…affects everything in our future. One little decision without thinking through all of the options/ramifications can dramatically change the events shortly following.
It was the semi-final round in the Vail Bouldering World Cup last Saturday morning around 11am. I was standing behind the wall waiting for the 5 second warning beep so that I could begin walking to boulder #1 in front of the crowd cheering everyone on. I was breathing in the fresh mountain air and focusing on where I was in that very moment. I felt the hard concrete below my feet, the cool mountain breeze hit my face and blow my hair, I thought about my very best friends who were out in the crowd waiting to cheer me on, and my Puma dog who was probably enjoying the little crumbs on the ground that everyone inevitably drops. I felt content and happy knowing everything in this life at that moment was good.
I had woken up that morning ready to try hard, ready to give all I had for the slight chance I could squeeze into finals. I believe that I am capable of making a final round in a bouldering World Cup. I believe that I am a good competitor and I believe in my abilities. Belief in yourself is slightly more than half the battle in competitive or hard rock climbing.
Beep. It was my turn to give no more than 5 minutes of effort on the first boulder problem. Boulder #1 was on a slab and I feel like I’m naturally good at slab climbing. I’m aware of where my body is in space and I feel mostly comfortable pulling on small hands, and stepping on slopey feet. After a couple attempts, I finally got to the hold below the finishing jug. The hands were terrible volumes created from wood that had no texture on them, and very little to actually grab a hold of. The feet were just as bad or non-existent. I was getting ready to send this boulder, but then both of my feet slipped off and it sent me tumbling to the mats. I looked at the clock and noticed I had about 1.5 minutes left to try again. I didn’t feel too tired, but competing at such high altitude in Vail can get you tired quicker than normal. I rested for about 30 seconds and then decided that I wasn’t going to try again. I knew I had 3 more boulder problems left and I didn’t want to get too tired to do anything on the ones coming up.
I took the safe choice.
Turned out the rest of the boulders were so hard that most people, including myself, could barely get 3 holds off of the ground. I never got tired again because I wasn’t given the opportunity to.
I was told after I was done climbing in semi-finals that if I had finished the first boulder problem I would have been in finals. I was so very close and it was simply a safe decision that kept me out of finals. I think this is called lack of ‘experience’ with such a format. I should have realized that getting a TOP was more important than anything else, but I didn’t think that way. I had belief in myself to do well on the next boulder problems without realizing they were going to be way too hard.
While I was bummed about my decision after the fact, I do realize that while those boulders were in fact too hard (only 2 other females finished that first boulder problem) it boosts my confidence knowing that I am capable of keeping up with the best in the world. Even in bouldering, which is not my forte. I ended up in 15th place and 3rd place for the American girls. Turned out it was a better bouldering performance here than at ABS Nationals.
Due to a neck problem and the business that summer lends itself I am taking 3 weeks off of climbing starting tomorrow. It’s something that is going to be hard for me, but something I think my body needs. I’ve been training non-stop since January and my body is screaming for rest. When I return though, I am excited to focus on rock climbing for the next few months…no more competitions till 2014 🙂