Open Bouldering Nationals 2016 in Vancouver

Another year, another Nationals.

Mornings suck. As we are from a small city and we all own our own cars, we were not used to catching buses at specific times. I was waiting for my bagel to toast at a coffee shop when we watched our bus roll up. Life choices, Krista. Life choices. Needless to say, we missed our bus and had to take a cab to make sure we arrived before isolation closed. We made it with plenty of time to spare though with the cab, luckily.

After checking in and getting our free swag (yeah, it pays to register early!) we went up to the awesome isolation area upstairs. There were 3 rooms in total: the first room was the lounge, with Gatorade and snacks, plus chairs and tables to just chill. While reading the free Gripped magazines scattered about, we stumbled upon some competitors who were either featured in an article, advertising a product, or had written an article themselves. We felt slightly out of place amongst a sea of “climbing celebrities” but also felt really cool that we were about to compete against the best climbers in Canada. Three years later and this ‘fan girling’ is still very much alive (we definitely don’t creep most of them on instagram).

Warming up proved quite difficult, for me anyway. Seb was the first one out of the three of us, so he started his stretching and such quite early. By the time he was half way through his warm up, Carlie began hers. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself at that point – I was itching to get started myself. I ended up just taking some go pro footage of them warming up, while feeling somewhat like a groupie. I went pee a couple of times, blew my nose a couple of more times, thought about perhaps moving to Vancouver tomorrow, looked at the clock, grabbed my shoes and chalk and began warming up. This 2nd room off the lounge was just wonderful – its sole purpose was for training. It had a couple of stationary bikes, a long pull up bar, kettle bells, weights, campus boards, hangboards, and many jugs/crimps/pinches on various degrees escalating up the wall. Sick.

My warm-up was pretty standard, eventually moving on to the 3rd room with an actual climbing wall to do some traversing and some big moves. I was really feeling my cold. My throat infection had spread to my sinuses, so the pressure on my eyes was making me quite tired. I couldn’t breath out of my nose, which was awesome. But, I was quite determined to overcome these set backs and really thought I could. I should have known that I was off when Ice Cube blaring in my ear wasn’t really doing a whole lot to psych me up.

The first problem looked like something I could do. The bonus was a big slopey volume with a really good crimp on top. I double checked with the judge that the bonus was the volume, and not the hold. This seemed like a problem I could do, and last year I flashed the first problem so I was pretty set on doing the same with this one. However, I completely ignored the volume bonus and tried twice to grab the crimp on top. After falling twice in the same spot, I remembered that I could just tap the volume and move on to the crimp. I did exactly that my 3rd try, also using another slopey volume that I had ignored before to give me more leverage to the crimp. Once I got the crimp, I advanced a couple more moves before falling at a weird but cool looking sequence of jugs over a roof. I had no time to try it a third time, so I gave up knowing that I could have sent this if I had thought the first part through.

The second problem was my anti-style: coordination and balance. Really cool problem, but tricky. It took me a couple of tries to stick the bonus, but once I did I managed to move up several more moves, until my foot slipped off of a tiny foot hold. I was convinced I could have also sent this problem had I thought about the first sequence a bit harder. I left this problem feeling discouraged and definitely in my head.

The third problem was a write off for me – I didn’t even make it off the starting holds. This route was a big bucket volume for both hands and your right foot, with a good foot hold slightly below for your left. Healing or toeing the inside of the volume, you had to reach up high with your right hand to grab a side-pull crimp facing the wrong way. I was attempting with my right hand and many others did so successfully, but I also saw people do it with their left hands which seemed hard but doable. I felt completely lost here because I could grab the crimp, but couldn’t get high enough on it to grab the side pull. The next move was a big move up to a pocket, so you had to get the crimp. I left this problem pretty angry with myself. With only two bonuses so far after many attempts, I was starting to feel pretty discouraged. I think this is where I lost focus.

The fourth problem looked pretty straight forward, although the holds were uglier up close. You had these crimps rotated various ways, and the idea was to get a high foot and move up to the bonus, which was also a greasy, ugly crimp. I tried several times to go up to the bonus dynamically, but it definitely had to be static. There was heel hook beta I didn’t see until the end, but when I went to try it my other foot kept greasing off. Not even a bonus on this one!

The last one I think I would have really enjoyed if I wasn’t already down on myself. It was a just a bunch of slopers on a corner, so you had to hand-foot match, mantel, or whatever else to get up to the bonus. I ended up trying the same beta several times, with the bonus hold in sight, but wasn’t able to touch it.

To say I was upset was an understatement (I was also quite mad at myself). It’s hard to accept that that’s your best effort when you know it wasn’t. I know I could do better, so why didn’t I? Seb argues that it was because of my cold and the fact that I hadn’t slept much the past couple of days. I’m not sure that excuses are warranted here, I think it’s a sign that I didn’t prepare enough. Maybe that’s why my warm up went so poorly.

However, I am more motivated than ever to train for next year. We have another Tour de Bloc Championship series coming up in a couple of weeks, so I will rest and prepare for that one. As for next year, I will amp up my training and work on my weaknesses. We’ve also decided as a team to attend more competitions, because our gym does not effectively prepare us for comp style problems (we just don’t have the space).

Overall, I had a blast in Vancouver and loved every minute of being there! Excitement is high for training as well. Great things are coming – I just know it! 🙂

Climb on xx

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