Overall, from fit to finish, I felt pretty good this weekend. I could tell right when I landed that I was at a significant disadvantage due to the change in altitude - I was winded walking off the plane. I tried my friend’s trick of doing some sprints immediately after landing, but it is hard to tell if it helped. I proceeded to follow a high water and lower protein diet for the day preceding the comp to help my body acclimate to the altitude.
The comp itself was following a new format, as there have been many complaints about the Hot Holds system that is was used for the past three years and is main format for IFSC Bouldering Comps. USA Climbing came to a conclusion that for their comps the IFSC format did not differentiate scores well enough and believed that the scoring resulted in unfair placements. As a competitor I agree with USA Climbing about the clumping of scores but if the point of our Nationals is to determine the US Team, which will then go onward to compete at IFSC events, then we should be selecting based upon those that score best in the IFSC format. It only makes sense for us to test our athletes on the IFSC format because that will be what they will be scored against in the coming months. However, the IFSC format runs almost seamlessly at all events due to the fact that the organization has years of experience of setting problems for this format. The IFSC format works well when the problem set is tailored specifically for it, meaning for a comp to be run in the IFSC format you need people that are experienced at setting for such a format. Some of our US setters have taken the IFSC Setting Course, however it will take many more US setters with this certification if the US plans on using the IFSC format for our Nationals.
Either way, I was excited to be scored on this format in quails because I was close to the top on a few problems and I am glad I received credit for that. For the quails there were for 5 problems. The women climbed in the morning and men climbed in the afternoon. There was not a live feed for quails because iso was rolling meaning that competitors were told to show up at the warm up area 30 minutes prior to their climb time. As such climbers that climbed later in the day could view a live feed if there was one, prior to entering isolation. However, Alex David Johnson had a feed streaming on his blog for semi’s and finals. Louder Than 11 was there shooting but they were reserving their shots for a video highlight reel that was released a few days after Nationals.
My impression of the problems:
On quali 1:
It was a slabby jumpstart to a one handed, sideways dyno. It took me three tries to stick the dyno as I fell my first attempt trying to stick it statically, which was surprisingly close.
On quali 2:
It was a steep, rounded arête that require one to navigate and compress on huge ball slopers and pinches. At the moment that my time began, I knew that these things needed brushing as there was black and white all over (this was something that ate into my time on almost all of the problems- next time I am going to make sure to get an early time). On my first attempt I read the sequence wrong but ended up in a good spot. I quickly revaluated the sequence and executed it correctly only to slide off one of the slopey balls (greasy) near the top. At this point I knew my sequence was right and I just had to motor through. On my last attempt, I got to the 2nd to last hold - I was sweaty and the holds were greasy up there. I slide off and after I stood up after falling I could not believe how winded I was.
This was a steep sustained crimpfest. I seemed to lacked the power on the crimps and the general strength maneuver on these holds and moves. I think I have lost a tremendous amount of crimp strength because my nail bed separation injury of my fingers. This route combined big, steep gastonie shoulderie moves with 1 arm type of strengths. I sucked here. I read the sequence right but could not hold the moves and generate from some of these steep positions.
This was a burly boulder problems. The problem incorporated an hard start that require one to squeeze an arête, make two hard moves to horrible slopers, toe hook, and then to swing one’s body in the opposite direction to a small foot. The problem required incredible shoulder, pec, and girdle strength. The slopers that I was swinging on had a subtle thumb catch which I tried to utilize. After sticking these two identical slopers that required incredible compression, I had to release the toe hook I had to swing my foot from the right, all the way to the left, stick a small, good foot and then generate laterally and upward to an undercling. Every time I would swing my foot over, I would lose tension at the very last second. My foot would landed on the hold at that exact time my hands and shoulders would fail. I really believe that this route would have been much easier earlier in the day. I faired average on this route. I read and did everything right, but I would have appreciated better conditions on the problem because even with ample brushing the holds still felt moist. In addition, the time that I spent brushing could have been better used for another attempt. The altitudes affected me so much that this act of brushing would cause me to become winded.
I rocked this one - another technical problem like the first. Had to Popes Prow it up an arête and then balance on big feet across the slab to none holds. After traversing the slab one had to squat and down climb to the finish holds that were at the height as the start holds. This was a cool way to end the problem set and a great way to finish the comp.
Had I finished the 2nd problem, which I thing I could have, I would have likely been in finals. Instead, I finished 36th in the competition, which is a historic low, but the field of competitors was incredibly strong this year so my placement is still something to be proud of. Overall, I was happy with the comp considering what I have gone through in the past couple of months with Giardia and the nails, and either way I am more excited for Rope Nationals in a month as that is what most of my training is tailored towards.
I want to extend a special thanks to Dylan Huey of Huey Photography for providing the awesome shots as well as FIVE TEN - without the help and support of my sponsors I would not have the quality gear that helps me to push my limits in the sport.