Thanks to Evolv, I was able to spend my entire Saturday watching ABS Nationals in Colorado Springs. it was awesome. I did not compete, but I made sure that Evolv was showing some love to whoever was there. I’ve watched the event online before, but I’ve never been to one in person. I’ve also been to some pretty big events, the Earth Treks Roc Comp, the UBC tour in Central Park. But this event had an energy I’ve never quite seen before.
I spent all day Friday at work, with the qualifiers streaming on my iPad beside me. That’s not a bad way to spend at work. It was also awesome because I got to see a couple friends compete with the best in the world. Fellow Evolv athlete Stephen Palermo and Denver Bouldering Club co owner Thomas Betterton. Neither made it into semi finals, but damn, they climbed hard. The next day I drove down south to Colorado Springs to kick it in the Evolv booth with Megan Sajbel. The semi finals were awesome. The likes of Angie Payne, Alex Puccio, Alex Johnson, D Woods, Paul Robinson, Vasya Vorotnikov battled it out on some killer problems. The problems all looked awesome for the crowd while at the same time appearing to be fun to climb. I got to tell you, there is nothing like watching climbers of this caliber in person. They make the impossible seem possible. Sweaty hands and inspiration were in full force.
As the semi finals had completed, I headed on over to City Rock to watch Catalyst sports and Paradox sports athletes compete in the paraclimbing competition. It was amazing. I had never seen such a crowd of athletes, abled and differently abled, so psyched and so crushing! The energy was high, the psych was high, and everyone was having a good time. I got to meet a lot of the athletes, and even made a new friend in Ronnie Dickson. (another Evolv crusher) Ronnie is a straight up legit dude. Looking forward to climbing with him in the future.
Before the Finals were to begin, I headed back over to the ABS wall and was able to watch the awesome setters finalize and tweak their problems. I feel that a lot of the credit of this even going off in a smash needs to go to the setters. I thought they did a phenomenal job. In every round they had problems that effectively separated the athletes so that a champion could emerge. It was truly an art to watch. After the setters were satisfied, and the LT11 crew had their meetings, it was only a matter of time before the flood of fans arrived. The doors opened and it was literally a wave of people rushing to get the best seats.
The setters and the athletes did not disappoint. Evolv was represented in the finals by new team member Alex Johnson, who is wicked cool and took some time to just chat. Alex crushed it all day, but unfortunately it did not land her on the podium. Daniel Woods defended his title, and Juliane Wurm edged out ms Puccio this year. However, Alex still holds the national champion title, since Juliane is not a US citizen.
ABS Nationals will also be moving to a different location next year. Which is a bummer, since I finally moved closer to it, it is moving away. At least I got to witness this one. It was an absolute blast. Evolv is awesome, and I am always psyched to be representing them. I got to meet new friends, I got to reconnect with old friends, I got to cheer on friends, and I got to see some kick ass climbing. The setters did an amazing job and the athletes put on an incredible show. Until next time. Thanks Evolv. Thanks USA Climbing. It was a blast.