USA Team Comes Together // Michael O’Rourke

My preparation for the world cup season began after nationals but a few weeks ago USA Climbing brought the US team together for a group training session.

Over the span of three days we climbed on “World Cup” style problems in order to prepare for the upcoming competitions. This being the first time that the “team” was brought together to train, we weren’t really sure what to expect. The first day we climbed at Movement Denver for 6 hours total, practicing our technique and preparing mentally. We still had two more full days of climbing ahead of us and I felt as if I couldn’t do anything that was beneficial to my training after the first day.

The next 2 days we didn’t climb as long but it was still hard to find the motivation after the first day because it was so exhausting. Hopefully in years to come this training camp will improve and we will be able to utilize our time together better.

USA Training Camp

Jump ahead one month, and we find ourselves in Toronto for the first Bouldering World Cup of the season. Isolation closes very early for the men at 8:30 in the morning and the climbing begins at 9:30. I get my pre comp Starbucks routine and head into the venue, which is an ice hockey rink… typical Canada.

I get in and say my hellos to my friends that have made their journeys across the world to compete. I always enjoy these comps because its one of the only places where all of the competitors get to hang out with each other and laugh and have fun before we compete.

I start my regular warmup routine which I try and make consistent at every major competition, which is to start warming an hour before my climbing time. I do a quick run around iso to get the blood flowing and then get on the warm up wall doing progressively harder and harder problems until I feel ready to compete and then I give myself 10 minutes rest before I start on the first qualifying boulder. I do my warmup correctly and I’m feeling strong and mentally confident for the round. I start the round with a flash of boulder 1 which is always a good feeling for the start.

Then on the second problem I couldn’t hold onto the holds and felt like I was just greasing off terrible slopers. No send on that problem and then the same thing kept happening on problems 3 and 4 just sliding off the holds without any friction. Then on the final boulder in the round I knew I was in a bad place with only 1 top so far and I needed something to happen, but nothing happened and I ended the round with only one top.

It wasn’t my best round of competition but I always try and learn from my failures and figure out what it is that I need to work on. In a few days the next world cup will be held in Vail and I feel ready to try my best and hopefully it will show in my climbing this time.