It’s been a few days since the 3rd IFSC World Cup of 2013; I’ve had some time to reflect on how the competition went, where to improve and what to expect for the next one.
My trip started when I left Toulouse on Thursday. My 9:20am flight was a relief after mostly having 6:00am fights. After a stop in Paris, I was in Munich where I met up with German athlete Jan Hojer. He had already been driving for 4 hours. He picked me up and we cruised through the 2 hours to Kitzbuehel. We got there just in time for final the rules meeting. We went to that, I met up with my group and went to the hotel.
Qualifiers for the men were the morning of the 26th, isolation being from 8-9. I was 2nd out in my group so I went to isolation pretty early. I felt a bit strange warming up; I could feel the nerves of another competition. I felt much better than in Millau France which was reassuring. During the qualification round, I ended up doing all the boulders but some I made some really dumb mistakes. On boulders 4 and 5 I took 3 tries each. I kept seeing the sequence different in my head than while climbing. It was also a bit strange because I was only the second person on the boulders and didn’t know whether they were super hard or easy.
As it turns out, the qualification boulders in both groups were on the easier side and if you didn’t top all 5 problems or flash 4 you were out. Kilian Fischhuber was in group B, miss-read one move, did 4 boulders in one too many tries and finished 11th in his group, missing semi-finals by 1 place.
I ended up with 5 tops in 11 tries placing 7th in my group.
The internet was much better at the competition than at my hotel so I decided to stay there, fix the proxy live-stream and watch the women. The women went just after the men so I didn’t have to wait very long. I also snuck lunch in there somewhere!
Because the women were also separated into 2 groups, I stayed for pretty much the whole thing. One of the groups for the women was easier and also required 4 tops where the other group was harder and only required 2.
Semi-finals were Saturday morning and I was pretty excited. I had climbed alright in qualifiers and I was feeling much better while warming up. When it was my time to go out, I was excited and felt good.
The first semi-final boulder was compression so I was confident. I flashed it up to the last move and hesitated on the last move. It was hard and low percentage. I saw that the arête wasn’t taped out, so I reversed my sequence and started going up the arête. I quickly realized that to span from the arête to the last hold would be too far. I climbed back into my original method and fell on the last move, touching the last hold. I was a bit annoyed that I spent over a minute on the problem because I know that in Boulder comps, you have to climb quick and not second guess yourself. I often get into route-climbing habit of trying to feel my way too much through the boulders. My second try, I committed to the edge but found out it was too far for me. On my 3rd and last try of the problem, I was just too tired and fell on the last move for a 3rd time. I was not happy with this boulder. I had spent 3 long tries and I was now exhausted.
I spent the whole recovery time doing active recovery to make sure I was still fresh for the second boulder. There was only one thing going through my head; just move on to the next boulder.
The second boulder was climbing on volumes which were also something I like. After a false start on the second move, I fell on a weird double dyno. On my second try, I got all the way up the compression problem to have my heel hook slip out on the last move. I controlled the swing out just barely but on my way in my top hand slipped off and I landed square on my back from 2m (6ft). I was not happy. No one is ever happy to fall matching the final hold. I slapped the mat as I got up and knew I needed to take a step back. I spent a good minute calming myself down. I tried to take deep breaths and just think about the boulder. I knew what I had to do and I knew I could do it. I kneeled in front of the boulder taking big breaths, walked around a bit and got ready for my third attempt. I felt tired but it didn’t matter. I climbed confidently to the last move and kept my heel on the big volume. Topped problem 2.
I only had an extra minute left in my time so I did active recovery once again before boulder 3.
The third boulder was very straight forward. I took my time reading it and double checked all my feet. The first move was a bit strange but I found the rest of the boulder pretty easy and I was soon matching the final hold. I was very happy that I flashed the third boulder and knew I’d probably have to do the last one as well.
While I was at my final resting station, I knew the German climber ahead of me flashed the last boulder. I took a few deep breaths and told myself I’d do the same.
I turned around to face the last boulder and it looked pretty straight forward as well except for the fact that I didn’t recognize any of the holds especially a giant sloper in the middle. It sucks when I don’t know the holds because then I’m doing a true onsight instead of just flashing new moves. I took a bit of extra time and started the boulder. The first few moves weren’t so hard and I made it up into the sloper. I grabbed it with my left hand I thought I could cross over and cup the top part of the hold… I was wrong. I fell off pretty quickly as my body rotated awkwardly. I then saw more chalk on the underside of the hold and thought it might be a reverse cup or maybe undercling? I started 30 seconds later and reverse cupped to get my foot up and then grabbed the undercling. The last two moves were also hard but I hit them both with precision and topped the boulder.
Overall, I was happy with how I had come back from Boulder 1. I was sad that I hadn’t done all 4 boulders and I knew it was going to be close. I talked to Anna Stohr just after the round and we chatted about how we had done. I told her that I’d be happy with how I climbed regardless of my place because I hadn’t done the first boulder and I had still come back and done the last 3. She had done all 4 boulders and in good position. At the end of the day, I had still come 7th place in a World Cup which is a good performance. I know I can do better, but at least I’m still consistently coming in the top-10!
When I looked at the results, I was in 2nd place for the moment with Dimitrii in first place with 4 flashes! WOW. I spent the next hour watching my name get bumped down because a lot of people were topping the first boulder. As it turned out, if you were tall it was possible to skip the last move and just span to the last hold. A few people bumped me out because of that and completing another 2 or 3 and another couple of climbers bumped me out having done 3 in 5 where as I had completed 3 in 6…
There was also a moment where I added up number of people that could pass me and concluded I’d be 6th at first. I walked over to Jon Partridge from the British team and said I was good. Turns out I shot myself in the foot and the results had be “improperly” updated on the LIVE results and ONE more climber passed me, putting me in 7th place.
Rollercoaster effect and now I was sad again. I knew it’d go away after a bit, but being 7th place just no fun. All of the what if’s and why didn’t I started jumping back at you. It’s true I had taken 3 tries to do the second problem and 2 to do the last. Such is life so I tried to look at the positives.
I had come 7th place in my second world cup of the season which was better than my 9th place at the first one! I was also feeling stronger and stronger each competition. In Millau, I was still feeling like I was trying to find my rhythm. Here in Kitzbuehel I felt better and I know if I would’ve committed to my original method on problem one, I might’ve flashed it!
I went up into the press room for a couple hours, ate lunch and played some video games with my cousin. It was good to take my mind off the competition and just relax. At 7:30pm, I went down for presentation, observation and to watch the finals. Although the men’s were much too hard, it was still a pretty good show with Jakob the only finalist to top 2 boulders after a weird starting debacle. Jakob Schubert took gold for the men with Guillaume Glairon-Mondet in 2nd and Dimitrii in 3rd.
For the women, Anna Stohr won her 3rd world cup in a row this year with Akiyo Noguchi in 2nd and Alex Puccio in 3rd.
Full results on the IFSC Website, Womens results HERE and Men’s HERE.