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    Notes and advice from Sean McColl.

Last World Cup of 2013

I’m almost feeling nostalgic knowing that I won’t compete in a world cup for at least 4 months. I said almost because I’m ready for a break from everything that comes with world cup climbing; good and bad. In the last event of 2013 I didn’t climb very well; it’s a bit sad to see my final place at 10th but good things come along with that specific number as well!

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This past weekend was the last world cup of the season; it was a lead event and took place in Kranj Slovenia. Earlier this year I won my first Bouldering world cup not so far away in Log-Dragomer. I was excited for the weekend having won the event in 2011. In 2012 I came to this event pretty sick and finished in 12th place. This year, I was sick in Valence so I was glad I got that out of the way.

I made the trip out there on Friday the 15th. A couple of flights from Toulouse and I was picked up by Christina Stutz and Jessica Pilz in Salzburg to finish the trip. Qualifiers for the men were the morning of the 16th; nothing out of the ordinary happened. I topped both my qualifiers along with another 13 climbers. The routes felt good, I slowed down my climbing to get used to the wall and was feeling good. One thing that I don’t like is doing the semi-finals on the same day as the qualifiers. I prefer the balance of doing 2 routes on each day over 3:1. [assuming of course I made finals :)]

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In between men’s qualifiers and semifinals were the women’s qualifiers. I chilled in my hotel, played my first LoL game with Hyunbin, Jakob, Mario and Lucas then just relaxed. A few hours later we were back in semifinals isolation.

Some people might look at my 10th place finish and start looking for excuses; honestly I have none. There are a few things that didn’t align perfectly leading up to the event but that’s pretty normal. I had a good warm up, I was having good times with my friends and I felt good starting the route.

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On the route, I didn’t climb very well. The biggest challenge I faced while climbing in this round was the inability to find a good rhythm. I also didn’t feel very comfortable going through the route. At halfway, I knew I had been climbing slowly and I tried to speed up. After making a big error in one of the cross overs I started to get pumped. I still managed to fight for 4-5 moves but fell with my hands just opening up. It’s the worst kind of pump for me. I can’t fight anymore, I can’t power myself through the moves and I just fall, slowly but surely.

As I fell, I was disappointed. I knew I hadn’t climbed very well which saddened me. I untied and waved at the crowd while smiling. Without knowing results, I knew that the chances were pretty high that this might be my last lead climb of the year. I tried to think of the whole season in that moment, not the last climb.

I didn’t even know final results for a long time after; I didn’t really want to know. I wanted to watch the rest of semi-finals and be happy for my friends who would advance into finals. After I watched everyone climb, I found out I finished 10th. Funny enough that cheered me up pretty quickly. Why you ask does that cheer me up? Some of you already know why but it’s purely so I can make the following statement!

“I finished in the top-10 in every Lead and Boulder event in 2013”

Yes, I missed finals by a few holds but still finish 10th. Whenever I don’t climb well, I can’t be unhappy if I don’t make finals. I’m the first one to say that I should’ve climbed better, not that everyone else should’ve climbed worse…

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The next morning I had absolutely nothing to do… I woke up, had some IFSC meetings in the morning and played games in the afternoon. Finals were to start at 5pm and I was pretty stoked to broadcast on the live stream. I tried to think about what I would say and what not to say as well.

I met up with Dan and the rest of the broadcasting team up in the booth 15 minutes before the observation and the next couple of hours went pretty fast. I don’t even know how long I was broadcasting for, but it was tons of fun. I’ll admit that broadcasting for the men is much easier than for the women. I can just tell when the men will fall, rest and clip and with the women… well I can’t as accurately.

Jakob Schubert won his 3rd world cup of 2013 in exciting fashion falling on the last move. Adam Ondra and Sachi Amma filled the podium falling mere moves below. On the women’s side, some of the favourites seemed to get bogged down on a difficult move at two-thirds. From what I could see, they really wanted to full crimp one of the holds that you should (imo) pinch. The problem was that the crimp was too close to the wall behind it and there wasn’t enough room to full crimp. The next option is open crimp or pinch. Mina Markovic from Slovenia who ended up finishing 3rd spent over a minute deciphering what to do before finally just committing. She fell a few moves later just running out of juice. A similar thing happened to Jain Kim from Korea who ended up finishing 4th. Momoka Oda and Akiyo Noguchi were the only two girls to climb higher. They fell on what seemed to be the same move but after a closer analysis Momoka was awarded a + thus giving her the victory.

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After the finals finished, there were a bunch of awarding ceremonies. For the overall 2013 World Cup the podiums were as follows:

Women’s Overall:

  1. Jain Kim – 625
  2. Mina Markovic – 605
  3. Momoka Oda – 491

Men’s Overall:

  1. Sachi Amma – 572
  2. Jakob Schubert – 535
  3. Ramon Julian-Puigblanque – 420

For the combined overall (lead, boulder, speed) podiums were as follows:

Women’s Combined:

  1. Mina Markovic – 648
  2. Akiyo Noguchi – 634
  3. Momoka Oda – 628

Men’s Combined:

  1. Jakob Schubert – 755
  2. Sean McColl – 651
  3. Sachi Amma – 507

Now that the lead season is over, I get to think back on how long it really was. I started training in early January getting my strength back. My first world cup of the year was in April and I’ve been going non-stop since then. Because this post is already a nice length, I’ll sign off here and write another next week reflecting on the season!

I also have one more competition of the year, the La Sportiva Legends in Stockholm.

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Valence World Cup

The most recent world cup of the 2013 season was in Valence France this past weekend. It was an interesting one to say the least. It included a crowd of 3000, it marked the last International competition the venue would hold and the night between day I and day 2 of the competition, I was up all night with food poisoning! Let’s go back a couple of days before I catch up with that last sentence. I took off from Toulouse Thursday afternoon and was in Valence 4 hours later. It was past the technical meeting but I was already registered so I got something to eat, checked my running order and chilled in my apartment. I booked an apartment so I had a water boiler and I could cook my own food if I wanted. Qualifications were Friday morning and everything went really well. It was a bit cold in the morning but getting to the competition motivated me to start warming up. Over the course of a couple of hours I had warmed up and topped both qualification routes. It was sometime in the afternoon by the time I had finished and I was starving. I went and bought some food from a small local store and went back to my apartment. [singlepic id=606 w=500 h=400 float=center] I had a sandwich made up of a traditional baguette, sliced meat in a sealed container and some camembert cheese. I went to bed around midnight but at 1am things started to get bad. I could feel it the whole night that my stomach was grumbling but I never thought I’d actually throw up. At 1am I did… I puked and felt better. I ate a couple of tums and tried to go back to sleep. It didn’t work and 20 minutes later, round 2 came full swing. I spent the next 3 or so hours puking and sitting in the bathroom feeling like I wanted to die. I managed to get back and remember checking my watch which said 4:21am. Luckily for me semi-finals isolation didn’t close until 11:30. I woke up the next morning feeling terrible. I couldn’t even think of food. I forced a protein bar down my throat before walking back to the competition. On the way, I grabbed some liquids. I needed water, sugar anything… I spent the morning basically laying around in isolation with the occasional walk outside in case I needed to throw up again. Preview was followed by more laying around in isolation until I was forced to warm up. It actually felt better climbing than I anticipated. I felt like I had no energy and I knew the semi-finals were going to be a battle. I spent the rest of the isolation time just sitting underneath the heater lamp to keep warm. [singlepic id=607 w=500 h=400 float=center] I climbed much slower than usual mostly because I was just really tired. I climbed pretty well, made a mistake in the middle but climbed within the last 5 moves of the route. I fell pumped, tired and exhausted; I wasn’t going much further on a good day. As I lowered, my stomach grumbled and I felt sick again. After untying I ran off to get some air. When I came back inside I felt miserable. I found out it was enough to make finals which made me smile but overall I still felt sad. I compete because I love being there, climbing and feeling good. When I compete and I feel so crappy like this, I just don’t want to be there anymore. I left the competition feeling sad and went to rest in my apartment. During the rest, I had a nap, ate a couple of bananas and tried to regroup. I hoped the finals would motivate me and I hoped even more that I would just have fun. The most important thing for me is having fun… During the finals isolation, all my friends inside cheered me up. For most of the hour or two I was in there, I just laughed and talked with the other finalists. I barely remember what we talked about but it was exactly what I needed, to talk listen and laugh. I also found the time to do a few boulders so I was warm for finals. The presentation and observation was also fun in front of the crowd of 3000 and I was the third climber out. Before starting my route I listened to music, I didn’t want to know where they were getting on the route, I didn’t care. I came out and knew I was only 5 minutes away from the end of the competition. I took some deep breaths and got inside my own head. The route was bouldery, hard and I took the risks I needed to take. I climbed pretty fast but consistently until I was near the last traverse of the route. I achieved my goal of where I wanted to get and I actually didn’t feel very pumped yet! The next few moves changed that completely; as I was climbing I felt like I wasn’t going to do much better. After my feet cut a bit un-expectantly, I lost a lot of juice and I knew I hadn’t clipped yet. I chose to do another 2 moves and skip the clip. I fell on a hard move out right towards a big volume sloper. Check out my video just below… As I sailed down towards the ground, I didn’t feel sick at all. It made me smile and I waved to the crowd. They cheered and all I could was keep waving. I was so happy that I had enjoyed the route and didn’t feel sick. As I untied I actually thought I was in 2nd place. It wasn’t until they said I needed to sit in the leaders chair that I realized I was actually the highpoint. It didn’t last very long as Adam Ondra was the next climber who beat me, but it was nice while it lasted. After Adam, I’m sure most of you know what happened, everyone else made mistakes, some big some small. In the end, they all fell lower in the route and I held on to my second position. I’m honoured to have another silver medal and again so close to the gold. After the night I had, it was nice to have fun in finals once again. I knew it was possible to be on the podium but I didn’t expect it! [singlepic id=605 w=500 h=400 float=center] So that was my weekend. I walked away with another Silver medal, a funny story and good and bad memories. It also re-enforced my mentality on how much I tie having fun to competing. If I’m not having fun while competing, I’d rather not be there at all, regardless of my placing. Full results are at the following links: MENS & WOMENS I’ve had another few days to relax and I’ve found my appetite again. The last world cup of the year is in a couple of weeks in Slovenia and I’d like to be in tip-top shape if possible. If nothing else, it will mark the end of a huge world cup season which started in April for me.    

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