Sunday, February 21, 2010

Team V0 wins GOLD in Montreal!

1st place, Men's Rec! Yay. A few weeks ago I happened to be in Montreal the weekend that Gonflé à Bloc, the 99th Tour de Bloc bouldering comp was taking place.

The comp was held at Centre d'escalade Vertical, a brisk 20 minute walk from Station Angrignon at the end of the green Métro line. Vertical is part of a larger athletic/community complex, the Cégep André-Laurendeau.

The design choices climbing gyms make based on facilities and structures always fascinate me. Vertical is the answer to the question, how would you design a gym in a large gymnasium-type structure? They had a thoughtful bouldering setup with lots of overhanging problems and deep soft padding. If you're ever in the area, check out Vertical!

With respect to the comp, they put up a tough set of challenges. One particular problem took me about 45 minutes of work (out of the 3 hour session) to complete, but I believe it put me over the top in the scoring. In all the comps I've been to so far, there's always been a problem or two where I basically decide, screw the scoring, I'm going to send this problem today.

My nemesis: 45 min+ on this sucker. Blue tape; start is on the right at the corner.

The kids at these events are shockingly skilled. All three of the top boys in the upper junior division beat me on the scoresheet. It definitely gives you a sense of perspective and humility. And my top scoring problem (not the one pictured above) I felt goaded to complete because this little 11 year old girl did it easily in front of me. Her parents were amused by how difficult I found the same problem. My honour was at stake! I had to represent Team V0!

Yeah, I know it's a bit of a joke to be in Rec. I'll enter in Experienced next season. Plus, I am just not a serious climber like these people. That is, I don't consider myself a serious climber at this stage in life. And it was a small field this comp; in a larger field I wouldn't have done so well. [I would have tied for 5th in Experienced going by the results]

Lastly, I want to thank the organizer, Sébastien, for his courteous and generous treatment of a guest at his home gym. I will definitely wear the Vertical/Gonflé à Bloc t-shirt with pride. The organization and judging was great and super friendly, the sponsors had prizes for even the Rec finishers, and overall it truly felt like a community event with a fun vibe.

Congratulations Sébastien on holding a fantastic comp!