Fresh off the plane from South Africa and it was off to Lillehammer, Norway for the invitational bouldering competition dubbed “The Battle”. I’d been contacted and invited by the organizers of the event many months ago and to be honest I was very unsure about the event from the start. Having never been to Norway and with this being the first “Battle” in Lillehammer, expectations were nonexistent. As the cast of athletes for the event grew and included some of my better friends and climbing partners, excitement for the event continued to build throughout the summer. The summer passed by in a flurried haze of new experiences, personal development, and more climbing than I’ve ever had the opportunity to endure. A quick layover in London, a passing argument concerning the amount of bags I was carrying, and a few overage fees later and we arrived in Norway!
The format for this competition was unlike any other that I’ve competed in. Because it was an invitational and only five men were invited (Daniel Woods, Dave Graham, Magnus Midtboe, Nalle Hukkataival, and myself), we would only be competing in one (final) round. The catch was that we were responsible for setting our own climbs. Having almost 10 years of setting experience, this was certainly something that I was looking forward too. After setting our climbs we had a set period of time to session together on each other’s boulders and prepare for the “The Battle” on the following evening. In the tryout round, I managed to finish three of the boulders and complete all the moves on the other two. Everyone else managed to do about the same. The problems were difficult, but seemed manageable and it would be interesting to see how the final round played out.
I woke up on the morning of the final round feeling a bit sore and tired, but excited for the show ahead. That little bit of soreness progressed into full-blown bodily destruction as the day progressed. It’s amazing what a hard day on plastic will do to you after 3 months on real rock. After sharing my feelings of haggardness with my fellow competitors, it seemed we were all in a similar boat. Too many shoulder moves perhaps?
Alas, the competition was upon us and we were cast out in front of the crowd and cameras to perform on our creations. The event went smoothly and we all had a blast. Despite being tired, I think we all put on a very good show and tried our hearts out. I managed to complete 4 of the 5 boulders and land myself in 2nd Place, which I couldn’t have been happier about. The crowd was energetic and supportive throughout the night and the laid back, intimacy of the competition is something that I now realize is lacking from the larger competitions of the present. It was a refreshing experience to say the least.
For a more detailed write-up about the event, Daniel Woods’ Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/dawoods89
And for the complete broadcast of the event from the Norwegian National Broadcasting Agency follow this link: http://www.nrk.no/nett-tv/klipp/865454/
The day after the competition, we (the competitors) had the opportunity to try out some Downhill Mountain Biking at the Hafjell Bike Park. It was my first time trying out the sport and I had a blast. Terrifying, but so much fun. At the end of the day I even had the opportunity to slowly creep my bike down the bottom half of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Track before the competition that is being held there this weekend. It was a unique chance to try out a new sport and gain a better understanding of the world that the Downhill Mountain Bike members of Team Five Ten reside in. Crazy, and inspiring stuff! Be sure to check out the little video that I shot with Dave Graham while suiting up for our day on the mountain!
Also big thanks to Rune Osvold and Kristian Lium for their hard work at the event and for making my first visit to Norway something that I will never forget!