April 14th-April 15th was the 9th TDB Canadian Nationals. It has been my 6th Nationals and Approximately my 85th comp since I began competing at the end of 2004.
This one was a special one for me. Last minute decision, the Nationals that were supposed to be held in Alberta are cancelled due to delays in the opening of the new facility. Few days later, a rumour runs that the Tour de Bloc director is trying to reach my gym manager. Everyone kind of get excited… even if nothing is official: routesetters, climbers and people involved in my home gym is starting to dream. A week later… the news is spreading…. TDB Nationals will be at Vertical in Montreal, the gym I’ve been training and climbing at since my beginning! It might be an advantage you’d say, and I agree. You know every angle, must of the holds, you’re use to the atmosphere and the music and must of the people you know are there to support you. Right, but it’s also a big part of the pressure you put on yourself because you want to do great even harder.
I was feeling pretty good while warming up in isolation. I trained all winter in preparation for this weekend and you always hope that no external factor will affect your performance. I was one of the last going out after around 5 hours of waiting. We had five blocs to climb on in qualifiers in the usual 5 minutes on 5 minutes off format. I went out on the first boulder that I tough was trickier than usual for a first one. I knew it was easy to slip of the first moves. I looked at my problem carefully trying to figure out a way that would have been more secure. I tried and manage to get to the top of it with a little feeling of nervousness that disappeared afterward. I flashed the second, fell once on the blind dyno of three that I got 2nd go and flashed the two remaining problems. The fourth problem was a body tension move to reach a bunch of volumes and only the top three sent. I had climbed pretty well and finished my qualification with 5 tops in 6 tries in 3rd place after Alex Johnson and Sean Mccoll. I’m pretty glad my friend Marc-Antoine made it to his first big comp final as well as my coach and friend Melissa Lacasse on the women side with a strong first. For the rest of the day we went to the park with the little Cedar, we had a picnic, played sandman like crazy and finished the day watching a movie.
The day after was the scramble format comp and I went there in the morning to cheer up my girlfriend and my friends that were competing. The Finals were later in the afternoon. We all warmed up again and we were going out by pair, men and women were climbing simultaneously. When I got out of iso I sat on my chair and discovered an impressive crowd people getting the climbers psyche to get up the wall. It always help a lot to push yourself when hear the crowd. We had again five blocs to do. I flashed number one with the usual first problem nervousness and I was soon feeling good and confident. The second one was a nice looking slab with only triangular volumes on and it was all about positioning and technique. I fell four times before sending maybe a minute before the end of my 5 minutes. Problem three was a prow that I heel hooked all the way to the last move that was a cross over throw to a sloper. I fell twice and waited… I knew I could do it and wanted to be fresh for my last attempt. I went for my last go when one minute remained and gave it all on the last move that I managed to stick! I was pretty happy with this send but I saw that Alex aslo sent the second in only few tries and I knew he had fall on ly one or twice on the third. I had two flashed the two remaining boulders as I saw sean flashing the first ones. Problem four was very straight forward, I flashed it and I knew it would not be problem for the next guys. I had no choice on the last bloc. There was some moves at the bottom leading to a dyno on pinches in the middle of the 45 degree wall. Dynos are not really one of my strength and it’s usually where I fall… but I wanted it really bad and stoke it! I flashed the last one!! I was super psyched with my climbing in finals and had just to watch Alex and Sean finish their comp. they both flashed the two last ones. I’m super stoke that I had such a good comp in my home gym. I finished 3rd (2nd Canadian) with Alex in 2nd and Sean in 1st with all flash. For the women Elise Sethna took the win followed by Iyma Lamarche and Mathilde Becerra from France, Mélissa finished in 4th.
When waiting for the results to be announced, Sean told me that I would probably win the cup this year with the points that I got over the season, I couldn’t believe it! They called it after the giving the medals, I was the overall Canadian bouldering champion for this year and I received the cup as Elise did also for the first time! It was a great moment! I finished the day with some champagne and beer in the cup with the other climbers, my family and friends that I would all like to thanks.
Tour de Bloc season 9 was a good one, thanks to Luigi and his team to make it happen. The Tour concludes with a super great event that flowed very well! Cheers to all the routesetters and volunteers that are a huge part of it success!
Can’t wait for season10 !!!