Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Alright so long time....the GRR TDB

I know!!! I'm so lame. It's been quiet and I know, I'm sorry, I've neglected my blog but I have a good excuse. Well, not really but its at least a small reason for my lack of updates. I got injured at the first Tour De Bloc this season at Joe Rockhead's (a recap of that will come, I promise and this time it won't take me weeks to do it) however all is well, I have been between mad setting comps!!! HAHA! Oh finger, I know you hurt from over training (to be realistic I have not taken a very solid chunk of time off) and one angry and very misunderstood pocket but now you've just made it possible to set all the comps I long as I have a forerunner. Which is where I'm going to start the recap of all the things I've been up to. This will not happen in one post, so hopefully, nothing interesting happens from now until, January 14th.
"What's happening January 14th Dustin?"
"Wait and see kids, wait and see."
Anyways. I just got back from setting the 1st EVER, Tour De Bloc at the brand new gym in Kitchener, Ontario; Grand River Rocks.

So I rolled into the gym Tuesday morning before the comp (the 24th of November,) after making a "sort of" battle plan of where the week was going to go and meeting two of the four owners of GRR and the guys that would be my main support in this endeavor, Josh and Mike. Now I never actually snagged a pic of either one of them although somewhere in all the videos, there will be a rendering of both of them, I can almost garuntee. Anyway, these guys are crazy. Although setting a comp is always a fight and a long week of simply suffering as you slam your head against the wall hoping that another idea comes into your brain, this was definitely one of the more enjoyable comps to set and not just because Josh and Mike's help, Jody Miall himself came down from Ottawa to help me out. Now as Chief Route Setter, I did all the things I was supposed to; slamming out finals blocs, making sure the guys were on task and creating the distribution we need for the comp and all, but it was awesome to have Jody there to take up the slack when things got messy which, as with every comp, we always get a little behind or some small flaw comes up right? Well, the flaws were mostly mine this time. My injured finger had a little to say about forerunning, as in: "no way dude. Not even #1." So, most of the time I was trusting Josh and his abilities to decipher sequences, and arbitrarily put everything in an order and make some sense o all these blocs. Honestly, it wasn't as bad as I'm making it to sound out, this comp ran ridiculously smooth. By Thursday we had all the finals up, forerun, ticked, photoed and boxed away. These guys were troopers.
This is what happens when you're up till 3 am celebrating your success of surviving the week. Me and Michelle "Ready" to fix any technicals in the Youth and Rec rounds. And yes, those ratchets are special to me....
phto cred: John Gross
So, let me tell you about qualifiers. I decided on 50 blocs, I didn't want to go too crazy in qualifiers and I wanted a more "quick and dirty" qualis to warm everyone up for Finals. We had a bunch of blocs that were tiny hand (youth) friendly, which is always super important to me. There was a good seperation, no ties going into finals I think, I'll have to look over it but again, pretty sure, although as I'm typing this I'm getting a fague recollection of a count back but again, I'll look over things. Anyways, quick and dirty, I think my boy Eric Sethna, who is also living with Michelle and I (and honestly, that's a shit show,) was down in maybe an hour and half? I think? Regardless, everything in qualifiers seemed to go down perfectly, therre were awesome blocs all around from Jody, myself, Josh and Mike. I actually want to make special mention here. Every comp there is the one bloc that is the "bloc of the comp" kind of thing. You know that bloc that there is a line up for in each round? It's not the hardest bloc, but in retrospect, the best of the comp. That is the "bloc of the comp"
I'd like to start a tradition on my blog, giving out the BLOC OF THE COMP award. I know this is completely arbitrary and keep in mind, is not meant to offend anyone, as I said in my first posts, these are merely the ramblings of a crazed rock climbing, route setter. So without further a due, your award for the 1st ever TDB at Grand River Rocks...drum roll please...Bloc # 27, the qualifying round, set by Mike. I asked him for something kid friendly and balancy and he delivered with a beautiful bloc involving an awesome mantle to a no-handed finish. The regret of qualifiers, I would like to point out that regret is such a harsh word, I'm closer to going with "if I could go back and renumber a bloc I would." It happens to the best of us and I am no exception. I numbered bloc #42 way to high and I shouldn't have. It was too easy for where it sat in the line up but I was tired and it was the last day, these are not excuses but I share these errors so that you all know that I try so hard to learn from them. Also, second regret is that in the placards process which, is the when we number the blocs from #1 to #50 and then hang the identifier for that bloc, we accidentally hung one bloc twice and thought we had 51 blocs...ugh!

Tim Ng, True North Climbing Inc., working it out on Men's #1
Photo Cred to Tom Ngo
Finals! Finals was all me and Jody and I just want to say I've set a bunch of comps with Jody and finals #1, for both men and women was one of the best blocs I think I've ever had a hand in setting. Jody and I discussed a bunch of options for this but both of us agreed that for our "vision" we wanted something a little different, something with some World Cup influence, but still something that would be sent, a bunch. The bloc was mostly the same for men and women, an extra sloper added in before zone for the women, and the finishing jug was a bolt hole closer. The video up above shows Tim on Men's Final #1 with the intended balancy stand up beta and then fall into the sloper. Jody and I worked hard to get this bloc just right and it turned out but we both wanted many more competitors up this bloc...
Erin Ford, Rockhead's Team, getting the figure 4 on Women's #2
Women's #2 was meant to be the business. I wanted something a little dynamic, a more powerful bloc. I spent all summer competing at and watching all the world cup reports and what I really wanted from this bloc was a low percentage move to a campus match. I didn't get all of that but I did get the dyno, but the campus match didn't happen. I tried to use a friction dual text incut from their new comp series line however it didn't I under estimated the women's field of the TDB (yet again) and they managed to get an awesome smear off of the dual text section of the undercling. Way to go ladies! 
Kuge Rikuya on the dyno of Men's #2 

Men's #2 was something I wanted to be just a intricate as #1. I had set my heart on a toe-hook dyno and a bunch of the men "sort of" almost, read it. In the end, it went down as a backstep throw, however, I'd like to work more on this idea for the future. Ok, so, the dyno didn't turn out but all the men still made this dyno look sick, but after the dyno, you had a knee bar, a bad side pull sloper, a slap to an evil feature sloper called the SPORE by Element Climbing to a very desperate throw to a jug. Very low percentage and a super separator, only a couple of men got it. 

The video above is True North Team member Sui En Neo fighting out the first crux of Women's #3. This bloc was designed by Jody Miall and what we wanted, what we envisioned for this was, a hard pumpy, good holds, big moves bloc that if you had the endurance, the get go, the gusta, you could rock it. I admit we over estimated the bloc a little however still a rockin bloc. Here's another video of Erin Ford crushing it.
Men's #3...what can I say. I'll admit, in full, my original version was slightly ridiculous. It was much harder. The ledge over the lip was actually a scoop sloper and was honestly, terrible. What I had envisioned for this bloc was straight up, no fooling, pullin. I wanted a straight up, power endurance bloc. There's nothing else to say about this bloc other than it included the brand new Yves Gravelle, from Friction Climbing and the ever rreliant and beautiful Climb It Patina series crimps. The video below is of my boy Eric Sethna, Petzl athlete and....yes...I hate to admit it but...yes...a 5.10 athlete...anyways...he killed it on #3, actually only one to make it up #3. 

Alright so #4. I'm almost positive that no women sent #4, I'll admit, we switched the undercling last minute and I shouldn't have. However, Women's #4 involved a big drive by to a small incut (Friction Climbing) then a  bad bump off of a bad sloper from Element to another bad Element pinch which lead to the harsh match of this pinch with a good foot. So here' s how it went: I envisioned at least one women up this bloc. Again I made a mistake. Still the women pulled hard I just over estimated how not tired they would be. I over compensated. Ugh!!! Still the women killed it. Erin Ford, for only climbing once a week, you're insane!
Alright so the photo is sideways! I can't figure this out, there must be some unknowable tech to fixing this, however, this is Max Dugal, Evolv Athlete, killing it on men's #4.

Men's #4 was quick and dirty, I meant it to be. I wanted something short, sweet and something a little deliberate. 3 moves, one to the 2nd hold, one to the thrid (which was doable with the heel hook, static, and the throw,) and then the top. Second move was to a sloper and third was to a low percentage edge, then the top. To be honest I had envisioned more men up this bloc.
In final, I know this has been a heavy media blog, I'd like to say more is on the way. I have about 3 posts that have been half saved due to the fact that I've simply been busy. Look for more. Stay psyched and climb happy.

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