The problems get harder and harder every year.
Qualifiers were especially tough this time around. I had a painfully slow start. I flashed 20, a burly jug haul, about 30 mins into the comp. As 20 went very well for me (and quite a few others), I scoped out 22 as my next problem expecting it to be doable but maybe not flashable. The problem consisted of a mixture of crimps and “cheese” pinches, with one distinct crux that called for a strong core or a big power move. I worked it for about 30 minutes without advancing much on the crux and losing strength by the minute. Needless to say, 22 was left unchecked on my score card.
The 20s turned out to be quite hard, with none of the women sending anything in that range. 18 had what seemed like an easy dyno to one good and one bad sloper at the start and then continuing on mediocre slopers. I tried the dyno what felt like 100 times with no progress to the point where the route judge and I became good pals (he even started letting me try the dyno two times before moving to the back of the line). I’m happy to say I eventually tweaked my beta very slightly and got the dyno and eventually the problem. The rest of my routes I flashed (15, 12, 11, and 10). Without my send of 18, I would not have placed 5th and made finals.
Qualifiers could be summed up as: few sends, lots of effort, and maximum frustration. I could tell lots of people were frustrated by blank score cards, and I definitely did not hide the fact that I felt that way too. The routes were super cool, every single one of them, but with lots of effort and little to show for it panic began to take hold. Strategy became key. My strategy fortunately paid off (working 18 until it went), but that doesn’t always happen.
Finals began at 730, and everyone was feeling calm down in isolation. The basement at Seven Bays got a facelift recently with a whole new training area (partially complete at the time), a small climbing wall, AND a Moonboard. Overall great vibe.
In finals, problem #1 and #3 were my style and I flashed both of them. #1 was a series of small holds and volumes with screw ons. They were were so new and textured that it seemed almost effortless and I got to the top feeling pretty strong. Problem #3 was shouldery but it also felt really smooth with a tough finish. Luckily both of them tapped into my strengths.
Problem #2 was slab – yep. I don’t feel as bad knowing that only one out of 6 of us so much as got the bonus on this one, but I know that some of those girls could do this problem given slightly more time. I do not think I would be one of those girls. I knew the beta to windshield wipe my right hand over to the bonus hold, but couldn’t figure out where I wanted my limbs for balance. I liked it though – it was a slab problem I would enjoy working.
I’ve seen 2nd and 3rd place at the Tour de Bloc comps at Seven Bays many times, but never first place! It felt great. I was the only one to have two tops (and two flashes at that!). I overcame a lot that day. Secretly, I was struggling with unresolved issues from the week and felt a heavy weight all day. Positivity was tough but it eventually came. Climbing and being around my climbing buds always brings me back to the present, and it was the best day I had all week. Winning some sweet cash and a brand new tent was icing on the cake.
I remember when it was Carlie, Emily and I competing amongst each other for the top 3 spots, but now we’ve got some serious competition from all across the maritimes. If it’s easy, it’s not worth fighting for!
Seven Bays, you always keep it real and put on one heck of a show. I can’t thank the volunteers enough – without you guys giving up your time none of us would get to have fun. The crowd was amped this weekend as well – it is impossible not to try your absolute best when you have the support of the crowd behind you (who is ironically cheering on your competitors as well).
Can’t wait for next season! Time to train my slab climbing (ugh).
Climb on xx