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    Notes and advice from Sean McColl.

Millau World Cup

My first world cup of the year has come and passed. It wasn’t my best performance but not my worst either, so I’m not disappointed. I finished 9th place at the last world cup in Millau after a very strange semifinal round. Being the first International competition of the year for me, it’s always a bit strange. I’ve been training since January with these comps in mind, but it’s very hard when you have nothing to compare yourself to during all the hours at the gym. I find it helps to do smaller competitions that lead up to the World Cup circuit. I chose this year to continue with training instead of going to ABS Nationals in February. I felt like after only 1 month of training, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable enough to compete at USA Nationals. As I said at the beginning, the first world cup is over. It was a fun weekend spent in Millau France! I arrived on the night of the 4th pretty late after driving out to the small city from Toulouse with a couple of French friends. It was raining pretty hard and everything was dark by the time I had arrived. Women’s qualification was Friday morning with the Men’s during the afternoon. I got to the competition around 09:30 to watch the women and after spending a couple hours watching the qualification, I went back to the hotel to rest for my round. The women’s problems in that round looked hard, with only a handful of competitors doing 4 or 5 boulders. 2 tops were enough for all but one woman. [singlepic id=501 w=320 h=500 float=right] I had a pizza for lunch, which later turned out to be a terrible idea because I didn’t digest any of it and just felt very bloated and heavy during qualification. That aside, I didn’t my standard warm up and felt pretty good. I was nervous, I won’t lie. The first competition of the season is always hard for me because I’m really seeing if I’m at the right level. The qualification round was not great, but not bad for me. After slipping off the first boulder, I sent it easily second go. The second boulder was one of my anti-styles and I fell on the last move a couple of times and didn’t get it. Although the third was also one of my weaknesses, I’ve been practicing shallow pinches and flashed the problem. 4th was impossible and I send the last boulder after falling at the beginning again. I finished qualification with 3 tops in 5 which at the end of the day put me in 12th. Not especially good, but I made tons of mistakes and was not climbing calmly to say the least. The fact that I fell on problems 1 and 5 was proof of that as I fell not really during a move but because of mistakes I was making. Semifinals were the Saturday morning with finals planned at night. I was in isolation by 10:30 with climbing starting at noon. I felt much better this day than the last and was excited to get on the semifinal problems. My bus came at 12:15 for the competition venue and I was soon getting ready to climb. The first boulder in semis was 3 moves. I flashed it… barely. Every move felt hard but I was matching the top hold and that’s all that mattered. From what the announcer was saying, I knew that the boulders were pretty hard, and that the French climber Guillaume had done the first two boulders. The second boulder was a plethora of crimps. Basic moves from the look at it, but just hard. My first attempt was good, but I had a moment of hesitation and my feet slipped out. My second try was awful as I completely missed the 3rd hold. I took some deep breaths and waited a good amount of time. My 3rd try was the best and I was soon into the last couple moves. It was on the second to last move where I tried to hand foot match heel hook which was a mistake. I ended up matching feet to do the move and I didn’t have enough juice to complete the last move of the boulder. I tried it in the remaining seconds of my time but it wasn’t enough. [singlepic id=500 w=350 h=500 float=left] The 3rd boulder baffled me. I didn’t understand what to do, I couldn’t feel through it and I spent 5 minutes trying one move. I was frustrated. Falling off the last move of the second and now unable to complete the third left one boulder. As I fell off the boulder the last time, I yelled at the top of my lungs, trying to get some adrenalin into my system. I took my sheet and walked to the back. For my 5 minute rest, I focused on calming down and remembering to take it one boulder at a time. One last boulder and it should be irrelevant of how the others went. I climbed pretty well on the last boulder, but it was sadly my anti style once again. Small slopey pinches with low feet. The thing that bugged me the most was that on the hardest move of the route, I knew I’d be able to keep my feet on if I was taller. I fell on that move a few times although I felt like I was close almost every time. After finishing my round and watching a few taller climbers keep their feet on for the move didn’t help my mood. I was disappointed with my round; I had 1 boulder flash and 3 bonuses. I try not to be upset if I climb well, but I knew that on a good day, I would’ve done the first 2 flash and maybe completed the last boulder. At the end of THIS day, with my 1 flash I finished 9th. It’s still a top-10 result which improved my day a bit. I missed finals by a few spots and if I would’ve completed the second OR fourth boulder, I’d be in. That made me a bit happier and makes me optimistic for the rest of the season. I also knew that I was in a good spot with regards to my training and my strength. I could feel like it was just strange to be competing again. It takes me a competition to get into the season and also motivates me to train! I had lunch, walked around a bit and came back to watch finals. The first men’s problem was a bit too easy I found with 5 of 6 flashing the boulder and the rest were just too hard. Of the last 3 boulders, there were 3 tops, 2 of them by the winner Kilian Fischhuber. In my opinion, the men’s finals were too hard and it was boring watching everyone struggle on the same move for 4 minute one after another. I imagined that when the route setters were fore running, it was much cooler in the gym and therefore much easier to hold on. On the women’s side, the problems were much better with regards to grading, but I found there were too many jumps. Every boulder had some sort of jump in it. I found the problems lacked powerful or compression style moves. The women’s finals ended up being quite close with Anna Stohr taking the win after having to watch two other women have the possibility of snatching the title. Akiyo Noguchi from Japan couldn’t complete the last boulder for the win and Shauna Coxsey took one too many times and had to settle for 2nd place. Full results for the men can be found HERE. Full results for women can be found HERE.  

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Comments (11)

  • Avatar

    Ze

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    Very nice description of events. I am sure in Austria you will be crushing those holds and will see you in the podium. In what concerns route setting, I didn’t like the style although the uncertainty in qualification round and semi-finals outweighed the boredom of competitors struggling. In finals, I think it was too much of the same. For example, first move of M1 looked a lot like first move of M3, same style. But overall, I would call this competition a curve ball =). Do you watch replays of you and/or other competitors climbing in order to improve and learn?

    Best of luck!

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Sean McColl

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      Yes, I try to watch the videos to see what I missed and how to work on things. I also discuss a lot with the other competitors to see what was going through their heads while approaching the problem!

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Geoff Georges

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    Sean, thanks for your posts, they are always interesting and informative. It was raining in Seattle (big surprise I know) on Sat, so I watched the World Cup and the SCS comp that night.
    I noticed that the Canadian comp had semi-finals and finals on separate days- that makes sense to me.
    I don’t want to pass judgement on the World Cup setters, it has got to be hard to stump some of the best climbers out there, but these routes seemed awkward and not so fun to climb. There were some great moves and moments but overall not the greatest walls or problems.
    I agree that it is frustrating to watch all the climbers fall off the same crazy hold sequence.
    Running starts on boulder pads is just stupid, so sad to see Alex Puccio struggle on that one.
    Separate question: I saw that the IFSC is having each climber have to do all 3 disciplines : speed, rope lead and boulder for the Olympic plans. What do you think of that?

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Sean McColl

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      I don’t find running starts to be stupid, I just prefer it when the “running” part isn’t the hardest part. If Alex would have touched the holds a few times but been unable to stick them I would’ve enjoyed it more.

      As for the Olympics, I think it was the correct presentation for what the Olympics needs. Originally with only lead, the competition would’ve been two rounds (semi-finals and finals because of the quotas) which is maybe too short. If you have a combined, it makes the event longer, more possibility of movement in placements and in my opinion a much more “rounded competition climber”. I am in no way implying that competitors that do only one aren’t amazing athletes.

      Maybe down the road climbing could be so lucky as to have all 4 disciplines in the Olympics (lead, bouler, speed, and overall)!

      Reply

  • 2013 Millau Bouldering World Cup – Finals

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    […] move). Only Sharafutdinov was remotely close to sending. Sean McColl says he imagines that “when the route setters were fore running, it was much cooler in the gym and therefore much easier to…“. That was probably the case. At least the last try of the last competitor (Sharafutdinov) […]

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Paul

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    Always great to watch you climb Sean! Your quick dynamic confident style is a great inspiration and is the biggest change I’ve tried to bring to my climbing for a long while. The setting was definitely not great. It is possible to make jumps that are not height dependant without changing the grade and seeing Rustam struggle to get the height to reach the double gastons made me cringe. That said, my take on the fourth semi was that most of the people who stuck the move across had matched the lower crimp (which didn’t seem by design of the setters).

    Good luck for the next comp! No doubt you will crush it!

    Reply

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    […] bit strange warming up; I could feel the nerves of another competition. I felt much better than in Millau France which was reassuring. During the qualification round, I ended up doing all the boulders but some I […]

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  • Kitzbuehel World Cup | SportCafé

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    […] bit strange warming up; I could feel the nerves of another competition. I felt much better than in Millau France which was reassuring. During the qualification round, I ended up doing all the boulders but some I […]

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