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    Notes and advice from Sean McColl.

Munich World Cup 2012

I know it’s been a while since the world cup in Munich although I’ve been extremely busy. The world cup ended around 10pm and Mathilde and I had some dinner before heading to Geneva. I had booked a flight out of Geneva as Mathilde was doing a co-op in Chamonix and it was so close. We drove through the night stopping for 2.5 hours to sleep a bit as well. Mathilde took a flight back to Toulouse at 1pm and I had my flight to Singapore at 5pm. After a short flight to Amsterdam, a layover and a 12.5 hour flight to Singapore, I met up with the Canadian Youth National team for the 2012 Jr. World Championships. Since then, I’ve been coaching and resting. Today I’m headed back to Europe for my last week of training before MY world championships in Paris which start on the 12th. The Munich cup went incredibly well for me and it was the closest bouldering world cup that I’ve come to winning. [singlepic id=439 w=500 h=380 float=center]   Qualifiers were the morning of the 25th with men going before the women. Mathilde came with me to isolation as our hotel was too far to go back too in between the men and women. The qualification round went quite well for me as I walked away with 4 tops in 7 tries. I managed to flash the first 3 and send the 4th on my 3rd go. My first go on number 4 was abysmal, my second, I was tickling the final hold before my foot gave way on the volume and my 3rd was the send. As for the last qualifier problem, I couldn’t do the first move. It was a weird move where you had to fall into the zone hold and catch a toe hook on the start hold. I didn’t figure it out and thus didn’t get very far. I qualified 2nd in my group putting me in good position for semi-finals. Semi-finals were the morning of the 26th and I went out near the end. The semi-final round is always the hardest and I’ve never made finals in Munich. This put a bit of added pressure, but I tried to keep reminding myself to just try and climb well. Hopefully if I climb well, it’ll be enough for finals, and if not, then oh well. The first problem in semi-finals was pretty long, but I figured out the feet first method on my first go. One hard move to the zone, and I flashed the first problem. [singlepic id=433 w=500 h=380 float=center]   Second was a jump start to a traverse. I wasn’t such a big fan of the second problem, but still managed to flash it. If you were careful and precise, this was probably one of the easier ones this round. The third I was happy to see as it involved all volumes. A little mantle start into 4-5 triangular volumes with compression the whole way up. I loved this problem and managed to flash it as well. I was 3 for 3 going into the last boulder. The last boulder did not make me smile when seeing it. It involved a corner… which meant using my legs and although I’m not against using my legs, I know that with lack of feet, it’s not my forte. Sure enough, the stemming corner was hard enough that my legs got pumped, and I couldn’t step my feet up high or wide enough and fell on the last move. I wasn’t sure if it was enough for finals, so I took a big break before trying it a second time. This time, I moved a bit quicker through the beginning to keep my legs fresh. To get my feet up high enough in the corner, I had to turn my left foot to a small drop knee. It worked, and I managed to get my feet to the small footholds as I touched the final hold with both hands. 4 tops in 5 tries. As I jumped down, I knew I’d be in finals, which is a great feeling! Finals were later that day after a pretty good rest. I went to isolation early as they had good food, and beverages. [singlepic id=434 w=320 h=480 float=left] The first finals boulder was kind of crazy, with toe hooks to start and a weird jump. I got the toe hooks, almost fell on the jump and did the last couple moves pretty fast. It was harder to match the final hold than I thought, but because they were all on volumes, the texture was just so good. After the first boulder, I was in the lead as I had qualified first in semis! The second boulder in finals had a very strange first move which stumped us for most of the preview. After the first move, the rest looked pretty basic. A bit of compression on slopers and a big lock off sort of looking last move. As I was sitting in isolation, I could hear that the first move was giving people trouble, but then was also hearing that most of the men were finally doing the problem. When I finally went out, I was excited until I started trying the problem. I jumped on, fell on the first move… I then looked at the problem, and tried it again. Time after time, I kept falling on the first move. After falling a couple times doing my own sequence, I tried various other methods we talked about in isolation but failed on all of them. Near my 5th try, I took a deep breath, put my hands on my knees and tried to re-focus. [singlepic id=436 w=500 h=380 float=center]   Because the first move was a sort of awkward jump into a volume, I wasn’t getting tired or pumped from trying it, but a little mental break can really make the difference. I decided I would try it for the last 90 seconds as I tried it the first couple of times. On the 3rd go after my short break, I finally stuck the move, and it felt easy… After matching hands under the roof, in my head I just didn’t want to blow it… The move out of the roof I reached with my feet on and going around left was the hardest move. Once I had my feet out left, I did the last two moves pretty quickly. As I matched the final hold, I could hardly believe the first move had taken me that many tries. At the end of that problem, I was just happy that I had completed it. The 3rd problem was a slab. It started on the right corner, did a weird balancy traverse towards the left, then straight up on small slopers. The finish holds were two quarter pad 2-finger pockets which barred out any sort of dyno to them. From the speed of people coming back from the problem, we understood that Dmitrii Sharafutdinov from Russia had completed the problem and we weren’t sure about the rest. Jakob Schubert went out just before me, and I knew he had stuck zone, but had fallen on the last move. [singlepic id=435 w=320 h=480 float=right] I went out excited and open minded. I wasn’t worried about completing the problem or not, but I knew the problem was possible. I started the problem, matched feet and realized the foothold out left was too far to touch. I quickly decided that I was going to do a little hop onto the foothold, then fall into the next handhold with both hands. I jumped a bit to the left, stuck the foothold and hopped onto the hold. My feet instantly came off the hold, and I managed to paste them on the wall just inches away from the edge of the wall. My swing stopped and I was miraculously half way through the problem. I pasted my foot on the big foothold and went up to validate zone. We had previewed to touch the zone for points, and then come back down to do a bit hi-step. When I went up to zone, I felt like my body was in a perfect position so I brought my other hand up while keeping my hips close to the wall to keep my balance. It seemed a good idea to step my left foot up, so I did, then slowly balanced up pushing off my left leg and left hand. As I reached up, everything was just clicking on this problem. I grabbed the final hold with two fingers, and matched just over top. To me, the problem felt so easy, but I knew that it’s just the way slab problems go sometimes. The smallest thing while doing these sorts of problems can make them feel impossible to easy. Going into the last problem, I knew that only 1 or 2 other finalists had completed the first 3 problems which meant I had a great opportunity to be on the podium again. When Rustam Gelmanov went out first and flashed the 4th problem, I was concentrated on one thing, flashing. When Stewart Watson from Great Britain went out and was unable to complete the problem, we knew that it must be hard. I knew in the back of my head that my best chances of winning were to flash the last problem, especially seeing that it had be done which meant it wasn’t impossible. Due to the weird nature of the second problem AND the slab, the tries were impossible to keep track of from isolation (couldn’t even guess). [singlepic id=437 w=320 h=450 float=left] When it was finally my turn, I was ready to go and I took a bit longer looking at the problem than I normally do, even though I had remembered the whole thing perfectly from preview. I stepped on and the first move was a bit further than I had anticipated. I did it and climbed through the problem just as I thought it would work. It wasn’t until the last move that I got worried for just a second. The second to last hold was VERY bad, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to move my foot further right. I spotted back and left, and saw where my foot should probably go. I spun my knee towards the right and slowly stemmed up into a low drop knee. From here, I could just exploded and do a 1-2 match on the finish hold. As I was jumping to the finish hold, I was pretty sure I was going to do the problem. The last hold was really good, and the texture was perfect. I had flashed the last problem and knew I was on the podium. The only question in my mind now, was if I had done enough for the win. I knew Dmitrii had do 4 problems, but again wasn’t sure how many tries he had on 2 or 3. I also thought Rustam might have done all 4 but it turned out he only completed 3 of the boulders. After jumping down off the problem, I was all smiles and I started waving at the crowd. I really wanted to know what my placing was, so I kneeled down beside the judge and asked “was it enough?” As I scanned the ipad, she entered my 4th climb. Shortly after, my score was updated and I was in 2nd position with Dmitrii in 1st. I wanted to know how close it was, and I saw I had 4 tops in 10 with 4 bonuses in 10 as well. Dmitrii had 4 tops in 10 with 4 bonuses in 9… One attempt away… As I stood up taking this in, a smile came across my face and I couldn’t stop myself from laughing. I was so happy with coming 2nd, and to think that it was 1 bonus try away from my first bouldering win was crazy to think about. I waved at the crowd as Akiyo Noguchi finished her climb, flashing all 4 finals boulders. As I walked behind the wall towards my stuff, it started to sink in… I had come 2nd at the world cup, which would match my best result in boulder world cups! What was a bit weird in the next 15 minutes was that somehow the scoreboard had showed me in first place just after my climb. I imagine it was because of the same tops score and attempts between Dmitrii and I, although I knew I had come 2nd. People started to congratulate me, and the anti-doping guy even came over to me to get me to start filling out the form. I was a bit confused at first and kept saying that I was 2nd. After 10-15 minutes of just not really knowing, they finally confirmed my 2nd place on the scoreboard as well. [singlepic id=438 w=500 h=380 float=right]   So that’s the story of the final bouldering world cup of 2012 here in Munich. Dmitrii won, I was second and Jakob took third place. It also turns out that the 4th problem was irrelevant for me to climb. Although my score changed after the 4th problem, my ranking did not. Even if you know your ranking won’t change, you still want to do the problem. I managed to flash the problem which was a great feeling as well. I can’t help but think about the 7 tries it took me to do the first move of the second problem. Barring that first move, I flashed all the rest in the final round! I was over the moon and still am for coming 2nd, and it still makes me chuckle to think about how close it was. Next step for me is the world championships in Paris! I’m doing all 3 disciplines which is a possible 5 climbing days in a row! I’m super excited and can’t wait to get back into the gym for my final week of training before it starts!

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    Sean, I thought you looked the strongest and the best at Munich. It was too bad to see you not take first on another ‘parlor trick’ type boulder, that depended so much on height. I’m pretty sure that after you figured out that first move, you were the only climber who finished the boulder without falling.

    I thought the comp overall was exciting. But five women finished the women’s routes — showing they were too easy. And the men’s comp was decided on tries (a lot of them), not on tops but on bonuses. So it seems to me the men’s routes didn’t really do their job either.

    I recognize setting is extremely hard, especially at this level. Something the IFSC needs to spend a lot of time and thought on.


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