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    Notes and advice from Sean McColl.

Chamonix

After driving through Nancy and Basel to visit Mathilde’s aunt and some good friends of mine in Switzerland, we arrived in Chamonix the night of the 11th.We went to our favorite hostel on the outskirts of Chamonix and had a nice dinner. We woke up in the morning for isolation. It was the regular flash format and it was also Mathilde’s first world cup. She was pretty excited but nervous at the same time. I was something like 30th, and 63rd on my routes and Mathilde was something similar. This meant that we weren’t going to get to see each other climb. Luckily after my first qualifier, I still had time to run back to watch her. Unfortunately on the second one, we climbed at pretty much the same time and I didn’t get to watch her climb. Both my qualifieres were outside on the competition wall. Both Mathilde’s qualifiers were on the wall inside. The wall inside really sucks, so I don’t know why they didn’t go 1:1 for men and women. It doesn’t make sense to have a whole bunch of people compete in a world cup and just get to climb on a crappy wall inside a gymnasium. Anyways, back to my routes, my first one went up the right side of the wall. I watched a bunch of my friends top the route and a couple strong climbers even fell near the top. This will be my first lead competition route since 2009 at the world cup in Imst. It’s also hard because I really haven’t trained routes in 8 months. I could tell as I was starting up the bottom of the route that I didn’t really feel in my element. When it feels weird to click quickdraws, it’s not a great sign. Even though I felt bad, I knew I still had to sprint up my route. I got to the roof and I wasn’t too pumped. After a quick rest, I fired through the roof. After I had clipped the second to last quickdraw, I knew it was off to the races. I didn’t chalk, and I just kept climbing and climbing until I was on the last hold, clipping the anchors. Mathilde also flashed her first route but I didn’t get to see it. For the second route, I was the third to last climber. I waited for about 4 hours before warming up a tiny bit more then going out to climb it. It felt extremely similar to the first qualifier. A bit hard at the bottom, then fins through the roof, and it just had a really weird kind of dyno right at the top. After it was over, I was clipping the chains, and my record stays intact. I’ve never fallen in a world cup flash route! (as I knock on wood) Unfortunately for Mathilde, her old shoes made her slip on a greasy route on the inside wall. I still don’t understand why they put two qualifiers for the women on the wall inside… a bad move, decision on someone’s part in my opinion. Because my world ranking is still high from last year world cups, I had climb 6th last I think. I knew that making finals was going to be very hard. After my preview, I was starting to get worried. I had the same method of attack in my head. Climb as fast as you can through the bottom section so that you don’t get pumped. I started my semi finals and it was going good. I got through the bottom and I was feeling good. [singlepic id=127 w=320 h=240 float=center] Through the roof, it wasn’t very hard and I got through it without being very pumped. I grabbed a jug with my left hand and realized that the clip was a bit too far away. I grabbed the next hold and it was terrible… I went back and tried to rest, just couldn’t. This is the problem with not route training. As soon as you encounter something that’s super hard, you don’t know what to do and you just sit there getting super pumped. That’s exactly what happened. I tried to go back and rest, but just got pumped. I tried to just let my feet swing to look at the holds, but I fell trying. After lowering to the ground, I looked up and saw the big pocket that I had missed. I had missed a big pocket which was just on the other side of the volume. I was pissed, but that’s what I get for not training routes. When you don’t train routes, you don’t remember as well things you saw in the preview. It was obvious that I was supposed to clip, then jump to that hold, and I just couldn’t really remember. I finished an abysmal 19th, my worst place finish in Chamonix… At least when I got down, some kids still came over for my autograph and I felt like a superstar! [singlepic id=128 w=320 h=240 float=center] On another note, while we were driving to Arco, we hit traffic… I hate traffic. This is why there was traffic, talk about an epic crash? [singlepic id=129 w=320 h=240 float=center] It also looks like it’s already cleaned up, and they just haven’t taken the car yet…

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