Flu no. 3, April 14, 2008

Monday April 14, 2008 


This past week was my first week of work. It's been
exactly what I have been wanting to do…it's full
of challenges and I so far I'm enjoying the team I'm
working with. By the time Mike turned up from Utah,
I was stretched thin with work, training and him. I
treated us to a hotel, which gave me a break from
the van for a bit. Unfortunately, by the end of the
week, I started feeling sick and my new life started
bearing down on me, tiring me out too soon. I had
planned to compete in a competition that weekend and
started wondering if that was a smart thing to do.
The flu (as it turns out) held off through most of
the weekend but hit me hard today. Talk about luck!
I was able to participate in the comp and I'm really
happy I did!

I haven't been competing while traveling so I am a
out of touch with indoor holds let alone route
reading. It's like a whole other world!  I
mentally figured I wouldn't do well in the comp (it
was a strong field, too!) so I didn't put too much
emphasis on anything but making finals. Well, the
format is judged on zones and while I was one of two
to make all 5 zones, it didn't matter because the
one problem I topped took me 2 tries while others
flashed it. It was luck that they were taking 10
women to finals so by placing 9th, I just barely
made the cut.

The competition was the Canadian Western Regionals,
part of the Tour de Bloc series. The Hangout Indoor
Climbing Centre in Richmond, BC hosted the event.
There weren't as many people as I expected signed
up. In fact, there were zero women in the Advanced
category, which surprised me. There were 14 women in
open, which I thought was a good number, despite the
rule to take 10 to finals.

The qualifying zone format was familiar to me, as
was the isolation and 5 minute per route circuit.
For finals, however, they kept the zone judging
system but changed isolation a bit and added a
dedicated all team preview prior to climbing. It
worked like this: all of the men would go out and
all of the women would go out in two groups. They
would be directed to their respective problems and
given 2 minutes to preview the problem before being
sent back into isolation 1. There was a 2nd
isolation for after your attempt on the problem so
you wouldn't potentially disclose information to the
other competitors who had yet to climb.

After previewing the route, everyone would go back
to isolation and the first 2 competitors would get
ready. In this case, that would be me and another
girl. When it was your turn to climb, you had 4
minutes and a 1 minute warning. The good thing about
this format was that you could rest until the very
last second and then jump on the problem and get a
chance to complete it (you would be done the moment
you came off the wall). In the other format of 5
minutes a problem, you would have had to come off
the wall mid-attempt.

Now, back in isolation, the 2nd person to climb
would be waiting for person #1 to return. If the
person succeeded in topping out the problem on their
first attempt, then the 2nd person would head out
right away. Otherwise, you would wait until the
person topped the problem, gave up or their time ran
out. This just meant the person on deck had to be
ready for anything. It also meant, you knew if the
other person flashed the route or not. I didn't have
a huge mental stake in the competition so I wasn't
overly concerned about that part. Still, when it
came to the last problem in finals and I was on the
finish hold on my flash attempt, I wanted very
desperately to clinch the flash. I didn't. You had
to establish with both hands and the awkward match
meant I came off the wall before clearly
establishing (my right hand was solid, but it didn't
count). I finished 8th, but I felt I climbed well,
especially since I hadn't expected to climb strong
(being sick and all). If I had flashed the problem,
I could easily have moved up some spots.

Hats off to the setters, too. I know a lot of time
and energy goes into trying to create good problems
for us competitors and it's tough, especially when
you have really strong men setting for really strong
women. Fortunately, and no offense guys, Mike (my
mike) was hanging around and offered to run some of
the problems and to help adjust them if necessary.
Not only does he have a lot of route setting
experience, he has a really good feel for setting
for women. The problems themselves were stellar (a
bit tricky and a touch too hard in general,
qualifiers in particular), but I had a lot of fun
and the tweaks and adjustments in finals made those
routes particularly engaging.

I was really happy to learn Katie Mah, one of the
jrs from the Edge Climbing Gym, took 2nd. 
Vikki, reigning champion of these comps, came 3rd.
Something happened on her fourth problem that she
didn't make the bonus hold. 😦  I think had she
done that, she might have won the comp.

For the guys, Sean McColl dominated, as usual. 🙂

Now that I am back in Seattle, I am down with the
flu, again, for the 3rd time this spring. 😦 
not fun! And, Jtree is only days away…argh!

About Audrey Sniezek

Audrey Sniezek is a rock climbing athlete and computer software/technology enthusiast.
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