Eindhoven World Cup[singlepic id=109 w=320 h=240 float=center] Another world cup has finished and I’m sitting him reminiscing about it. I wish I could climb like I did in semi-finals and finals in every competition I’ll ever compete in. During both those rounds, everything seemed to just click. I’ve had other competitions that I’ve felt similar to this. Last year in 2009 when I came 2nd in Vienna world cup, I also felt this feeling. The feeling that I’m talking about is when you realize that you could actually win the competition you’re competing in. It’s an amazing feeling and although I didn’t win this one, I climbed at my full potential and came 2nd by a fall, I couldn’t ask any more than this. One of the hardest things to get your mind away from is chasing results. If I climb well in a round of competition in a world cup, I don’t care what place I end up, I’m just happy that I did my best. Someone else that is stronger or fitter or luckier than me will win that day. Sometimes when you climb your best, you end up winning, sometimes when you don’t climb well, you still end up winning. Sometimes when you climb your best, you win, and sometimes when you climb your best, you don’t win. It’s a vicious circle and that’s why I tell every person I know to just try and climb to their potential. Climb as best as you can, and be happy with your result. For me, I love the feeling of having an awesome round of competition. Last year, when I made finals a few times in lead, I was exhilarated when I fell off the competition wall because I knew I had climbed as best as I could and I didn’t care what place I came. Sometimes I did well, sometimes I didn’t, it didn’t matter.
Qualifier 1[singlepic id=113 w=320 h=240 float=center] The reason I’m writing all this is because I just finished 2nd at the world cup in Eindhoven. This is my best placing so far in boulder world cups. I guess you will argue the fact that I’ve already come 2nd in a world cup but it’s just as exciting to repeat your best position because it reinforces the fact that you probably DO deserve that position! This was my second world cup of the 2010 season, my first being in Vail. In Vail, I was 4th after the qualification round was had a sub-par semi-finals and fell to 16th. I was upset about this competition because I didn’t feel like I had climbed well in the semi finals round. My second one was this past weekend in Eindhoven. Last year, Eindhoven was the last world cup of the 2009 season. I didn’t even make semi-finals. I’ll throw out an excuse for that competition like most people would, and I would probably pin it on the 20 hours of driving, and the car problems on the way to the competition. Oh well. Having my 25th place position revolving around my head had me not completely on my game in qualifiers. I flashed 2 of the 5 problems and came close on another 2. After the dust had settled from that round, I was sitting in 15th place. I had done it, beat my last year! Click HERE for the qualification result. They had two different sets of boulders and they took top 10 in each set.
Qualifier 3[singlepic id=114 w=320 h=240 float=center] During the night and morning before the semi-finals, I had time to reflect on my results. I had made semi-finals and now it was game time. I didn’t have many places to fall, (4 to be exact) which means I could go all out in semi finals and not be too worried about my results. On an abstract note, two of my good friends from Vancouver Ben Frisby and Kevin Shaw came to Eindhoven to watch me compete. They’ve started a 6 month vacation in Europe/Asia and they started a few weeks ago in the UK. I knew that they’d be going from the UK to Amsterdam so we coordinated it so that they could come watch the competition. I also knew that they were only going to be able to come on the second day which gave me a little added pressure to make the first round cut. Ben and Kevin are both basketball players weighing in at 6’7 and 6’4 respectively. I can tell you right now that they did not need a stool to be able to comfortably watch the competition. I was 5th out for the semi-final round and everything was in perfect harmony. I ended up flashing my first two problems in semi-finals which automatically qualified me for finals. I didn’t know it at the time, but it turned out to make the cut for finals, you had to top 2 problems in under 4 tries.
Semi 1[singlepic id=115 w=320 h=240 float=center] The third problem was ridiculously hard, it started with a couple hard moves, to a big dyno, then a weird undercling and thrutch to the top. I stuck the middle dyno and flailed on the last move. I felt like I had climbed pretty well on the problem and wasn’t too worried about it. The last problem was easier than the third and I flashed it as well leaving me with 3 tops in 3 tries and all 4 bonuses in 6 tries. I waited around the competition for another hour as the higher ranked climbers finished their round. I was surprised when a few really strong climbers were unable to do the first two problems. I was even more shocked when the round finished and my name was pinned next to the little number 1 at the top. I had qualified 1st for the first time in my life at a world cup! The sensation was phenomenal! My goal for every world cup I enter is to just make finals. I think after I’m in finals, my new goal is to just win or be on the podium. The great part about being in finals is that usually everyone climbs well in finals, especially in bouldering. When there’s only 6 of you, you already know 50% of you are going to be on the podium. It’s such a great feeling. Having this feeling after the semi-finals made me pretty confident about the final round. I was also confident about placing first because I had visions of Daniel Woods winning in Vail after qualifier in first as well! The results of semi-finals can be found by clicking HERE.
Semi 4[singlepic id=116 w=320 h=240 float=center] The final round was quite a few hours after the previous round which gave me a chance to relax a bit. Mathilde wanted to train at the gym, so I went there with Ben and Kevin and made her another bouldering circuit. I chilled out at the gym while Mathilde did her training circuits. I showed Kevin and Ben the campus board which they tried a few times. By the time I entered the finals isolation, I was already ready to climb. I know that the finals didn’t start for a good hour and a half but I was already excited. After an hour passed, all the climbers were in isolation warming up for the final. Because I was still warm from semi-finals I did mostly big moves and some hard moves just to get my muscles back into it. The presentation was next and then the preview ensued. After looking at the 4 final problems, I was mostly concerned with the first two. The first boulder was a slightly awkward step up dyno with the corner of the wall, you kept going up the corner, got a slightly awkward knee bar and had to somehow grab the final hold out right. I knew it would be balancy and I’d just have to “feel” my way up the wall. The second problem had a weird start just getting off the ground, the middle of the problem looked like nice moves and the last move looked impossible. We were all thinking a massive knee bar but we really had no idea how to get to the last hold. There was a massive quarter sphere that looked impossible to grab that we were supposed to move 3 feet off of. The third boulder problem was a huge compression boulder. It went relatively straight up the wall, hugging this giant red triangle at the top. I was psyched to try that boulder because I’m usually strong on compression boulders and boulders that require any sort of heel hook. The last problem also looked like a cool one, it started by going sideways across an upside down triangle, then you had to mantle the triangle, and do a sideways dyno. From those holds, there were no feet, and you had to pull up to the finishing hold.
Observation[singlepic id=110 w=320 h=240 float=center]
Kilian and Me in our element
[singlepic id=112 w=320 h=240 float=center]We were off! After about a minute on the first problem, the first climber in finals came back and I knew he had flashed it. The hard part about competing in finals when a climber comes back so quickly is the intimidation factor. You just have to keep your head clear and know that you can do it as well. You have to also not get discouraged if you fall a few times, or even are unable to do the problem. The next 3 climbers flashed the problem as well. I knew that if I could get by this first problem and hopefully flash it, I’d have a great finals, I could just feel it! I went out and jumped on the problem right away, the first two moves were easier than I had anticipated and I was just a corner away from the finish hold. It was much harder than it looked, but I managed to get around the corner with a slight knee bar and pull up to the final hold. First problem done, and I knew I was still in first. Problem two was much harder. The first 5 climbers before me took their full 4 minutes so I thought no one had done the problem. After the finals were over, I found out that a couple of them had in fact done it near the end of their time. Irregardless, I went out and flashed the zone hold. While I was trying to get from right to left, I fell matching one of the holds. I re-examined the problem and tried it a second time. This time, I kept a toe hook around the right wall until I had gotten both holds. From there, I released my toe hook and used the swing to get my feet onto the left sidewall. From there, I knew I could get my knee bar in on the quarter sphere. I got my knee bar in super high and started bringing my body around. I was actually quite surprised at how close the final hold was. It occurred to me, that I could probably get two fingers on it from here! I reached up with my right hand and I was right, I left a bit of room for my left hand and managed to get two fingers on it, one from each hand.
[singlepic id=106 w=320 h=240 float=center]Like in preview, I was excited to try the third problem. I was a bit less excited to try it when I realized that Adam Ondra had flashed it, but I was still pretty excited. I went out and on my first attempt, I flashed the zone again but quickly realized that my right hand was not supposed to be on the zone feature.
[singlepic id=107 w=320 h=240 float=center]I still tried to do a hand-foot heel match, but fell in the process of bringing my other hand in. I quickly concluded that I’d keep my right hand on the arrête and not on the feature. I rested for over a minute and gave it a second shot. Keeping my hand on the arrête was money, I got the heel in pretty easily and started working my way up the top of the feature. I don’t remember much of the top, just that I was using both my forearms on the feature and that it was slightly awkward because I knew I didn’t want to fall so high up on a problem. Luckily I figured it out and was matching the finishing hold as the screams of the crows came into realization. Starting the fourth problem, I wasn’t sure what place I was in. I knew I was sitting in podium contention but I didn’t know how many tries everyone had done so I was a bit lost. In reality, I was sitting in second, and by the time I was going out, I had secured second place. Kilian Fischhuber had also sent the problem first or second go which meant that the problem was possible. I knew in my head that if I could send this problem, I’d win. I also knew that from the screams of the crowd that Killian had sent the problem. My first try, I got up to the dyno. During the preview, we knew that the hardest part of the problem was going to be setting up for the dyno and catching it. We thought that the last move wouldn’t be too too hard. During the 4 minutes, I fell on the dyno a couple of times, then I wondered if I was doing it right. I tried it a different way and quickly realized that we were doing it right. I took my last 40 seconds to re-focus and get ready for a final try. At the 2 second mark, I stepped onto the problem. For those unfamiliar with the world cup finals format, you can step on the wall at 1 second remaining and even though your time has expired, you can finish that last attempt. I sprinted through the first 4 moves up to the dyno.
Final 4[singlepic id=108 w=320 h=240 float=center] I let out a scream to get me psyched up and shot up for the holds. Although it was my closest attempt to sticking the dyno, I still came peeling off the wall, unable to complete the problem. After 4 problems in finals, I ended with a score of 3 tops in 5 tries and 4 bonuses in 4 tries. Sadly, Dmitry Sharafutdinov from Russia had 3 tops in 4 tries, beating me by one fall. I’ll admit, I was pretty crushed that I came second by one fall especially because I knew that last problem was the key. I also knew that if we had tied, I’d have won in count-back. I quickly went from being disappointed to extremely happy. I knew that I had done extremely well in finals and my second place position was still amazing. I had done it, I had come 2nd in another world cup bouldering event! On top of that, the climbers in this finals were all ridiculously strong, 4 of them having won bouldering world cups previously. Full results of the competition can be found on the IFSC website or by clicking HERE. My results can be found HERE. Now I’m in Amsterdam for a few days and I’m off to the world cup in Sheffield, UK this weekend!
Trackback from your site.