ABS Nationals have come and gone, and have left me exhausted but incredibly psyched. The comp was one of the best Nationals I have been to. The venue and wall were better than I had expected, the field was very strong, the problems were well-set (and hard!), and my free time was spent in great company laughing with good friends. In the end, I came out in 2nd, and it was quite a fight. The weekend was a success on all fronts.
The comp was in Colorado Springs in the town auditorium next door to City Rock, the partner gym for the comp. I was skeptical of the comp venue going into the weekend since, from my experience, auditoriums are usually the site of choral performances, awards ceremonies, and other relatively low-energy events. I was pleasantly surprised by both the venue and the new Entre Prises wall that had been erected on the auditorium floor. I was also happy to see that the wall appeared to have an even mix of vertical/slab and steep terrain.
Qualifiers offered a great array of technical and powerful climbing in 5 boulders. All of the problems were very fun, and aside from falling once on the last move of #4, I managed to flash the other boulders. I was happy with my climbing and I felt good.
Semi finals, however, did not go nearly as smoothly. I managed to flash problem 1, a technical dihedral climb, but I felt very shaky. Number 2 climbed up a steep wall and required some sort of spinning around on the roof, but my mind just couldn’t quite grasp how I was going to climb it. Upon reaching the tricky sequence, I basically panicked and climbed like a fool. During my training, I had been working on not letting a poor performance on one boulder affect me on the next boulder. This is really hard for me, but in semi finals I feel like I did a pretty good job of recovering from problem 2, and I was able to finish 3 & 4, which put me in finals (phew!!!).
Finals were awesome. I knew it would be a fight going into the round, because the field was very strong (Alex Johnson, Lizzie Asher, Sierra Blaire-Coyle, Sasha DiGiulian, Shauna Coxsey and Alex Puccio). The boulders were incredibly fun and very hard and did an excellent job of dividing the field. I didn’t flash the first 3 boulders, but I managed to finish all of them, as did Lizzie, Shauna and Puccio. Problem 4 would obviously be the deciding factor, and while I gave it a good effort and fought hard, I fell a few moves from the top. In the end, Puccio came through with an impressive flash of the boulder (using an alternate and beastly sequence) and secured the win. It was definitely a great round of competition, and everyone fought hard and climbed well.
Although I can always point to things upon which I still need to improve, I am very happy with how Nationals went. I tried my hardest and feel like my training paid off. I am still tired from the weekend of intense physical and mental exertion, but it was well worth it. I really enjoyed the comp, and best of all, I had a ton of fun climbing and laughing with good friends.