Here’s Saturday Statistics… on a Sunday! I’m sorry that I’m posting a day late, but I do have a good excuse. I was at the 2012 SCS Regionals yesterday in Raleigh, North Carolina! This was my first regional competition ever, and it was an absolute blast.
Friday evening, we packed up the van and drove three hours down to a hotel in Raleigh. I never sleep well before a comp, but this time I managed to get my rest. We awoke at 6 in the morning, grabbed a quick breakfast, checked out of the hotel, and drove to the host gym, Triangle Rock Club. We arrived at 7, and I walked around the building to the side entrance to check in to isolation. After registering for sport and speed climbing and receiving my patriotic wristband, I found a little corner with my friends and hunkered down to wait out my two and a half hours of isolation. Isolation, in essence, was a workout room plus a section of a bouldering cave and climbing wall that had been tarped off. To the right lay a concrete floor, and to the left, a stretch of padded floor and crash pads.
At 7:30, isolation was closed, and the fairly small area was full of energetic kids ages 8 to 17. As the room quickly filled, the noise escalated. The announcer’s voice blared through the speakers above the chaotic chatter of 70+ kids as a screen displayed a five minute countdown over and over again. Those who were soon to climb began to warm up on the walls, and the others read or moneyed around on metal bars and pull-up rings. About one hour into my time, I began to warm up… and get nervous. This was to be my first regionals ever, and I would also be lead climbing. For me, leading usually means only two things: terror and huge falls. I was able to push my thoughts aside, however, and began to stretch and traverse laps on the climbing wall, listening to Cold Play on my ipod to get the psych high. Later, my coach, Andy Cutler, helped me get the jitters out by creating routes for me to climb on the strip of overhanging boulder accessible to us. As the time for departure drew near, I packed my backpack and waited by the tarp door that would lead into the unknown.
It was soon time to leave iso, and I was handed my scorecard and escorted from the room. My head down so as not to see the routes I was about to climb, I navigated the gym, following the lady who had directed me from iso, and sat in a chair, my back to my first climb, to wait. The judge soon took my scorecard, and my belayer handed me my rope, so I could tie in. Then the announcer gave the command to face our routes and begin sequencing. I prepared the best I could, then began climbing. The rest of qualifiers sped by in a blur, with only a short break between qualifiers one through three. I was much more confident leading then I expected and was able to focus on climbing without worrying extensively about falls. I was satisfied with where I got, and I still hoped to continue to finals. The scores would be posted later that day, however, and all I could do was wait.
I soon checked in at the speed station, and raced two different competitors up a short and easy wall. My time was a little over 15 seconds for each climb, but it was my first time competing in speed. It was a lot of fun, although I didn’t beat either of my opponents. When they shut everyone out of the gym to compute the qualifier scores, I went to lunch with some friends from team: Kat, Emily, Zoe, and Nathan. Afterwards, we returned to the gym to check the scores, which were posted outside. We all crowded and pushed our way through the circle of people to the board, eager to see if we had made it to the final round. I was thrilled to find that I had placed tenth and made it to the finals round!
To pass the time till iso opened once more, we threw Frisbees in the back parking lot. Soon we filed back into iso once more. I passed the first hour half-sleeping on a mat, tired from the early morning and the stress. After the second hour, during which I warmed up, I exited the room and climbed in finals, which was much like the first round. I was tenth in finals as well, and although I had hoped to make it to divisionals, I felt like I had done well. After hanging around with coaches and friends for a while, I headed home, my first epic regionals over.
All in all, this competition was one of the best experiences I have ever had. Strategic planning and problem solving, combined with physically pushing to the limit, with a little spicy dash of fear thrown in, along with a huge bucket of fun, resulted in the best recipe for a comp, or any other day, for that matter. I have narrowed down all of the info I gathered at the comp into two specific things I have learned: (1) Leading isn’t all that bad, and (2) I need to work on my footwork. I have always been scared of lead falls, especially falls where you swing or deck (hit the ground). I had never taken those types of falls, however, until the competition, where I found out that they aren’t that bad. And about my footwork… well, you’ll see what I can work on in the videos to come! Big shout out to Andrew Palmer, though, for teaching me a cool new drill to work on footwork! I will post about it in the next Tuesday Training.
The challenge for you today is to post about your first divisionals experience in the comments, or, if you went to the comp this weekend, comment about that if you like! Here’s the videos I promised:
Qualifiers Route One Qualifiers Route Two Qualifiers Route Three
Speed Climb One Speed Climb Two
Finals Route One Finals Route Two