So I'm still playing catch up, I just got back from Nationals and I will get that post out by the end of this week I promise but I really did want to cover this comp because I think that this was one of the best set comps of this year. I mean, I do believe Nationals did what it was supposed to do and was incredibly set, definitely the best set comp of the year but I would give this one a very close second, just because the finals blocs were so entertaining, they were so different from each other and I feel, very different form everything that had gone up this year.
Before I go into what I'm going to call will be a very short recap, because I am desperately trying to catch up but also, I didn't manage to get any pictures from this comp, I want to talk about how much I love coming to this gym. I know, I know, my photography skills are just off the hook and you're all so disappointed but, I will make up for it, I found a video of all the finals blocs that will be posted at the end of this so you all will get the treat of watching all the finals. Anyways, I love this gym. I love the working with the owners, I love the hold selection, the walls, everything! These guys are awesome and their gym is awesome and I highly recommend this facility to everyone in the Kitchener Waterloo area.
Anyways, right after the Oasis Youth comp I went back to Newmarket (my home town) to see my folks, have a home cooked meal (which hadn't happened since basically February) and catch up on some well needed rest and recovery. I only got one day of relax but then I headed off to Kitchener, Ontario to set the last local Tour De Bloc of Eastern Canada. I was, as I said, really psyched to be headed out to work with these guys again and after setting a route comp, I was really excited to not be hanging in a harness.
So I get there Monday, the boys, as per usual when we work together, had everything together and planned out. I may have tweaked a little of the distribution of qualifiers but other than that I came in ready to set finals and some of qualifiers and basically forerun. These guys have such good heads on their shoulders and know how to put on a comp. They never try and rush it, they stripped their entire bouldering area on the Tuesday morning so there was plenty of room, holds and since they put up tarps to block sight of the entire boulder, there was plenty of time. So like we always do, finals went up first, more on them later and then we just crushed out finals. Like always at GRR, we got so far ahead. Finals were finished by the Wed. morning, qualifiers were finished by Thursday evening and of course, reinforcements arrived that night.
I had asked my friend Francis Sherer to come out, help forerun and basically I wanted to get used to working with him again before I brought him out to help out at Western Regionals. He rolled in on Thursday night, which I had totally forgot I asked him to come out and so when he arrived, I thought to myself "might as well get more ahead." So Thursday night we foreran the top 20 blocs, cutting the forunning down to only 40 blocs, which is huge! Friday came along and the rest of the boys joined us and we just crushed through everything else and ended up, of course going home early except for me, Francis and one of the volunteers, Jamie. Here's where it got a little interesting.
Now if you're not interested in listening to me rant, skip this paragraph. All year long I've been using this program called Springpad. It's like a Pintrest app but the way we've been using it is to take pictures of all the blocs in qualifiers then you can use this app, on a tablet or smart phone, to organize those blocs into a difficulty order (ie. Bloc #1 is the easiest and #60 is the hardest.) So I've been using this all year, for every comp I've done, including the youth comp. I've never had any problems with it. In fact, at The Hive's local, with Josh, one of the owners of GRR, and he even agreed that its a better way then the way we've been doing it before. He also doesn't like technology and I fully agree but this is making our lives as setters running a scramble format round, easier. Anyways I have used this app at every comp, east or west and seriously, how is it that GRR can screw it up?!?! We had to spend 3 extra hours, the 3 of us, reordering and hanging up placards and to this day I stioll have no idea how they messed this up! Unbelievable. I will give a little credit to Jamie for taking at least 40 min while Francis and I walked around the gym counting blocs to make sure that 60 blocs actually existed. Still. Unbelievable.
Ok so comp day rolls around and the qualifying blocs did their job. On the men's side Ayo Sopeju took first and we got very excellent separation with 5 points separating 2nd place and 5th place! So cool that those places came down to simply attempts. Women's side, not as close but still clear and concise separation with Holly Reid "The Beast from the East" taking it.
On to Finals. I'm going to be quick about this because of the video but I'll highlight my favourite blocs in both finals. For the women I thought #1 was a nice intro to the rest of the finals circuit. Nothing too serious, one powerful movement in the middle catching a flat edge and controlling the swing, then leading to a difficult top out. #2 was just straight up crimping up a 35 degree wall which I thought we were being generous about since women finalists will just eat that up. #3 was my favourite of the round with a balancy section of volumes to start, that had Bonnie De Bruijn lying flat down ontop of one of the volumes, leading to a hard section on slopers to a bad top out. #4 was meant to be a small pop around a corner to a giant jug that all the women some how found a way to crimp the back of a hold despite what are female forerunners said, couldn't be done. My error, and I made a note of it for the upcoming comps and for Nationals.
Men's Finals was spectacular, I think. I loved all these blocs. I thought they were all five stars but anyway. Here we go. #1 had a really cool, frogging start on edges with a couple of tension moves leading to a kind of release one hold to swing out and kick a volume in order to oppose the hold in your other hand. So cool. Watch the video seriously. #2 was a weird outward facing stem dyno that some of the boys found a way to do inwardly facing. After the dyno we intended a figure 4, which some of the men did, to a hard top out. #3 was my favourite in the men's circuit and I think could be a challenger for bloc of the year. It was the same volumes as the women but instead of going out right to those slopers, you had the same volume undercling as the women and you simply had to balance and patiently stand up an grab a really terrible sloper on the lip to top out. So amazingly cool, only two guys got it but they were really psyched and so was the crowd. It was pretty awesome. Again, watch the video. Finally #4 was where the men just had to pull. Hard moves on bad holds with a good toe hook to release it and just control a really hard swing, moving around a corner to bad a bad sloper that you had to match, go out to a terrible crimp, and hand flip the sloper to throw again to another bad sloper. Only Ayo got up it but when he did the place went nuts and he secured his victory.
In the end Ayo took it for the men and Holly took it for the women. I was really happy with the seperation you can check it out here. The only thing I didn't like about this comp other than the Springpad screw up was that we used topout finishes for finals and the only thing I don't like about that is that you can time out while you're topping out and it can create appeals. The bigger issue is that when someone tops out, the crowd does go a little crazy but while they're screaming, the final whistle may go off, which it did in this comp to Kaska Kowalska, and she didn't end up being given a top for bloc #2. Those things I think kid of suck and I'm more inclined to say hold finishes are much better. Just my two cents.
Here's where you can find the video. Check it out. Seriously, I think these blocs are some of the best this season. Ok, I'm out for now but I'm going to get my Nationals write up done before the end of this week so stay tuned. Stay psyched guys, climb safe.