ENTRY 1 (11.29.10)

And we’re off! So this year I decided I’m going to try to attend as many Bloc’s as I can, and Luigi asked me if I would be interested in writing about my experiences as a rock climber in this year’s Tour De Bloc #8. Being from Edmonton  the tour is a big motivator in the winter months. Unless you’re planning on taking a looooong drive down south, climbing in Edmonton is a plastic adventure. So the Tour de Bloc sort of fills the void. I guess the best way to start this blog would be to explain a little bit about the Edmonton bouldering scene. My home gym is the U of A climbing wall located on campus in the massive Butterdome building. I’ve spent the last 8 of my 13 years climbing there. It’s not the biggest gym but we have a lot of good angles for training and a great mix of people. The wall supervisor is Superstar Canadian National Champ Seth Mason! He’s mutant strong and spends his free time doing one arm pull-ups in his office. I want him to compete this year because he would probably destroy all of us. But i think that will take some convincing... hmmm, more on that topic later...

So about the tour... I just got home from an awesome tour at Altitude climbing gym in Hull, Quebec this weekend. I stayed in this really neat Hostel downtown that was Ottawa’s first real prison. It was horrible, but very cool. I’d recommend the tour but don’t stay the night. I left my coat on the airplane so after an hour and a half walk in minus three with a thin long sleeve shirt on and both hands stuffed into my sleeping bag I arrived at Altitude gym. Man what a crappy walk!! Head setter Dustin Curtis had his work cut out for him. The men’s open field was 70 people deep and really STRONG!! It was a little intimidating to say the least but it was really good to see so many friends. After a really fast warm up and some failed attempts on some of the harder problems i was on my way to a good flash pump.. doh.. I know if I continue at this pace I’ll be doomed so it’s time to slow down. I set my sights a little lower... Long story short I squeak into finals at 6th place after getting a good whooping. Meltdown...  :^)    Finals is only 2 hours away and it seems like there isn’t any time to recover. My solution is to down as much sugary sports drink and junk food that i can in the short amount of time. Surprisingly i feel great! Not recommended people...

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Name: Terry Paholek


Weight: Too embarrassing to mention

Favorite Food:Mint chocolate chip cookies

Job / Reality: Recording studio owner / operator

Turn Ons: High friction rubber... errrr...

After my quick candy binge i make my way down to isolation in what used to be the old living area in the church. It was pretty sweet to say the least! We had a big screen tv, snacks, couches to sit on, and 2 (Yes folks, that’s 2!!!) bathrooms with unrestricted access. Just so you know this is a rare occurrence in isolation! It was nice to hang out with friends in a quiet area and make food and chat for a bit before heading out to devastate them all in the competition. At least, that’s how you like to think it’s going to happen... but sometimes it just isn’t so, and other times... My time comes up and i make my way over to problem 1. Simon Forget is climbing ahead of me and allow me to point out just how stressful this is. It’s his home town, he’s psyched as all hell, and he’s strong as all hell, aaaaaand he’s had it out for me since we met in Montreal two years ago at nationals in Allez Up! What gives!!! He crushes the first problem and sits down shortly after. Yikes!! My turn comes and i spring to my feet ready to try as hard as i can. Problem one is full of long moves on good holds with an easy top section... uhm,.. uh oh. This doesn’t look good. I have a hunch that everyone will send this problem in one go. Turns out i was right. If the problems don’t stiffen up a little it’s going to come down to falls and i’ll be stuck in 6th place. So i hope that around the corner is something harder and a lot more technical. My only chance at moving up a few places is to get lucky on some more technical problems with odd low percentage cruxes. I practice a lot of on sight climbing so i figure this is my best chance to move up a spot or two.

Problem two doesn’t disappoint. Simon falls on it once but crushes it second go without trouble. I get on the problem and immediately botch the sequence (didn’t  I just say i was a good on sight climber??) I match the first two holds out of fear that i’ll slip off the cross move and stick a deadpoint to a deceiving hold with the positive edge on it in an awkward place. Sticking this move seemed to come down to luck. If you shoot deep you’ll miss because the good part of the hold is on the lip. I went deep and came up short right on the good part. Haha, success!!! That makes for 2 flashes and a leg up on my friend Simon. Further down i can hear someone having trouble with one of the later problems. It scares me but also motivates me to think that maybe there’s room to improve my position. As i think about this Simon FLASHES problem 3. DAMN IT!! This is really not helping me. Why does he have to be so strong. He should be thinking about ME and how vulnerable this makes me feel!! Stupid Simon!

My turn comes up and everyone is riveted to their seats! Actually.. Nobody really cared because their home down dude just destroyed this really sick looking problem... easily at that.. I get on and make my way to the big slopers on this steep wall. I’ve noticed that the problems in the east are much shorter than in the west. 4 moves and you’re into the crux. After establishing on the sloper mid way and barely hitting the second last hold it hits me that I am very tired! I throw for the last hold expecting to come up short and find myself swinging on a very positive jug??? A bit odd to have such a good end hold but I’m not complaining. The crowd gives me the golf clap and i’m on my way to problem 4, which I later hear Simon flash! MOTHER... This is stressful. The further i go it seems like one fall could cost me everything. I need to stay focused.

Finally, I arrive at problem four. It seems very technical at first glance and a few sequences run through my mind. It wraps around a bulge using a lot of heel hooks and bicycles and i’m worried that once i commit to something that backing out will prove difficult and surely cost me a fall. So i preview the problem for almost 2 minutes and get on. Starting on the good underclings i pull up into the bulge, reach for the next sloper and establish the first bicycle to unlock my other starting hand. I grab the underclinging sloper and squeeze the two holds in opposition and i cut my feet and look for options. After pasting a foot back onto the slopey side of one of the start holds i pop for the next high sloper hoping that it’s good enough for me to hold. Success! I feel as though i’m through the hardest part and now just have to keep it together. A very high heel hook and what feels like a one legged squat brings me at eye level with the finish hold on the roof. An awkward cross move and a bit of luck and i’ve got it! This time i get a slightly louder golf clap from the good people and I wander over to Dustin who looks slightly worried. I could tell that he thinks the problems may have been too easy. And seeing the climbers behind me this definitely seems to be the case. Yves is dispatching everything like he’s warming up on it and Seb is doing the same. But somehow through some sort of misfortune and i guess luck for me, everyone manages to fall at least once! And all on different problems!! I’m a little shocked and at the same time happy and a little disappointed. It seems that i’ve won the comp but i don’t really feel like i deserved it? I nearly slipped off of every problem but the first one and I felt as though i didn’t climb very well that day. In the end i think 5 people sent all of the problems. They were 5 really good problems but i think they should have been more difficult.

After the comp my good friend Simon Villeneuve and i went out for some burgers with Luigi and Dustin. It was a rad ending to a good Ottawa trip and I’m really happy that i made it out there for the event. Dustin set some great problems, Jody did a great job of bossing us around and being a head judge  :^)  , and the Altitude gym turned out to be a really awesome place to climb! Much love to the TDB and i’m looking forward to getting my butt handed to me out east in the very near future. I’m going to try my best to attend as many as i can so that Simon Forget has more opportunities to beat me. I hope you’re reading this you punk.. Nya nya!

If your read this far please disregarding my poor spellings and bad grammars. Thanks for reading!

-Terry Paholek.