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    Notes and advice from Sean McColl.

Hamilton World Cup

The second world cup of Canadian history was in Hamilton, Canada this past weekend. This was the 5th world cup this year for me and 6th of the season. I was pretty excited just because I was going to be competing on home soil. [singlepic id=531 w=500 h=400 float=center]   I left Toulouse on Thursday the 30th and headed straight to Toronto. After an awful layover in PHI, I was through my 2 flights and safely in Toronto. I met up with my parents who I hadn’t seen in a few months and we headed to Joe Rockheads for the team Canada uniform presentation. It started just as we got there and we were reunited with the rest of the team. The 31st was mostly a rest day. I met up with the rest of the Joe Rockheads team to give them some tips for the world cup and had a nice lunch with them as well June 1st was qualifiers and it was down to business. Because my world ranking is 2 and Dimitrii couldn’t obtain a Canadian visa, this meant that I was first out again! I was pretty excited to be competing in Canada again and I could tell there was a good buzz in the crowd. I was first out and the qualifiers just seem to suit me. One after another, I kept flashing the boulders. By the 4th flash, I was confident I’d flash the 5th as well. I even slipped a bit on the last move of 5, but managed to catch myself and still flash the boulder. I got 5 for 5 in qualifiers and a standing ovation from the crowd! I think they really like seeing a Canadian come out first and flash all 5 qualifiers. They could also see that all the other World Cup athletes weren’t flashing all of them either, which meant it wasn’t just a walk in the park. [singlepic id=529 w=500 h=400 float=center]   After the qualifiers, only 2 Canadian men advanced to the semifinal round, me and Miles Adamson. On the women’s side, we had 3 of them make the cut including Stacey Weldon, Elise Sethna and Kerry Briggs. Semifinals were the morning of the 2nd and I was last out. I spent a good 2.5 hours in isolation just puttering around and talking to the other athletes. I did a normal warm up and was ready 10-15 minutes before my shuttle was ready. All in all the semifinal round went pretty well. I did the first slab problem in 2 tries before getting absolutely shut down on the 2nd boulder. I just couldn’t do a hard move around the lip. I personally thought the foot was a bit low. After a close call with some black tape on number 3, I managed to flash it and had 2 boulders in 3. I knew the last boulder was going to be important because as I was doing 1-3, I could tell boulders 3 and 4 were getting done. I also knew that Jorg had done all 4 boulders. My goal was to flash number 4 and hopefully advance to finals. My first try was good, but I missed this weird crimp that was slightly blocked by another hold. My second attempt was the same as my first. I took a small break and tried a third time, falling on the 1st move… I knew I was going to have to wait for one final attempt. I rested for what seemed like minutes, but was realistically 50 seconds. I thought my finals spot was riding on this attempt because I didn’t think 2 in 3 would pass for finals. I turned around to the crowd with 45 seconds left on the block and asked them for a bit of help. They knew what I wanted and started to cheer like I knew they could. It worked and I sent the boulder that try! As I topped the boulder, they cheered like I had just won the competition, maybe also knowing I would advance to the finals. I waved to them and jumped down. My next thought was if I made finals. I looked around and found my mom and mouthed “Is it enough” and she just nodded. I was pretty relieved and super stoked to be in finals on home turf. I looked up to the crowd and said “thank you” as it them who psyched me up that extra bit. I then found out that I was already in finals with my first 3 boulders which I found kind of funny but oh well… [singlepic id=528 w=500 h=400 float=center]   As it turned out I would’ve been 6th place with my first 3 boulders and I moved into 4th place by sending the last one. With me in finals was a nice roster including Kilian Fischhuber, Jakob Schubert, Jorg Verhoeven, Rustam Gelmanov and Rei Sugimoto. After a stop by Tim Horton’s, I was back in isolation waiting for finals. An hour after that, we were presented and went through preview. The problems looked pretty good and we thought they were all doable. The first boulder in finals was a dyno around a small corner, then straight up the arête. I managed to flash it along with a couple other guys. A few of us took 2 attempts after mis firing on the dyno. The second boulder was in the corner feature and looked pretty weird. Rei got zone and Kilian sent it. When it was my turn, I must’ve had a brain fart or something because I didn’t problem solve very well for those 4 minutes. We had all previewed to go left hand straight up then do a small mantle before working left. When I tried it like that, it seemed super hard but I thought I just needed to try harder. As it turns out, you were supposed to palm the left wall and go up the corner instead. I spent 4 minutes trying to go straight up instead of up the corner. To top things off, I did actually manage to get straight up twice and try a small dyno towards the left. Because I knew the dyno was possible, I didn’t look for any other way to do the boulder; I just kept trying it like that. It sucks that my brain shut down like that because looking back on the problem with the corner, I think I could’ve done it. I had to walk away from that problem with nothing to show for it. Unfortunately it went the same way for problem 3 and I was even reading it for the most part correctly. It reverse started in the corner and grabbed two crimps. From there you had to come around a circle feature and blindly go-again to two small crimps. I never completed that move. For this move, there were a few things that were shutting me down. The move was far, blind, around a corner and did I mention far… The holds we were catching were also rotated slightly gaston. All of this combined just shut me down and I never stuck the move. Personally, I hate doing a move to a hold I cannot see. There’s something mental about physically seeing where I need to get to before doing the move. Even if I lean back, see the hold, then lean back in before doing the move I don’t mind. This was a full blind move for me and like I’ve been saying just destroyed me. Second problem in a row that I had to walk away with nothing to show for it. It’s tough walking away from 2 problems with nothing. I tried to shake it off in isolation and just concentrated on the last boulder. If I flashed it, I knew I could come 2nd – 4th depending on how many other people did it. I went out pretty excited and looked at the boulder again. I got on and the first few moves were big and hard. As I was going for the zone, I knew my left hand was a bit low on the sloper. As I stuck the zone, I tried to re adjust my left hand but the swing was too big and I fell… another error. I took a minute rest, got the crowd as psyched up as I could and sent the boulder 2nd go. Even on my 2nd go, it was really hard. I got a great applause and shouts from the crowd as I topped the second boulder and as I jumped down Anna Stohr sent her 4th boulder securing either 1st or 2nd place to the screams of the crowd. [singlepic id=530 w=500 h=400 float=center]   The last 3 climbers for the men all flashed the boulder putting me 6th at the end of the day. It’s a bit upsetting to be last in the round but I try to think about just having the chance to be in finals and on a good day, maybe I would’ve flashed the second problem and won the comp… Looking back on the finals the next day, I can see all the errors that I made and I admit that I felt pretty tired in finals. That still doesn’t mean I couldn’t win, but things didn’t click for me on that particular hour and I know I can’t always be on the podium. There also always has to be someone who comes last in finals, today it was me. Kilian walked away with his second victory of the year with Jorg and Jakob completing the podium as well. On the women’s side, Anna won her 5th World Cup of the year with Akiyo and Alex in 2nd and 3rd. Full results can be found by clicking: WOMEN or MEN. I am now traveling to Denver where I’ll spend a few days in Boulder before heading to Vail for the next round of the season! I’m pretty excited as last year in Vail, I felt really strong. It helped that I’ve been making finals more consistently and I hope I can keep it up! I feel good, feel strong, feel light and feeling healthy!

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Comments (7)

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    Pierre

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    Thanks for the post, always great to read the world cups from your point of view. The crowd was amazing with everyone during the whole event, CANADA FTW!

    Good luck in Veil !

    Reply

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    Kimanda

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    Not sure if you know this, but so many of our athletes watch ifsc.tv and read this blog. Keep it up – your insight, honesty and talent is inspiring generations. Thank you 🙂

    Reply

  • Avatar

    John Meget

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    Sean, I get the sense watching on IFSC TV that many of the WC comps this year gave a pretty substantial advantage to taller climbers. In particular, I recall seeing several moves that were somewhat routine for tall world-class climbers, but looked next to impossible for shorter ones.

    Any thoughts about this?

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Sean McColl

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      It’s unfortunate when the boulders are slightly easier for taller climbers but it comes hand in hand with the discipline. Most of the route setters are good about thinking about those possibilities and tweaking them accordingly. Sometimes it doesn’t matter and it’s just easier if you’re taller which means I’ll just have to pull harder!

      Reply

  • Vail World Cup | SportCafé

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    […] a hard finals in Hamilton but a finals none-the-less I flew to Denver with my mom and dad. After a rest day on the Monday, I […]

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