Hello from Banff, Alberta!
For the first time in three years I’m back living in my home town! I’m currently working remotely for a Silicon Valley start-up company, and being able to do all my work on a laptop from anywhere in the world is a pretty epic lifestyle change. I choose my own hours and that opens up plenty of opportunities to meld my work schedule with my climbing needs. I’m finishing school in April, so I have some major life decisions to make in the next 6 months. Having no ties and no preferences makes it difficult to choose what to do with my life, but I’m excited to have finally found an employment situation that I truly enjoy and may continue with after graduation.
I’m happy to report that my dragging finger injury is finally subsiding. A full year after I badly tore my A2 and A3 pulleys, my fingers are healed and my mind is psyched beyond belief. About a month ago, I competed at the Rock Jungle Fitness sanctioned bouldering competition in Edmonton. To be back climbing with the heavy hitters felt great, and my results were pretty good considering my competition ciesta. The goal was to test the waters and see how my fingers felt in a competitive setting. They conquered the challenge quite well, and with the blessing of the climbing gods, I got back into intense training.
After two weeks of grueling circuit training was the Tour De Bloc in Saskatoon. I qualified for finals in 1st place, which I find tends to add more pressure in the final round. After the round, I ended up dropping to 3rd place. I felt like my competitive mindset was a bit rusty. My performance at competitions is very easily quantifiable. I have become increasingly convinced that my mental attitude comprises at least 60% of my performance on the day of a competition. It’s not the same for everyone, but I have known this about my own performance for years. Essentially, I have to be overly confident in my own skills to compete at the same level my body is capable of. Unfortunately, when recovering from injuries, there are many factors that keep me from thinking that I’m climbing well, even if I am. And therein lies my roadblock to making speedy competition ready recoveries.
I think being confident in your own skills also has a lot to do with the atmosphere in which you climb, train and compete. A significant amount of my confidence is generated by training with friends and having fun on and off the wall. Training alone is difficult, not just from a motivational perspective, but because it’s boring!
So in the two weeks before the latest Tour De Bloc in Calgary yesterday, I focused on mental preparations and self-confidence. Most of all, just having fun at the gym and realizing that I am probably climbing stronger than I ever have before. I finished the competition in 2nd, which is a little frustrating as I lost due to a triple count back to an extra route in qualifiers. Crap happens, and ultimately it was my fault for not considering the possibility of a tie in finals. The lesson of the competition was patience. Take every move (physical and strategic) as it comes and take the time to consider all possibilities. Despite my frustration, I am extremely happy with my performance. The field was the strongest I have competed against in a while.
On a completely different note, I was invited to present the 2013 Mountain Idol Award at the Banff Mountain Film Festival this year. In 2008, I was crowned as the Bow Valley Mountain Idol for inspiring youth to lead healthy active outdoor lifestyles. Half a decade later, the committee heard I was in town and asked me to present the award at the Festival during the Radical Reels segment. The finalist were truly inspiring individuals, and I was happy to a part of recognizing them for their outstanding achievements in outdoor sport. By the way, Five Ten was represented hard in almost every film I watched at the Festival... awesome!
I’m psyched to be healed, training hard and back in the competitive scene. Up next on the tick list is the Tour De Bloc in Vancouver next weekend. Then it’s back to the east side for my last term of school. Stay psyched!
Strong Start to the Season - Eric Sethna
Hello from Banff, Alberta!