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    Notes and advice from Sean McColl.

ABS Nationals 2009

I know it’s been a few days since ABS Nationals has ended, but I haven’t had a lot of time to write. I’m currently still in Colorado until tommorrow night when i fly home. ABS stands for the “American Boulder Series”. This compeition happens once a year and I’ve been coming for the pas 2 years. This is my 3rd time coming to this event and for the past two years I’ve come 3rd. Qualifyers were on the 13th and my start time was at 12:15. The competition organizers decided to go with IFSC rules to prep for the upcoming World Cup in Vail. The World Cup format involves “zone” holds instead of point per hold. I love the IFSC format and if i had to choose, I’d make every competition that format. We had 4 problems with 5 minutes on each with 5 minute rest in between. This format is pretty common among bouldering competitions. Before i went out to climb, I was really nervous. I’ve been climbing well but i haven’t had a big competition since one of my World Cups in 2008. One of the biggest problems of isolation was that it was super cold the whole time we were in isolation. They had a weird format where you could come into iso up to 30 minutes before your climbing time which means that the door was constantly being opened to let new competitors check in. The only problem with this format is that someone could go take pictures of the problems and show someone that’s climbing at a later time. The first problem felt really weird, so i climbed it slowly. It paid off and I flashed it but it felt pretty hard. I was pretty psyched to get the first problem out of the way and I was starting to get into comp mode. The second problem was a mantle with a hard press out right before. I slipped just before hitting the zone hold but sent it second go. The 3rd problem was prett simple but looked like hard moves. I got on, not expecting much, but flashed it with a few spots where I think I could have fallen. The 4th problem was bitterly hard and when i didn’t even get to the bonus hold, I didn’t really care. I was pretty sure that 3 problems in 4 tries was going to more than enough for finals so i started thinking about that. It turns out, I was in prime spot, and I finished qualifyers tied for 5th place. The next day was finals, February 14. I called my girlfriend Mathilde on Skype before the competition and wished her a happy Valentines day. Since finals isolation was from 5pm-6pm, we had all day to do whatever we wanted. Luckily the Woods have a NetFlix account and I watched most of CSI season 9 during the day. Before the comp, we went into Boulder and met up with a few people. We went into iso just before 6 and started getting ready. I was up to climb just after 8pm and I did my standard 75 minute warmup. The first finals problem is usually supposed to be easy. I knew the person who climbed just before had flashed it so in the back of my mind, I knew I couldn’t fall. Luckily, the traverse problem wasn’t too hard, and i managed to flash it pretty easily. The second problem, I didn’t think anyone had done yet so I wanted to get really psyched up. About a minute before i started climbing, I stood up and started getting psyched. When my turn came around, I looked at the problem and smiled. The problem looked amazing. It suited my style and was high and long. My first try, my hand slipped off a smal crimp halfway up the problem and I was pretty pissed. I hadn’t even gotton the zone hold and I know how important that stuff sometimes is at the end of the round. My second try, I summited the boulder just barely. The last move was a giant move, and I threw wildly hoping the hold was good enough to stick. Luckily, the hold was a flat jug and I hung on. The third problem looked really hard and traversed the vertical wall before mantelling the “font” style boulder. On my second try, I made it to the hard mantle move which was also the bonus hold. I set up to go up with my right hand and right as i thought I was going to stick the hold, my foot slipped… Disaster… I had 1:30 left on the clock but I was pumped as heck. I told myself if i wasn’t depumped by 0:45, I’d just save it for the last boulder. 0:45 rolled around and i was still rubbing my arms. I thought it’d be close if I could even do that problem and I’d probably be too tired to do well on the 4th problem. I decided to save it. I took my 5 minutes rest and turned around for the final problem. The final problem looked pretty simple, a few campus moves, then a few moves on the “bubble wrap” series holds. After the bubble wrap section, there was a huge double handed dyno into the zone holds, then a cryptic slab finish. I rocked through the campus section and set up for the dyno, it was hard, but i sent it first go. I grabbed the first hold on the mantle, threw my heel up and went for the second, it was terrible. I tried to match my feet, jump or go again but it all failed. On my second try, I got to the exact same place. I finished my 4 problem only completing 2 and I was pretty annoyed. I thought that 2 problems wouldn’t be enough for another podium finish. By the end of the compeition, I had asked around and it looked like some strong climbers had also screwed up just like me. A few of the climbers hadn’t done the hard last move of number two and the other climbers couldn’t do the end of the 3rd problem like me. Daniel Woods was the only one to do the 4th problem and Paul Robinson completed 3 problems. Daniel won with Paul coming second. Third place went to me for the 3rd years in a row! When they announced the results, and it was confirmed that I had come 3rd, I was extremely happy. I know that Paul and Daniel are both World Class boulderers and for me to beat them would take more than me doing pretty well during finals, especially when they’re both climbing well. For coming third, I got 500$ which should pay for my airfare and registration fee. All in all, this weekend was really fun. Contrary to Jamie Chong’s website, I didn’t party hard at the afterparty. For those who didn’t know, I got a concussion 3 weeks ago while i was skiing up at Whistler. When my face healed in a mere week, I went out and partied with some of my friends. I think the alchohol after just a week after a concussion was a bad idea because I don’t remember some of the night and it went pretty badly. I decided after that weekend that I wouldn’t drink for 2 months. The Doctor’s said that for every minute you’re knocked out, you’re supposed to take a month of rest, or almost no activity. Well I was out for 3 minutes… I think 2 months of drinking shouldn’t be hard, especially when I know that binge drinking is bad for your health anyways. So, at the afterparty at ABS Nationals, I didn’t touch a drop of alchohol. It was still fun, Cookie had an after party at his house and there was probably 250 people there. For full results of the competition, go to the ABS Nationals website and click on final results.

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Comments (7)

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    Jeremy

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    Sean,
    great work this weekend!
    Any chance you would be willing to share why you like the zone scoring so much? I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of it, but if it works better, I might consider trying to change our comp to that format.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Sean McColl

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    Jeremy
    Ever since I’ve competed in zone format, I’ve loved it. I’ll write up a post on competition formats in the next week.

    Reply

  • Quick Sends - 2/20/09 — All Climbing

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    […] wrap-ups of the ABS Nationals from ClimbingNarc, Paul Robinson, Sean McColl, Jon Glassberg, Pimpin and Crimpin, Momentum Video, Dead Point Magazine, and Climbing […]

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  • Avatar

    SS

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    Could you share with us how is your 75min warm-up routine is made of ?

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  • Avatar

    Ziar Neamt

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    Great write-up, I’m a tremendous believer in commenting on blogs and forums to assist the blogging site authors realize that they have added one thing of value towards the world-wide-web!

    Reply

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