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Going into this competition I was still wicked sore and recovering from the Game of Stones two days prior but, despite being sore, I was caught up on sleep and I didn’t have to worry about any airport travel which makes a huge difference. I felt like this competition was more difficult than the Game of Stones but I climbed significantly stronger and I ended up taking second place in the final round. My mindset was more focused and I put a bit of strategy into the day. Specifically, I did only what I knew I needed to do to make it into finals. I didn’t want to climb so hard in the three-hour-long qualifying round that I’d expend all my energy. So once I knew I did enough to make it into finals, I turned my scorecard in early and grabbed dinner. I could have continued to project for another hour or so and I’m confident I could have ticked off a few more higher-point routes but it didn’t make sense because I needed the rest. The rest did me well. After putting down some food, I checked into isolation and started to warm-up for finals. Two women and two men automatically walked into the final round without having to compete in the qualifiers. They earned that right by winning previous competitions within the same series. I’m not a fan of that policy because it serves as a huge disadvantage to those of us that had to climb in the qualifying round but it was what it was and I made the best of it.

While I was in isolation, I did an interview with the film crew and they asked me what it was like being surrounded by so many strong youth competitors. That’s the question of the year I think. These youth climbers are CRUSHING the climbing scene and dominating the podiums. It’s rad. I personally think that they have an advantage due to their slim figures and the basic laws of gravity but even beyond that they deserve significant credit for being incredible athletes. They have muscles, strong tendons and extremely advanced climbing IQ’s. While hauling less weight up the wall might be an advantage, their height most certainly is a disadvantage. As I watch them climb, they make up for their height by mastering dynamic movements and using alternative beta. They can dyno, they can reach and they don’t let go of the wall. I’m impressed. I’m psyched for them. All the power to this new and upcoming generation of climbers.

Finals was a blast. The gym put on an incredible show and the crowd was amped to see us climb. I felt like I climbed as strong as I could have considering how sore my body was but I’m hardly ever satisfied with my performance and the critic within myself wishes I could have been more rested and done even better. It certainly wasn’t bad performance but, I knew deep down that I could have climbed stronger had my muscles been more recovered. Overall, I was satisfied and I left with the motivation to conquer my weaknesses.

One of the downfalls that I’ve allowed over the past decade was neglecting to implement a strict training regimen. Leaving this competition I had a strong desire to change that. I’m currently building a training program that is specific to my weaknesses. We’ll see where that takes my strength in the months to come.