On February 23, we hosted the first stage of the Cupa Romaniei la Bouldering at our gym. This competition brought young climbers from all over the country to the Jiu Valley.
Preparing for a competition is quite a lot of work. We closed the gym for almost the entire week before the competition so we could finish all of the projects that needed to be done. We installed, painted, and set all the holds on our new Moon Board--a training board that we are so excited about having in our gym now. We took out the old flooring and replaced it with a new, nicer carpet. We took all of the holds off the wall and out of storage and power washed nearly every one. We also cleaned every inch of the gym and organized our library, our holds, and our equipment. By the end of the week, it was like we had a different gym.
Our friend and professional climber Neghi came from Bucharest to set all of the routes for the competition. He is very gifted at setting, and by the time of the competition we had a wall full of gorgeous routes.
The competition spanned all day as the different age categories climbed at their specific times, begin with the smallest children and working up to the teenagers. Several friends from Lupeni came to volunteer with us, and their help was absolutely essential to our day running smoothly. They were stationed at every route as judges, they worked registration, and they helped us log all of the scores as the cards began coming in. They also helped prepare the certificates and diplomas that we had for every participant. It was amazing to see so many people from our community coming to work with us for this event. The support we felt was unbelievable.
A nice part of this competition was the fact that all of our kids were allowed to participate. Normally when we go to competitions, we can only take the kids who are on our competitive team. For this competition at our gym however, we really wanted all of our climbers to have the experience of competing. They were all very excited, and we had a lot of fun watching them.
At the end of the day, we had a finals for the top six older climbers. It was very exciting to watch as, one at a time, each climber tried their best to complete the three finals routes. Three of our teens, all brothers, were in the finals, along with three climbers from other gyms. The atmosphere was so fun and energetic. David, one of our top climbers, ended up getting first place. Our gym went crazy in support for him.
After the competition, we heard so many nice things from the people who attended. Lots of them spoke about the amount of joy they see within our walls, how we have a certain "vibe" that they can't find at any other gym. We agree that we have a special community here, and we are so grateful for it.