Lots of comps with lots going on! All the results are in, except for the Smuggs comp which should be in soon.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
The NCBS wrapped up after 3 events. This comp crowned its own winners, plus the overall winners of the series were determined.
Friday, January 24, 2014
This comp, and all the related activities of the weekend, looked like such a blast. I am so bummed that I wasn’t able to stop by and catch part of it. Maybe next year?
Saturday, January 25, 2014
Volume 7 had over 200 competitors at Grand River Rocks! The series wraps up with Finals on March 1.
Overall, this installment of TdB was amazing! This is my first Tour de Bloc season, but it seems to me that they have been tweaking along the way to try and find the best way to run the comps. I love that there is evaluation after each event and that there is an effort to learn and improve. Problems and mistakes are to be expected in the execution of a major event, but at many comps I go to there does not seem to be any intention to change or avoid those problems in the future.
One of the things that keeps getting tweaked is the the issue of peer-judging vs official judging in the redpoint round. They have tried all peer-judging, all official judging and various combinations of the two. At this comp, Problems 1 – 34 were peer-judged and Problems 35 and up had official judges. I am quite used to officially judged redpoint comps, as they are fairly common in the US at bigger comps. I tend to prefer them, since everyone gets their fair turn and there are less issues with climbers getting on a problem that overlaps or crosses through yours, etc This system only works well if the sections have been well-thought out ahead of time and put in place before setting begins, if each judge has a manageable number of climbs in their section, and if the judges are well-educated on expectations of their role, among other considerations. At this comp, the problems were spread out over a large area in the gym, so climbers were not bunched up as much and the lines were not as long. Several judges only had 2 climbs in their section, which is a low number compared to other comps, but there were still times when climbers were wishing that another judge could come into the section, so each problem could have their own. There is a balance to be met on providing the best possible experience for the competitors with a fair venue to perform at their full potential and catering to our every whim. It needs to be kept in mind that resources and volunteers are limited. It is to be expected that we may have to wait for our turn on the wall. TdB seems to be getting closer to achieving this balance. A particularly tall order considering that the final number of competitors is not known until the comp starts!
Some other things that worked well: I love that the dyno problems were set in an area that allowed them to be worked on without having to clear people out every time someone went for it. In the same spirit, I liked that there were not too many problems in each balancey/slabby area. I love these kinds of problems and want there to be lots of them at comps, but you can’t have them all in the same area. Each attempt on these problems takes longer than on other styles of problems, thus putting them all together really slows down that section. I realize, of course, that both the previous things I mentioned are often determined/limited by the geography of the walls at a particular gym. I love that there was a section of wall left open and available for warm up. I saw it get much use before the Open session.
Some things that did not work as well: I think there should have been a sign directing climbers to the problems that were in the cave in the back room across from the lead wall. It was very easy to forget/not know that there were problems back there. I also had trouble finding this gym. I might be the only one, in which case it just me:/, but some simple fixes would have helped. The address of the gym was listed as Montreal, but for the purposes of GPS needed to be entered as LaSalle. Not something an out-of-towner would know. (Thanks to a very friendly Shell worker for helping me out on this one!) Also, the street number did not match up nor was there a sign for the gym, at least that I saw. I portable TdB sign/flag outside of the venue would have been very helpful.
On a personal note, this was my first visit to Montreal! Unfortunately, I did not have time to see any sights (see above paragraph about finding gym), but I can’t wait to come back and check it out. This was also my first time qualifying for finals at a TdB. So psyched! I did not get any tops in finals and finished seventh overall, but, to paraphrase any Oscar nominee ever, it was an honor just to qualify! These are some of the strongest climbers in Canada who have an impressive list of comp accomplishments. The finals problems were a lot of fun. I particularly liked Problems 1 & 2. Very unique and visually appealing setting with liberal use of volumes.
Next up is Dark Horse Championships! I ran into a group of Boston climbers that came up to Montreal for TdB which was fun. Maybe we’ll see a group of Canadian climbers come down for DH?