Cubing competitions are, in my opinion, one of the biggest motivators to keep cubing. Not only do they provide a chance for you to test your skills and see how far you’ve progressed, but they also provide a unique area to socialize with others that have similar interests. I personally have met many amazing friends through cubing competitions, all of whom make the experience of competing much more exhilarating and enjoyable, as they can be a source of friendly competition and a way to take your mind off the competing and relax during breaks.
One of the best ways to enjoy your competition experience is to be well prepared for it. While competitions can be very fun, not being prepared can lead to lots of stress during the event, often taking away from the fun moments the experience could have provided you with. Coming from someone who has attended 49 competitions, I will be going over how to best be prepared for a competition, starting from the day before, all the way until you reach the venue.
The day before should be when you pack all essentials for the event. If you are traveling far away/abroad for the competition, this should be done before travel. I would recommend packing all the following items:
- All your main speedcubes and backup mains
- A towel or hand warmer
- A camera (if you prefer recording your solves)
- A jacket (you never know which venue will be cold!)
- Snacks (in case food is difficult to get at the venue)
- A screwdriver
- Cube lubricants (Cubelelo Velocity/DNM-37/Lubicle Silk)
A towel/hand warmers and a jacket are essentials that, in my opinion, are particularly useful at most competitions. You never know whether the venue is air-conditioned or not and, depending on the weather, it could still be very cold without air conditioning. Cold air is basically kryptonite to cubers as it makes your hands shaky, causing you to lock up more often. Jackets, towels, and hand warmers are useful to combat this, allowing you to warm up before your solve. However, hand warmers are difficult to find in India, which is why I would recommend towels, as everyone owns them and can take them to a competition on a whim.
Moving on to the lubricants and screwdriver, I believe they are important to ensuring optimal performance during a competition. Despite your best efforts, your cubes may not feel right on the big day. To combat this, carrying a thin lubricant and a screwdriver to adjust tensions will allow you to quickly modify your puzzle during the competition. I would specifically recommend Cubicle Velocity or DNM-37 if you want your puzzle to feel faster, and Lubicle Silk if you want your puzzle to feel more stable, smooth and controllable, as those are all lubes that do not require much break-ins at all!
Once you’re done with all that, you’ve got everything ready for the competition! Just make sure it's all packed in a portable bag, as having to leave your stuff around in a bustling venue is never a good idea. Try to pack everything in a backpack, as it will ensure you can keep it with you at all times.
Waking up on the day of the competition is always euphoric, however, the excitement of the competition might cause you to wake up early. Get a good night of sleep, as cube competitions are usually long, tiring days, and your performance towards the end of the day might be hampered by a lack of sleep and energy. Once you wake up, I would suggest listening to some music of choice and taking it easy during your commute to the venue. Once you are there, the best bit of advice I could give to you is to enjoy yourself! When I competed last in February 2020, I never imagined it would be the last time I would compete in two years. Since then, I have come to realize how much joy cubing competitions have given me, so I would say, no matter what your results are, socialize and have a great time!
Raipur Cube Carnival 2019
-- Naren Ramesh