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Alex Fritz climbs in Tour de Bloc

March 24, 2010 -  Five Ten    

"Living in the PNW has a lot of perks, one of them being the fact that you live so close to beautiful British Colombia; home of some world class outdoor climbing, and also world class climbers. This past weekend I got my first chance at competing against some of Canada’s best at the 2010 Tour de Bloc competition at The Edge in Vancouver, BC. Sean McColl didn’t compete because he set, but plenty of other locals like Jamie Chong, Kin Lai, and Five Ten® Athlete Ryan Olson were the major competition.

Ryan Olson in the new Team 5.10® shoe

I’ve done enough Canadian competitions to know what the setting is like, and it’s definitely a lot different than what I see down in the US. I climbed pretty well in qualifiers, finishing all the top routes but the hardest two. Jamie Chong was the only one that finished the Top 6, and only 2 others besides him finished the 2nd hardest route. I ended up tying for 4th place in qualifiers with 2 others, and they took 8 men to finals. I was super psyched to have done so well considering who I was up against. Going into finals made me feel a lot more nervous than necessary, but Jamie and Ryan and Kin are all super nice guys and it made me feel a lot more comfortable with them being generous enough to talk to a young kid like me. Unfortunately, to make matters worse, I spent 15 minutes in the On-Deck chair because of two technicals causing problems in the running order and backing it up. Finally getting out to climb, I looked up to Problem 1 thinking….dang. I stuck the zone hold on my first attempt, but had trouble with a big finish move off of bad holds. I took another go and fell one more time. With less than a minute left, I hopped back on for one final attempt, sending it with only a few second left.

Topping Problem 1 gave me a confidence boost, even with 2 falls before I finally did it. Problem 2 was a lot harder and I’m not sure what I did wrong, but I had a lot more trouble on it than I should have. I at least stuck the zone hold, but it took more than a few attempts to do so. Overall, I got about as far as everyone else did on it, minus Jamie to fell going to the finish and Erik (from Norway!) who flashed it. Problem 3 was another stupid mistake on my part, giving a good three attempts or so before sticking the second hold. I kept grabbing the wrong part of the hold before realizing what I was doing wrong. I didn’t get the zone hold on this problem, slipping off maybe a second too early. Kind of disappointing to me that I didn’t get higher on the 2nd or 3rd problems, but I felt about as good as I should have given who set them and how hard they were.

Funny enough, I tied for 4th place again, this time with 2 different people. Personally, I’m pretty psyched with how well I did against the competition field. It showed me I have a lot farther to go and more training to do in order to climb as hard as Erik or Jamie, but the fact that I’m up there with them and able to do that well against them is really exciting. My team and I tried to hit up Squamish on Sunday, but we were unlucky and got rained out…bummer. I am very psyched to get up there this summer and start ticking off problems!"

-Alex Fritz




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