After training for about six weeks from July to August, it was finally time for me to leave for worlds. This year’s IFSC youth world championships were held in Victoria, Canada, which was very convenient for the North American athletes. Since the competition took place in the middle of my internship, I was unable to head up to Canada beforehand to train with some of the other US team members; however, by the time the competition rolled around, I was climbing well and psyched for the event.
2013 IFSC Youth Worlds - Zoe Steinberg
I woke up around 4 am on the Thursday before the comp in order to catch the earliest flight possible into Canada. I was trying to miss as little of my internship as possible, so I booked a flight that got in the afternoon before the comp. After spending about five hours watching movies and sleeping on the plane, I landed in Vancouver airport for a couple-hour layover. The flight and Vancouver airport both demonstrated that Canadian air travel is way better than American. The plane had a ton of movies and TV shows, and the airport was about as nice as an American mall. My mom and I were there for about three hours before the quick 15-minute flight to Victoria. Once we got in, we got our luggage and rented a car without any hassle, then drove off to the University of Victoria to meet up with the rest of the US team. We spent about 45 minutes literally driving in circles around the campus trying to find the correct dorm building, until finally we found the right parking lot. I headed in to put my stuff in my room, and then hung out with the rest of the team for a while until we left for opening ceremonies, which was great. I didn’t really watch the actual event much, but instead I saw a lot of kids I met several years ago at other international comps. One of the best parts of competing on an international scale is the friends you meet from all over the world. Climbing is the only sport I know of where two people can be competitors, training partners, and close friends, which is a huge part of what makes it so great.
The day after opening ceremonies was the first day of sport climbing qualifiers. I was running towards the middle of the pack, right after a cleaner, which was a good spot. I drove over to the venue with the rest of the US team, watched the preview video a few times, and then warmed up. I think I actually warmed up a bit too much, because when I was climbing, I randomly got really pumped within the space of about two moves. I messed up my hand sequence and fell at about the halfway mark, right in the same space as about ten other girls. I came out of the first day tied for 26th place; since the top 26 competitors advance to semifinals, I knew I would have to step it up if I wanted to make the cut. We hung out at the venue until the rest of the climbing was finished, then went on a Safeway run before heading back to the dorms for the night.
The next morning started out as a huge mess for me regarding the comp. As of the day before, I was scheduled to climb second-to-last. The randomly changed when the organizers redivided the stacks and bumped everyone back two places, meaning that I was now climbing first. I got to the venue early to make sure I had enough time to get ready, but about ten minutes, I was told that they changed the running order back to the original! That meant that I had another three hours to wait before I climbed. I was nervous and tired from the extra warm up, but managed to get within a few holds of the top, which put me in 24th place and pushed me into semis! We as a country ended up taking 23 competitors to semi finals, which is by far the most we ever have. The climbing ended shortly after I went, and we got out of there pretty quickly so we could have the rest of the day for some downtime.