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My First Open Nationals
The title says it all. ABS Open Nationals 2013. Only the most stacked comp in the country. How the hell did I end up here?
Well, once upon a time, there was a climber named Galina who decided she wasn’t going to do Youth ABS this year because she was a complete idiot and didn’t realize she actually had a chance of making the US Team but completely blew it due to her inability to make decisions. So she decided to do Open Nationals instead. Not because she thought she could win or place or anything, but because she thought it would be a good experience. Which it was. Worth every penny of the $185 entry fee. Also it took place in the Colorado Springs auditorium, which is about 5 minutes from campus.
I’m not going to go through and describe every problem like I usually do because there were nine problems in all (between Qualifiers and Semis) and I would hate to put you through the pain of reading about every single one of them. Also, there’s a video with everything except the first qualifier (camera malfunction…), and if pictures are better than words then what are videos.
Instead, these are The Highlights, The Fuck-Ups, and How to Avoid Fuck-Ups Next Year (Yes, There Will Be a Next Year). As a side note, don’t be fooled by the ratio of Highlights to Fuck-Ups. Climbing-wise there were actually a lot more fuck-ups, I just chose to compress them into a nice little paragraph. Overall, though, I’m happy with how I did. Satisfied? No–is there such a thing? Happy? Yes.
- Qualifying 9th and making Semis.
- Not failing on Qualifier #1 (aka The Slab). Confession: my goal for this competition was to send the first problem (high expectations much?). Because if you don’t send the first problem then you have absolutely no chance of making Semis and really have no right being at Nationals in the first place. When I hopped on the problem, I was physically shaking because I was so nervous. I knew it was no harder than V5, but the small feet and technical aspect completely freaked me out. It also didn’t help that Tiffany, who was climbing before me, topped in about 30 seconds.
- Flashing Qualifier #2. For three reasons. First, not many competitors sent this climb. Second, even her majesty Alex Johnson didn’t flash it. Third, there was a moment at the end of the climb when my endurance was running out, and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to hold on any longer. But, as I was hanging on to the two shitey slopers right before the finish jug, I asked myself: “How badly do you want this?” And, as cliche and stupid as it may sound, that’s what it came down to. I had worked my ass off for this and for all of my other comps and I deserved this. I deserved to do well, to make Semis, to top this goddamn climb. I deserved to win JIBS too, but obviously I fucked that up. There was no way I was gonna let that happen again. So I squeezed out the remaining juice from the depths of my forearms and fought the pump through the slopers and to the finish jug.
- Managing to climb the beginning of Qualifier #5 (yet another slab climb) with the intended beta. I guess I was one of only a handful of people to do so. (You were supposed to go up left hand off a right-hand crimp, then match, but a lot of people were trying to use the footholds to go up right instead.) Interestingly enough, I was very familiar with the blocky crux hold, because my friend Patrick had set a slab problem revolving around that same hold just a week earlier. Weird! Overall, however, I wasn’t quite satisfied with my performance on this problem, mainly because I felt I could have finished it.
- Using the bolt hole on Semi #1. Had to do it at some point!
- The LT11 guys posting my name on the screen during the live-stream of the Semi-Finals. Not a huge deal, but kinda cool nonetheless.
- Watching the LT11 crew run the live-stream during Finals. Seeing how much work actually goes into running the whole thing was completely mind-blowing. Jordan Shipman and Jon Glassberg are, without doubt, camera gurus.
- Peter Dixon using a figure four, not once, but twice. Once in Qualifiers and again in Finals. Who is this guy!?
- Grabbing dinner with fellow climbers/crushers Melissa and Tiffany and ordering a massive sampler platter at the Mediterranean Cafe.
- Climbing in front of a homecrowd. Seeing so many familiar faces and hearing both my Colorado College and my CityRock friends cheer me on was freakin’ amazing. Also the fact that my whole family watched the Semis live-stream on the flat screen. Love you guys!
- The crossing dyno on Qualifier #4. True, I suck at dynoing, but I really felt that if I had one more go, I would have stuck it.
- Semi-Finals, in general. I mean, going from 9th to 22nd is a new record, even for me. Maybe I wasn’t as motivated because my secret goal had been to make it to Semis. Maybe the problems didn’t suit me (actually, I know for a fact they didn’t suit me, other than #3, in which case you should probably refer back to the first bullet point). Maybe I was super freakin’ intimidated and wasn’t climbing particularly smart. Bottom line is that I just wasn’t ready for such a diverse and difficult comp. To break it down further:
- I was waay too nervous on Semi #1. I got super flustered and, after almost flashing the problem, climbed drastically worse on my second and third attempts. For some reason I completely blanked on how I did the mantle into the slopers, and only managed to repeat it on my last go. Most of the climbers ended up topping this climb, so it was definitely disheartening to know I couldn’t even manage the easiest problem.
- I sucked at Semi #2 because I don’t do pinches or slopers, and #2 had both. More specifically, it had massive texture-less slopers and wide slopey pinches. Truly, best of both worlds.
- Not getting further on Semi #4. As with Qualifier #4, I knew if I had one more go, I would have stuck the throw to the large white sloper.
HOW TO AVOID FUCK-UPS NEXT YEAR (YES, THERE WILL BE A NEXT YEAR)
- Train the shit out of pinches and slopers.
- Get more flexible to help with the slab climbing.
- Develop more power endurance.
- Get my left arm as strong as my right arm. As of right now, it is physically smaller and quite unimpressive.
- Learn to dyno!