Does this make me a Comp Climber?

For me, like most Canadian climbers, winter means lots of hangboard, rings, and gym climbing. This winter I decided to add in some competition climbing as well, just to have something to be accountable to and work toward. I decided on the lofty goal of making finals at Ontario’s last regular TdB stop, Grand River Rocks on Feb 25th.

I began a hangboard program, adding in a mixed bag of other exercises to work my weaknesses, but in the end I decided to go with the newest Alex Puccio training plan: gastroenteritis. Yes, I became violently ill with the stomach virus 2 weeks before the comp.

Now you might say, “But Liz, Puccio was sick 2 days before the comp” and you would be correct. However my system was so discombobulated after spending 24hrs fiercely excreting everything that I put in it, I had a hard time eating anything for the next week. As an aside, I don’t remember ever feeling this way after getting the stomach flu as a child. How do kids bounce back so quick? That virus absolutely destroyed me.

Trying problem #50. (Photo by Altitude Imageworks)

Fast forward through 1 week and all of 2 climbing sessions and I’m at TdB. There’s a great crew, the psych is high, and the problems are fun. I’ve got a halfway decent scorecard with 30mins to spare, so I head back to try problem 50. Let me spray you down on problem 50: it’s a one move wonder. That’s not a criticism, because the one move was actually pretty cool: a slab-dyno-double-clutch. Dynamic moves are very much my weakness, but slab is my jam, so this problem was a perfect project for me. As time was running out, I came closer and closer to sticking the slab-dyno-double-clutch. I gave it several good attempts in the last couple minutes, but no send. A little disappointed, I began adding up my score. After struggling with simple addition for a few minutes, I decided to give the slab-dyno-double-clutch one more shot. And I sent it.


Now some would say trying problems after the buzzer is a bad idea. If you send them, you’ll only be mad at yourself for not being able to do them sooner when it counted. I can tell you that those people would be absolutely RIGHT! After the initial jubilation of topping my project, I became more frustrated than before. If I had sent problem 50 I would have made finals. What. A. Bummer.

After a minute of moping I came back to my senses. I had a great time climbing with some great people on some great problems. What more can I ask for? I had not achieved my goal, but I had come very close, and I had a super fun time getting there. I handed in my scorecard, ending up in 9th.

I was getting ready to leave when I saw Kaska, who had qualified in 7th place, having a mild existential crisis. Because she’s a bad-ass-Mom, she’d gotten up at 5:30am that morning for her 2-year-old son, and in her sleep-deprived state had still managed to bring her A-game to the comp. Now, though, she was more psyched to spend the evening with her boys rather than compete in finals. She politely declined her spot, and headed home.

Since I was in 9th, this meant I would now advance into finals. I was nervous, but PSYCHED! I packed my stuff and went into ISO. Does this count as achieving my goal? I don’t care.

Snagging Bonus on Problem #4 (Photo by Max Robertson)

I know from experience as a spectator that it’s way more fun to watch someone having the time of their lives, even if they’re falling all over the place. With that in mind, I decided that regardless of whether I even achieved one bonus, I would try my best, smile, and dance my way through finals.

I was first to head out to the finals problems, having qualified in 8th place. This meant that myself and the 8th place man were the only climbers on the wall for the first 5 minutes. It was a lucky coincidence that my co-coach at Climber’s Rock, Jamie Roy, who had qualified in 8th place, was therefore climbing with me. Go Team CR!

I won’t bore you with all the details, but suffice it to say that the finals problems were brick hard. I honestly didn’t care, though, I was just so psyched to be out there climbing. This may sound very self-centered, but having a spotlight on you and a crowd cheering you on is basically the best feeling ever. After laughing my way through the first two problems, I managed to snag bonus on problems 3 and 4.

In the end, I placed 7th, which I was pretty proud of, given the givens. As always, there is room for improvement, but I can honestly say that I surprised myself that day and exceeded my own expectations. That’s a pretty great feeling.

Psyched. (Photo by Token Creative Services)


Title Photo by Max Robertson


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