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    Notes and advice from Sean McColl.

3 World Cups (Eindhoven, Barcelona, Sheffield)

During the past 3 weeks, I’ve been all over Europe competing in 3 different world cups. Since Vail, I’ve been to Paris (France), Eindhoven (Netherlands), Barcelona (Spain), and Sheffield (UK). When I came to Europe after competing in Vail, I went to Paris the week after to watch my girlfriend Mathilde Becerra compete in her Senior National Championships. The winner’s of the Nationals were Charlotte Durif and Gautier Supper. The next weekend, I was in Eindhoven competing at the World Cup up there. The previous year, I had come second after qualifier 1st after the semi final round. Unfortunately, this year wasn’t as good as the previous. During the qualifying round, I managed to flash every problem and I was psyched going into semis. During semis, the first boulder was nearly impossible with only Kilian managing to take it down. The second boulder was the easiest of the 4, and after dry firing on my first attempt, I sent it second go. The third problem in semis came down to pretty much the second move, where you had an undercling for your left hand, a bad foot for the left, and you had to stab your fingers into a hold that you had to be very exact while hitting. I wasn’t tall enough to keep my foot on, so I had to jump everytime. I just couldn’t do this move, so I didn’t do the problem. The final problem in semis was a sort of mantle to an awkward finish move. I got up to the last move twice, but kept falling while trying to release an awkward heel hook. After the round ended, the head route setter came over and said I was the only one to figure out the “proper” sequence for the final problem, but I still couldn’t finish it. Sometimes comps are like that, and it sucks. If I would’ve been able to do that problem, I would have done 2 out of 4 problems, and advanced to finals. The way it turned out, I only did one and I finished in 11th. After the final round, Kilian had won his 3rd World Cup of the year as well as Akiyo winning for the women. Full results for the WOMEN and MEN. The next competition was to be held in Barcelona so I flew back to Toulouse to pick up my car and a few days later was driving down to Barcelona. From Toulouse, it’s only about a 4 hour drive, and although it was super hot in the car on the way down, we made it and found our hotel. Whenever I’m in Barcelona, I always find that everything is rather dirty. I’m not sure why, but I just don’t get a very good feeling while I’m walking around. It might also be because I don’t speak any Spanish, but I think that English and French is still pretty good. Also, whenever I try to talk to anyone in Spain, generally they ONLY speak Spanish, and get mad when I clearly don’t understand what they’re saying. Anyways, getting back to the competition, it was very hot the whole weekend, and the climbers had to figure out how not to sweat so much, especially on their hands. I finished the qualification round with 4 tops in 6 tries after doing super bad on the last problem. Turns out, if I had done 4 tops in 7 tries, I wouldn’t have even made the semis. During the semi final round, I flashed the first problem, did the second problem second go after a small slip up, flashed the third problem and didn’t do any moves on the last. The first 3 problems were relatively easy for world cup problems and over 10 people did 3 problems. So really, the semi final round came down to one problem, and it was an awkward stand up to a dyno… I was very displeased with this. Furthermore, if you flash the first 3, you also made finals, which is also kinda crazy because it means that you can’t make any mistakes, and during a competition, especially in Bouldering, you CAN make some mistakes but usually catch up on other problems. After a 35 degree finals, Guillaume from France had won his second World Cup of the year, and Akiyo had won another! Full results for the WOMEN and MEN. The third world cup on my list was up in Sheffield. I made the drive back to Toulouse from Barcelona and spend most of the week training for Lead. Because I’m also doing most of the lead world cups this year, I must train for it. Also, because the World Championships are just around the corner in Arco, I have to train for that as well. During the winter, I train 25 move circuits so my endurance is usually so-so. It’s not until I start doing 40 and 50 move circuits now that I actually get at route climbing. I also need to clip a few quickdraws to get that movement back into my head. I trained once in a bouldering gym and another time at a regional French training centre with 15m routes and some hard ones as well. Because the routes were only around 30 moves, I managed to feel really good at that training session, onsighting 8a, 8a+ and 8b. After a whole day of traveling from Toulose-Amsterdam-Manchest, a train ride to Sheffield and a walk to my hotel, I was comfortably in Sheffield, awaiting the day of the competition. Qualifiers went pretty well but not super. I flashed problems 1, 2, and 4, and finished 5 on my second go. Overall, I had 4 tops in 5, which in the end BARELY made it and I qualified in 18th with 20 making semis. In the 3rd problem in qualifiers, the last move was super hard, and I didn’t know the finish hold was a huge jug. It was a weird pocket, and I thought it was going to be bad, therefore when I was going for the last move, I’d lock off and go super slowly. Turns out, it was a huge jug, and I could’ve just jumped. In the semis, I was one of the first people to come out. I came out for the first problem, and I’m not sure if I was nervous, or just having a mental breakdown, but I couldn’t do the first move… As a competitor, this can be very frustrating. Sometimes, the first move of a world cup boulder is just TOO hard, and no one can do it, other times, you’re doing something wrong, other times, you don’t see something very key and other times, you just aren’t strong enough to do the move. It was a weird move with no feet and just a big volume. You had to do a pretty big move up and right to a bad sloper so you couldn’t jump. My first try, I tried to kind of lock off with my left foot high. I knew right away that it would be easier if I had a right foot back step, but when I tried to match feet, my foot was too high. Ultimately, what I didn’t find until 30 seconds left in my 5 minutes was a very small backstep on the volume. On one of my tries, my foot just happened to hit this part of the volume and I almost did the move effortlessly. I came down, looked at the clock and saw 17 seconds. I figured it’d be enough to get the bonus. I jumped on at 12, and did the first move easily. As I was very time crunched, I threw up my heel hook a bit too fast and my right foot slipped off the small feature. I was so mad that I had spent over 4 minutes totally over analyzing a fairly easy move. I usually don’t make mistakes like this in competition and it was definitely out of the ordinary for me. The best part of the semi final round for me was after totally screwing up the first and easiest problem, I managed to compose myself, and do the second problem on my second try. Only Daniel Woods, a Russian and myself finished that problem in semis. The third problem in semis was another that I got fairly mad about. I found that the problem was a lot easier if you were tall. You did a pretty easy move up to a sloper facing towards the left, and then you had to match feet and throw your foot out left to a small foothold. The problem was that if you’re short, your right foot doesn’t stay on and it’s very hard to stick that foot out left. I tried that move about 6-7 times during my 5 minutes because the first move was so easy. Out of those tries, I stuck my foot on that hold only once. Yeah, it might just be me whining because I didn’t do the boulder, but at the end of the day, it’s my opinion and I express it freely. If you agree, cool, if you don’t, that’s fine. Generally at World Cups, the problems are super good, the biggest thing that I don’t like is when moves are clearly easier when you’re tall. I don’t even mind dynos as long as the tall competitors MUST jump as well. It’s all part of the game. Well that was the third world cup, and if I would’ve done the first easy problem, again, I would’ve made finals which is unfortunate but the way the cards were played. After only doing the second problem in 2 tries, I finished in 16th place. Kilian won his 4th World Cup of the season while Akiyo also won again for the women. Full results for the WOMEN and MEN.

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