On Saturday, October 28th, I competed in my first bouldering competition of the season. It was held down in Manassas, VA, at the relatively new Vertical Rock gym. The competition was a USA Climbing-sanctioned event and featured both an ABS Youth comp and an adult citizens comp (held at the same time).
They decked out the gym with Halloween decorations, they named each section of the wall after a different horror movie, and there were plenty of people dressed up in costume – including the Ghost of Climbing Past, Climbing Jesus, and a peacock.
Plenty of people from Team ET (Earth Treks’ competitive team) came out to show their stuff, along with Vertical Rock’s team, some Sportrock team members, and a handful of adults as well. It was really cool being able to compete alongside the kids I know from ET – usually, comps have youth and adult divisions split between morning and afternoon/evening, so it was a nice change having it all together.
It was Vertical Rock’s first ever competition, and they did a pretty great job pulling it all off. Some logistical issues are to be expected during a first event, so not everything ran perfectly. But those are just growing pains, and they’re gonna be putting on an even more amazing even in the future as they gain more experience.
The setting was pretty good overall, though they lacked an abundance of harder climbs (V7-V10). It’ always an adjustment going from gym-to-gym, as no two setters are the same, and terrain can vary drastically. All the setters can do is put up the best problems they can with the resources they have, and I think Vertical Rock made that happen for sure. The problems they had up were very fun, and it made for some great displays of climbing prowess.
When all was said and done, I placed 9th overall out of all the male competitors (including youth) and 2nd overall out of just male adults. Goes to show just how strong those kids really are! There were no finals (one of the logistical issues), which I was a little bummed about, but I would have missed out on a spot by a few places anyway.
Still, I was quite pleased with the way I climbed – I felt strong, relaxed, and fluid from start to finish. I never felt like I got in a great rhythm or into “the zone” during the event, but that’s alright. I managed to accomplish what I needed to accomplish, and that’s what matters at the end of the day.
I’m still pretty new to the competition scene, so I’m definitely learning a lot about myself and the way I perform during a comp. The more I do, the more practice I get – and I think I’m getting better at them.
With all of that said, I think I managed to injure my left wrist on my last attempt of the day. I hit a sloper very hard, and I felt/heard a bit of a pop in my wrist. No bueno. It doesn’t feel nearly as bad as the injury in my right wrist I sustained in California this past April, so I’m hoping it’s nothing too serious. I’d be bummed if it kept me shelved for any extended period of time.
With that, it’s back to training for the next few weeks – trying to keep a balance of bouldering and sport. In less than two weeks, I’m off to California to visit Berkeley’s Public Health School. While I’m out there, I’ll be visiting some friends in the area, as well as competing in the first comp of the Touchstone Bouldering Series at Berkeley Ironworks. Additionally, I’ll be doing my best to get outside on some real rock – most likely for some hard sport at the Jailhouse, but maybe also for some bouldering – we’ll see.
More to come later!