This past weekend I competed in the IFSC Lead World Cup in Boulder, CO. It was my first Lead World Cup competition and it was nice to be on home turf. The host gym, Movement Climbing & Fitness, is only a few blocks from my house, and it certainly made the whole experience far more pleasant. After competing in Arco this summer, after some heinous travel days getting there, it was nice to compete in an event of that caliber in a more comfortable environment. That's not to say the competition was easy. The world's best showed up and it made for quite a show. I had trained quite a bit for the event and expected to perform fairly well. As the current US National Champion for sport climbing I definitely felt a bit of pressure to be in shape for the event and put in a solid effort.
Saturday was the Qualifying Round and the routes proved to be pretty difficult. Only one competitor managed to flash both of them, amongst a very strong field. I didn't warm up as properly as I normally do, and succumbed to the dreaded "flash pump" on Qualifier 1 at the final bolt. Perfectly solid and calm to desperately pumped in a few short seconds. Lactic Acid Flood! Luckily I had some fight in me, and pulled through some pretty hard moves near the top of the route despite feeling absurdly destroyed.
After 30 minutes of recovering and warming up again, it was on to Qualifier 2. Bouldery moves on pinches and good edges. Very much my style. I gave it a solid effort, but slipped off near the lip of the overhang. It was enough to leave me in decent standings, but much worse than I expected of myself. Day 1 was over and I was in 14th place.
Semi-finals began in the late morning on Day 2. I nice cup of coffee and some oatmeal left me well prepared for the difficult on-sight round ahead. I warmed up nicely and soon enough I was confidently executing the lower moves of the Semi-final route. A collection of volumes hosted some bouldery moves and I felt my body engage them appropriately. I placed a toe-hook on an under cling to provide some extra balance to make a clip. As I let go of the hold to reach for the rope, the toe hook slipped and I spun off the wall. Bummer! Despite feeling vaguely fatigued at that point, I still felt like I had a lot of fight left to give. But that's the nature of Lead competitions. You have one chance. You have to remain secure and steady at all times and you can't make mistakes. It was a good learning experience and hopefully the next one will go better. On to the next challenge!