Forerunning for the SBSX

Last Friday, I was fortunate to join a hard working group of people at the Spot to assist in forerunning and ordering routes for this past weekend's Spot Bouldering Series X Parkour Jam.  I love climbing at The Spot (and certainly need to go more often) because of the vastly differing styles of setting in comparison to the Boulder Rock Club.  Problems tend to be more dynamic and "comp-style"(obviously it was a competition), featuring run starts, jump starts, dynos and brute style hard moves on pinches and slopers.

Now, what are the goals of forerunning for a competition?  First off, for first timers to routesetting, forerunning is the process of climbing recently set routes and problems in order to double check that everything works: all the moves are reachable, comfortable, and consistent to the intended grade.  If done correctly, everything should, as we tend to say, "flow".  But forerunning for a competition is a little more demanding.  In competition setting, with an audience of all ages, fairness is key and setters must take height and reach into consideration more than ever.  For me, this is my favorite aspect about forerunning; being smaller at 5'2", I tend to be useful in determining fair reaches for the youth competitors.

Being that this was one of the first bouldering competitions that I had helped with in quite some time, I was concerned with my all around strength and power endurance.  Forerunning for competitions much be efficient, and if you are not strong enough to send or determine what needs to be changed to make things flow, or just being tired, you're just wasting time.  This was my opportunity to put my recent training with PMA to the test and I've got to admit, I noticed and so did others.  And I had a lot of freaking fun.

This was also the first time that I had forerun a competition to which I didn't set.  Typically, you're always checking out what your fellow setters are concocting so you know and are psyched to climb these new creations before they're even finished.  Coming into this blind, so to speak, was definitely a new experience and I was intimidated at first to suggest tweaks, fearing that my input would be frowned upon or sound stupid.  Lily Cornett, one of my favorite Spot setters, after back tracking on a suggestion told me to speak up.  She was right, I was invited because I know what I'm doing... I needed to put on my big girl pants and stand behind my words.  Since when was my opinionated mouth hesitant to open wide?  Another routesetting life lesson reaffirmed.

Other than making those perfect tweaks, boulder problems had to be ordered 1 to 10 in their respective categories of Youth, Recreational, Intermediate, Advanced and Open in increasing difficulty in order to given point values.  The harder the problem, the more points earned.  This means for each problem, you have to ask yourself, is #4 easier than #5?  Or are more people going to that one or this one?  Which problem deserves more points?  But I felt pretty accomplished, what I had written down seemed to be correct.

Affirmation.  You know what you are doing.

All in all, I definitely had some favorites.  Jackie's I #
Photo by Jen Herling
10, which ended up being one of Team BRC's favorite as well, made me feel like I could actually jump, a mini World Cup problem accessible to kids smaller than me with a face out finish.  That same feeling of accomplishment that Coxsey or Hojer might feel at Munich or Vail bubbled inside these growing competitors!  I don't think some routesetters realize how important it is for youth competitors, especially the Cs and Ds, to feel awesome and to do moves that they don't normally see...  I also enjoyed A #8, which I believe was set by Jake Novotny, and is my new project.  Just pure brute strength and feet cutting goodness...with an Egrips Myorcan Double Tufa pinch... one of the best holds ever made.

So if you can get to the Spot, go get on some of these awesome climbs.  Regardless of the competition stresses, this was one of my favorite Spot climbing days and I can't wait to get on them again.

Thanks again guys for letting me help out and for some pretty awesome donuts!

Check out pictures and videos from the SBSX and for upcoming competition dates at The Spot Facebook Page and on The Spot Route Setting Blog! Share on Tumblr

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