End of competition season.

Competition season has ended. Ive represented Nanyang Polytechnic for the POL-ITE competition. Had a team of 5 people to represent NYP for both guys and girls. Ive also taken part in RockMaster 2016 organised by Singapore Polytechnic RockClimbing Club (SPRC). SPRC actually organised for this years POL-ITE event and RockMaster. Kudos to them because it was a successful event. Other than those 2 competitions, I was asked to join a team of 3 people to take part in a rockclimbing event called, Climb-A-Ton. It is actually a marathon event but the distance is accumulated through the distance you covered when you climb on the wall.

I am going to talk about my thoughts, opinions and what i faced for all 3 events by paragraph so it will be quite a read for you. Im not an experienced climber but this post is mainly for me to pen down about my climbing journey and for future references. If it inspires you in some way as i go through this rockclimbing journey of mine, I am humbled and appreciative of that and i say thank you. So here goes.

First up, POL-ITE. Days before this event I was preparing myself everyday for it. Almost 5 days a week going to Onsight climbing gym climbing, hangboarding, campussing, practising mobility works and many other small but essential workout that helped me in preparation for my competition. I literally disregard social life and trained hard. I worked as a part timer too at Uniqlo. Everyday it was the same routine. Work, train, sleep and repeat. Usually my team has training on Tuesdays and Thursdays and ill work on the other alternate days and squeezing in self-trainings right after. It was hectic. It got boring after a while but I was told by one of the Open climber the other time,

“you know you love climbing when you still train even on days you feel like climbing is shit.” — Ryan Goh

I pushed myself through. Clocking in hours and hours on the wall. Progression was fairly moderate but i was progressing. When Iris, rockclimbing coach for NYP, gathered my team around her and made her debrief before the POL-ITE event which was 2 days away, i was thinking to myself to save my energy for RockMaster. I was really determined to promote myself to the intermediate category. Iris however noticed that thought in me and told me, “remember why we started this team. Its not for you nor is it for me. Its for all of us. So think of why we started this. Who do you want to repay back for the efforts you put in, the knowledge you received through this trainings.”. That hit me hard. I realised i was too self-absorbed in my progress i didnt regard my team in it. I forgot that I was actually doing this for myself and not for my team and that to me was selfish. I thank Iris for snapping me out of this and I told myself, this is for the team. I couldnt be where I am now if not for my team. I was psyched with a new and proper objective. I can focus on my promotion to intermediate another time as this is my last year in NYP and i may not be able to represent the school anymore after this event. So i have to make it worthwhile. I was determined to make an impact. NYP has finally established a RockClimbing team and its not the kind that is just made up of diff people with their own trainings put together in one team but a real team. A team that trained together. Motivates each other. Climbed together. We recruited new members into our team and had only a few weeks to drill them into our rockclimbing regimes. I had to step up and be a team leader. It was really something that was holding me back because it was my first time actually leading people in a competition. I was the senior. The only one. That has experience climbing more than the others. Except for Bryan. But he has his own trainings. I will fast forward to after POL-ITE because i think ill drag alot about the event and ive still RockMaster and Climb-A-Ton to talk about. So after POL-ITE we were gathered around Iris to talk about our performance. We didnt do too well but i know we all did our best. I topped 1 route and got a bonus on another. So did Bryan, Antonio and Farid. Ilyas got a bonus too. We all didnt qualify for finals nor did our guy team won for podium. I really think we could have done better. Iris talked to us abt how we are not seeing the beta quickly enought to execute it. How we are not communicating with each other more. So many rooms for improvement. Me as a team leader i felt i wasnt doing my part. I was off. Like it felt like i was not in the zone. But im happy that my boys gave it their all. Ill improve on this matter and make it better in the near future.

RockMaster 2016 was not a good one for me too. RockMaster was a day after POL-ITE and when i woke up for the competition, my whole body was aching. I knew i was not going to do well for it. I had already lost the mood to give my all for climbing. But i remembered that id have my friends there with me to support and I thought that will be enough to help me at least give it my all once again. When my detail started i was actually scared. I was composing myself. I took vids of the demo climb and reviewed it countless of times to remember the beta. How the demo climber stepped, held and shifted their weight as they go through the different routes. I was pretty much prepared. So i thought i was. I couldnt do many routes. I had trouble starting a few. The ones that i knew i could finish, i couldnt. It was quite demoralising. Up until I attempted the route in the picture above and completed it, i was driven back into my competing zone. I was pushing myself to try again. With minutes left on the timer I was about to attempt another balancing route but another climber took too long on the wall and took all the minutes up and i was just down to having completed 1 route with 1 bonus yet again. Placed myself 43rd out of 150 climbers in the novice category. Could have done better. Should have done better. I wasnt focused. Disappointment and regret filled me. Ive learned to accept it a week after. I went to climb during the evening to just release my anger and maybe have a chance to talk to Iris. Deep down i knew that she knew i could have done better and it made me feel even worse because i let her down. I guess people has those days. I know ill be back to do better for my next competition.

Climb-A-Ton was kind of a relaxed competition to me. I was not competing to get anything. I just wanted to have fun. Recover from my bad performance for POL-ITE and RockMaster. It helped! Really it did. I had teammates like Kaka and Shaz who belayed and climbed with me 24 routes consisting of 5, 6a, 6b, 6c routes which were crazy fun to climb. We finished under 3 hours and ended our marathon with a dyno route. It was a fresh kind of competition. It was the first kind of rockclimbing competition ive had and it was surprisingly fun! I was really satisfied. That competition really got me feeling better. Its not always serious when it comes to competitions. It can be fun as well.

I guess from all these 3 competitions ive learned that during a team event communication is key. Pacing yourself from routes and observing and getting the beta for the route quickly can help the team to progress well under pressure. Individually i learned that focus is what you need to do well in competitions. Dont rely on people to stay psyched. Get yourself psyched. Stay focused. Read the routes. Afterall its you up there attempting the routes, not anyone else. Friends will be there to give support but your effort matters. Try not to rely too much on other people. Rely more on yourself.

Till the next competition. Back to the grind and back to getting stronger. Next up Gravical 2017.