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    Notes and advice from Sean McColl.

Hamilton World Cup

This world cup was special, it was at home. I left France last Tuesday knowing I was going on a small road trip. I arrived in Toronto a few days early; I ran some errands over the days leading up to the competition and had enough time to train at Joe Rockheads. The competition started on Saturday morning with the men. I felt good coming out for qualifiers. The first boulder of the set was the weirdest. The bonus hold was only a few feet off the ground with the start holds just below that. There were no holds for a good 6 feet and then there was a bad finish hold. It wasn’t necessarily a very hard boulder, just hard to do with no beta and in less than 5 minutes. I tried to palm the wall for a couple of tries before trying a jumping method. The jumping method felt better and I did the problem on my 4th try. [singlepic id=686 w=600 float=center] The rest of the round was pretty standard. I flashed the 2nd and 5th boulders, sent the 3rd on my 3rd try and did the 4th one second go. In total I had all 5 tops in 11 tries. Only Rustam Gelmanov from Russia bested me in qualifiers by one try. I stayed until the very end of the competition and after all the dust had settled only one other Canadian made it through to the semi-finals. That one other person was Jason Holowach from Saskatoon. We had a lot of Canadians just out of semi-finals as well. Eric Sethna, Marc Eveleigh and Lucas Uchida were 23, 24 and 26th respectively. On the women’s side Celeste Wall, Elise Sethna and Beth Vince were 21, 22 and 23 respectively. It came down to redpointing only one more boulder for all of them to advance. [singlepic id=684 w=600 float=center] Semi-finals were Sunday morning and I got to isolation with my venti coffee and had 4 bite size brownies for breakfast. I sat in there for a few hours before it was my turn, but there was plenty to do. I came out for my first boulder and I could tell the crowd was going to be loud. There was a pleasant hum in the air just before coming out and I could tell people had been excited to watch Jason run through the boulders and now it was my turn. The first boulder started on some volumes and looked pretty basic. After discussing which part of the volume was the finish hold with the judge, I stepped on for the first time. I jumped left hand and I felt like I just wasn’t ready to tense up. I fell, rested for maybe 10 seconds and sent the problem second go. [singlepic id=680 w=600 float=center] The second boulder was on holds I was not a fan of; they were those dual texture low profile ones. The good part was that it was around a corner which meant compression and I’m comfortable in those types of climbs. On my flash go, I got all the way to the last move but my foot slipped as I was going for the last hold. It took me another 3 tries and almost my whole time to get up to the last move once again. When I got there, I was thinking of going with the same hand but I was worried about the foot hold. I took a split second decision to jump with the other hand and it paid off as I topped the boulder then and there! [singlepic id=682 h=430 float=right] When I saw the third boulder, I thought it was a feet first boulder. I previewed it like that and on my first try tried just that. I got into a completely upside position and it just didn’t feel like it was working. I fell straight on my back and the crowd seemed somewhat quiet. On my second try, I went straight on and the boulder worked out very well. I was soon on the bonus in the middle and in my element. There was a high heel toe cam but the last two holds were bad. I shifted my left foot from heel to toe and slowly started locking off towards the final hold. The final hold was bad and I grabbed it in 3 spots before starting to shift my feet for the match. [singlepic id=681 h=430 float=right] Once I shifted my weight into the right position, I knew I had done the boulder. I was 3 for 3 going into the last boulder but in 8 tries. They had decided to not show the scoreboard so I was competing blind so to say. It’s always better to assume you have to keep completing the boulders than to assume you’re ok for finals, not try as hard and be 7th or 8th. The last boulder had a strange start and a neat looking finish. I did a nice beached whale to start the boulder and was soon just past the bonus. Up near the top on the last 3 volumes I didn’t really know what to do. I thought it was a sort of jump because the way I tried it first felt pretty hard. Here I have to take a moment to thank and congratulate the volunteers. There were tons of kids running around, escorting athletes to the washroom, or getting them water, whatever it took. On every boulder, it seemed as if there were 2 people always ready to brush the holds. In semi-finals, when you’re one of the last to go, it’s a good thing to have. It’s more of a mental thing, but sometimes they get a bit dirty. (those dual text on SF2 for example) I even asked if one of the brushers could brush a certain hold, and jump up to blow off the chalk. He did it perfectly and I was psyched. [singlepic id=683 w=300 float=right] On my second try, I figured out how to do the last 3 moves, but when I knew I was ready to swing my feet I went just a tiny bit too fast. My left hand slipped a bit and I was on the ground. I rested as long as I could and left the ground at 40 seconds, enough for one last try. I got to the move I had fallen on last go and did it slightly slower. Once I controlled the swing, the last move was easy. I checked the clock quickly but saw there was still 14 seconds. I made sure I did everything right and completed the 4th boulder. I knew that 4 boulders would be enough for finals, there was no doubt in my mind. I waved, did a few fist pumps and thanked the crowd, they were awesome. I found out I had definitely made finals and only Jan was ahead of me. I had done it again, made finals here in Canada. I knew I still had 4 more boulders to do but I was happy. It’s a cool feeling knowing that because you’re on home soil, it pushes you to do better. People often ask me if I feel more pressure competing in Canada; even if I feel more pressure, it just helps me perform better. I don’t really feel more pressure; I’m just more motivated to prove to all the other Canadians that I can compete alongside the world’s best… Finals recap can be found HERE. Enjoy! Photos from: Bonuel Photography.

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