Monday, 7 April 2014

Ramping Up

Hello again, a lot has happened since my last post! Between TDB Regionals, Route Provincials, and my trip to Red Rocks, I have a lot to talk about. Ill split up my posts about competitions and Red Rocks, I have so much to talk about that I don’t want to make this post half an hour long.

The TDB was at my home gym Rock Jungle Fitness, and I was super stoked for it. Heading in to it, I felt that if I gave it my all and had an awesome day, there was a chance that I could make finals. I was confident that I'd be able to perform well, as I almost always manage to compete well in my home gym. I felt really strong throughout my warm-up, although I was slightly intimidated by the sheer number of incredibly strong guys that I was up against. I managed to flash/send quite a few of the top problems quickly, and halfway through the comp I only needed two more problems to have a really solid top six. After talking to a few of the more experienced men, I had a pretty good idea of what problems it would take to make finals. Or so I thought. The problem I was working for the last forty minutes of the comp or so (which I managed to send with two minutes left) was right next to a problem that we had thought only a couple guys would send. As I watched guy after guy send it, I had to kiss my hopes for finals goodbye knowing that I was too tired to get anywhere on it. When all was said and done, I finished thirteenth overall, and was happy to be at the top of my age category. Although the result wasn't quite what I hoped, I took satisfaction in the fact that I had absolutely nothing left at the end of the scramble, and that I felt as though I had one of the best bouldering comps yet. Watching (and brushing) finals was inspiring as well, seeing my coach Dan blow off the dust and place third in finals was definitely impressive. Also, I loved watching the female youth competitors destroy in finals, not only sweeping the podium but also taking fourth as well! All in all, it was a really successful comp for almost everyone involved, and it was a great experience.

Then came route provincials. I knew it was going to be a really long day, because we were scheduled to have two qualifiers and finals. I started my day after some slightly stressful events in the morning (climbing early on a seemingly beta intensive route when the video preview was down), and so I felt a little uncharacteristically stressed stepping onto the wall, despite having watched someone top right before me. The route was essentially climbing up a bowling alley due to all of the black tape up either side, and all of the holds were turned oddly. I knew that that would make me more inclined to flag out of the tape, and so I made sure to stay very mentally engaged throughout the route so that I didn’t flag out. Fortunately, the climbing wasn’t too difficult, and I topped it despite not warming up quite well enough, and went into Q2 in a four-way tie for first.
My second qualifier looked very cruxy and technical on some very small holds, so once again I started to feel nervous as I am generally weaker at that style. I then proceeded to watch one of the top competitors in my category struggle up the route, only to fall what I thought was quite low. He said the holds were terrible, and that the movement between the usable ones was incredibly difficult. Fortunately, I was quite late in the running order, and so I was able to watch most of the other major competitors climb it. Only one person made it past an apparent crux halfway up. I stepped onto the wall quite confident. I knew exactly what I had to do to succeed on the climb, I just had to execute it. I managed to get through that midway crux thanks to a foothold that was better than the hands, and reached what I thought was going to be a decent rest. However, when I got there, I was really tired and unable to get anything back, so I pressed on. I peeled off a couple holds further, generally happy with my climb, and placed second heading in to finals.
The low crux section of second qualifier. Photo: Pam Eveleigh

 After a good meal, I started my warm up in isolation for finals. I felt fairly sluggish and tired, but just brushed it off and kept going. During observation, there was a lot on the route that I was unsure about. The start was all jugs on roof, but a lot of moves and I knew I’d need to climb it fast in order to stay fresh for the hard upper section that seemed fairly cryptic. While back in ISO, I just tried to relax and stay warm. I felt confident in my ability to do well on the route; I just needed to perform as I knew I could. I stepped onto the wall relaxed, and climbed through the bottom incredibly fast. I made it through the roof to a good rest, and decided I felt good so decided to press on. From here the combing got much harder and more technical; every move I pulled felt harder than the last, and I felt close to coming off on a few of them. I reached a position with no feet straddling an arĂȘte, and was just completely exhausted. I had nothing left. I made a fairly pathetic attempt for the next hold before basically flopping off the wall. 

Finals Route, Provincials. Photo: Pam Eveleigh
After I came down and untied, I was happy to hear that I was ranked ahead of everyone else in my category, guaranteeing myself at least second place. I was fairly confident that Scott would get further, and he looked super solid as he passed my highpoint and into first place. For a while I was a bummed that I wasn’t able to climb as well as I had hoped, and that I didn’t show my best. After a while though, I realized that I just hadn’t been training for routes much leading up to this event, and that I’d really just been getting a solid base to peak for nationals. Once I’d accepted the reality that I just wasn’t in shape for the comp, I got pretty stoked on the fact that I was able to pull second at provincials even on a bit of an off day.
The Youth A Boys Podium doing what we do best; modeling with our chalk. Photo: Pam Eveleigh
These two competitions really gave me a lot of motivation to improve upon some weaknesses, and just get into shape for routes and the major competitions coming up. There’s nothing more satisfying than showing up to an event unsure of exactly where your competition is on that day and outclimbing them, and that satisfaction was not achieved. Far from it. So for the proceeding provincials, I have been working incredibly hard to balance training as hard as I possibly can with suppressing the injuries that I feel coming on to leave me in the best condition possible for Regionals in two weeks. And I think that that is starting to pay off, I just got back from six days of sport climbing in Red Rocks paradise where pretty much everything went my way. But more about that to come, hopefully before the week is up. This post is already getting pretty long and rambly, so on that note I’ll end things here. Happy training!

Andrew Funk

No comments:

Post a Comment