2014 PanAms

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November 26th to 30th I went to Mexico City to compete in the Youth Pan-American Climbing Championships. I ended up having a pretty successful competition, placing 4th in lead(difficulty), 1st in bouldering, and 3rd overall. Coming out of this competition I feel ecstatic. Not only for the success I had in results, but also the battle against stress and sickness before, and during, the competition. I was extremely nervous having nightmares and dreams about my climbing. A few small panic attacks during training. I think it had something to do with my performance at the World Youth Climbing Championships in September, where I had a poor performance. I think I was worried about something like that happening again- to have another poor performance. But the moment I got to Mexico this intense anxiety was gone, and I went in to my performance mode.

"Just get through it"

“Just get through this.” Q2

Two weeks prior to the competition I caught a flu bug. Nothing too serious, but I couldn’t really train hard, just do easier climbing. After a week of that I had a couple days of being healthy, then another bug. This time it was a stomach flu. At this point there was about 3 days until I left for Mexico City, on the 24th. All I could do is hope that it passed in time for my flight. On the 24th I felt okay when I woke up, if it had gotten much worse I probably would have had to cancel my flight and stay home, so I finished packing and left for my flight. I arrived later the same day and settled in at a hotel with a few other teammates. The next day I felt worse. This day the Canadian team switched into the living space in the athletes village left from the Olympics. I spent most of that day sleeping. The next day was the first day of competing; it was lead qualifiers. By this time I was almost over my stomach flu, and was feeling much better. I was psyched for first qualifiers. As I got more tired through the day I felt a bit worse and by second qualifier I remember sitting in the chair about to climb and thinking  just get through this.  I ended up qualified for lead finals despite being sick, which I was pretty happy about.

The next day was bouldering qualifiers and by this time I was tired but finally better. I qualified 4th for semis.

The next day was speed, which was a rest day for me. I got to really make a recovery and prepare mentally and physically for lead finals the next day. Mexico City was at a higher altitude then I was used to, so despite sitting around all day it was extremely important to monitor how much time you spent in the sun and how hydrated you are.

Day 4 was lead finals. I was feeling pretty good, but was noticing something. With the altitude change I found I was getting pumped much quicker than normally. Also the style of pump felt different. It felt more like my muscles were drained and fatigued rather than the numb feeling of lactic acid that I am used to. I was getting pumped much quicker. With that factor in play I sadly fell about midway through the route trying to make a tricky clip but giving up and going for a positive movement. A few other competitors also fell here as well, but were quicker so I ended up in 4th place due to time. Only one competitor made it past that point.

Finals

Finals

Day 5 I competed in bouldering semis and finals. I was super psyched to compete and that carried through in my performance. I paced 1st in semis being the only person to top all of the problems. Then in finals I onsighted 2 of the 3 problems, and came in 1st!

Finals Prob 1

Finals Prob 1

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Really happy!

 

My results from bouldering and lead were also enough to place me in 3rd place overall. A really unexpected but exciting finish to my trip.

All photos courtesy of Shane Murdoch.

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Toronto/Hamilton Bouldering World Cup 2014

Surreal- the best word to describe my experience at this year’s Toronto Bouldering World Cup at Gravity Climbing Gym in Hamilton, Ontario. My very first bouldering world cup.

From “brusher” at last year’s Toronto Bouldering World Cup, to competitor this year. It seems like yesterday I was idolizing the athletes who possessed the ability to go to world cups. I had thought that the status of “world class” was untouchable for me, and the climbing ability of these athletes beyond what I could ever achieve. Even entering the Tour de Bloc (competition) season I doubted that I would qualify for the National Team. I thought my performance over the Tour de Bloc Season was good, but would not be enough for me to join the National team. It was a huge shock to me when I received the email that I was accepted to attend the Toronto Bouldering World Cup.

This competition was probably the best competition of the year so far. I entered with an attitude of have fun, and have no expectations. My only goals were to enjoy the experience, and learn as much as I can from watching other athletes. I found that I was really happy when I was climbing. I felt really strong, confident, and focused. It surprises me now how optimistic I was during my time climbing, and reflecting on how I felt climbing, that feeling of positivity is something I want to have in all my competition experiences.

The qualifying round consisted of 5 boulder problems…

On Men’s 1 I got bonus, which was the second hold, but no top. I’m happy with my climbing on this problem, since I was generally happy and was trying different beta to solve the second move to the finish hold. At first glance I intuitively thought of a beta that I could use, but for some reason I tried a different beta. Perhaps it was because the second beta was more static- “safer”,  where as the first is more of a dynamic movement- “risky”. After trying variation of my second beta for roughly 3 minutes, I tried my first original beta. The first try was close, but I didn’t stick it, so I tried a variation of the same beta until the rest of my 5 minutes was up. After the competition was over I reviewed a video of Sean McColl doing Men’s 1, and saw that he used the same beta that I first thought and stuck the move. Perhaps if I had trusted my intuition and worked on cleaning up the movement Men’s 1 would have been a different story.

Trying the “safer beta” on M1    |   Creds to the super strong Sara M.

Men’s 2 looked hard from the ground. The first part to the bonus looked hard, and the second part harder. Something my coach, Andrew, had said to me 3 days earlier came in to my mind, “Work the problem as if it were two problems. The first to the bonus hold, and the other to the top.” I never got to the bonus hold, but every attempt I made got cleaner, and cleaner.

Men’s 3, top! My very first top at a World Cup! From the ground I was confident that if I stuck the dyno in the bottom portion I could possibly top. The dyno looked a bit tricky though. It was a mostly sideways dyno to some good holds, but the holds were slopey so that too much power would send you flying off. The dyno took me 2 tries. The first try I used too much power and flew off. The second try was just right, and I not only stuck the dyno, but sent the problem.

Men’s 4 was really powerful, and I had a similar experience to Men’s 2- get to the bonus. The move to the bonus hold was really big, and I didn’t end up sticking it. Maybe if I had tweaked the movement a bit I would have caught bonus.

Men’s 5 had super small start holds, and I got tired on the first move really quickly. I kept falling on the second move to the bonus hold, and sadly never got it. The problem looked within my ability, but I couldn’t quite get the movement right in my 5 minutes.

I ended up placing 26th, which I am super happy about. This Toronto Bouldering World Cup has been an important experience for me, and I’m grateful for having experienced it. After qualifiers I stayed and watched semis, and finals which were really cool. I really want to go to more Bouldering World Cups but I know the best thing for me to do right now is have a break, then start training my power endurance for Youth Worlds in September. I’m really psyched for the next season, and hope to compete in next years Toronto Bouldering World Cup as well.

 

 

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Canadian National Climbing Championships (Difficulty)

May 18th to 20th I was competing in this year’s Canadian National Climbing Championships in the Youth A (16-17) category, at Allez Up in Montreal, Quebec. I felt a lot of pressure going in to this comp for multiple reasons… The results from this competition are a deciding factor on who is on the National Team, I had been a bit sick and missed a lot of training the two weeks before the competition, and the other athletes in my category are extremely strong, many of them had been on the National Team last year or did really well at last year’s Nationals.

All these factors however, were out of my control, and when it came time to compete I had let go of the uncontrollable, and re-focused on the controllable.

I felt great the day of qualifiers. I had a decent breakfast- oatmeal, fruit, and water, and had gotten a good sleep. I climbed pretty well. I topped both qualifiers, and had fun climbing them. Both the routes were really good. They both flowed nicely and both had interesting movement. They looked really cool, I was excited to try them. Qualifier 1 was juggy and steep, where as Qualifier 2 was slabby and more balancey.

Semi finals was on the next day (May 19th). This day I felt awful. The night before the neighbors of the apartment I was staying in decided to throw a party that was just a bit to loud, so I got very little sleep. I was very low energy, and really nervous. During preview my nerves got the best of me, which ended up in a very poor and inefficient preview. The way I previewed felt frantic. I let the adrenaline that comes with being nervous keep me from thinking. When it came time to climb I knew I had a bad preview, and there was nothing I could do about it. I tried but in the end I had a “not great” climb. I qualified for finals in 4th.

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Semi Finals | Photo by Shane Murdoch

Semis

Semi Finals | Photo by Pam Eveleigh

My performance in semis really got me focused on finals, I was determined to not have the same issue during my preview of the route. I had a good sleep, dinner, and breakfast. I felt really focused on finals. The finals route looked really cool as well. It followed this line of real big round volumes with interesting moves.

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Finals | Photo by Shane Murdoch

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Finals | Creds to Genevieve de la Plante

There was a four-way tie for 1st – got to the same move as other climbers, so results where decided through a countback to semi finals and qualifiers. I ended up on the podium in 3rd place, and got a place on the National Team.

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Podium | Photo by Shane Murdoch

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National Team | Photo by Shane Murdoch

 

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March Break ’14: Red River Gorge, KY

March break, me and other Boulderz staff members went to the Red River Gorge in Kentucky from March 10th to the 16th. This was my second time going to the RRG, and this time I had a goal set in mind to send a 5.13b by the end of the trip. Ever since last year I’ve been eyeing some possible 13s to work on; there was one climb called Golden Boy 5.13b that I was eager to try. Prior to the trip I had five nights of minimal sleep and awesome climbing dreams- I was pretty psyched to go back. The cabin we stayed at was through the company Natural Bridge Cabin Rentals, and was called the Bear Run Chalet. Its a great cabin, fully equipped with a pool table, dish washer, and electric stove.

The first day of climbing was on March 10th. Going into this trip we planned to go to a different area every day for more variety. The first area we went to was Military Wall. I’d never gone to Military Wall before. This was probably one of the better days I had during the trip. I started off warming up on In The Light 5.10c (wasn’t that good) and Another Doug Reed Route 5.11b (better). I then moved on to flash The Mule 5.12c, a cool pumpy route with some weird pebble-y slopers at the top. After that I on-sighted Tissue Tiger 5.12b, then Nicorette 5.12a, and Gung Ho 5.12b. I was pretty happy at this point. I felt that there was a definite improvement from last year’s trip- it was time to move on to something more difficult. So I hopped on a route called The Legend 5.13b, which started off with a difficult reachy boulder problem. I really wasn’t enjoying it, and after a couple tries at the first bolt I came down. Slightly discouraging, since my goal was to climb a 13b, but whatever, it didn’t bother me after that day. It was an amazing day.

March 11th, the second day, I started off at the Gallery, warmed up on DaVinci’s Left Ear 5.10b. Tried Zen and the Art of Masturbation 5.12d and stopped at the third bolt because of the heinous skin shredding crimps (I wanted skin for the rest of the trip); then went to try the Tribute 5.13, and got stuck on the “one move wonder” at the third bolt. So I moved on from the Gallery to Bronaugh wall. There, I sent my project from last year, Belly of the Beast 5.12c, first try of the day. I also sent a random slab route on the far left side of the wall. It isn’t in the guide or anything, but it had new bolts and no red tape marking it closed. I estimated it is around 5.10b/c.

March 12th we had pretty bad conditions. We all went to the Zoo, but I didn’t climb much. I decided to have a rest.

March 13th was supposed to be the coldest day of the week, but a friend of mine said that the Chocolate Factory would be okay. For the most part it was. I warmed up on Toxicondendron 5.11b. Then spent the day working on the route Cat’s Demise 5.13b. I was getting close to sending the route, but by the 5th draw my hands were freezing cold to the point of giving out. Despite that, it is a great route, sustained slopers to a crimpy crux before the anchors. Next year.

The last full day was March 14th. I woke up in the middle of the night with pain in my right eye. I must have gotten a small rock or something in my eye on one of the previous days, which scratched the white of my eye. A lot of the night was spent trying to figure out what was wrong and it was hard to get any sleep. None the less, I was about to go to the area I had been looking at since last year, Gold Coast. Home to some famous routes such as God’s Own Stone 5.14a, Black Gold 5.13c, and Golden Boy 5.13b; which I was determined to send this trip. The day started off warming up at a nearby area called Solar Collector, where I did a few 11s and Blue Eyed Honky Jesus 5.12b. Then I went straight to Golden Boy 5.13b. My first try was with a take and a fall. I was confident that I could send it that day. My next try I got it down to one fall, and that fall kept moving closer and closer to the anchors. Then after a long break I came back to it, it was the end of the day. My next few tries were substantially worse than before. I was tired, and knew that I was done for the day. Meltdown.

Getting upset was good in a way. I was questioning what aspect of climbing I am most passionate about. Is it the training? The competition? Getting upset, in a way has gotten me psyched. I now look at that meltdown as a sign that, for me, the enjoyment of climbing comes from overcoming the challenges. I was upset I couldn’t send it on this trip, and sad that I would have to wait months to try it again. The meltdown for me was another step to discovering why I love climbing.

We left on the 15th. But before we left, we made a trip to Beer Trailer Crag to get a couple last minute routes in. I tried Falls City 5.13b, but decided after the first try that maybe now wasn’t the time to project anything. So I came down and did a couple of 12as.

If your interested in to what I was doing here’s a link to my Sendage account: http://sendage.com/user/lucas-Uchida

Here is the link to the online guide: http://www.redriverclimbing.com/RRCGuide/

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First Post, Rumney “Schist-uation”

Welcome. This will be my first post of my blog…

Hi, my name is Lucas Uchida, I’ve been climbing for roughly 3-4 years, and train at Boulderz Climbing Centre. The reason I’ve decided to make this blog is to help create a timeline of important events through out my climbing career, and for me to be able to reflect on those experiences, and hopefully learn from them.

Rumney

During thanksgiving weekend I went on a trip to Rumney, NH with my friend Nathan, and my Dad. It was a 2.5 day trip, and the weather was supposed to be good, so I was pretty psyched to go. We stayed at this place called “The Common Cafe” which allows hostel/lodging for 25 dollars a night.

The first day I warmed up on Flying Hawaiian 5.11b, and then went straight to the hard stuff. Nathan sent Butt Bongo Fiesta 5.13a; this stunning line starting with 3 bolts of easy climbing to a tech-y boulder-y head wall. I had tried it but after a few tries I knew it was time to move on and try some of the other routes Rumney had to offer…

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Waimea Wall

On the second day we warmed up on All The Way-A 5.10d. I had sent Butt Bongo Fiesta 5.13a, making it my very first 13. I also sent this short, but fun “route” called Bottom Feeder 5.13a. Although it was short, it was super fun, and I would highly suggest giving it a go if you’re there. We also projected Rhythm X 5.13c.

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Butt Bongo Fiesta 5.13a

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Projecting Rhythm X

The last day was a half day. We woke up early in the morning and packed all of our gear away and got in the car for the last burns. And I’m glad we did. Me and Nathan both did Big Kahuna 5.12d/13a. We had heard the day before that there was an extension of Big Kahuna where you kept climbing past the anchors into this 12b, Techno Surfing, that, rather than stopping halfway up the cliff, allowed you to climb to the top. I had decided to do that…

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Big Kahuna 5.12d/13a

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Nathan on Big Kahuna

Overall, my trip to Rumney this year was a great one. I accomplished my goal of sending a 13 outdoors, I have come back feeling more confident on rock, and found a project for my self (Rhythm X 5.13c). I’ve come back with a whole new drive to climb outdoors.

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