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Jernej Kruder - Midterm-Champion

Innsbruck 2018 Columnist Udo Neumann takes a look at the surprise mid-term champion of this years' Bouldering Season, Jernej Kruder.

In the isolation zone at the Bouldering World Cup in Vail, Kruder could not be missed.

He was wearing huge headphones, but no climbing shoes to warm up. Nonetheless, he was doing the most extreme stunts. (I call him Kruder since he clearly instructed me to do so in 2011. No sure if this is still valid, but I wouldn't want him as an enemy!) Year later, he still was "fiery young Jernej Kruder" for Eddie Fowke. Kruder is someone you wouldn't want to mess with, even though he's a friendly guy. 

In any case, I was apparently quite impressed - I could have sworn that he was only stopped by Daniel Woods in the end, and that he finished his first Bouldering World Cup in second place. Both couldn't do the dyno on the last problem shown in the picture below, only that Kruder fell off on top.

It is only last year that Kruder told me that in fact his third place in Nanjing in 2017 was his first time on a Bouldering Podium.

Surprising, given that he was Vice-World Champion in 2014 and that since 2010, he has won pretty much every invitational comp or masters.

It's only in World Cups that it didn't work quite as well ... what's different in 2018?

Managing expectations...

... is more difficult for boulderers than for lead climbers. The reason for that is that Bouldering competitions seem much more unpredictable and uncontrollable. In this situation, it is tricky to find an ideal state of stress and relaxation. The strategy to use a simple feedback control system and linear thinking to create order and structure is stressful and frustrating. It is much better to develop a certain tolerance for the unknown elements, and to perceive the discrepancy between expectation and result as someting positive. That implies that your well-being doesn't only depend on your competition result.

Happiness = Reality - Expectations

Before the World Cup in Moscow, 8a.nu reported: 

"Jernej Kruder, #1 and #2 in the two first Boulder World Cups 2018, has done the 55 meter long Water World in Osp/Misja Pec. Interesting is that this monster endurance session was his last preparation for the next two Boulder World Cups in China. As a matter of a fact, Kruder says he has not have had one single indoor session since he returned from Moscow!

Part of Kruder's happiness depends on outdoor rock climbing, where he manages to climb very difficult routes. Contrarily to many other climbers, a big chunk of his activities in this realm doesn't reach a wide audience, but the insiders know, that Kruder is among the most capable rock climbers (Psicobloc Es Pontas).

At the moment, his main focus is on goals that can easily be reached from Slovenia, but it is easily imaginable that one day he will climb the Dawn Wall on El Cap.

It doesn't always have to be climbing. If Kruder finds himself inside a fitness gym with his longboard and sees the treadmills, he will want to find out how fast he can go on a treadmill with the longboard. It starts slowly, but it escalates quickly.... The spectators quickly start staring at the glass wall nearby and holding their breath, anticipating the trajectory of man and board...

Whether he is skating, climbing, or doing motor cross, it's rare that something bad happens, because Kruder knows the border land of control, he has a fabulous tolerance for the unknown. He is much more careful and prudent than you'd think at first. This is a big advantage in Bouldering finals. Maybe it's even more important that he has a lot of short-term moments of joy and goals, and that this reduces the relevance of a single event.

If, like before the Bouldering World Cups in China, he sends a 55 meters long 9a on rock, then his well-being is less dependent on the competition result than when he had renounced the rock climbing and done a physiologically correct physical training.

Kruder is such a great asset for every bouldering finals, that even his competition wishes that he makes it into finals. Let's hope his series continues this year! In any case - let's learn from Kruder and stay tolerant towards the unknown!

Facts

1100 Griffe

65 NATIONEN

700 ATHLETEN

20.000 FREIWILLIGE ARBEITSSTUNDEN

500 KG CHALK

Climb. Come together. Celebrate!