28 March 2013

"Wahh-B-S" Nationals. A Potential Transition?

Yes, American Bouldering National Championships happened. Yes, I was there. As per usual. I was there physically. Mentally I'm still unsure as to whether or not I fully participated.

I'm going to attempt to keep this post (mostly) bitter-free. But in all honesty--When it comes to competitions, I feel like I'm running out of steam. Folks are getting stronger, working harder, numbers are growing. (All these are positives in our industry when it comes to accelerating the inertia of progression in our humble sport.)
Naturally, one must roll with the punches in order to keep up. So, last year I trained. Like, really trained. In my personal growth as a climber, I was the strongest I've ever been. It got me (woe is me, a disappointing) 4th place at the Vail Bouldering World Cup, one step off the podium, highest ranking American overall. And a monstrous hangover the next day, my ranking already forgotten by everyone save for myself and a few close friends/family members. There's that famous saying, "Pain is temporary, glory lasts forever." I think in the sport of climbing, and how unbelievably fast its progression has been, especially in the last few years, glory is mighty short-lived.

If I were to pose the question: "Who was the first woman to boulder V13? (And get dozens of coveted 'First Female Ascents' of pretty much any hard boulder in Colorado?)" A question, I believe, every boulderer should know the answer to, due to the weight of it being one small step for an Ange, one giant leap for womankind, do you think everyone would know? This achievement was monumental. It shattered the ceiling for girls to follow, and follow they have been! And some people still don't know who Angie Payne is! Ignorant fools! Blasphemy! She should be one of the most well-known climbers in the world.

Last week Chris did La Dura Dura, the HARDEST route in the WORLD, EVER! And peeps be all, "WO! Sick! Yea!...What's next?" And then there's a lull in the climbing community with everyone's rising expectations. Give us a break, people. Sometimes just climbing V10 is hard (gasp!).
Anyway, I'm just saying. Ondra's only Ondra until the next Ondra.

Back to the topic: 2013 Bouldering Nationals.
Route setting is getting, not much to my liking, weirder. Problems are getting funky and disorienting. It's not like back in the PCA days when climbs were set so the strongest person was winning comps. Due to comps getting "slabbier" or "more technical" or whatever, spectators have been disinterested. Part of the appeal of competitions in our sport is that it's supposed to be exciting and eye-pleasing. You (at least, I) want to watch a badass chick on a steep wall jump from a tiny crimp to a heinous pinch and hold the swing, muscles rippling; not shimmy-balance her way across a slab and into a dihedral only to have her foot slip off a pancake at the top. Of course, these are all just my opinions.

The one redeeming factor I took away from the comp was that, at one point, I was able to muster up something in order to try my absolute hardest in the middle of our coolest problem, Women's Finals Number 2 (or 3?). The one with all the big blue volumes, which we now use. But then I fell at the top. One could say I ran out of steam.

In regards to running out of steam: Currently, at this point in time I no longer feel motivated to try my hardest at competitions. I don't "want it." I'm not "fighting for it." I just want to rock climb outside.
Am I sounding bitter yet? Perhaps it's my head cold.
Allow me to summarize: Competitions are getting harder, and less fun (for me). I might be too burnt out to work as hard as I need to work to stay at the top of the game.
This could ultimately be unfortunate for me, as it seems climbing is on the cusp of blowing up.
I could wait out this funk, and, presumably, ride the coat tails of comp-climbing up the glorious ladder of glitz and glam.
Or I could fall (leap?) off the wagon now, and grow personally as a climber in outdoor aspects (something I am far from burnt out on) and take swelling pride in my own mini successes, not a random ranking from a passing event. If nobody but you remembers your "greatest achievements" anyway (see above), what's the point? Didn't we all get into rock climbing for its individuality to begin with?

P.S. This isn't quitting. This is a transition.