This summer has gotten off to a really great start so far. The last time I posted, I had just arrived at the red river gorge for two and a half weeks of some of the best climbing training in the world. After that time went by, my team and I packed up some of our stuff and made the six-hour drive to Atlanta for the 2013 SCS Youth National Championships. Finally, once the four-day competition was over, we drove back to Kentucky for another two weeks at the red. It’s been a really good time, and definitely included some interesting moments as well.
My time at the red before nationals was really fun, and also some great training. Given that the walls are generally between 60-90 feet in length, one pitch here is about the same distance as two, or sometimes even three pitches at some gyms. The first week I was here, I was on my own, climbing with lots of local friends I have met over the years. I went out to classic crags I visit several times a trip, like the Motherlode, and also less common, but just as cool crags, such as the New Zoo. That first week I was here was mainly spent building up endurance for red river climbing. The Saturday after I arrived, friends from my team came down, and I began climbing with them. I focused on trying to send as many hard climbs as I could in as few tries as possible, which culminated in my managing to flash Hoofmaker as my first flash of the grade. In addition, my friends from team were all climbing great as well; Sol sent his 13b project Return of Darth Moll, Jesse managed to flash Pushin’ Up Daisies (5.13c) in the Madness Cave, and both sent Kaleidoscope as their first 5.13c on the first day of the trip. My friend Sam also flashed Cell Block Six, his first 12c, and Gabby and Leilani both hiked their “projects”, Ale 8 One and Chainsaw, during their warm up. There were tons of other sends, but unfortunately I am missing some, since I didn’t see everyone climb everyday. However, everyone was climbing really strong, and we were all excited when it was time to load up the vans and drive to nationals.
This national championship was definitely one of the more eventful ones that I have competed in. The first two days of the comp were sport qualifiers and speed qualifiers and semis. I felt really good during qualifiers, managing to send both routes, and by the end of those two days, I was in a three-way tie for first. Besides me, Sol and Jesse were both in a tie for first, and the three of us, Noah, Leilani, Gabby, and Grace all qualified for sport semifinals. In addition, Brooke and Sol also managed to qualify for speed semifinals.
The night after my second qualifier I felt really good. I was a little sore, but I had barely gotten pumped on my qualifier routes, I was in a good spot for the next day, and I was doing a lot better than I expected to in the comp. I went out for dinner with some friends, had a burger, and then hung around at the hotel a bit before going to sleep. I slept fine until about 1:15 am, when I woke up and felt nauseous. I thought that it would pass quickly, but it got a lot worse at about 1:30, and I began throwing up. I got back to sleep like two hours later, but only managed to get another hour of sleep before vomiting again. I figured I had food poisoning or some kind of stomach bug, and got really worried- I didn’t know if I should bail on the competition, try to climb, or what. In the end, I got a laundry bag from the hotel and drove over to the gym to go into iso. I did as little to warm up as possible, and pretty much just lay down and did nothing until it was my turn to climb. I managed to not throw up on the route, and actually get pretty high on it before my body couldn’t tolerate it anymore. I somehow managed to take seventh in semis despite being sick, which I was more than happy with. I immediately got out of the gym and spent the rest of the day lying in bed doing nothing.
The morning of finals I felt lot better than I did the day before, but I still could not hold anything down. This was a problem, because practically speaking it meant that I had not eaten in a day and a half, and now had to climb a hard route. I got the same warm up as the day before (meaning I didn’t warm up), and then went out to climb, just excited to have made finals in such a hard field, especially since I was sick. I managed to muscle my way up the fun route, and fell in a similar place as many of the competitors. My performance ultimately put me in fourth place, which earned me a spot on the US national team! I was beyond excited, and not just about how I did. Sol, Jesse, Grace, Noah, and Leilani all made sport finals, and placed tenth, sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth, respectively. In addition, Sol made speed finals, and placed eighth there. We headed out pretty soon after the comp was over, and got back to the red later that night.
I now have about a week and a half left of climbing here, which I’m planning on using to keep my endurance up as best as I can. My performance at nationals earned me an invite to worlds in August, which will take place in Victoria, Canada. As a result, I’m going to keep training hard, and hopefully it will pay off next month. Congratulations to everyone who climbed at nationals last weekend, and thanks so much to everyone who has been so supportive of me. A huge thank you especially goes out to Five Ten for their incredible support. I’m psyched to be working with the best company out there and getting the opportunity to represent the Brand of the Brave at these amazing events.