The past two months have been busy busy busy! Three comps over the course of 4 weeks and lots of travel in between, and even an evening spent attempting the American Ninja Warrior course. Here’s a short summary….
RiverRock, Ninja Warrior & World Cups! - Angela Payne
May means River Rock. For the past 4 years, I have attended this outdoor festival in Richmond, VA. This competition has become known for its unique style, as the “wall” is not so much of a wall at all, but rather a conglomeration of volumes hanging in a scaffolding cage. This structure lends itself to a very gymnastic and often endurance-based form of climbing that is entertaining for climbers and spectators alike. 2014 was no exception, and the event was a fun one yet again. I struggled, as I typically do, to remember how to climb in this style. I felt good on one qualifier, but I had a lot of trouble on a few of the boulders/routes leading up to the finals round. Our finals route was on the longer of the two sides, so I knew I’d have to harness “all” of my (relatively non-existent) endurance for the final round. Our problem climbed up a smattering of So Ill baby head holds, with a very powerful and bouldering beginning, followed by a no-hands rest and another boulder problem to end. I struggled, along with most of the field, on a cruxy transition from one volume to another pretty early on in the route. Meagan Martin was the only competitor to make this transition and finish the problem, which made her the clear winner. I wasn’t super happy with my performance, but it was enough to secure me second place. Overall, it was a fun-filled weekend with tons of climbing and great weather.
Not long after I returned home, I found myself in Denver in the middle of the night waiting to run the American Ninja Warrior obstacle course. I had sent in an application video for the show, after being contacted in an effort to recruit more female climbers for the show. I didn’t know what to expect, but it was quite the production. I ended up being there all night and ran the course around 3:00 am, in nearly freezing temps. There were a number of climbers who participated, and it was really fun to see how it all works. I can’t say much more without owing NBC a gazillion dollars, so I’ll leave the rest a mystery…
Just a few short days later, I headed to Toronto for a World Cup competition. I had been training in the lead up to this event and had tried to focus in on some of my weaknesses, including one arm pull-down strength and shoulder strength. The work seemed to pay off and I climbed well in qualifiers, finishing all five boulder problems. However, my mental game slipped in semi finals and I ended up not making the cut for finals. Regardless, I had a great time competing on the international stage again, and really enjoyed seeing some familiar faces, including a strong American team.
After spending a week at home, it was time to head off to Vail for the GoPro Mountain Games World Cup. This is always one of my favorite events of the season, and I was really looking forward to it again this year. It was nice to have Toronto as somewhat of a mental warm-up for this event. I felt great in qualifiers, and finished all 5 problems. My ultimate goal was to make finals, but I tried not to dwell on this as I entered semis. I was happy with my climbing in this round, and although I made some mistakes, I did a good job of recovering from them and not letting them get me down. This is something I really struggle with, so the round was a personal victory for me in many respects. In the end, I missed finals by a single attempt. While I was definitely upset about not being able to climb in finals, I had to remind myself that I had tried hard and climbed smart. It was a great weekend, all around.
Three comps and the all-night ninja adventure left me feeling incredibly drained. I spent the better part of a week being lazy and recovering, mentally and physically. Now, it’s time to get fit again and GET BACK OUTSIDE!!!!! Psyched for summer in Colorado!!!!!!!!!!