniel Woods slideshow and got to talk to him. Talk about down to earth, this guy seemed genuinely psyched to meet everyone, hear where they were from, and looked everyone in the eye as he congratulated them for being there and wished them luck. He had a comp of his own to go to the next day and we wished him luck as well. Yes, we did get our awkward side hug as we took a photo with him, and it was one goal that succeeded in being crossed off the list.
The next morning was craziness. I woke up at 6:30 wired and ready to go. We downed some coffee though it seemed unnecessary with the excitement going on in the hotel restaurant downstairs. It was super interesting to see how some competitors reacted in the morning. Some groggily filled their plates with food, some maintaining the tough exterior without smiling and almost looking around as if to start a fight, some exchanging smiles and engaging in small talk. Our southeast table was alive and well, packed around a small table joking, laughing, and eating lots of food. We quickly left as a taxi approached and headed towards Metrorock for the competition.
The gym was insane with unique climbing areas, sweet roofs on routes, huge voluems and steep bouldering areas. The competition had a ”line system” because of the huge number of competitors, each had to take their scorecard to a judge and get in line for the problem they wanted to try. I usually have a really hard time at the beginning of comps because of my non-aggressive/non-competitive nature. While everyone was scrambling to get in line, I put on my shoes slowly, warmed up slowly and finally got in line. It looked like everyone was bouldering first, which was nice to see beta but horrible for waiting in line. I was a little indecisive, but stood in line for a v5 and flashed it. Next got in line for more v5s and 6s and flashed them too. A really cool, long v7 had caught my eye and I tried it once but didn’t want to sacrifice power endurance before getting on routes, so I waited with the intention of having enough time to come back to it.
Hahahahahahahahaha. time, hahahahahaha.
Long story short, I ended up waiting twenty or so minutes to speed climb, opted out because it was taking a very long time waiting. Warmed back up on a 5.11a, stood in line close to thirty minutes for a 5.12a, used a wrong foothold, was told to come down. At this point I was frantic. We only had half an hour left and I still needed two more routes plus at least another harder boulder problem I could feel happy with. I shoved my scorecard into whichever pile had the least amount of people ahead of me. Twenty minutes later I was up, and knew this would be my last climb. I could have played it safe and climbed a 10c or gone for more points and climbed the 12(b/c?) I chose the 12 which looked pretty good and started my way up. Not even halfway up, I remembered using a hold underneath the roof and attempted to toehook what I thought was a handhold. I ended up touching another ‘off’ foothold that I could not see from above. I was lowered down and time was called. My heart sank and I couldn’t believe it. The first comp I have failed to get all of my climbs in is nationals?! I sat and talked with friends who were equally a little disappointed and we made each other feel better. It was in that moment that I learned the difference between ‘caring’ and ‘taking something seriously.’ We all definitely cared very much, because we wouldn’t train and dedicate so much time if we didn’t care about it. It was heartbreaking for sure, but in that moment we smiled, chowed down on some nutella, and started playing in a jungle gym and campusing equipment throughout our disappointment and tried not to take it too seriously. There was still adventure to be had in a new city, a new gym, and with new friends, so we made the most of it. This is where the weekend turned to be incredible and so much fun. This is also one of the best lessons any competition has taught me.
After eating and sharing stories we headed downtown Boston. It was incredible and I was so impressed by it! We walked around with the Chattnasty/Brevard/Belmont/VT crew, admired the buildings, took tons of photos, ate icecream, did cartwheels in a park, and parkoured it out with some random guys who knew some sweet moves.
Later on back at the gym we made up some sweet mini competitions of our own. Upside down & timed toe hook challenges, one arm lock offs, campus circles, and more. I bro-ed out with the best of them and had no competitors stand up to my one arm lock off haha. when the results were posted my heart sank again, but we cheered on all the southerners who made it to the top. Later I calculated that if I had just done just two more 5.10/11 routes I would have made it to finals My boulder problems were a little weak but still saved me point wise. Time management. Lesson learned, maybe next year!
Finals was amazing to see though. The girls problem was a little technical start to a sideways dyno to two awful slopers before moving to the finish, going at about v7/8. The guys problem was a powerful overhanging crimpy piece going at about v9/10. The routes are what really took everyone’s breath away with super long, overhung, powerful climbing. It was so inspirational to see our own Ryan up there killing the moves that guys had fallen from. He took FREAKIN FIRST PLACE and we were all ecstatic for him!!!!
Later we got to climb more and try out the final boulder problems. I ended up falling just one move from the finish on the girls final problem! It made me feel a little better, and then we just messed around on more climbs having fun and meeting new climbers from CO, FL, TX, up north, etc.
All in all, the south definitely had a strong and positive presence regardless of the scores. Everyone had a good attitude and tried their hardest. This was a first time thing for almost everyone who went (and definitely a first for ASU!) and all I can say is that we learned how the system worked, we know what to do, and next year will be amazing. I think it’s great we put ourselves through that experience and took something from it. Getting to hang out with friends from the southeast region was incredible and reaffirmed that our appalachian region is all one giant family. I couldn’t be prouder of how Chattnasty, Brevard, Belmont, VT, and everyone else presented themselves and their school. Uhh OH YEAH and RYAN WON FIRST PLACE OVERALL! FUHRK YEAH!!! couldn’t be more proud of everyone! Huge thanks to Looking Glass Outfitters in brevard for their support, my family and friends for all of the help and support throughout everything. Will probably erase lots of rambling later and put in fun pictures instead.