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    Notes and advice from Sean McColl.

My World Cup season starter

The first World Cup competition of the year didn’t go exactly as planned. It feels now like I’ve tripped out of the starting gate and I’m trying to figure out how to go back in time. In reality I cannot and I’m already looking forward to the next competition which is in Innsbruck this weekend. This quote is quite appropriate in my situation. “Why do we fall Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.” -Thomas Wayne This first Bouldering World Cup for me was in Grindelwald and a combination of a fear elements left me in 21st place, one out of semi finals. The thing that bugged me the most about my performance was that I didn’t feel challenged in the round. I flashed 3 of the qualifiers, took 3 tries on the slab and couldn’t solve the 4th. In total I had 4 tops in 6 tries. It’s my fault for not being able to do the 4th problem when I should’ve been able to. The first competition for me is always a bit awkward. I’ve been training hard since January but I don’t know how it’ll shape up against the other climbers. I still went out confident and just wanted to climb well. I climbed pretty well but that 4th boulder was my kryptonite that day. On top of that there were a few climbers that managed to do all 5 and just pushed me out. They had a better round than me and I know that on a good day I do all 5 boulders flash. I hope my next post after Innsbruck will be longer and filled with a more positive vibe. My 21st place is also a good reminder to myself that even I can fail. I will try to learn from my mistakes so they don’t happen again. I also remind myself that when I do more than 20 competitions in a season, they aren’t all going to turn out perfect. It’s unfortunate that it happened on the first big one of the season but I still won Canadian Nationals. I leave for Innsbruck this Thursday and get another weekend of World Cup Bouldering. I’ve had lots of fun the last two years here in Innsbruck and it’s great to see all my friends who live there as well. After that I’ll be heading to Sheffield for a Mammut video shooting of the first 8c+ (5.14c) route.

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Clif Bar Sponsorship

My newest sponsor needs no introduction and I know you’ve all had them, some more than others. It is the company Clif Bar and I’ve been eating these bars since I started climbing. Check out their PAGE as well. [singlepic id=661 w=400 h= float=center] As I’m constantly training 10-15 hours a week depending on the time of year, this newest sponsorship is one that I”ll use on a regular basis. Of all their products, I’d like to point out 3 that I use the most often. The first is the classic Clif Bar, comes in a variety of delicious flavours and all around good. If I’m in the need for some protein then the Clif Builder’s Bar is the way to go. Finally because I love my sugar, we have the Clif Shot Bloks. As you can see below, these are my training tools. [singlepic id=673 w=400 h= float=center] During every one of my sessions, I now eat at least one Clif Bar product and in competitions I’ll be eating them regularly. If you see me at a comp, ask me if I have any extras if you’ve never tried them and I’ll try to hook you up!

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Riom French Cup

This past weekend I went to Riom to compete in a local French Cup. It was a lead competition which is a bit strange for me during this part of the year. Mathilde needed to be on the podium to secure a birth in the World Cups this year. Yes, I’m in bouldering mode, but I knew the gym wasn’t too high (roughly 13m) which meant bouldery routes. For me, there was two ways of looking at this. The first is that it would put me in the mentality of lead climbing; I wasn’t looking forward to this part of it because during bouldering season I remind myself all the time that in bouldering you need to take risks and try hard. When I switch to route mode, I’m trying to climb efficiently and make very calculated decisions. The second way of looking at it, as I tried to, was to take this competition as a weekend to try world cup class route setting, and it’s nice to see my friends as well. Both qualifiers were good, the first was in a vertical wall so it was a bit nerve racking. Mathilde and I both topped our qualifiers and had a nice pizza dinner with her parents. Semi finals were Sunday morning and again Mathilde topped, being only 1 of two girls to do so. The other women to top was Helene Janicot who has competed on the World Cup series for the past few years. I didn’t top my semi finals route but there was a really hard move near the top. It kind of took me by surprise because it was only the semi finals and I fell. Another 3 competitors who were tied with me also fell on that move. Finals were in the afternoon and because I was tied for first I actually went out 4th last. My finals route was very nice, a world cup style contender. It had a delicate vertical section to start it off, a dyno to get into the roof, then a long rightwards leaning traverse, a small downclimb and then the last 15 moves. Overall the route went perfect for me. I don’t have any endurance right now so it feels like I slam into a wall when I get pumped. I got halfway and felt pretty good. The clips are the hardest part and there were a lot of them… I worked quickly through the whole route and got past the down climb section, I was pumped. I almost fell on a few moves through the overhang but managed to burl my way through them. I fell on the last headwall with maybe 10 moves to go. It was the best I was going to do on that route, hands down. I fell, was smiling, laughing and wondering what the other climbers could do. As it turns out, the route was bouldery enough to secure my victory. Gauthier Supper looked better than anyone else through the whole route but had a weird foot slip after finishing the downclimbing section, he would finish 3rd. Romain Desgranges would take second place after having a hard time with the traverse and not finding a good enough rest to recover. [singlepic id=671 w=600 h= float=center] On the womens side, I actually got to watch quite a few of them climb. I knew that the highpoint was the 4th to last hold with a solid and I was nervous watching Mathilde. She climbed very well up to the top and didn’t make any errors I could identify. On the last few moves, she didn’t look comfortable on the compression. She did an alternate sequence when she realized she couldn’t do one of the moves and locked off to the second to last hold. She stuck the hold but was now in an impossible position to move from. She went to re-adjust the hold and fell. The last climber Helene got through the compression bit but fell two moves later, only slapping the hold that Mathilde stuck. I knew Mathilde had won because I knew IFSC rules. There was an awkward 10 minutes when the judges didn’t want to give her control, but I really didn’t understand why. We wrote the appeal and it went through, Mathilde had won for the women! [singlepic id=672 w=600 h= float=center] It was a bit strange, Helene had done more moves and climbed better on the route, but Mathilde had stuck a hold that was worth more points, a small route setting error in the end. Brilliant of Mathilde to see the skip and unfortunate for Helene.

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