Last weekend marked the initiation of my first World Cup experience. And my-oh-my, it sure was an eye-opening event in more ways than one. I have never seen so many extremely talented and beastly competitors warming-up their weapons in one isolation.
It’s a bit intimidating to look around and see hordes of freak-bots from all different nations (Japan, Korea, Slovenia, Australia, Netherlands, China, France, Germany, and Austria)–especially when a few of these Japanese ninja warriors stroll up to your difficult warm-ups and easily campus them without a bat of the eye. Ya, that happened. I quickly left the cave and sat back down on a couch in the corner where I questioned my decision on whether or not I should have eaten that quart of “Half Baked” Ben&Jerry’s the week before.
When it came time to perform, I more or less got owned by the boulders. There were five qualifier problems. I topped the first one on my 4th try and reached bonus on the final three. One more bonus hold and a few less falls would have landed me in Semis with Top 20, but I had no such luck. While the problems were powerful and core intensive, they were also equally technical and thought-provoking; the opposite of the gymnastic, dynamic American style that I have grown accustomed to and quite fond of. In either case, I’m psyched to learn this new style and improve on it.
To be a contender at this style of competition, you must be an exceptionally versatile competitor; a cold blooded, light-speed deciphering, steel fingered, V10 flashing assassin. There is no room for mistakes. The top 10 guys in the Qualification round had 2 tops and 3 bonus holds with about 5 falls TOTAL. This means if they fell once, they were almost certainly guaranteed to make bonus or top on the next try. This point is KEY. Other than being super strong and fit (which I am NOT compared to these monsters), efficiency of tries, whether achieving bonus or top, is one of the most important factors in World Cup competition strategy.
All said and done, it was a humbling experience. I have so much respect for the guys and girls that have elevated their game enough to perform at such a high level within this circuit. With Vail approaching fast this weekend, I hope to attain the same or…something. PSYCHED to see my friends!