Beginning of the Lead SeasonWe are now getting into the Lead climbing portion of the 2013 World Cup season which is quite a change coming from bouldering. As I’ve mentioned before, I love the switch although I still haven’t had a huge time to train lead yet. I did a couple of weeks when I got back from Vail and I feel it coming back quickly. I’m up around the 50 move mark before I start getting really tired. I’m still trying to do 80 move circuits which is the hardest part for me! When the circuits are 40 moves, I find I can always do them, no matter how hard the moves are. Between the 40 and 50 move mark, I start to get tired and then it’s like hitting a wall sometimes where I’m so fatigued from the first 3/4 I’m so tired trying to get to the top. I train with the single goal in mind to push those numbers a few higher every week. By the time the season starts, I should be above 60 moves! The next part is the timing of the season. The first world cup is scheduled to be in Briancon, France. I have decided not to attend the competition and rather boycott the event. Why you might ask, well it’s for personal reasons, but overall I’m not very happy with the selection process of the FFME and I’m supporting my girlfriend. I’ll start by saying that it doesn’t have anything to do with me, but rather my girlfriend Mathilde Becerra who climbs for France. She wrote her own blog and released it yesterday which can be found here. She explains her process and how her 2013 season was crushed again and again. I’ll describe it from my point of view and you as readers can interpret it as you want. In 2012, Mathilde competed in 5 Lead world cups, making the semi finals in all 5. Her best result was 10th in the final World Cup of her season in Atlanta. Although making semi finals, she wasn’t very happy with her overall season, until Atlanta. She took a good month rest and started training again in October. She focused on the basics of climbing movement and strength in order to attain a new level of power which would overall make her a better climber. (if every single move is just plain easier, lead climbing is easier) is the mentality we adopt. I could see her progression and she was great on the campus. Fast forward 6 months we’re at the French Lead Nationals. She crushed her qualifiers and was confident for semis. She was out near the end and I got to see her climb. She climbed comfortably and confidently. She rested where she needed to and was maybe too confident coming into a hard crux passage merely a move away from making finals. In her head, she was thinking too far in advance on the route, a deadly mistake. She grabbed the next hold poorly, tried to clench her lower hand and dry fired – finishing 9th and missing finals by 1 spot, 1 move. She was crushed, and that’s putting it lightly. Because she wasn’t in the top-5, she wouldn’t be able to compete in Chamonix for the European Championships. On top of that, she also wasn’t qualified for World Cups this year. This is where it starts to get interesting. To be eligible for the French reserve team, in their rules, you have to be finalist at Nationals or Podium at a French cup in 2012. (PDF here) Mathilde is entering 5th year of Mechanical Engineering and didn’t compete in those French cups. She also doesn’t the means to be driving around France for all those cups. This was also her downfall. Of course you can argue that it’s not an excuse and Mathilde should’ve gone to the French cups, I know this and I accept it. There’s a final way to be accepted onto the French team, a letter to the FFME! This seems logical as I’ve had to write letters to the Canadian federation when I’ve missed my own Nationals to be competing in Europe. It’s written in the French rules that they can enable competitors on a competition by competition basis to compete in World Cups. Mathilde applied for this and I thought 100% she would get it – sadly she was denied. This is the part that doesn’t make sense to me. The first World Cup of 2013, on French soil, with a possibility of 14 Female French competitors, and they’re not going to send someone, who if climbed perfectly could make finals? On top of that, they’re not even going to fill their quotas, ON HOME TURF. They decided to fill the quotas for European Championships one week prior but won’t do this? On top of that, if Mathilde doesn’t compete in Briancon, it can’t even make her eligible for the whole rest of the year, ultimately crippling Mathilde’s 2013 season. France is sending 7 female athletes to Briancon (who have all earned their place, I’m not taking anything away from those exceptional athetes), my beef comes from that they won’t add one extra. I can argue the devil’s advocate against myself and see the opposing points, but I find the positives outweigh the negatives. Yeah Mathilde should’ve done the French cups, or just made finals at Nationals, but is it worth throwing away 8 months of training for it? On top of it, why have the documentation for this type of application when denying the most eligible candidate? I think they should give her the opportunity to salvage her season by letting her do one world cup. If she doesn’t make semi-finals, her season stops and she regroups for 2014. By doing this, she faces a couple International events in 2013 and then the French cups (if her school allows her to go). I’d love to hear comments on this, good and bad. Overall, I see a flaw in the system. Had it been a world cup in another country where the quotas were full, of course she didn’t get her spot. Being the first one, and in France is where I just don’t agree. Once again here’s Mathilde blog, here’s my Athlete Page or you can comment below.
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