I just back from the Tour De Bloc regionals in Calgary. The competition was held at the Climbing Climbing Centre and it was a one day event. There was an on going blog as well as a live stream for finals.
During qualifyers, something really strange happened. Since Calgary is a very very dry city, there was no humidity. That mixed with most of the new holds that the gym had gotton for the competition made all of the competitors hands super sore after climbing for just a few hours. The competition was scramble format for qualifyers and zone format for finals. In the qualifyers, they took top 7 boulders. I found that after I had warmed up, done a few easier problems then done a few hard ones, the skin on my fingers was already super sore. It felt like I had already been climbing for 4+ hours. It was quite an effort to finish my last 2 problems and I did another 2 after I had 7 problems just to bump up my score. After qualifyers, I had qualified first just in front of Terry Paholek. I decided during our break time that I’d have to take some advil. My hands had swollen so much that it hurt just to wash them.
There was a big break in between qualifyers and finals, about 6 hours. While I was in isolation, I took a couple advil to make my hands swell down and numb the pain a bit. If you look on their website, they build two free floating walls for finals. They were pretty cool, they were just two free standing walls attached with ropes and wires to the ceiling.
For finals, they had 5 problems. Since I had qualified first, I was the last one out of iso. I was nervous leaving isolation but also excited. The last competition I was in was the Tour De Bloc in Kelowna just after my concussion. I wanted to get this competition in before I went to Europe to compete in World Cups. The First Boulder in finals was hard, it went up a little corner, then across a perfectly vertical wall. The last move was a dead point into a brand new circular sloper. The second problem was on the new feature. I thought it would swing around a bit more than it did but the features barely moved. It was cool transferring between 3 different free standing features and the problem was a bit easier than the first so I still flashed it.
The third problem was probably the hardest one in finals. After a few hard moves, you took a hold at the top of a feature and jumped for the final hold. The last hold wasn’t a jug but not quite a bad sloper. It was a pinch, but good enough to hold it with one hand. The move was off a little sloper on the top of a feature and you had to jump up and right to the last hold. For me, I thought I could only hit it with one hand so thats what I tried. I threw and grabbed it with one hand. As soon as I grabbed it, I thought I would fall for sure. I still tried as hard as I could and I miraculously controlled the outswing. On the first inswing, I tried to grab another hold to get my feet on but couldn’t grab anything. The second outswing was almost as hard as the first and hanging form one hand is hard for more than a second. On my second inswing, I felt my body start to turn around, so I went with it, twisted my body enough to match the final jug. From the cheer of the crowd, I was pretty sure no one had done the problem before me. Problem 4 looked nice as well, pretty straight forward sequence on what look to be pretty bad crimps. The problem went almost excatly how I had planned up till the last move. The final jug was about an inch below the top of the wall which was out. When I went to deadpoint to it, my fingers hit the top of the wall for a split second which made them unable to latch on to the final hold. I fell for the first time in finals from the top of the wall… I rested for a couple of minutes and sent the problem second try. After I had done the first 4 boulders, I knew I had won the competition. The last problem was also one of the easier ones. Simon Villenueve had put together 6 blocks. They stuck out of the wall about a foot each and were perfectly square. He put them up on the wall to make a nice sequence of moves. Although it wasn’t the hardest problems in finals, it was definately the coolests looking and it was awesome to climb on.
After finals was over, Vikki Weldon had won for the women and I had won for men. Second place went to Terry Paholek and Elise Sethna and third place went to Dan Archambault and Megan Cesarone.
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