Sean McColl - Comp. Perspective

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tour De Bloc Nationals

By Sean McColl

Another Tour De Bloc nationals has passed and this was my perspective on it.  

Qualifiers for this event started on Saturday morning and the men had a field of 60, the  highest in Canadian history. Qualifiers were going to be the classic 5 on, 5 off format with 10  Canadians going to finals. That last part is important because if there were 2 non Canadian  climbers in finals position, then they would continue to add 11th, then 12th until they had 10  Canadians in finals. In this frat round, there were 5 problems.

The first problem was pretty standard, I'd say it was pretty easy to read and the moves flowed  well. They were on small crimps with the bonus being a sloper. I flashed it and waited for  number two. The second one turned out to be really hard. Up past the zone, I had my feet too low and when I went to match, they slipped off and I couldn't hold the swing with my current  hand positions. I rested for a good minute and sent it second try. The third problem went up  the 45 degree wall in the middle of the gym and I flashed that one as well. I was feeling good  and only had 2 problems left. Because of my flash on 3, I got a big rest before problem 4. 

I  turned around to look at it and saw a sideways dyno... The prelim itself didn't look too bad  but the first move being a sideways dyno with only one foot bugged me. First try, fell, with  some gasps coming from the crowd and a lingering ohhhhhh from Pete Woods and Mike Doyle. When I  fell a second and third time, people realized that this wasn't going to be easy. I somehow did the dyne on my 4th try and sent the rest of the problem. Problem 5, although being 13 moves  long was the easiest problem and I flashed that one as well. I was pretty happy with how I had  done in the qualifiers but I wasn't so impressed with the sideways dyno. The reason for that is  because the dyno was so blatantly easier if you were tall because you could almost touch the  hold. Terry Paholok (6'2") said he could almost reach it but still jumped for the heck of it. I  guess it just bugs me because they could put in another foothold to make it resonable for  shorter people, at least equal in difficulty.

After qualifiers, there were 4 non-Candian guys and 3 non-Canadian girls who made finals so  there were 13 and 14 athletes in finals respectively.  I qualified in second place with 5 tops in 9 tries and 5 bonus in 8.  Finals were to be held on the Sunday so we went back to the hotel to rest up, go out for dinner  and just relax for the day coming.

Finals iso didn't even open until 2 in the afternoon so we spent the morning in our hotel. I  woke up just after 9 to get the complementary breakfast and had a few hours to kill before  needing to get to the gym. I figured what better way to kill some time than to play video  games, so I broke out my laptop and played Starcraft II for a few hours.
We headed to isolation and I knew I'd have to start warming up when iso closed. After a brief  technical meeting, the competition was underway and I was starting to feel psyched.

During my  warm up, I could feel the day of climbing from the Saturday but I still felt super good. When  it was my time to go out, I was super excited. As I waited in my chair, I could feel the vibe  of the crowd cheering on competitors to the top. When it was finally turn, I turned around and  took a peek. The first one looked pretty long and kind of a traverse. There was a big sloper  from Teknik in the middle that I recognized from ABS finals but didn't know what it felt like.  On my flash, I got up all the way to the second last move which was a blind throw around the  lip. I tried my hardest to lean back to spot the hold but I couldn't see it and there was no  tick mark to spot for me.  I jumped to where I thought the hold would be and actually hit  pretty well but I wasn't prepared for a sloper and I thought it had grip so I fell. I'll tell  you right now, it's a terrible feeling to fall on your first qualifier because you associate  the first problem with being the easiest and in your head here goes a conversation similar to  the following: "if I can't do this one, how am I going to be able to do the other harder ones"?  It's very important to try and get away from this because sometimes the first one isn't the easiest or maybe it's just not your style. I rested for half my time and did it second try.  After the first problem I was already feeling pumped with how long it was. Even though there are only 4 problems in finals, it's awful to feel pumped after the first one. When I turned around for the  second problem, it was even longer than the first.... 15 moves including matches and the  mantle... I was still tired from the first so I got psyched up and managed to flash the problem. By the time I had flashed it, I was pumped again and I spent the next 7 minutes trying to make it go away. When I turned around for problem 3, I knew I was going to be pumped for  these attempts.

The problem had a big cross through and some slopers at the top. I flashed to the last hard move, but was just too tired to do another hard move. After waiting for the one  minute mark, I tried it for the second time and although I came a lot closer to sticking the  move, I found myself falling again. The last problem turned out to be style but the problem  was I was already so tired. It was also pretty long.  I flashed all the moves up until going  over the lip and kind of blindly jumped for one of the 3 slopers around the lip. I knew I had  to lock it off for the second try so I rested until my one minute got called and tried it a  second time. On that last move, I managed to hand foot heel match, lock off and hit the arête,  but when I went to bump the extra 3 inches to the hold, I came sailing down. I finished finals  with 2 tops in 3 and 4 bonuses in 4.

Overall I wasn't too happy with how I climbed mostly because I was so close to problem 3 and 4  and I should be in better shape than that. I also knew that it wouldn't cut it in a World Cup.  When I found out results from other people, I found out that Magnus had won by flashing the first 3 problems! Congratulations to Magnus. I came in 2nd, barely, as Josh Muller also had 2 tops  in 3 although I beat him with bonuses. So I was upset with how I climbed but got lucky with  results.

Being one of the last climbers in qualifiers and the second last out for finals, I didn't get  to watch any other climbers. On the girls side though, after the final round the results were:

Angie Payne

Vikki Weldon

Stacey Weldon

Alannah Yip

Sasha DiGuilien

The final results for men were;

Magnus Midboe

Sean McColl

Josh Muller

Sebastian Lazure

Alex Johnson


My next competition will be the IFSC World Cup in Canmore, Alberta May 22-24 for the first ever Canadian World Cup venue.



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