Saturday, January 31
SCS Nationals Qualifiers..
Saturday morning Marisa and I caught a flight to Salt Lake and arrived in style with a flash compact car rental waiting and a hotel room ready. We stopped by the trade show briefly to say hello and make sure Marisa was on all set to write a summary on the comp for Urban Climber Magazine- which is actually not yet posted but I will fill you in when it is. Luckily the 20 minutes at the trade show did not tire me out too much and before I knew it we were driving to Momentum Climbing Gym and my nerves were churning, big time. This would be my first competition experience and I had my work cut out for me- up against some of America's top climbers and names that I have idolized for many years, never imagining that I would be worthy to climb side-by-side such giants. I was rushed into isolation and immediately began warming up as soon as I found out I would be second to climb of 23 male competitors. Isolation was a very interesting vibe for sure, but I was able to remain calm thanks to a fantastic batch of almond butter muffins I baked!! (dubbed the 'muffins of triumph') and being comfortable warming up with my Boulder Rock Club crew Emily Harrington, Paige Claassen, Matty and Steve Hong. When I was called to head out I was super nervous, but much like my experiences with anxiety when redpointed routes- as soon as I grabbed the start holds I was cruising. My girlfriend Marisa kept reminding me in the car that 'if there is one thing you should be comfortable with- its pulling on plastic'- and despite a plethora of added pressure and restrictions in comparison to my normal plastic session, she was right. I felt great on the 1st qualifier and it also helped me to complete my warm up process. I was confident, calm and able to onsight. Stoked. Okay 6 minutes of rest and then move on to route #2.. After route previews I returned to Iso pretty damn confused and not confident at all about the second route so I was curious about how this would go.. However, the route had lots of grips and no huge moves so I figured my endurance would do alright. And (a bit to my surprise), it did. I more or less figured out the sequence as I climbed and was very able to manage my pump. Next thing I knew, I was in the final few moves of route 2 and the yells from the crowd were getting increasingly louder. Finishing jug.. so stoked.. I lowered off and joined Marisa and my friends Beau, Steph and Jordan in the crowd. At this point I just figured that a bunch of the other athletes would be finishing both routes. Actually (not having a freakin clue about the comp thing) I was not totally certain that I would make finals. In the end only Carlo Traversi, Ethan Pringle and I onsighted both routes. Afterwards I remember thinking, 'I'm tied for 1st? oh crap well I guess that means I am going to finals then'. I left Momentum with a vibrant smile and a look of disbelief at the same time. After some dinner at Whole Foods (where Marisa and I ate nearly every meal while there), I managed to fall asleep although the pressure of Finals was beginning to sink in.