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    Notes and advice from Sean McColl.

St. Antonin Training Camp

[singlepic id=311 w=320 h=240 float=center]   This past Saturday, I was invited to one of the Regional training camps for French athletes. They have these sort of training camps every once in a while at a very special place. I had the chance to bring my camera this time and snap a few pictures of the gym before our training started. I find myself lucky to be invited to some of these training camps because I miss the feeling of having a real coach; someone always there to push you, guide you, and motivate you. The closest thing I have to a coach is my girlfriend who is always there at training with me. We motivate each other quite well; it’s just different from having a real coach. As I mentioned before, this gym is quite special in that it is owned and was build was the Raboutou family. Didier Roboutou and “Robyn Erbesfield” (before marriage), now Robyn Raboutou built the gym in the 80’s I believe and trained here as well. I know there have been editions as the years progressed and now it is just a matter of adding volumes to make the walls the equivalent of some world cup structures. As the gym has progressed throughout the years, it is now used as a training camp location for the Regional training camp. It’s in St. Antonin which is about an hour North-East of Toulouse. If you’re within an hour of Toulouse, it isn’t very far, and a lot of the climbers don’t have to drive more than an hour to get there. [singlepic id=307 w=320 h=240 float=left] At the training camp, there were about 10 climbers there and 3 coaches. To be invited to these Regional training camps, you have to be a dedicated climber to begin with. The next stage are the National training camps which are mostly reserved for climbers that the coaches think will be on the World Cup team. Those training camps are also run by the National team coaches. We got to St. Antonin at around noon, and just chilled for the better part of a half an hour. We got some coffee and ate lunch in preparation for our training. To start things off, we were given pretty much an hour to be perfectly warmed up. We knew what we were going to be doing in an hour and for me, it was 4 boulders, world cup format (semifinals). That is to say, we’d wait in isolation and go out one at a time on a circuit of 4 boulders; 5 minutes on, 5 minutes off. After doing this on the first 4 boulders, I managed to get 3 tops in 7 tries and 3 bonuses in 5. I couldn’t touch the first boulder although being painfully close to the zone. It was a weird slab boulder which I did manage to fire off first try after resting for a bit. [singlepic id=308 w=320 h=240 float=right] After a 20 minute rest, I did the exact same thing on another set of 4 boulders. These boulders went much better than the first 4, maybe because I was more motivated. I flashed 3 of the 4, and send the last one second go. I felt good, I had done all 8 of the boulders, which would in the range of V10 or 11. I find that this is the best training that I could’ve asked for before ABS Nationals. To have the chance to have high level climbers set new boulders with new holds and add volumes is absolutely perfect for competition training. I get to climb on different styles of boulders and climb alongside strong climbers as well. [singlepic id=309 w=320 h=240 float=left] After the two sets of 4’s, I could tell that I should probably feel tired, so I took the next 8 problems the setters had set, and just ran around, trying to do them as fast as I could. I managed to do all the boulders, but also managed to slip in a lot in weird places. Usually the feet, which were very bad. I find it was good, because when I’m training with Mathilde in Toulouse, we can’t build very many technical problems because on the walls that are vertical, or a bit slabby, there are only jugs. It reminded me what it was like to climb slowly and precise. Added to the fact, that I was wearing pretty old shoes, I felt good. At the very end of the session, I repeated a few boulder problems to analyze different methods and made one variation for my last problem. When it was time to pack up, we looked at the clock, and it read 5:30. In total, we were climbing for 5 hours. I was absolutely worked but felt like this last training couldn’t have been better. 5 hours of bouldering, especially hard boulder problems is very hard not only physically but mentally as well. I knew that because this was going to be the last hard training before my trip to the States, I’d better make it count. On the short drive home, I felt tired, but satisfied. Another big reason that I loved this training camp was because the last time I came to a training camp at this gym was a week before I left for my Switzerland trip in late 2011. I was in route mode, although felt stronger than ever. I had a great training camp like this, then went to Switzerland to boulder with Daniel Woods and Paul Robinson. I had the best trip I’ve ever had, and it opened my eyes to the world of bouldering hard! The week after Switzerland was where I won my first Lead World Cup as well. [singlepic id=310 w=320 h=240 float=right] I can only hope that history will repeat itself. Training camp is done, and now in a week, I have ABS Nationals. After that, I head to Hueco for the Rock Rodeo with almost two weeks of Hueco Tanks just after. We’re now on our way to Paris for a little vacation before my trip to the States. Disneyland Paris for a day, and a day and a half in Paris proper. Mathilde also has a National training camp the day after I leave for the States so for the next week we’ll be doing mostly resting. For the past month and a half, we’ve been 100% dedicated to training, and this rest will be pleasant. We’ll probably go to the gym once or twice just to stretch out and grab a few holds as well. In the next couple of days, I’ll be writing down my thoughts of all this training and the lead up to ABS Nationals 2012. I’ll be writing whatever comes to my mind on subjects like what I expect, how I feel, and just competing in general. If anything, it’ll hopefully just add to the hype of the competition spirit! It’ll be posted on the Sportiva LIVE site hopefully just before ABS weekend.

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