"Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn't know it, so it goes on flying anyway. "
-Mary Kay Ash

Wednesday 11 March 2015

Youth Bouldering Nationals 2015

A few weeks ago I was in Burlington Ontario for the fist ever Youth Bouldering Nationals held at Climbers Rock. To say it was a great competition would be an understatement. I cannot begin to describe how happy I am with my performance and how honored I was to compete alongside one of the strongest categories of Junior female climbers to date.

My Sister Sara the Stegosaurus

This post is going to be slightly different then usual. Instead of giving you guys a play by play of the competition, I'm going to write about what was different for me this year at Nationals then other years. Enjoy!

A bit of background...The competition spanned over three days, with a Qualifying round for all competitors, a semi-final round for the top 16 competitors and final round for the top 8 competitors. Going into the competition I knew I was physically and mentally prepared but it became evident that it would not be easy to podium at the event, much less make the final round. What made the competition so unforgettable this year was the caliber of athletes in my category. Until a few years ago the Junior female category (18-19yrs) always had a few strong competitors but this year it was different. We had 16 INSANELY strong and intelligent female climbers ready to battle it out for the top spots so I knew I would have to bring my a-game during every round and that there would be no room for any dumb mistakes.

I have now attended 6 Youth National Championships and every year I always feel prepared to the best of my abilities. I know I'm capable of placing top three but what I have realized is there is a huge difference between being prepared and actually performing well at the most important competition of the season. With the exception of my Nationals win in 2011 and my win this year I would always qualify for finals in the top three positions but something would go awry in Finals causing me to drop four or five places. It was mind boggling to me how I could climb so well the whole weekend then not be able to perform on my final climb(s). So below I have outlined a few points that helped me perform my best at Nationals this year.

Shane Murdoch Photo

1. Mentality- Going into the competition I knew I had done everything in my power to be prepared physically but I knew I had to stay strong mentally. Over the weekend of competition I made sure to take the competition round by round and only focus on myself and what I was going to do to be able to get to the top of each Boulder since the only person you can control is yourself.

2. Route/Problem Style- It is always important to expect a wide variety of problems styles some of which may not be your strong suit. Previously to Nationals I had trained at Climber's Rock before so I knew their angles were mostly steep which is what I excel at but I knew they still could make more technical/awkward climbs. Problem style will always be one of the largest factors contributing to how you place which is why leading up to Nationals I made sure to focus on my weaknesses (Big moves and technical vert. climbing).

3. There is always another competition- Part of why I was able to climb my best at Nationals was my mindset, I was very relaxed the whole weekend. And no by relaxed I do not mean so calm I could fall asleep and I don't mean relaxed as in I didn't care about the competition. But relaxed from the standpoint that I knew I was ready to climb my best and I was just going to have to wait and see how everything played out. I made sure to continually remind myself that there is always another competition and there was still another opportunity to qualify for the National team at Lead Nationals in May so I wouldn't put too much unwanted pressure on myself.

4. Not getting discouraged- In finals I was unable to send problem 3 which later I found out no one in my category had done but falling over and over again on the last move of a  after climbing a solid 10 moves is always a bit discouraging. When I was back sitting in the chair before problem three I made sure to focus all my energy on sending the last problem and not worry about what could have been done earlier because I had a feeling it would come down to the last moments to determine who was National Champion. I made sure to take a long time to preview the problem before getting on... stupid mistakes would not be in my vocabulary this time! I fought as hard as I could to the very end and stuck the last move of the problem almost simultaneously with the Junior male winner Sam Tiukuvaara which secured both of our wins.

The last move of the competition-Matt Chapman Photography

Just for a Nationals wrap up...I ended up qualifying for the Youth National Team and I will be heading to Arco Italy for the Youth World Championships in August so very excited about that! Also a massive thank you to my coaches, my parents, my sister and my incredible sponsor Flashed for your support. It means so much!

And finally an update on whats next! I have two rope competition in Edmonton this weekend then I am leaving next Thursday for Open Bouldering Nationals at Bloc Shop in Montreal then I'm of to Vegas to gamble... I mean climb in Red Rocks. SO STOKED! 

That is all my friends and Happy climbing,

Becca :)

Route-Setter/coach extraordinaire Eugene's photo


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