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    Notes and advice from Sean McColl.

China World Championships (part 2)

Welcome back to the conclusion of my adventure in China. If you haven’t already read the first part of this post, I highly recomment it. Enjoy! I’ve also just uploaded the best 24 photos that my dad took in China. You can check them out in the photo gallery!

Day 7 (July 4th)

Again I got up at 6:20 and stumbled into the bathroom to have my shower. This was the 4th time I had done it and I was pretty used to it. I turned on the shower to see that no water was flowing. A second later, my dad came back into the room and said the water wasn’t on. He had woken up 20 minutes earlier to a similar event. He had asked the hotel workers and they said something about the cold water not being on until 7am. THATS RIDICULOUS. How can you not have running water to the hotel rooms. On top of that, I always have a shower on comp mornings. It wakes me up and gets me ready for the day. I guess today would have to be different. So, on the most important day of the event for me, I don’t get a shower. I barely had time to grab a coffee before the bus left 10 minutes early for the competition. Once I got to the competition, I had had time to think things over. It didn’t matter that there was no shower, it was just another story I could tell when it was all over. This day was schedule to be the semi finals and finals for mens bouldering as well as both rounds for women lead. For bouldering, I was psyched to see that our boulders would be on the good walls that they had made for the comp, not in isolation like in qualifyers. I did my first two problems pretty easily, they were hard but I was climbing well and I felt good. The third problem was really hard. I thought you had to hand jam between two volumes and mantle up but after I was done climbing, I saw there was a much easier way. Even so, I managed to get halfway through the boulder but fell twice trying to hit the bonus. I went into problem 4 having 2 tops in 3 tries. Problem 4 was one of the weirdest problems I had ever seen. There was a bunch of starting holds, then you had to traverse on just the friction of the wall, then do some sort of weird mantle to finish. Sadly, I took all the pictures on my dad’s camera, which is at home now but I’ll try to talk to him and get him to upload some pictures onto the site. I managed to do the bouder on my second attemp. I think during my redpoint attempt, I was climbing for almost 2 minutes. The problem was really subtle and you just had to figure out where to place your body so you wouldn’t fall backwards. I finished semis with 3 tops in 5 tries. To my amazement, I had enough for finals. I was so psyched to be in finals after only making finals once out of 3 world cups this year.
Finals Bouldering
Finals were pretty upsetting. I didn’t feel tired but after it was over, people were saying that I didn’t looke my usual strong self. Since it was my 4th day competing, I was probably getting tired. The first two problems of finals were way too easy. Almost every flashed the first one, just me and Killian slipped on one of the first couple of moves then sent it second go. I think all 6 finalists flashed the second boulder, which wasn’t harder than 7B (V7). The competition ended up coming down to the third boulder. The third boulder was another type of dyno to a mantle. The secret was getting a kneebar or a double kneebar, if you saw it, the boulder was painfully easily. I did not find the knee bar until my last attemp with time expired and when I went to do the move, my knee bar slipped and I fell. One of my friends tried the boulder in his street shoes just after finals and the first time he got to the mante part with the knee bars, send the problem in runners… The 4th problem was equally dissapointing with another 7B (V7). I flashed it easily, as did most others. I finished finals with 3 tops in 4 tries out of 4 problems. Usually you win or come second with that kind of record but I finished last. I can’t complain about my climbing, I felt like I climbed well even if I was feeling tired. I have to say that if the problems would’ve been as hard as they were supposed to, the results could have been different.

Day 8 (July 5th)

I’d like to start this day by saying Happy Birthday to my brother Jason McColl who turned 24 today! I woke up at 6:20 like normal and yes, the water was running. This day was all of mens lead and all of womens bouldering. Since I had qualified so high on the first day, I was going 3rd last in this round. After observation, I knew I’d have probably at least 2 hours before going out and climbing. The semis route looked great, again, it went almost straight up. It looked a bit bouldery at the bottom and cruxy through the roof. Nothing out of the ordinary happened before I went out to climb and when I was waiting to go out and climb I was really excited. I figured this was my last route of the whole competition and if i ended up making finals, hey I made finals in both! I climbed my semi final super well and ended up making to the last 10 moves. When I got down, I though that it wasn’t going to be enough for finals but Jacob came running over and said I was sitting around 4th. With only 2 climbers after me, I was guaranteed finals. I quickly ran over to the warmup wall to cooldown from the heinus pump that I had. Finals were something different. After 5 full days of competition, I was really started to feel it. For my warmup before finals, I think i got pumped once, then I was good. After preview, I was psyched again, the route looked super hard the whole way up but at least it went straight up with a bit of sideways climbing in the roof and then on the last headwall. My goal was to make it to at least the last headwall, I know it’s possible and I figured if I climbed super well, maybe I could even win! I was the third climber out so after preview I went and got my stuff. I could see by the crowd and where the first two got lowered that they had gotton the last headwall but hadn’t done the route. While I was climbing, I felt good, but tired. By halfway, I was pumped and I knew I didn’t have the fitness to stop and rest. I climbed quickly through the whole bottom section and made a huge error going into the roof. I spent most of the preview looking at a weird move in the middle to a big blue sloper. We quickly decided you must go to it with right hand because crossing would be too hard. I figured only if the right hand was really good, I wouldn’t cross. Well, when I got there while I was climbing, I was already a bit pumped and the right hand felt pretty good so I crossed. It was such a hard move the way I had done it and to get out of it was even harder. I had to hike up my feet and do a super hard match. I clipped the draw and kept going. This hold was where most of the competitors in finals rested for a bit but I just kept on truckin’. 3 move later, I was ready to fall. I was climbing on adreneline now, I just kept saying one more move, one more move. My hands kept grabbing pretty good holds so I wasn’t falling. After doing about 5 moves like this, my arms couldn’t bend; I jumped more away from the wall than up when I tried to tag the next hold but either way, I was sailing downwards. That was it, I no more climbs to do. I asked Jacob who was near if I had beaten any of the first two and he replied no… I thought, oh no, I’m going to come last place in both finals… After I climbed, another Japanese climbers did the same stupid sequence in the middle but slipped off when the move was too hard. Cédric Lachat fell a few moves below me when he mis read the sequence and gased out. Finally a climber from Ukraine fell moves before me to land me in a 5th place finish.
Aftermath
That was the whole competition, a 6th place finish in Bouldering and 5th place finish in Lead. I had accomplished my goals and passed them. I thought it was a dream to make finals in both but in the end I had done it. Maybe one day, I’ll be able to win in both… haha or maybe all 3… Because of my double finals placing, it turns out that I had won the overall ranking. It came down to a battle between Cédric and me and in lead, he had to beat me by a few positions. Since I had beaten him, I had secured my overall victory. There was a ceremony and everything for it. For the first time in history, the Canadian Anthem was played at World Championships in Climbing. Also, this was the first year that they gave money for the overall rankings. I think they might have given money just because it was in China but I guess we’ll see in 2 years when the World Championships moves to Arco, Italy. I can tell anyone wondering that it is extremely hard to compete in both events. It’s even harder if you make finals in both. Your body gets more tired every day. I had to wake up at 6:20 for 5 out of the 6 days of the competition. The only other competitor to make finals in both events was Akiyo Noguchi. Most people could tell just by watching her in semi and finals bouldering that she looked really tired. She had won the World Cup 2009 rankings for Bouldering but during the finals, it looked like she could barely lock off. She had come 8th the day before in Lead and at the end of Bouldering, she finished 6th. She also won the womens overall! On top of trying to climb almost every day, when you’re competing here, you don’t eat a lot. For the semi and finals day, I barely ate at all. My stomach hurt so much at some parts and I would have to go to the bathroom every 15 minutes. I didn’t eat because I was afraid of getting even sicker. I ate what I needed to have enough energy to climb and thats about it. After it was all said and done, I’m obviously glad I competed in both events and I will probably do the same thing for every other World Championships I go to.

Day 9+10 (July 6th-7th)

My flight out of Xining left at 21:00 and I spent a short night in Beijing with my dad. The next morning we took a cab back out to the airport and I continued my journey home. My flight from Beijing went to Amsterdam where I waited almost 5 hours in the airport before catching my last flight back to Toulouse. I landed in Toulouse on July 7th at around 22:30. After almost another 2 days of travelling, I was finally done. I met my girl in the airport and she could tell that I had lost weight. Because of not eating and being sick, I had lost 3-4kg’s (6-7lbs). It took me a couple of days for my stomach to finally settle down and now I think it’s almost back to normal. Well thats the end of my adventure in China, I hope you enjoyed reading my experience!

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Comments (5)

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    Chris Neve

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    Hey Sean! Great story regarding worlds – a HUGE congratulations for accomplishing what no other North American has ever done… I would have loved to been there to hear the anthem, a special moment for you and your father. Hope the rest of your summer goes as well – if that is possible!!

    Chris

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    Jim Nugent

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    Sean, your blog is fascinating. Hope you keep writing it.

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    pete woods

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    i’m sorry, did you say in there somewhere that you got pumped?? brother, that may be the first time ever that i’ve seen or heard that…

    Reply

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    Dexter

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    Dude, good effing job! Finals in both is a dream come true! Well done man, well done. Keep the updates coming…

    Ethan

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