I think that the best part of the past month has been the combination of the amount of snow that New Jersey has gotten and how fast it has melted. It’s enough that I have not had a full week of school since early January, but then in the next day or two after it hits like 60 degrees outside, so the snow all melts before it gets nasty and gray from all the smog. This has gone on in a cycle for about five solid weeks, and it means more time off school to get to the gym to train. There was about a six week gap between divisionals last month and nationals in a week, so I’ve been training a lot, and at the same time attempting to finish schoolwork by a reasonable hour. This isn’t easy to begin with, but coming home from school and taking a two hour nap immediately after, then going to the gym for three hours (which I’ve gotten into the habit of doing) really doesn’t help. Oh well…the work somehow manages to get done on time, and spring break is soon anyway. Besides the normal day-to-day workouts I’ve been doing, I also drove out to two other comps to get on some new routes to practice onsighting skills, as well as to simply try some new climbs.
The first comp that I went to was at a gym called The Edge up in New York, near Albany. It was a last minute decision to go, but I had only ever been to the gym once before, and I figured it couldn’t hurt to check it out. Plus, an added bonus was it started at 3 in the afternoon, which meant that I could sleep in. I drove up, and found out that there was an interesting twist to the comp- all of the boulder problems topped out. I thought that this was pretty cool, and it worked on mantling, which is something I’ve had a hard time practicing at my home gym. There weren’t a ton of people at the event, and I had finished my top five climbs about an hour and a half into the three-hour redpoint qualifier, so I took the rest of the time to try onsighting as many other problems as I could. When results came out, I found out I placed first going into finals. The other finalists and I wandered over to the “warm-up area” (it was really like a ten-foot section of slabby party wall) and waited for our turns to climb. Finals were an onsight format with three climbs, but with the same top out rules as qualifiers. I flashed the first climb pretty easily, and got the second climb on my second try because I missed a foot. The third climb was my favorite. It was fun moves on decent holds in a roof, and then you had to jump out to a bad pinch. I fell at the jump on my first attempt, then brushed the hold and sent on my next try! I placed first at this comp, and drove home the next morning to get back to normal training.
Next, last weekend I drove down to PA to compete at their annual Junior Indoor Bouldering Series (JIBS). In contrast with the comp at The Edge, JIBS always gets a pretty good crowd, especially for a youth comp. Even with the weather, this year was no exception to that. The girls’ comp (there was a girls round of qualis and a guys’ round to avoid crazy lines) started around 8 in the morning, and I was not feeling too well to begin with. I messed around in qualifiers, and eventually realized that my scores were pretty good, and I should rest instead of finishing up qualifiers. I did, and placed second going into finals behind a really strong Galina Parfenov, from out in Colorado. I hung around and slept during the afternoon, and felt slightly better by the time finals rolled around. This time, there were four finals climbs, and I was careful to pay special attention to my route reading on each one. That seems to have paid off, and I managed to flash all of them, which put me in first! I’ve been going to JIBS for four years, and have always placed second or third, so getting first was pretty cool. I stayed the next day for the pro clinics they had, but felt absolutely terrible. Turns out I had come down with a nasty cold; I’m just grateful I got it in between the actual comp and nationals, so it didn’t affect my performance at either too much.
I’m feeling pretty strong now, and thankfully I think I got over that cold from last weekend. I leave for nationals in three days, and I’ll be sure to write up a blog as soon as I can about it. If it’s anything like any of the other nationals I’ve competed at, I’m sure something interesting will happen. A big shoutout to Five Ten for all of their amazing support. So psyched to be working with such an awesome group of people!