Anyway, I'll start off first and foremost with a big thanks to the organisers, especially Jonathan and Nicole, for the organisation of the event - they know why I'm thanking them for keeping the IBL going this year....
My other observation was in relation to the fact that this is the wall that I started to climb on. I now understand why I've got strong fingers - it's really not very steep so to make problems harder in my four years of university, we just made the holds smaller and further apart. No wonder I sucked so much at steep climbing :)
As always, the DCU event is ace, a compact wall, it's in Dublin so big crowds and the features on the wall always lead to as much love for them as loathing. Locals were crushing left, right and centre with their knowledge of the good and bad ones. I couldn't call myself a local, I'd forgotten where they all were but there's still that vague familiarity that comes after years away, like riding a bike.
In all, it looked like everyone was having fun, the social element was high, and the debates over the IBL grading scheme were as active as ever ;)
Still though, I had a laugh, Naomi did also, and we both walked away tired after a fun day. Interestingly, and as I see at many of the comps, the strongest person didn't win from what I personally thought (he came third as it happened) but a little bit of competition experience and age won out in the end. In the womens, even injured Hannah was crushing, and Joan was as strong as ever - Naomi and many of the girls were inspired.
It was interesting watching the standard in comparison to the Sheffield-based comps now. Basically, the problems (especially in the bigger events) are all much steeper, with only a single problem on a vertical wall, the rest all overhanging from 5 degrees to fully horizontal. I really can't recommend enough to people to come over and check out the Climbing Works international comp in March 2011 for a fun weekend a loads of inspiration. The qualifiers take place in the whole climbing works and are of all levels, no matter your grade. You can then hang around that evening for the big semifinals and finals and watch some seriously high level bouldering going on. Always a place to crash here in Sheffield........