I have been competing for a long time. I have taken breaks throughout the years but I always get back to it because I enjoy it. I have always liked to have a direction or a goal to work towards. This is how I get myself motivated for the 6 months winter we have in Montreal. Comps allow me to keep training, see my weakness and it is such a good challenge. The hard part is staying injury free. I have only gotten hurt at bouldering comps. Basically, I go one comp at the time. If I am too tired, injured or busy with work, I don’t enter comps. If I have time, I go for it and give it my best effort.
In Canada we have a circuit of comps called “Tour de bloc”. There are many local comps, one regional for each part of Canada divided in 3 parts; western, eastern and Maritimes. The final comp is the national. At each comp you get points for your results and in the end, it gives you an overall ranking. Top ten, men and women, forms the national team, which basically just means it is possible to participate in the world cups, if you want to. There are no other advantages for climbers on the team. You have to pay for your beautiful Canada tank top, pay all the fees, etc. It does look nice on a résumé though!
Last weekend I competed in the Canadian bouldering championship. I got second in qualifiers and fourth (3rd Canadian) in finals. I was a little frustrated with my final performance and it took me a few days to process it. I would think back about what I did wrong. But finally, I am seeing that I did some things right also. It is easier to forget about those. I just had to go climbing outside for a day, and I am happy again.
There were two highlights of the weekend for me:
-The first one is that Sébastien Lazure (a fiveten athlete also), a great man I have been coaching for 9 years, climbed really well in qualifiers and finals. He finished 3rd (2nd Canadian) behind Sean McColl and Alex Johnson. It gets better; he won the overall title! For me, this is special because I know what he is capable of and I knew he could pull it off. This time, he looked confident, strong and he climbed very smart.
- The other highlight is a funny one. I coach about 25 people for climbing and everyone is very friendly and get along really nice. In qualifiers, a bunch of us were sitting to cheer for people on the team. Then we saw one of them falling face first on his chalkbag. We felt bad for him but we kept laughing so hard. Luigi, the organizer of the tour de bloc put up the video online. Make sure you watch it. It is so worth it.
I am writing this because I feel it is easy to get too serious with these things. For me, this laughter we had is one of the reasons I climb. I have fun with people I climb with. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We tease each other. As a competitor, you do have to enter the game with a competition mindset, give it your best effort right here and now. But after a comp is over, and after we get over the inflated or crushed ego, what we will remember are things like our friend falling face first in the chalk!