17 March, 2013

Its Only Over For This Season

Well that's it......I am pretty sure the Blocfest team are glad its all over for now :-). On the 26th of July we dropped this poster on the blog.

Way back then we had all these crazy ideas of how we could make the Blocfest series fun for everyone. Little did we know how much hard work it was going to be. But the Blocfest without you would be nothing and with over 500 climbers over our 5 events the turnout has been amazing. You are the reason we did this. We just wanted to put on an event the way it should be done, hopefully we have raised the bar a little and others will follow and show the people out there that get paid to do this that they should be doing it better.

Without all the helpers over the series it would not have been possible. I would especially like to mention Dom from Rock On.

This man has not only sponsored every round but also set with us, reset with us and just been there to pick up a load of loose ends and just do whatever we ask of him. If you ever get a chance to go to one of his shops, DO IT. Not only to say thanks but to support small retailers and independents like him in the world of big multiples. Rock On is how climbing shops should be.

So what of the last event. Well it looks like we saved the best till last.....not sure how but somehow the finals from where i was standing blew me away. We were lucky enough to have our last event at the largest boulder wall in London and one of the largest in the UK. The Biscuit Factory certainly put the effort in to accomodate and support us. Jordan we salute you.

The event kicked off with a great turnout for the juniors yet again. In the Boys the event was a two horse race with the title up for grabs. Sam Roberts and Jim Pope battled it out to the bitter end. The two Castle Climbing team members and good friends have been neck and neck all season but in the end it was another win for Sam at The Arch to take the overall title.

Jim Pope, Cameron McLoughlin, Sam Roberts and some punter celebrate on the podium.
In the girls event Becky Whaley was totally dominant with four 1st's and a 2nd. The biscuit saw her back on form after a 2nd at TCA to win by a healthy margin and take the Junior Female title and one of these trophies.

In the afternoon in rolled the the Big boys and girls and with a strong turnout in both we were going to be in for a great comp and an interesting final. Series favourite Jon Partridge crushed the 25 bloc tour with a perfect score. Only just ahead of fellow Team GB member Ben West. Other finalists joining them was the Blocfest final regular Matt Cousins, the big man from the Czech, Ondrej Nevelik, another regular Rob Gajland, dark horse Liam Halsey and the ever bouncy and most psyched man on earth Louis Parkinson. This bumper final started the headaches rolling a little and a quick discussion ensued, did we need to tweak..............................................

 Natalie Tanzer putting in a respectable performance

Heather Ogston-West crushing the pipes.

We decided to take another two ladies into the final to balance up the numbers giving Alice Hafer and Belinda Fuller a chance to shine after all it is always Christmas at a Blocfest event. Heading up the qualifications were Czech team member Karolina Nevelikova in joint 1st place with GB team member Michaela Tracey. In third was Blocfest series leader and ex Team GB Audrey Seguy. Canadian Ariane Forbes and Tiffany Soithongsuk completed a colourful lineup.

When final time arrived the lights were dimmed, spots went on and out came the finalists.

The Womens was always gonna be a stressful affair, with joint 1st leaders we needed a split for the result. It came down to the last go on the last bloc for Carolina to sneak the win over Michaela giving us the split and one of the hottest finals I have ever witnessed. The top three girls topped all three final blocs and we got the 1,2,3 split......it felt like a dream.

Karolina Nevelikova flashing Bloc 1

 Another view of Bloc 1 this time with Audrey Seguy

Going into the mens final the top three were already split but obviously we wanted a clear result on the night rather than have to resort to count back. Bloc 1 was a steady affair with a stern finish whilst grappling with "The Guvornor".

Liam Halsey at the start of Bloc 1

Bloc 2 was what we call "Circus" a simple but committing and spectacular jump leading into a hard to mount triangle and a very hard to deadpoint pocket to finish. This is where Louis Parkinson really shook things up by flashing the bloc, an amazing effort on a hard boulder and with such ease. As for the rest of the men this was a stern test with only Jon Partridge and Ondrej maintaining their clean sheet. Meaning that we had a tie going into the 3rd and final boulder.

Rob Gajland from Boots Bananas nailing the dyno on Bloc 2

Finally onto Bloc 3. This had to be a splitter boulder. Identical running and jump starts for men and women made for an exciting and spectacular finale. Problems like this always rely on confidence and accuracy. Liam pulled out a great flash early on to secure his 2nd place on the podium. 
 Liam Halsey taking out Bloc 3 with style
Now it was down to Ondrej, a flash would get the win or at least guarantee a tie with Jon Partridge if he flashed it too. Ondrej walked through the ever so small jump (for him) and them came unstuck on the slopers and compression. After a valiant attempt he still managed to top the bloc to secure his 3rd place.

A very happy Ondrej topping Bloc 3

In the end it was all down to JP. A flash would seal it and end Blocfest 2012/13 with style........a confident Jon stepped up, running towards the wall and lift off, a fumble with his right hand meant he didnt get the hold well enough to control the swing. He was off standing on the mat with a shocked look on his face. Now was the time to show your true colours Jon, this attempt is really one with the pressure on. This time the catch was spot on, heel up, compress the ball, poor pinch and jump for glory. The setters went wild. The crowd showed their appreciation of a great final and hopefully a great series. Jon Partridge took the Blocfest 2012/13 title in fantastic style and made our day or possibly year.

There was one final title to be decided today, the vets. Nigel "Mr T" Leeming continued his domination to win the male title and a very happy Mary Ganczakowski the females both walking away with brand news pads from DMM.

Once again a massive thank you to all involved. Climbers, all 538 of you, the volunteers and everyone who helped in any way, DJ's Jamie, Jose and Paul, all the venues, Mile End, Castle, Reading, TCA and The Arch. Series Sponsors Boreal who was at every event with their test range and who provided us with loads of prizes, Holdz for the holds, Rock-on for everything, Mountain Hardwear for some great Bags, Nourish Me Now for helping us recover. The event sponsors Wild Country, Evolve, Beal, La Sportiva and DMM for £1000's of pounds worth of great kit. A big thanks to Ben Grubb for all the filming, hopefully The Arch film will be out soon and thanks also to Christina Baldwin whose photos you can see in this blog.

My last thanks goes to a great team that allowed me to come along for the ride and without whom this would never have happened. Mike, Kornelija and Al............wowzers :-)

See you all for Blocfest 2013/15