You know fall is here when Triple Crown season starts. Unfortunately this year, Triple Crown turned into Double Crown when Hound Ears, the first leg of the series, was cancelled. However, this didn't stop us from being just as psyched when the LRC leg came around. I went to Chattanooga with 14 other GT climbing club members on Saturday night, where we got to hang out in Chat, one of my favorite cities. We got in a little warm-up for the morning with some bouldering on the street art, while we strategized for the next day.
LRC Triple Crown - Francesca Metcalf
Over the last year, I had made a list of 10 climbs that I could do at LRC that were V7 or above, which are the grades for Open Women. I had sent them all in the last year, so I felt confident that I could probably send most of them the day of the comp. However, the weekend before, I went to LRC to re-do a few climbs that I hadn't done for a few months, and it didn't go exactly as planned. For example, I had day-flashed “I Think I Can”, a very crimpy V9 twice in the spring, but after working on it for an hour that weekend, I could only stick the first move once. I wasn't feeling great about my climbing, so before climbing even started that warm Saturday morning, my head wasn't in the game.
I only ended up sending three of my original ten climbs that day, all of them V7s. Even those, which I had done easily just a few months ago, felt extremely hard. I'm not sure of the reason for my disappointing climbing, whether it was the hot weather or just a general dip in my strength, but needless to say, it was frustrating. With just over an hour left in the comp, I only had 6 climbs, one of which was a V4 warm-up, but I was determined to at least fill my score card. After sending Midway, my third V7 of the day, I finally got a small burst of energy and determination. My fingers were killing me, and I was physically exhausted after throwing myself on so many things unsuccessfully throughout the day, but mentally, I was finally fresh. I quickly ran back to the Main Area, and sent two V6s first try, one of which I had worked on earlier in the day and got shut down. Now really feeling confident, but too pressed for time to try anything too hard, I went to the back of the boulder field and did another V6. I had then run out of climbs, so I was faced with a hard decision: run all around LRC until I found a climb I knew I could do, hand in my score card with a V4 on it, or hop on the closest V6, which was Fortune.
If you saw me climb in the Triple Crown last year, you would know that Fortune is my sworn mortal enemy. The crux of it is a leg press, and after failing to find any kind of leg strength for way too long the year before, I had promised to never touch that climb again. But somehow, I ended up on it once more, with basically no time to waste, and a bit nervous to be honest. I went in determined to send that climb, not just for my score card, but for redemption, and somehow, I got it first try. Finally, about 5 minutes before the end of the comp, had a full card and a not-unsuccessful day. I got second in Open, which was a rather unexpected and pleasant surprise for me, and got me psyched for the second leg of the Triple Crown- Horse Pens 40!