Full Moon Comp at The Cave

I had a fantastic time at the Full Moon Bouldering Comp at The Cave in New Cumberland, PA this past Saturday. I always enjoy checking out a new gym and seeing a new area.

This gym is 6 months old, bouldering only, and is relatively small, but they packed a lot into that space! The staff was very friendly and it is clear that there is already a strong sense of community at this gym. I was very pleasantly impressed with the quality of route-setting. I thoroughly enjoyed the creative movements and variety of styles. I finally had the chance to put my Evolv Kiras through the paces on a bunch of slab and technical climbs and they did not let me down! It’ll be nice to not have to worry about my feet this season.

The redpoint round was laidback, fun, and gave me a chance to meet lots of cool people. They chose to do combined scoring at this comp, so no separation between men and women, just novice, intermediate, and advanced. I was fortunate to make finals with 4 guys who had diverse experience in climbing. I learned a lot just hanging out in iso! The 4 problem finals round was a wild ride and the crowd was awesome. With two tops and high point on the other two problems, I was able to walk away with a gold medal! No really, they made medals for top 3 finishers in each category. I love when gyms do something fun and cute to personalize their comp:)

While I was there, I had a yummy crustless quiche and cinnamon raisin scone from Brew Cumberland’s Best and indulged in a tangerine shave ice from Hanna’s Ice Cream Shoppe, which had a cute old-timey theme – think vinyl on the seats and in the jukebox.

Thanks for putting together a fun event The Cave!

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Pressure and Expectations in Competition

Conversations I’ve had around the gym lately prompted reflection on the pressure and expectations often associated with competing. I know this is something a lot of people struggle with, even those who don’t compete, but are just looking to do well at every climbing session.

In the focus and routine of training, and in the never-ending quest to improve, it can be difficult to maintain perspective. It is natural to want to do our best every time we compete and it can be frustrating when that doesn’t happen. Sometimes this is due to lack of preparation or poor decisions and in these cases it is important to evaluate what can be done better in the future. But oftentimes, it isn’t that we didn’t do well or perform at our best, but rather that we are looking at a part of a whole without realizing that it is only a part. Training designed to produce peak performance in the future can result in diminished performance in the near term. Circumstances beyond our control will have an impact. It can be difficult to put oneself out there and compete when not at your peak, but it is an important and valuable part of training and experience. The expectation of peak performance at every competition, especially for those who compete often, is unrealistic.

Our harshest critics and judges tend to be ourselves. Remember to be fair and realistic when evaluating yourself. Remember that the vast majority of others are impressed by what you CAN do rather than disappointed by what you CAN”T do. (If they even noticed that you couldn’t!) Remember that there are reasons to be climbing beyond showing everyone and/or yourself that you are the best. Remember to relax and have fun, but always try hard and THINK you can do it, because that’s the best you can do!

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She Rises

The last weekend in July, I made a last minute decision to head east and check out She Rises, a female-centric day of climbing organized by Rock Climb Fairfield in Connecticut. There was an outdoor climbing trip, a variety of clinics, and the day finished up with a quick two hour redpoint blacklight boulder comp.

The relaxed atmosphere and positive energy were a welcome diversion from a summer of training. I am continually inspired and motivated by all the climbers around me all the time – men, women, children, beginners, top-ropers, etc, etc, everyone!  But the inspiration derived from periodically and mindfully joining with the sisterhood can refuel resources you didn’t realize were dangerously depleted. There is a strength, grace, and power to female climbing that is often best exhibited during events like these, at times subtle and vibrant at others. This was exactly what I needed to get super motivated for this last couple months of hard training in oppressive summer heat.

Thank you to everyone at Rock Climb Fairfield who helped make She Rises happen. I hope to see this event return next year!



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