Monday, 1 April 2013

The Youth Comp at Rock Oasis

So, I'll open this post up with an apology, I do not have any photos from this comp. I know that you're all disappointed since my photo skills are off the hook right? No this was the beginning of my two weeks in Ontario and my camera didn't make the trip for some reason. I packed my tools and all but I was far more concerned I think with the fact that I had to borrow a harness to set this comp than whether or not my camera was going to make it to the east.

I flew out and got to the gym on Tuesday before the comp. I was very nervous about setting a roped comp, especially a youth roped comp. I hadn't set for youth for a least a year and honestly I had no idea about the field, had no idea who was climbing well, who wasn't climbing anymore. Basically I was going in super blind and it did worry me. I sat on my flight, thinking up easy ways to separate a large field with just straight up, low percentage moves. I remembered all the things I learned last year setting so many youth comps; kids are bad at slopers, younger kids are bad at underclings because they don't have those big muscle groups yet, same goes for gastons, and dynamic moves are height dependent. All these things lead me to a very successful year of youth setting last year but this year, with my focus solely on the Tour De Bloc, I was worried about being able to do a decent job at this comp. 

I can hear one of you already reading this saying "well Dustin, then why did you take the job? You don't even own a harness anymore." I know that. What you think that when I was packing I was looking around going "I wonder where I put my harness?" I understand that but this is a gym that was very good to me when I was between True North and The Hive. They gave me a ton of work while I was saving up to get out to the west coast and while I was committed to other comps in the east, The Rock Oasis was very generous at giving me setting shifts, keeping me working and, letting me climb a bunch. So when Karen contacted me and asked if I was able to make this work in my calendar, since I was already committed to a comp the week after in that area, I was more than happy to arrange my life to make this happen. Also, at this point I should probably bring some mad big ups to my boss, Andrew Coffey and The Hive, for giving me the time to go out and set this, and the next comp, back to back. 

Anyways, the things about this comp that I would like to talk about are; 1, the crew and 2, the results.
My crew for this comp 2 people that I hadn't worked with ever, and the Head Route Setter of the Rock Oasis, Cort McElroy, who, since they did give me a ton of work last year, I really enjoy working with. The two other setters were fellow Evolv team athlete Max Dugal and Sean Milligan. Max is someone who I've known for a longtime, we've trained and climbed together for years, I've heard really great things about him as a forerunner and setter but never had the opportunity to work with him so I was more than happy to hear he was going to be part of the crew. Sean Milligan is a route setter who has worked in the GTA for years. Many, many years. I've heard he's set a bunch of comps but I've never experienced or even climbed any of his routes to be honest. He was a wild card in my head and although I never really worry about working with anyone, this was just something that was rolling around in the back of my head. Let it be clear right now, I think Sean Milligan is an incredibly talented Route Setter. He was an excellent member of the crew, he has a very technical style of setting, which was really good for me and Max cuz we're both boulderers, which really just means, we have no idea how to use our feet. I was impressed by Sean, if you live in the GTA, I think he is setting at Oasis still but he runs a company called Flowstate, you can find them on facebook, he's got some real skill, serious.

Now, if you've never been to the Rock Oasis, they have, one of the largest roofs I've ever seen. Thing is a mission to set. I will not lie, the first day we were there, Max and I stood underneath the roof and looked at each other and said "I don't want to set that." Seriously, there were two routes out this roof and I was thinking if I had to set them, that's my week probably. Enter, Cort McElroy. Dude took both routes, no issues, no complaints and ran them both up in one afternoon. An afternoon! Man's a hero. 

All in all the prep for this comp went down without a hitch mostly. There was one instance where I over slept because my phone decided not to switch over to Toronto time, but other than that we were ahead for most of the whole thing. We were finished setting routes by Thursday afternoon and got a good chunk of the forerunning done that night. All in all I was very impressed with the crew and I thought the routes turned out really, really good.

Just briefly, I'll talk about results. The results for this comp can be found here  but what I want to talk about is the Youth C (12 and 13) boys category. This is the category that a lot of the Route Setters in the east warned me about when I was looking into the field for this comp. A lot of guys told me that the top of this category was very hard to separate and hadn't been separated well this year with a bunch of three way ties that led to count backs, sometimes as far back as their warm up routes! It's one of the things that I was very worried about going into this comp but luckily, because we did so much forerunning and my crew was so talented, we got clear and concise separation. 

Alright that's it for now, stay psyched guys, I got two more posts to go before I leave for Edmonton tomorrow. Climb safe! 

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