With a month to prepare, once again I stepped up my training regime to an obsessive level. Daily trail running, gym climbing, obstacle training along with time trials in my own backyard course was the least of which consumed me. The nightly obsessing over the obstacles from previous years failure kept me awake countless nights and leaving me completely sleep deprived for my next days of training. One month passed and I was physically in the best shape of my life, above and beyond what it takes to be the first person to finish all 4 stages on American soil.
Stage one was what I needed to conquer in order to get past all the balance type parkour oriented obstacles which, if anything is my weakness. My training thus far had more then paid off, after cruising the first stage without even breaking a sweat I was now in my element and the road to glory and the half million was within arms reach, Literally.
Moving onto stage 2, all fired up and ready for the taking is when the sleep deprivation crept in. I could feel it in my head and in bits of my body, slowly wearing me down. Staying focused on what really mattered at the time, stage 2 began starting with the slowest times from the previous stage finishers. A total of only 18 competitors remained from the initial 500-ish before the city qualifiers and not to mention the 30,000 initial applicants. Everyone was fired up and our climber clan of Denver city finishers known as the "Wolf Pack" was lead by none other then the man himself Brian Arnold.
After purposely finishing Stage 1 with one of the slowest times to ensure his recovery time for 3 and final stage, Brian found himself all wrapped up in a unknown obstacle of ropes and total chaos. after hanging with all arms for over 40 seconds, the pump in his arms was apparent along with the added pressure of having to race against the clock. With 5 intense upper body obstacles ahead of him he had no choice but to rush into the Salmon Ladder which lead right into the Unstable bridge where he unfortunately ran out of gas and met his demise. This was a horrible start to the night, everyone was totally crushed along side Brian especially us fellow Wolf Pack competitors, which included Noah Kaufman, Ian Dory and myself. Up next in line out of the Wolf Pack was Noah, where he among many others in between pumped out early by prematurely falling on the Unstable Bridge. Up to this point nearly 10 competitors had fallen in every which way imaginable leaving some serious bad juju in the air.My turn came quicker then expected but with the power of knowledge from the others misfortune I was more then ready to break the mold and dominate this stage. The timer started and I was off, I flew thru the unknown Rope Jungle with the fastest time of the night leaving me more then fresh in my arms to complete the upcoming obstacles, next up was the Salmon Ladder, no biggie for I have one in my backyard. Done it a million times with not a single fail. Staying calm and collective I started up the first set up rungs fast, light and OH NO!!! IN THE WATER!!! The heartbreak, the sadness, the failure. Its all over now, nothing else matters. What a disappointment to everyone mostly myself. With 3 of 4 Wolf Pack out the game, Ian was the last to fill the gap we had left. With his young strong fortitude he was able to battle his way further then the rest of us to the 5th obstacle when he miscalculated his landing on the Metal Spin, plunging into the water. With the 4 strongest climbers out of the game before Stage 3 known as the climbers stage, there was little if no hope of anyone claiming the title this year. After Elet Hall and Joe Moravsky's impressive finish of Stage 2 they proceeded to battle their way with no success on the relentless upper body challenge of Stage 3. Yet again no ninja has reached the 4th stage. With the biggest competition of the year out of the way, the climbing season is now under way. The fall temps are in full effect and its game on! I got invited to compete again in one of the most exciting climbing competitions of all time, The Psicobloc Masters Series. A head to head battle with an elimination bracket format. During the seeding rounds where the format is decided I fell short throwing myself on a all points off horizontal dyno from 30 ft above the water. I span frantically in the air like a rag doll smacking the water head first on the side of my head leaving me with a blown ear drum. Severe hearing loss and a long road to recovery in hopes I don't need surgical repairs. I had a custom earplug made so I could compete in the rare opportunity at the Psicobloc comp the following night. Due to my early fall in the seeding rounds, I was pinned up against the World Champ Sean Mccoll where I made an impressive come back and a near defeat of his speed to the top of the wall falling short on a sequence I was not able to rehearse like the other competitors. In the end it was definitely the most amazing competition I have ever been a part of.
After working for the summer and some fortunate luck finding a new amazing Subaru to suit our travel needs. Laura, myself and our lil ol lady-dog Sage are on the road for the next few months. But first, one more ninja comp for the year to get some sort of closure. The Ninja Smack down. A three stage event constructed after the real show with the personal touch and difficulty of Brian Arnold at one of the most elite parkour facilities in the country. Apex Movement Gym in Boulder CO.
A strong field of talented ninjas made the journey to compete alongside the reunited Wolf Pack as well as some of the strongest parkour phenomena's and ninja enthusiasts around. With an enticing amount of prizes and cash for the first place finisher, we decided to take on the challenge. With Laura out of commission from a previous climbing injury in her finger and a severely strained neck/back muscle from over training, it was up to me to represent. With her support and positive energy from all my fans and friends I was able to stay focused and tackle the first two stages which lead me to the impossible task of conquering Brian's insanely hard stage 3.Being the only finisher and taking home the cash prize and goodies, I now feel a small bit of closure and can now address 100% of my mind to what I do best. ROCK CLIMB!!