Photo Credit: Bear Cam Media
Michael O'Rourke: Inside the Mind of a Competitor
This past month for me has been mainly focused around competitions and training inside for nationals.
In the beginning of February I went to Boston for the Dark Horse Competition final to throw my hat in the ring. The competition was going well and I had completed most of my qualifier problems; I actually ended up in the first after qualifiers was over. I feel like I did well in qualifiers because most of the problems were straightforward and easy to read so all had to do was figure them out and execute. We had a little break before finals so we got some food and rested up as best we could before the big show. We went back for iso and the gym was so packed for finals that some people couldn't even get into the viewing area and had to leave. The women were climbing in finals first so we had a little extra time to warm up before we had to climb. I wasn't sure what to expect when I walked out there but I knew there was going to be some interesting problems that I would have to figure out. The first problem I knew would be the most intricate because that's how they've done it in years past, and I turn around to see a funky to 2 step dyno to a good ball hold to mantle and jump out to another wall for the finish. It took me a couple tries to stick the first dyno but I eventually got it and did the problem. The second problem was even crazier and had a lot of holds I've never seen before and wasn't exactly sure how to make moves in between the volumes. I only got a couple holds in on that problem. The third problem started out with the double dyno to two pinches and finished with the really finicky mantle off of a slopping crimp. I fell off the mantle a couple times because I felt like the crimp was really greasy and I couldn't control myself on it. The final problem was a technical powerful problem that involved a good read through some volumes and finished with a huge dyno to a fat pinch. It took me a few tries to get through the bottom section but I eventually muscled my way through to the dyno and had one go for the finish but unfortunately couldn't stick it. I did go back and stick it after the comp however so that was fun. The comp was really fun and my good friend Robby D took home the win with a super strong performance throughout finals. I feel like the main thing that held me back in this comp was my ability to read the more intricate and funky beta which I've been trying to work on.
I just returned from competing at the ABS National Championship in Colorado Springs where I had my best placement yet. At first, I thought I didn't do that well in qualifiers but made it through to semis in 11th place. I was doing well in semis and got my first and second problem. The third one was frustrating because it seemed to suit me the best but I couldn't get it and had to move on to the last one. The final problem was on the slab and was very subtle and kept you tense the whole time, I got to the second to last hold and pumped out. I thought I needed at least 3 out of the 4 to make it through but my performance was just enough and I made it to finals. I had a long time to rest in between so I ate a little and went back to the hotel to rest and relax before finals. I got to the comp and they called us out and we began looking over our finals problems. I was the first one to climb since I qualified in 6th and started my first try on the left slab wall. It took me a few tries to stick the big middle hold and then I went for the finish hold from there and got my fingers in the slot on the finish but slipped out. I thought that was the way it was intended and didn't even notice a part of the wall I could've used my hands on, so I tried the same way and almost stuck it but came out at the last second. The second one was the pockets through the roof and was interesting because my beta was dependent on how good the holds were when I was on them. After the pockets I jumped to a slopey pinch and could either match and go or do a huge campus cross over to another pocket above the lip. I tried both but on my last go I did the big crossover and was able to stick the pocket. From there, there was a big move up to a slopey crimp and I stuck that but I didn't bring my chalkbag up on this problem so I couldn't get more chalk when I was over the lip and the last move was to put a heel on the finish hold and cross under to finish but I was running out of strength and I could feel my hand greasing off so I quickly decided to try and jump through to the finish but didn't do my move just right. Still, no tops but touching all of finish holds so far I move onto the third problem: just some good ole volume walking to a balancing finish. It took me a few tries but I ended up topping the third problem. The fourth problem was definitely the most difficult but I knew if I could figure out the first section I could do the big moves on it. It took me most of my turn to figure out the first section but I eventually got it and stuck the big move to the pinch and could do a couple more moves from there until I got pumped and fell off. After the comp was over and I ended up in 4th place. It was really fun to compete with everyone and I was psyched to make finals for the first time at open nationals. Time to get ready for next year in Madison.