Sunday, 4 March 2012

Return to Grand River Rocks....

What up all?! I know long time right? I do have a good excuse and it is a good setting comps. Yes, every other weekend for the last 6 weeks I've been setting a comp on one side of the country or another, but more of that later, another post for another time. So lets talk about the youth comp at GRR.
This was my return to GRR after what seemed to me a successful TDB and I was psyched to get back in to this gym and show what I could do setting for youth on a rope. In true form, and I know I didn't spray enough about it in the tour posting but, the GRR guys had closed off their ENTIRE lead wall when I rolled in on the Tuesday before. To my shock and surprise (and I'll fully admit excitement) the guys had just got in, let me say this for all of you, 1 METRIC TON, yes you read that correctly, of Climb It Holds. Have any of you ever seen 1 metric ton of Climb It Holds. It looks absolutely ridiculous! Amazing! Without a doubt, I was psyched within the first 30 min. I knew this was going to go smoothly on the setting side of things.
Justine (Youth Category C) on my green  Climb It Route
You would think with the gym being prepped so early and an arsenal of amazing holds any Route Setter could throw out the best comp ever, but this is just the start of things ladies and gentleman. Like all comps, wrenches get thrown into the mix, or broken as it would happen. On the first day of setting, my drill, a Bosche impactor that has been with me for three years and we've sweat, blood suffered and lost comps and commercial setting together, finally kicked the proverbial bucket.
This was a huge hit for me as a setter and if anyone out there reading this understands, this to me, was like loosing something. It was a huge hit. I won't be melodramatic and tell you it was like loosing my best friend or something, but I did feel it. I had lost something that had been with me through thick and thin, had set multiple memorable finals blocs with me and had been the instrument of my orchestration for a very long time. Commercially and in Comp setting that drill had seen me through a ton of good times and more than likely more bad times. So when it turned that final bolt (the only saving grace may have been that it was a 4XL Climb It hold) I felt a little sorrow for its fate. Also since it happened on the first day of setting, I got a little feeling in the back of my mind that this would not be the only thing that went wrong this comp.
Josh putting final ticks on holds
Setting Route comps, I've found and I could be wrong, move at a different pace then any Tour De Bloc. You start and you throw up routes, you keep dogging it through just like any other comp setting but the pace is slower and far more annoying. For example, when you're just about finished setting 36 feet of overhanging terrain, you've had a bucket full of holds strapped to your butt for the last 30 minutes and just as you look up to see the last 4 feet of wall, and you know exactly where you're going to put that finishing jug, you look into your bucket and find that all you have left is foot holds. Or you've forgotten the finishing jug, that one happens too. Ugh the worst. So what do you do? Every other setter is up on a rope, so there's no one on the ground to help you out of this mess. What do you do? You start thinking "could just be a dyno finish right?" or "the moves below this were really close together, I bet I could spread them out and just lower the finishing jug." And as this internal battle continues you are still sitting in that harness. That harness, although you bought the biggest and fattest strapped harness that when you sat in it in the store the words "like a lazy boy" were admitted from you, is now starting to make your legs uncomfortably numb yet still managing to dig into other sections of your body. Finally, the work ethic side of you finally takes over, you grumble and curse yourself, swearing that you're never going to leave the ground again without extra holds, a finishing jug and your drill, and you lower off to grab the holds and when you find them, bolt them and get yourself all clipped in and ready to ascend, you look up to the top of the rope and realize that you left your ascender at the top of the wall. Idiot! So you let out some form of explicit words, and a sigh of exhaustion and put your big boy pants on and start one arming. By the time you get to the top, you're biceps are both pumped beyond belief, you're tired and sweating but there is good news, you're legs are not numb anymore. So you throw up those last couple of holds, put up your finishing jug and you go to put your tape box up and you search everywhere in your bucket for it, you know you put it in there, you made sure. So where is it? And that, that is the moment you catch a glimpse of a roll of tape, lying there on the floor. More explicit words ensue and then you start calling to whoever could be on the ground to please tie that stupid roll of tape to the bottom of your rope so you can tape a box up and get off of this stupid route, you didn't like this route anyways right? 
Now none of the above happened during the setting for this comp, however it has happened and I've been incredibly unhappy when it does go that way. The point of the above story was though, that all of that process maybe happened over the course of 20 min, and that route may have already taken you an hour and a half. So including picking your holds, bolting them and all of the whole process including that huge colossal mess at the top, that route probably took somewhere in the time frame of 2 hrs, maybe 2 and a quarter. Lot more of a process than setting a couple of blocs. 
Iyma Lamarche (Youth Category A) killin the middle section of what I think was the third hardest route 
So I'll break down the format for you, because this was not a regional style event where you have 2 qualifying routes, 1 semi final and 1final route. No. This was more like a scramble format route comp. Attempts were used to break ties but competitors were not docked points for additional attempts. 
Now I will admit, we did set a little on the stiffer side, but what are you going to do. I know for the next youth comp I set, how hard to go, but this was the first youth roped comp in this area so we, the setters, really had no idea of how well the field would perform since all  the kids had just been training for bouldering and doing just bouldering comps. 
So we started out as we always do, off like a herd of turtles but somewhere at around Wed. morning at 3 am I found my groove and started throwing up routes as if someone was offering to make me a cake for every route I put up, and I do love my cake. HA! Honestly though, I think this was the most routes, not blocs, that I have ever put up for a comp. I think final count was 17 out of the 25 and one of them was the lead test route I know I know, don't even think of mentioning that to me Josh.
Ok, so I hit my groove, the other guys did as well and oddly enough, the comp was set on Thursday afternoon. I know eh? One day early! So what do you do with an extra day of work, fore run the poop out of the comp. 
Naturally, I knew fore running on my finger would be disastrous, and since he is in school there, I brought out my boy Eric Sethna to fore run everything. And to be honest, he is a much better route climber than I, he's not injured and since he did just age out of youth, he had valuable insight into the field, that I fully abused and used, so part of the comp being to hard was his fault too (sorry bruva, had to, haha.)

Day of the comp, Eric and I doing what we do best, watching,  learning , critiquing. You will note that both our eyes are open so we are not sleeping, although tired we were. 

 All in all the comp turned out pretty well. Another comp down and from that comp on I had another 6 or 7 to go assuming that I get slotted for Tour De Bloc Nationals and Youth Nationals, both of which I have said I want to be a part of and am hoping to get. Alright that's it for this post, really quick though is that all the photos that were taken for this post were given to me by Aaron Schwab, go check out his site, dudes got mad skills. Click here to visit his site. Alright kids, stay tuned, I have 2 other comps to post about and this week I'll be setting the Tour De Bloc at my own gym so I'm going to try and get those two posts up before this weekend so that I don't have to hammer my blog with three posts after the comp. Alright that's it for me, stay psyched and thanks for reading all!

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