Spring usually signifies life, rebirth, flowers, etcetera. For me - it was death. Spring semester 2012 was complete mayhem. School is alright if you stay on top of things, but as soon as those things start to slip, it creates a landslide of work you are constantly battling to try and get to the top of. I'm normally on top of the hill, but after March madness, I was left scrambling to get back up all semester long.
I say March madness not in a college basketball sense, but in the sense of my March schedule being absolutely insane. I started with 15 units in school in January - 3 English courses, Geology, and Linguistics; a heavy load in and of itself. Tack on to that the 25-30 hours a week of coaching Team ABC on their way to ABS Youth nationals - a very fun, but demanding job of coaching about 30 different kids all aspiring to be the best youth boulderers in the country. Then there was my own training as well. I knew I was at a turning point in my climbing and recognized that I had the opportunity to do well at ABS nationals this year if I could put in the time to train. And as if all of that wasn't enough, add on another 7-8 hours every week of incredibly laboriously tiring setting at the Spot bouldering gym.
I had a small finger injury lingering from Hueco in the fall that kept me from training exactly the way I would have liked to, and came heartbreakingly close to making finals - 2 more holds. The camel's back broke when I took on interning as a setter for ABS youth nationals in Colorado Springs. The internship was every bit of mental and physical energy, and as such, I completely neglected all of my scholastic responsibilities. After that, I was stuck in a perpetual state of catch-up. I was constantly trying to learn the previous week's material while at the same time trying to grapple with the current week's. My English courses required a heavy amount of reading (literally and metaphorically) and the material for Linguistics and concepts from Geology were tough to wrap my head around. It seemed like I was drowning no matter how much I struggled to get to the surface.
I took spring break in the Red River Gorge with some friends from the Team - Brooke, Brooke's mom Robyn, Margo, Margo's dad Tom, and Stella. It was a great break. I gave myself three days to just relax and get away and focus on nothing but my climbing. The school work that needed to be done always weighed on my mind though. I completed a handful of 8a's, but I really wasn't as prepared as I would have liked to have been, again due to lack of training, and probably due to a lack of mental energy.
In what seemed like just a few weeks, SCS nationals popped up out of nowhere. I had a bit of endurance from the Red, but hadn't been able to train sport climbing virtually at all with everything on my plate.
After that it was a sprint to finals. Not some big competition (though I had that coming up too) - bigger. School finals. Ethnic Lit and Creative writing were first. An 8 page paper for Ethnic lit and a chapbook for creative writing chronicling work from the semester and new pieces. Geology was next, and worst (heinous memorization); then came Lit Theory and Linguistics (which both went exceedingly better than I had imagined). I was so relieved after stepping out of my last exam that I literally cried tears of joy. It was finally over. I will NEVER let myself slide for a week while taking 15 units…
Until I set for next year's ABS nationals.
Then came the whip cream, in the form of manual labor. The day after I was done with finals I started with getting the new gym ready. We've been hard at work building a new facility with the help of Mike Auldridge, Ryan Arment and the infamous Didier Raboutou, among many others. I started with the relatively simple but redundant task of inventorying holds (some 4500 of them) from Teknik, eGrips, DRCC, SoIll, Climb It and Element. After that was painting. Then more painting. Then flooring, Then setting. Then flooring. Then setting.
It was alotalot of work and I put in many days of working from 9am until 2am, sometimes even pulling an all-nighter and catching a few hours of Z's in the party room. It came down to the buzzer. As kids were walking in the door for the first practice, I was busy finishing putting up the competition speed route, Mike and Ryan were cutting carpet for the route walls, and Didier was finishing the air conditioning. It turned out incredibly awesome though - we had all sorts of local pros show up and climb with the kiddos - Angie Payne, both Alex Johnsons, and Chris Sharma even stopped by to pull on some of our plastic.
After doing construction for three weeks and getting to climb a total of about three times, I was ill-prepared yet again for the World Cup in Vail. Sadly, it felt like one of the years I could have really done well - the problems all felt manageable, but I kept falling near the top - I only had enough power endurance to do about three or four moves. It was an awesome event though, and I'm looking forward to training all year long at ABC and succeeding next year.
This past weekend I coached the kiddos to an awesome finish at SCS Divisionals in San Diego, CA. We had 17 kids come down, and only lost two of them. We'll have 14 going to nationals and 15 including one sport-only invitation. Having grown up in Southern California, I invited the kids to join me for a small clinic at where I grew up climbing - Hangar 18 in Upland. Three kids made the 100 mile journey up to the Inland Empire and we had a great time. We woke up and my sister made us banana and chocolate chip pancakes, then we had a session at Hangarland, then grabbed about 1000 calories at In-N-Out, cruised out to Newport beach, and then came back to Upland for a double sesh on some ropes. The kids were dead tired and so was I - I slept til about 1130 =)
All in all, life is better than I ever imagined for myself. Here's looking to an easy summer break with only one online class, youth nationals in Atlanta, and Rodellar for July… and some more regular updates ;)