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    Notes and advice from Sean McColl.

2013 World Games, Cali

For the past 6 weeks I’ve been training, climbing outside and getting ready for the lead season. It has now officially started and my first competition is finished. During my training, I was doing circuits, some bouldering and trying to push the upper limit of my endurance for 6 weeks. I also had the opportunity to go outside climbing a bit and that was fun as well. I found a few projects in the 9th degree (5.14d ish) that I really want to go back and try. [singlepic id=545 w=550 h=350 float=center] My first lead competition of the year was the French Nationals. I managed to walk away with a win but it wasn’t a very good representation of my fitness. I was in boulder shape and I knew if I got bogged down anywhere, I’d be falling low. I had a perfect finals route and almost topped. My first “real” lead competition of the year was this past weekend at the World Games in Cali, Colombia. It’s my first test because I’ve been training lead and feeling really strong. You never really know how strong you are until you see how you climb and where you rank. You obviously have to happy with how you climb and I always hope that if I climb well, I can make it onto the podium! Also, with other years, the first lead competition is a world cup so you have a few qualifiers to get the feel of clipping draws again. Here in Colombia, we didn’t get that and it was straight to semi-finals. I arrived on July 31st after a very long “day” (30 hours) of traveling. I had prepped my jet lag sleep patterns to be on Central time leaving Europe. It worked out great and I fell straight into my rhythm. I spent the first two days resting, checking out other sports and just taking it all in. With the exclusion of climbing in the 2020 Olympics, for now this is as close as it gets! On the 3rd, I watched all of the Speed competition and it got my psyched for my own competition day. Alison Stewart-Patterson finished 15th in the Speed event. Because it’s The World Games, they only take 8 to finals instead of the normal top-16. The next day was the lead portion which meant my turn! [singlepic id=544 w=320 h=350 float=right] I did my routine warm-up and felt good. It was warm for the semifinals so I was mainly focused on just keeping cool. The wall was top-30 which wasn’t great but at least it was new and there were a few volumes on the wall. After previewing the route, I thought it looked good. I went out 11th of 16th which gave me about an hour after preview until I’d be going out. From the crowd and just listening to the reactions, by the time it was my turn the route hadn’t been sent. It didn’t look too complicated with no defined cruxes. I went out and climbed awkwardly I’d say. It felt weird to be back on a rope after training circuits for so long. Clipping also felt like a burden. The route was very awkward, with hard moves with no feet low down. I just bouldered through them as best I could and kept going. By halfway I was pretty pumped and starting to get worried. Normally if I’m pumped halfway up a route, it’s going to be a bad day… I kept my mind out of it, tried to rest a bit and just kept going. Once I did a hard move at 2/3, the route turned a lot nicer. The moves flowed together a lot better and the feet seemed to be placed much more accurately. I fell off on the 3rd to last move but was happy with my performance. I found out that I was ranked 1st for the moment with 5 more climbers to go. Jakob and Ramon both got one move further placing me in 3rd after the first round. I was happy to be in finals. Like I said before, it’s always awkward to do a competition route the first time after not competing in lead for so long. It’s good to know I’ve been training well, I fell strong and I can still perform with the highest competitors. [singlepic id=543 w=320 h=350 float=right] Finals were a few hours later and I just laid down until then, relaxing. The finals started at 1:30pm, getting to the hottest part of the day. For presentation, I went out in my long sleeve team top and started baking. I left it on for the presentation, but took it off immediately to preview. The finals route looked better than the semis which was nice. I did another standard warm-up and was soon on deck. I could feel the heat even from the shady isolation zone. When I was tied in and called to climb, I stepped out into the blazing sun and looked up at the wall… no more shade. During preview, it was shaded but now that it was an hour and a half later, there was no shade to be found. I chuckled in my head then started walking towards the route. Everything felt good. In the route, nothing went too poorly until the top. I climbed the start quickly and efficiently, feeling good. Near the top of the route, I naturally started to get tired, but I felt really strong. The first of two mistakes I made was the 3rd to last draw. I knew I should clip it, but I was looking for a better hold. I kept climbing and eventually had to make a very awkward clip near my feet. I climbed another few moves and was within 5 moves from the finish. There was one more clip and then the final one. I reached out with my right to a good side pull and said to myself I should clip. When I setup my feet, I thought I wouldn’t want to clip and fall, so did the next move. As soon as I crossed over, I knew it was a mistake. [singlepic id=542 w=550 h=350 float=center] Now I had to clip from a worse hold because I figured if I went to the next hold, it wouldn’t count because it’s too far away from the draw. Knowing it’d be impossible to clip and being this high on the finals, I knew I had to clip now. I grabbed the rope with my right hand and started pulling towards the draw. I got halfway and knew I had to abandon it. I knew I’d clip (or maybe not clip) and fall immediately. Panic hit me and I dropped the rope. I needed to grab something with my right hand NOW; I looked at the draw quickly and said that was against the rules. I flailed for the previous hold, knew I was falling and lept towards the next hold, almost tagging it. I was falling, and I was not happy. In the air, I was frustrated. I shouted “no” as I was falling because I knew it wasn’t my best effort. I had messed up not one, but two clips and the second one really cost me. Doing circuits all the time makes my clipping a bit worse than it should be. I still feel like I’m good at clipping but here it cost me a few places. I finished 5th after all the dust had settled. Ramon Julian-Publanque took the win by falling on the second to last move. Jakob Schubert was second with Magnus Midtboe in third by completing the clip, grabbing the next and getting a +. Hyunbin Min hadn’t clipped and just kept climbing. The also gave him the next hold with a +. I think he should’ve just gotten solid because if he completed the move, he would never have been able to clip. It didn’t matter because Magnus won in a count back to semis. So to summarize those results, if I would’ve skipped the clip and done one more move, I go to 4th. If I climbed smarter, clipped with the draw and then did that one move, I finish 3rd. After that, who knows? Overall, I’m happy with a 5th place finish for my performance. I didn’t climb extremely well, but I didn’t get a bad rank. 5th is awesome and it gives me confidence for the competitions to come, which is almost as important as making finals in itself. I need to tweak very minor things while climbing but overall I felt strong, confident and felt like I was moving efficiently through the routes. I also hope the next competition routes I climb are a bit more bouldery. After talking to the other athletes we felt that the finals were just not very special. They were normal moves and no moves harder than any other and really awkward clips. It would’ve helped if all the holds were the same color as well for aesthetic reasons. That being said, it was one of the best competitions I’ve seen and/or competed in in South America. On the women’s side Mina Markovic took the Gold with Jain Kim and Dinara Fhakiknova completing the podium. [singlepic id=541 w=600 h=350 float=center] That night, we all went to the closing ceremonies of The World Games and I think that experience was the best of the week. They lined up all the coaches/managers/athletes in a giant parade into a soccer stadium of 20,000 people fanatically cheering and waving. It felt like I can only imagine the ceremonies at the Olympics feels like for the athletes. Following the parade was performances by a dancing group, multiple singers and a finale of fireworks. After that, they just kept playing music with everyone in super high spirits and just having fun! That marked the end of the World Games and it was one of the coolest experiences I’ve had while not physically competing. The vibe of the Columbian spectators created such energy, I feel honored to have been a part of it. I’m not in Innsbruck, Austria awaiting the World Cup in Imst! It’ll be on the big outdoor wall which means it’ll be cooler! Hopefully it’ll be cool enough that I get to wear my green harness pants, my favorite!

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Comments (4)

  • Avatar

    Danger

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    Heat is a big issue where I live.

    One simple trick is to keep a thermos filled with ice — shake any kind of liquid around and you instantly have an ice cold drink! Good for getting core temps down before a hard climb.

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Peter Alvarez

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      Hey bro!! so glad u had a nice experience in my city. Great writing by the way!! Just one thing, they weren’t 20.000 people… they were 45.000!!! :D:D Greetings from Cali!!!

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Felipe Rios Diaz

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    Congratulations, I was in the competition and I saw the climbing of Sean and was amazing… Nice job!

    Reply

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