The Adidas ROCKSTARS has concluded its 3rd installment in equal number of years and the competition get better every year!
To see a nice video, check out the following LINK!
Qualifications were on the 13th with semi-finals and finals on the 14th. To cut qualifications pretty short I’ll just resume what I did. I know last year I was really tired after the 3 rounds so I decided to cut my warm up a little short hoping to warm up a bit on the problems.[singlepic id=586 w=600 h=400 float=center]
It turned out that the qualification boulders were quite hard and I almost didn’t advance to semi-finals. I can’t really tell if this is a great plan or not because the day you don’t make semi-finals, you feel dumb for not warming up 100%… I qualified 18th heading into semi-finals.[singlepic id=587 w=600 h=400 float=center]
The bonus was that I’d be out in the first few climbers which meant nice fresh holds. I also knew that the heat from the lights could play a factor if there were lots of slopers.
Next day rolled around and semi-finals went really well for me. After taking a few tries to figure out the first body position on the first boulder, I topped it. The second boulder was a blind dyno to a hold that was slightly blocked by another hold. It took a few tries to spot the hold, then another few tries to try and miss the hold blocking it but as the time wound down my fingers stuck the right part of the hold and I had 20 seconds to top the boulder.
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The top wasn’t easy but at the same time wasn’t very hard and I had topped my second boulder.
The third boulder went very well, the best of the round you could say. I didn’t really know the sequence as you could do a bunch of bumps, you could cross to start, or maybe it was a feet first boulder. I committed on the feet first and it pulled through. I was soon on the last few moves on the volumes. It was hard to flip my grip on the right hold but as soon as I had it locked in I was confident I’d top the boulder. The arête was good enough to pull up and see the final hold. I got up to it, matched and felt like my round was going very well. I turned around and smiled at the cheering crowd. I love these moments in climbing and I try to take it all in when they happen![singlepic id=589 w=400 h=500 float=centre]
Sadly the final boulder shut me down so I was left with 3 tops. I watched the rest of the round because I thought I’d be close to not making finals. As I suspected, the heat started to creep in and the holds got a bit worse. In the end, if you topped 1 boulder in fewer than 5 tries it was enough to make finals. I qualified 3rd in the round and was very relieved/happy to be in finals once more.[singlepic id=582 w=300 h=400 float=right]
The final round was interesting enough. The first boulder 5 of the Men flashed. The second boulder, no one made zone… Ooops. After the first 2 boulder, they eliminate 3. Because of the tie they were stuck between taking 5 to the 3rd boulder, or counting back to semi-finals. Last year, this happened and they took 5 to the third boulder. It didn’t work because they were tied again and then they went to the semi-final results. This year they decided to count semi-finals results right away so I was on the podium with Jernej Kruder and Rustam Gelmanov.
I was first out on the first boulder and I managed to flash it! It was hard enough that I knew one of the other two could fall. I waved at the crowd with eager anticipation because I knew I had set the bar high.[singlepic id=584 w=600 h=400 float=left]
They came out one at a time knowing they had to flash the boulder. They didn’t crumble and both topped the boulder first try. I was a bit sad to be knocked out after my flash but can’t be upset about it. I went back to congratulate them and the judge said we were going to ANOTHER tie break boulder. I was pretty confused right away, thinking they’d use semi-final results. The competition organizer didn’t want ties so he told the route setters to create a tie-break boulder similar to 2012. We’d go out and try it one try a time until the tie was broken.
A roller coaster of a ride for me to say the least. Thinking I was out, then this chance to go back in. The tie-break boulder was set hard, and weird… I was already confused by the starting position and eventually got 3 tries on the boulders. Of those 3 tries, I just couldn’t set up very well. I didn’t do much pulling on the holds, but a lot of pushing. Eventually I couldn’t get zone and the other two did. I was kicked out, but it didn’t phase me much. I knew it was already a second breath for me and I was still happy just to be on the podium at this event!
The Super final boulder went perfect for the men with Kruder flashing it while Rustam fell. For the women, Jule managed to top the boulder mere seconds before Shauna taking the title. Another Rockstars is finished and I obtained another podium! It was a great event and I hope I’ll be able to attend it next year as well.[singlepic id=585 w=600 h=400 float=left] The biggest part aside the competition is how well the athletes are treated at this event. Coming from a federation that isn’t as evolved as other, we can’t send a physio, or a team manager and I inherit a lot of those roles myself. It’s nice at this comp to know I can get a massage, free food, free drinks and just a great place to relax! It may not seem special to team’s that always have a physio there with them but it’s the small things that count for me and I appreciate it. Thanks! I am back in Toulouse resting for a whole 3 days before heading to Puurs for the next step in the Lead World Cup season.
It’s been a while since I’ve been to the Arco Rockmasters; at least 4 years to be exact. In 2011 I went to the World Championships and in 2010 were the pre world championships. This past weekend I took off from Toulouse with Mathilde Becerra to compete in all 3 events; speed, bouldering and lead. It’d be 4 events if you include the duel but I kind of lump that in with lead.
Mathilde has already written her story so I’ll skip over most of her performance. You can read it on her blog. It’s written in French, but she added a Google translator similar to mine. Sometimes it translates poorly but the message is still there.
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We started on Tuesday morning, drove 5 hours into Italy and stayed the nice in a little hotel. It was nice to split up the journey in two days to avoid any fatigue. Wednesday we drove the rest of the way to Arco and Mathilde had to compete on Thursday and Friday. She did 2 lead qualifiers on Thursday followed by 5 boulder problems on Friday. She qualified for both events as well which meant she had a 4 day weekend compared to my 2. Another great thing about Arco is the Ice Cream as noted on the right by Panda.
My events started on Saturday morning with an early breakfast and even a run to the competition. Yes, I actually ran to the competition. It felt nice to be running at 7am and I knew cardio is essential for speed warm-up. With the classic Arco delays, I didn’t even practice until well after 8:30. I did two practice runs; the first run I set a personal best at 9.51 and then on the second one I fell on the second to last move.
My real qualifying runs for the World Cup went super well. I’ve embedded the video of my run so you know I’m not lying when I say I shattered my personal/competition best!
8.83 seconds if you can believe it. I was through the moon with this time. It’s the first time I’ve been sub 9 and to think I don’t even train this very often makes me smile. I’ve had a few practices where I’ve tried the route and I’m seen videos of me enough times that I know where my hands and feet are going. What makes it even more fulfilling is that the Speed athletes congratulate me for my personal achievements as well! (Even though I’m “so much slower” than them)
Next were lead semifinals. The last time I was on a rope was in Imst and I didn’t make finals so I had to focus more than usual to make sure I climbed well and stayed relaxed.
The route was very hard all over the beginning and I ended up qualifying second going into finals. The finals here in Arco is a special format where you get 20 minutes to work the route and the finals is pretty much a 2nd try competition. I’d expect the route setters to open something really sweet, around 50 moves so they can make it complicated and cryptic. Maybe they could throw in a strange clock, or a dyno? While we were in isolation for 4 hours during the work session, Jakob, Magnus and Sachi came back one after another and just said it was too long. When it was my turn, I came out to a ridiculously long route. I just don’t understand why they do it. It’s almost 70 moves long and goes back and forth along the wall when the wall is already long enough. Seems dumb to me and every year I hope they’re going to learn that it’s just plain boring to watch. Here’s my video!
As it turns out, every competitor made mistakes during the final climb. Some at the beginning, some just before me and a couple after me as well. I finished 4th place just behind the podium. If you’re wondering why I fell like that, it’s because for that move I was supposed to keep my foot on the foothold. For some reason, I wasn’t concentrated enough and I tried to jump into the little crimp. I ended up jumping away from the wall and as soon as I was committed to the move I knew it was bad news. I still tried to hang on but couldn’t stick the little crimper… Oh well.
Sunday morning was another early start and I went to the boulders for another “after work” session. To keep this part short, I was pretty disappointed with the boulders. There were 4 boulders to work and in the finals it’s knockout each boulder. The catch is you don’t know in what order you will climb the boulders. I ended up trying them all just in case but the boulders just were unappealing in my opinion. Every boulder had little crimps that just hurt to grab. There wasn’t a single sloper, volumes were scarce and we were pretty sure the opening boulder would be the running start.
The moment of finals came and low and behold, run and jump was the first boulder. I had never stuck the run and jump in the work session but stuck it first go. I fell on the second move when my fingers were on the first hold very well. When I fell on the run on my second try and another couple guys topped, I didn’t even get my third try on the boulder and it was over. What really annoyed me about this first boulder is that the only hard move was the first one because you had to jump so far from the foot and the handholds really hurt your fingers. If I got through the first two moves, the rest of the boulder was relatively easy for me.
It took me just over 15 minutes from being knocked out before I started to feel happy again. It’s super frustrating when that sort of thing happens but life goes on and I know that. Next on my plate was the duel in lead so I watched the rest of bouldering finals and then started getting psyched up for speed lead climbing!
First race in duel was against Dmitry Fakiryanov and I had a time of 1:52. I could tell that by halfway I was ahead so I made sure I climbed the route well and didn’t fall. My second race was against Magnus Midboe and the last time I dueled it was him that knocked me out! We both had great starts but by the roof I could see I was ahead by a bit and didn’t have to race through the last few moves. I sent me second route at 1:29. My last race was against Stefano Ghisolfi who I knew knocked out Jakob Schubert in the first round. It was stressful but here’s the video:
It was a close race and we both messed up the clips before the roof. It’s really hard when you’re behind by a little bit because you say to yourself you need to go a bit faster to catch up. The instant you start to think that, something always goes wrong and you spend 5-10 seconds clipping. In this format, most of the time is spent clipping and sometimes you’re just not lucky with that sort of thing.
It’s also the first time that I’ve gotten a gold medal here at the Arco Rockmasters which is a great feeling! The first time I did duel, I came 2nd to none other than Adam Ondra![singlepic id=576 w=600 h=400 float=center]
After the 3-4 event marathon I did, I’ve spent the last couple of days just resting, sleeping, eating and gaming. My next appointment is in Stuttgart for the Adidas Rockstars this coming weekend!