Saturday, February 4, 2012

Great Day For a Great Cause!!

Vaulters and fans today at UC San Diego.  Please click to enlarge.

A few years ago Leon Roach III, a young UC San Diego vaulter, died when his head struck the ground after a rope vault.  Today there was a great turn out to celebrate his life and spirit.  The last time I saw his dad was 1970, in the back yard of Olympic bronze medalist, Dave Clark, in a small town in North Texas.  We were both there to take lessons for the day, just a few of us.  Later he lived with Bob Richards Jr., the son of the Olympic pole vault and decathlon champion in Garden Grove, California.  My brother saw him then.  Today was a joy to hang out with him and the other vautlters on an absolutely picture perfect day.

With close to 40 vaulters it was a zoo but expertly run by the officials.  I started at 11' 6" (3.51m) after about a 90 minute wait.  Unlike Reno my poles were way too small and I had to save a bunch of jumps rather than feel like I had control.  No idea how I made opening as the pole just turned to mush and I hit it on the way up but it stayed.  At 12' (3.66m) the same thing happened but even worse on my biggest 14' 1" (4.30m) pole and I got a miss.  Made it on jump #2 on my smallest 14' 7" (4.45m) pole and then moved up poles again.  Made 12' 6" (3.81m) pretty easy but had to turn too early to avoid hitting it on the way up AGAIN -  At 13' (3.96m) It was all about finesse as the pole was a little too small but I didn't think I could get on the next one.  Had three great jumps but couldn't wiggle around enough to leave it up.

I think I'm at that point where I need to start on my normal meet poles, the 14' 7"s (4.45m).  Last year I could jump on some of these from a stride closer but somehow I'm jumping higher where I am on these poles.  For example, the pole I jumped 12' 6" on today used to be my 11' 6" pole. The pole I made 13' on in Reno, that was too small today, was the pole I used for 12'.  If I can quickly close this gap by using the same poles from one stride closer I can add 6" (15cm) to my height and be set up to get on bigger poles from back another stride.

Today I didn't feel spectacular but my 12 step run was back about a foot (30cm) meaning I'm actually running a little faster.  I'm FAR from where I want and need to be but the results are certainly pleasing.  Now, back to work.  Thanks for following and supporting me!  Bubba

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