RC News #33: Studio Bloc Masters 2024

Read about Studio Bloc Masters 2024!

RC News #33: Studio Bloc Masters 2024
Outdoor wall at Studio Bloc Darmstadt Photo by Tobias Goldzahn

Studio Bloc Masters (SBM) is the largest climbing competition in the world.

It attracts everyone, from elite World Cup Circuit performers to recreational gym-goers looking for a good time. This year, 768 competitors from 37 nations participated, a new record for SBM.

The gym, Studio Bloc Darmstadt, was Zach and my home gym last year when we lived in Germany. We moved to Germany for Studio Bloc.

Two weeks after moving to the area, Studio Bloc hosted its Masters event, where I came in second. It was a perfect way to start our year in Germany and get to know some of the people in our new community.

It was such a good experience that I vowed to return yearly to compete at SBM. It's perfectly situated less than a month before the first World Cup of the season, so it's the ultimate prep event to get my body—and my mind—ready to fight.

This year's SBM for me wasn't as fruitful with results, but it scraped off the rust.

I flew to Germany with my mom at the beginning of March, where we spent 11 days in Frankfurt. I got to see some old friends, practice my German, and indulge in those German bakeries I missed so much.

Zach stayed home, which meant we spent two weeks apart this month. Luckily, my mom kept me company, which ended up being a lovely little girl's trip in Europe, complete with shopping and fine dining.

SBM is an excellent preparation event for several reasons: Frankfurt is so familiar to me that it doesn't quite feel like an international event - but it is. I can practice dealing with jet lag and training through fatigue in a relaxed environment where I don't have a high-stakes event just days away.

I went to Germany a few days earlier than I would for your average World Cup partly because I love Germany and wanted to spend more time there, but also to put the first event of the year on easy mode.

In an ideal world, I would arrive a week before every World Cup and do multiple training cycles before competing. For Studio Bloc Masters, so far away from the next event and with my mom's company, I could take the time I needed.

It's not easy to prepare for most World Cups. Sometimes, events are just days apart. Sometimes, you're in a new city, and you won't know where to go to train or what equipment you'll have access to. Sometimes, it's too expensive to arrive a week in advance.

Studio Bloc is easy mode, but it gets me into the swing of things.

This year, I didn't make finals because I wasn't ready for the level of my competitors. I've been coasting in the off-season, never challenging myself against the best in the world. I've been building but not performing.

SBM is the switch I flip between the off-season and the competition season. I go in to make my mistakes and focus on my last month of training before the big leagues.

I came in 9th this year, and I'm happy about that. It wasn't 2nd like last year, but it wasn't 20th. I wasn't mentally prepared, but I didn't entirely fall apart. I have things to improve with my diet and nighttime routines, but overall, I performed well.

Now, I'm less than three weeks out from the World Cup in China, and I'm confident.

I can learn from SBM's successes and failures to hit the ground running for the 2024 IFSC World Cup Season.