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    Notes and advice from Sean McColl.

Sheffield World Cup

The Sheffield world cup was the 2nd last bouldering stage of the year. Although there has been 5 previous world cups this year, I’ve only been able to attend 2 of them. My first world cup of the season was in Vail and the second was in Eindhoven where I placed 16th and 2nd respectively. Coming off an amazing result in Eindhoven, I was pretty pumped up for the competition in Sheffield. At the same time, I was a bit scared, the last time I came 2nd in a world cup was in Vienna 2009. The next competition I did after Vienna was Eindhoven 2009, where I had my worst place finish in a bouldering world cup, 25th. I try not to repeat history like this so it just made me nervous in qualifiers. We left Amsterdam with the Dutch team because we were on the same flight. We had an hour to kill before we were supposed to board so we perused around the airport for a while. We found a massive turbine and decided to play tourist and take some corny pictures. Here’s one of Mathilde standing in the jet turbine of the 747. [singlepic id=125 w=320 h=240 float=center] And of course, I decided I would try to mantle into it. It’s actually really really hard, like groping two massive metal slopers… [singlepic id=126 w=320 h=240 float=center] Now getting back to the competition, we finally took off, and an hour and a half later we were in Sheffield. We found our hotel and had dinner at a quaint little restaurant on the main street near our hotel. The next day we took off for isolation. Because I didn’t have my car anymore, it was a bit harder to get to the comp. We did the 1.5km walk to the isolation area with time to spare. It was pretty funny what kind of food they gave to us in isolation. Usually it’s kind of a free for all with the food, but I guess here they wanted to keep order so they gave us a sheet of paper with what we could take. Naturally, I just took everything so I could choose a bit later. This was the the selection that I was given/took. It just said pop, pop, so I decided to take a couple of Coke’s. [singlepic id=117 w=320 h=240 float=center] The qualifying round was really good. Like I said before, I was really nervous going out. After a few hours in isolation warming up, then a brief bus ride to the competition venue, I was next to go out. I ran out super nervous and glared at my first problem. All I could think about was how many holds were on the wall and how I was going to grab all of them. Usually in world cups, you have to use all the holds, I guess this problem was special because I ended up skipping a bunch of the holds, I think… [singlepic id=118 w=320 h=240 float=center] After flashing the first one, I was feeling good. The great thing about flashing your problem is that you get a 7-8 minute rest for the next problem which is a heck of a lot better than spending an entire 5 minutes trying to figure out a problem, then only getting 5 minutes of rest still feeling pumped. My second problem was pretty much figuring out how to navigate around a big feature. I figured because I’m strong in heelhooks, that it’d be no problem. It was a bit tight in the middle of the problem, but I found the equilibrium on the strange feature and sailed to the top, flashing another. [singlepic id=119 w=320 h=240 float=center] When I came out to look at the third problem, I was a bit surprised to only find a handful of actual holds. Instead, it was navigating another huge feature. This one looked more height dependent than the first two. Never the less, I jumped on and squeezed myself up the wall. Before I knew it, I was thrutching towards the final jug and somehow caught it. I was psyched that I had flashed the first three problems, and I was feeling good. [singlepic id=120 w=320 h=240 float=center] I think we need more problems like this in North America. I find that whenever I’m at a competition in North America, it’s so simple to read, or it’s just a super hard problem. These types of problems take a bit of just trying to problem to figure it out. Half the battle is figuring out the problem and then the other half is being strong enough to do it! When I came out for problem 4, there wasn’t a feature in sight. I knew it was going to be one of those super delicate just off vertical problems. Usually I struggle in these types of problems because I’m not very tall. The sequence was pretty clear so I hopped on. After my initial sequence didn’t work, I figured out the hard move in the boulder as I was climbing it. I got all the way up to the last move, just to have my heel hook pop out just like in the picture below because I didn’t have enough weight pulling me towards the right. I rested for a full 2.5 minutes, then did the problem second try. [singlepic id=121 w=320 h=240 float=center] The last problem was in a big dihedral and it looked like I needed to use some flexibility. I didn’t really know how to do the moves, but when I stepped on, it became pretty clear. After almost ripping my crotch apart in the “stem”, I managed to get up to the top volume and leap for the top, flashing the problem. Not bad, 5 tops in 6 tries. I knew I’d be among the highest ranked and sure enough, I was tied for 4th position with one other French competitor. [singlepic id=122 w=320 h=240 float=center] I was super excited that I had just made semi finals. It turns out, you had to do at least 4 problems in less than 7 or 8 tries. My friend Casper from the Netherlands missed the semi finals by only one fall… and he had completed 4 problems… ouch! After an epic walk back to my hotel (3km) and another dinner at my favorite restaurant in Sheffield, I was already looking forward to going to sleep. It was a pretty long day and I was tired. I knew semi finals would be hard the next day, but I never would have though THIS hard. After a similar warm-up, snacks, and ride to the competition, I was going out for my first problem in semis. The first problem went up the same wall as Qualifier 1. I hopped on and managed to get to the last move. The last foothold on this boulder problem was ridiculously slippery. As I was going for the last hold, my foot popped and I sailed towards the ground. I took a decent size rest, and sent the problem second go. Not bad for my first problem, second try! [singlepic id=123 w=320 h=240 float=center] What came after, I just can’t really explain. I don’t have any pictures of the second and third problem because I didn’t make it past the second move. The second problem was a weird pinch out right and made a ridiculously long move up and left to a sloper. There was NO WAY I was going to reach it by standing on the foothold, so I tried to jump a few times, I tried a really high heel hook, but nothing. I didn’t even get zone. The third problem was similar. They decided to put the two worse footholds on the starting footholds which cause me to fail. Similar to the second problem, I didn’t get past the third move until my last try. On my last try, I fell trying to hit the zone hold, but it was such a long move. The fourth problem was also height dependand. I have a picture of the fourth one, but I’m not even on the wall, I couldn’t get past the second move, the holds were just too far apart. All in all, I’d say the semi finals were just wayyyyy too height dependant. Sucks for me but I didn’t touch a single zone hold after the first problem. Problem two, three, and four, big 0’s on my scorecard. So overall, I could’ve just take off my shoes after the first problem and saved me 30 minutes of pure agony of going out, trying problems and just failing… Oh well, win some lose some. [singlepic id=124 w=320 h=240 float=center] The crappy part was that I finished 7th, even with only 1 top in 2 tries, and 1 bonus in 2 tries. The 6th place went to the Japanese who flashed the first problem and got two bonuses… dam!

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