This past weekend was the 10th installment of Full Gravity Day, Spire’s annual bouldering competition that is always held the first weekend of November. The main thing I heard everybody say was how good the routes were. I have to agree that the routes were a lot better than last year because of the variety of hold types and that the kids were able to climb about 50%-60% of the 102 boulder problems that were set for the comp.
Even though there was a competition in Salt Lake City the same day I think we had way more people from outside of Bozeman compete than last year. We had the annual crew from Billings, Helena, and Boise show up but we also had groups from Missoula, Cody, and Seattle show up too. With all the out of towner’s came the Big Guns to crush this years finals. Mike Bokino, Joe “Texas” Meiners, Kyle “Vanilla Gorilla” Vassilopoulos, Kerrek Stinson, myself and Dark Horse Dominick Speranza, rounded out the mens finalists. With Moly Rennie, Sydney Trinadad, Inge Perkins, Bridgett Creel, Joanna Onorato, and Tammy McClure on the womens side for finals. By the numbers we had 7 of 12 finalists from out of town and 5 finalists were under the age of 18.
We had two dark horses this year Dominic and Sidney both turned out to be a lot stronger than most people gave them credit at the beginning of the day. Sidney is an 11 year old from Seattle. I was surprised to say the least when I first saw her getting ready to climb in the Open heat. If you’ve ever seen a small kid climb you know that they don’t have the control or the thought processes of climbers in their teenage years or older. Sidney was the exact opposite of what you would expect; calculated and very specific controlled movements. As a good example, for the second finals route the start was supposed to be a campus move but if you were smart and precise enough you could kick your foot up to the a big foothold out left as Molly Rennie (the eventual winner of womens open) showed everyone. Sidney did the exact same move but she crossed her right foot all the way through. I wouldn’t have believed that she would be long enough to be able to do that even if I thought she could b precise enough to get her foot on the hold, but sure enough there’s a picture of it here.
I meet Dominick two years ago while I was still competing as a youth in the SCS. In the last two years he has only gotten stronger every time I’ve seen him. The first time I competed against him he wasn’t even in the same league as me technically and physically. Then about a year later when he came to Spring Fling last April and blew away most of the competitors his age. Everyone was surprised at his progression but it seems like he wasn’t done yet. He kept up with me without too much effort on Saturday and was only behind Mike Bokino and me by a flash (25 points). In finals he showed what he is capable of under pressure by sticking the mens 2nd final dyno; passing me and Kerrek Stinson in points by doing so. Dyno’s have always been his thing so I’m not really surprised he stuck it but its impressive he has been able to progress this quickly.
Finals went pretty well this year but they looked a lot like they did last year almost to a tee from where they started too what kind of holds and moves were on each. The first final suited me really well but I still managed to mess it up. I forgot that there was a incut part of the orange sloping rail for you to come into and that kept me from the top, doh! So even though I had enough time after my first try I didn’t take advantage of it because I didn’t see anyway for me to get that move another way. The second final was not my style after the first few moves. An all points off double clutch dyno kept Kerrek and I from moving any further up the route. It was too bad they set such a stopper move particularly because both Mike and Kyle flashed it. But in the setters defense it’s hard to set a hard route meant to separate the field without stopper move(s).
The only things I would improve for next year would be to: 1) Set the finals with less of a style and more of a required skill to be able to climb them and 2) Change the finals up, I mean two of the routes looked exactly like they did last year following the same line and using similar holds and moves. I would like to see routes in different locations maybe on the vertical slab or something (look at any of the UBC/ABS nationals problems all of them are set on the same wall but they are all very different stylistically).
Results can be found here.
Full Gravity Day was also the first day of my new training regimen. Its been a while since the last time I was doing regular training. FGD gave me a pretty big incentive to start training after having two of the “kids” beat me. So hopefully this will give me the little push I need to get to the next level in my climbing ability. I’m going to be focusing on my finger strength and injury prevention for the next few months. We’ll see where it takes me, I feel like I got a lot more solid in climbing v7-v8 this year without too much training outside of just climbing all the time. I have a bad habit of either training all the time or not training all the time. I’ve got the better part of the next year planned out already so I’m hopeful that my plan will work at least a little bit. I have to thank Arron Hjelt for all the help giving me direction and focus for the routine.