Ever since he was a kid, Jorge Loredo Duran has always been involved in all kinds of sports, including cycling, martial arts, competing in a triathlon, and even playing on an e-sports team.
The Mexico City native and currently a PhD student in the University of New Mexico’s computer science department even got a bowling scholarship while an undergrad in Iowa, “but it was getting boring,” he said. so was able to hook up with the soccer coach and get on a soccer scholarship.
He knew, however, that football was not something he would pursue long term. It was a break in Mexico City in mid-2019 when his brother introduced him to rock climbing.
“After that, I was super obsessed,” he said. “It was crazy. I was like, ‘Where has this been my whole life?’ ”
From then on, he started practicing rock climbing four hours a day, six days a week, no matter what. “Even when I’m sick, I practice.”
And all this practice paid off in a big way. Duran will be part of the Mexican national team at the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) World Cup in Salt Lake City next month. He will participate on May 27 in the men’s bouldering competition.
When he started climbing, he was still going to school in Iowa, so all of his training was in a gym, because there are no mountains in Iowa. Since the fall of 2021, he has been on a doctorate. program with consultant Leah Buechley, studying human-computer interaction and working in her Hand and Machine lab. Although he sometimes trains at Sandias, most training is still done in a gymnasium, as the environment is much more controlled.
He varies the time of day he trains, depending on what fits his school and work schedule, but keeps the same training structure: about an hour warm-up, two hours focused on upper body strength , especially finger strength, with core and lower body work, then about an hour of recovery. Along with a rigorous workout routine, he also follows a strict diet, with just the right balance of calories and nutrients.
“You have to stay as strong as possible while being as light as possible,” he said.
Although devoting hours a day to climbing can be exhausting, Duran said most of the time it can actually give him an extra boost.
“If I have a good day at the gym, I get super excited the rest of the day,” he said.
For a sport he started only a few years ago, even he has been surprised by his success, winning competitions that allow him to compete at national championship level. And with so many athletes starting the sport as teenagers, the fact that he’s in his 20s has made his journey all the more remarkable.
Although he may have started a little late, Duran said he felt like he was in his prime with many good years ahead of him.
“It’s time,” he said. “I’ve always been frustrated that I never really succeeded in any sport, so now I’m so happy that I can still do what I love. Socrates has a quote: ‘It’s a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength that her body is capable of. That’s what I want to do now.
Duran feels hopeful for the World Climbing Championship. After that, his sights are even higher – on the 2024 Olympics in Paris or 2028 in Los Angeles.
“I’m just getting started,” he said.