This past weekend I set off again for the third competition in a row this month, this time held at Central Rock Climbing Gym, in Hadley Massachusetts. This event was the first of an Central Rocks annual sport climbing competition series “Ring of Fire” as each year they will give out a ring to the winner.
Central Rocks First Annual Sport Climbing Competition Series - Alex David Johnson
I thought the way they had decided to run the qualifying round as a redpoint format was an excellent idea. They had 3 climbs, per each respective category, and when the climbers were ready they could slip their card into the pile and then climb the route. I feel that within this format you are able to get the most out of the climbers because they are able to control when they wish to climb the route versus a set schedule like most rope comps. The first climb was a nice warm up climb to get everyone warmed up for the next two problems, which were rather challenging. The second climb was one of the coolest climbs that I have climbed within a qualifying round thus far, it had mantle half way though the climb from two volumes to a third one higher up. Vasya and I were the only two climbers to compete this route with Daniel Woods coming inches from snagging with finish. The last route was all business as high point, set by myself, was about only half way up the climb. I had a nice little scare on this climb as during the tricky middle section I had forgotten to clip, I would have not noticed until some fellow climbers thankfully yelled at me to clip. To pumped to down climb and get the clip below me I geared up for the big fall and possible deck. The belayer did a mazing job of providing a wonderfully soft catch just a few feet from the ground.
Going last out for Finals is always exciting and nerve wrecking at the same time as the time seems to drag on forever as you eagerly wait for your time to climb. I like to plug in my headphones and block out everything and just really focus again and again on the sequence of the finals climb. I stepped out from behind the curtain to the roar of the crowd, sequenced the route the one last time, pulled on the start holds and started climbing. To avoid getting pumped to early while in the climb I really focused on climbing as smoothly and as fast as I could. I slowed down to maneuver the very exciting bat hang move to pull out of the lip, chalked up on the hold preceding the bat hang and then quickly motored my way to the finish. Two moves from the finish I stumbled a little as I was not quite sure how to make the next move, after fumbling with my feet for a few seconds in hopes of making the move feel secure I had pumped myself out, I tried to somehow just dyno to the finish but to no avail. When I am unsure of move I really need to remember to just go for it anyways, instead of messing around and pumping myself out. I knew I had done well as the roar of the crowd kept getting louder and louder the higher I went near the top but I was still unsure of my finals placement, as there was a very strong field of climbers consisting of: Daniel Woods, Vasya, Jimmy Webb, Josh Levin and Nicholas Millburn.
For the first time ever I won my first ever Sport climbing competition. This was a nice little boost after not even making finals at the SCS Sport Climbing Nationals, 2 weeks prior. They did an amazing job with the event this year and cannot even imagine how they are going to step it up next year. I now have a few weeks to rest and train for the second annual “Dominion River Rock Competition”.
Thanks to everyone who came out and watched, and to all of my Sponsors: Rock Candy Holds, Power Bar, Jan Sport, Organic and Five Ten.