Sunday, January 15, 2012

Crunch Time at Climber’s Rock

Who designed this delightful t-shirt?
On Saturday, Climber’s Rock in Burlington -- one of my favourite gyms -- hosted the latest Tour de Bloc bouldering competition. It was a doozy.

Huge congratulations to the always-smiling Iyma Lamarche on winning her first TdB comp!


As for me, I’m feeling quite sore. I can’t even close my right hand into a fist. Where’s the Advil...

Session Recap
I did better than I thought, but not as well as I wanted. It’s a by-product of setting expectations for myself.

Earlier this season, I arbitrarily set myself three specific metrics for every comp -- let’s see how I did:

    • Beat my secret nemesis: no
    • ‘Qualify’ for Women’s Open Finals: no
    • Finish out of the bottom third in Men’s Open: yes!

One out of three -- better than last time!

45 and 42 -- just a touch too steep for me
(click to expand any photo)

The steep, high overhang on many of the surfaces at Climber’s Rock is intimidating, and makes for burly climbing. My final score was 2036. I hit #s 40, 36, 34, 32, 29 and 28.

40: a crimpy traverse leftwards. Notice my high problem is straight vertical...
(finish hold cut off top left; was a big bucket)

I had a strong start and sent 32, 36 and 40 fairly quickly, but then I got bogged down working 45 and 42. I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to get 45. I felt like it was within my capabilities if I could just stick everything... but alas, it was not to be.

36 - careful but not onerous

This drained off a large chunk of my energy, and I had to settle for 29 and 28. Even then I struggled on 29, and had to work it a few times.

29, a muscular yet balancy problem

Glancing at the scores, I’m encouraged, but I still have significant scope for improvement. I’m one ‘high’ problem away from where I wanted to be -- if I’d landed 45, that would have been 170 additional points. It would mark a significant step for me to get two problems in the 40s.

I snuck 34 in near the beginning -- it looked easy but the overhang made it more pernicious than I thought

I need to climb more overhangs -- and get mentally comfortable with it. I tend to climb flat vertical stuff, and I could tell that I wasn’t as efficient or controlled as I should have been on the angles. It’s definitely a weakness of mine.

The Madness of Crowds
It was pretty crowded at times; I guess I am just going to have to get used to that in Open. They scheduled the Rec and Experienced session to partially overlap with Open (instead of during the morning session with Youth), so when everybody was on the mats at the same time, it wasn’t ideal. I don’t like waiting in lines... it throws off my rhythm. There’s pressure to send, because if you don’t you have to go back to the end of the line...

I’m speculating here, but they probably did this so they could have judges for Youth.

On the other hand, it’s neat when you think about having so many great climbers assembled together in one spot. These events really are a kind of community gathering, a shared experience of fun...

Thanks and kudos
Thanks go to Climber’s Rock, the sponsors and the organizers for a solid event. And kudos to the t-shirt designer; I love the chicken!

Congratulations again to Iyma on her fantastic victory (yay Iyma), as well as Dave Voltan who edged out what seemed like a deep field in the Men’s Open.

Next up -- a quick trip to Montreal... Have to train well.

See also...
More photos of assorted problems from the comp
Read my series of Tour de Bloc comp recaps
• A great photo set from Aidas Odonelis
• Aaron Eden’s perspective on the comp as the chief routesetter
• Dustin Curtis’ uninhibited take, again from a routesetter’s view
Miguel Jette’s photos and discussion of the comp
• Paul Serianni’s footage from the finals
• Jesse Nobredega’s personal account of competing in youth

Dustin and Aaron’s versions are fascinating because they give ‘the other side’ of the comp.

Fantastic bonus treat 
Janek Armstrong doing problem 23 Matrix-style. A must-watch for the sheer joy of movement. [link]