Competition: July 2009 Archives

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If you missed the 2009 CrossFit Games, you missed a hell of an event. Hopefully you were able to piece together some of what was happening from the blog posts, official videos, facebook and twitter updates, but in order to connect all those dots, I'm going to undertake a detailed summary of our experience at the Games this weekend. You might want to go get a cup of coffee, as I suspect this is going to take a while.


Thursday: Anticipatory Jitters

Thanks to some clever thinking and dedicated organization on the part of Rebecca Hodges, our accommodations were, in a word, plush. While other affiliates crammed into tents, Rvs and hotels, we had a beautiful house in Santa Cruz just a couple blocks from the beach. Our setup at the games was also great, as Max went down early with the Touchstone pavilion and snagged us a great spot in the Affiliate Village. Most of us, however, carpooled down after work, grabbing dinner when and where we could. Energy was high, and temptation ran strong to enjoy our surroundings and live it up a little, but everyone knew what a difficult day lay ahead of us, so it was lights-out by about 9:30 or so.


Friday: Team CFEB


Affiliate Cup registration started at 6am, with a mandatory meeting for all teams at 8. We stumbled out of bed at 5am to catch a little breakfast before heading out. Those who came down to cheer us on gamely tolerated our early morning boisterousness, and a lucky few were able to catch a few more Z's before joining us at the Ranch.


The CrossFit Ranch is a no-longer-working cattle ranch on a hillside overlooking Highway 101. Everything centers around the barn, which is the first thing you'll see when you get there. The barn was off-limits to all but those working and competing in the games, as were two of the three workout areas: a long, narrow strip on one side dubbed the "stadium", with a steep hillside topped with four banks of bleachers, and a smaller "north pad," bisected by a permanent pullup structure. The third workout area was the hill that looms over the whole scene, run through with a labyrinth of what might generously be called "groomed" trails. As long as it wasn't being used for an event, the hill was open to everyone, and you could see people trying their hand (or feet, as it were) at the hill run throughout the weekend. North of the ranch was a series of tents where vendors and sponsors hawked an array of gear sufficient to make any CrossFitter drool, and where you could get an assortment of (mostly) healthy food and really good beer. Next to this was the Affiliate Village, where any attending affiliate could set up a pavilion or tent to provide a space for their athletes to rest and socialize between events.


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When we arrived, the weather was foggy and really freakin' cold. While I had anticipated a long line for registration, it actually went quite quickly, and we spent the extra time setting up our pavilion. They called all the teams down to the stadium for a meeting at 8, where they basically just went over the various workouts and went over the movement standards. The first workout started at 9, and our heat started at 10.


10am: Hill Workout

Team members: Elaine, Ynez, Andy, Gita


The workout: It was basically a simple relay race with a twist. The course was a 500m loop, with about 120m of very steep uphill and downhill, with the rest being relatively flat but extremely uneven ground. Every team member would run the loop once, and then the whole team would run it together.


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Elaine started it off for our team, and she put her motor into a gear I didn't know she had, taking off up the hill like something with very sharp teeth was chasing her. She paid a price for her enthusiasm, though, as lactic acid buildup in her legs forced her to slow down on the flat stretch. She FLEW down the backend, making up some lost time before handing the baton off to Ynez. Ynez had a tough time on this one - her allergies kicked in with all the dry grass and dust, and she came back down the hill tasting blood in her throat. Andy rocked his lap, careening down the hill on the edge of losing control before handing the baton off to Gita, who was chomping at the bit. Despite running on a sprained ankle, Gita turned in the fastest lap and made up precious time. After the final lap as a team, CFEB completed the workout in 13:22.


12 noon: North Pad Workout

Team members: Elaine, Rebecca, Max, Andy


The workout: in 20 minutes, every team member was responsible for contributing a 3-rep-max Overhead Squat, and 3 max-rep pullup sets. The score for the team would be the sum of these 16 numbers.


This workout was difficult to watch, and I don't mean in any sort of painful way or anything. It was literally difficult to see what was going on, as the team's bar was away from the crowd, behind the pullup bars. The team did well on the pullups, each member knocking them out and making them look easy, but despite Max's impressive 185-pound OHS, we just didn't have the amazing overhead numbers of some of the other teams. Andy did, however, succeed in getting one of the judges to call him "Wolverine," which was a personal triumph. We finished with a score of 700.


2pm: Stadium Workout

Team members: Rebecca, Ynez, Andy, Gita


The workout: Tricky to describe. Basically, this workout was a nightmare version of Fight Gone Bad - for the official description click here. We had been watching it chew up teams all day, particularly the wallball. The target was higher than 10', and there was something about it that made it much more difficult than regular wallball (which, as we know, is usually a walk in the park) - some said it was uneven footing, others that the target was away from the wall and visually difficult to focus on. Fully a third of all teams DNF'd. The team was nervous.


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They did a fantastic job. Ynez started it off, and kept a slow and steady pace that allowed her to keep hitting the target, avoiding the trap of desperation that ensnared other teams who would keep trying to hit the target through muscular exhaustion, burning themselves out further. They finished the wallball in 9-and-something minutes, hitting the round-robin of workouts in high spirits--Andy even singing and dancing along to the music while rowing at a 1:38 pace. This did not continue, as the reps and rowing took their toll on each member. Gita, a confirmed atheist, found himself praying to God to let him survive this workout. They got to the deadlifts, and the expressions of agony on each team member's face as they pulled that weight off the ground through metabolic exhaustion made their effort clear to everyone (Rebecca in particular had a rather startling grimace of pain, as you can see from the photo a couple days ago). With a minute thirty left on the clock, Ynez stepped up to the bar for the final round of deadlifts. It didn't look good. Dave Castro, the emcee, directed the crowd to cheer her on and, facing several hundred audience members wildly clapping and yelling, Ynez grabbed the bar and started pulling. Her first few lifts were pretty quick, but a bit erratic, and her attempt to sneak a bar bounce past the judge was unsuccessful. With less than a minute remaining and her legs giving out on her, Ynez fixed her eyes on the horizon and cranked the remaining lifts out in a single set, finished the workout at 24:50 and putting CFEB in the company of all the other affiliates who were grateful just to have finished the beast.


Team CFEB did not achieve a high ranking at the Games this year. But I couldn't be more pleased with the way things went. Every team member achieved a personal moment of triumph, and faced a moment of extreme personal challenge. These highs and lows are the fundamental building blocks of CrossFit, training the mind and spirit as well as the body to face extreme adversity and learn to persevere. These Games will stand out to these athletes as a time when their training took a big step forward and they learned a great deal about themselves and what they are capable of. I am immensely proud of them.


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The relief in the air on Friday night was palpable, as everybody had a chance to tell and retell their stories, and look at the pictures and videos and relive the day. Not to mention the hot tub. And the beer. Max was very strict about a 9pm quiet time in the house, though, so Polly could get her rest before her big day on Saturday. Some folks, all tuckered out from the day, just went to bed, while others went down to the harbor bar for some more...recovery. The weekend was far from over.


Saturday: Apollonia takes the Helm (ha!)


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Polly confessed to having weird, beast-infested dreams that night. She had to get to the ranch pretty early, and a handful of people went early too, for a chance to explore the course of the 7.1k trail run before the competitors would get on it at 9am. Alex, Jenn and I went running on the trail to see what was over the hill, and were pretty amazed with what we found: an astonishingly steep hillside, covered in poison oak, without much trail to speak of. It was difficult to WALK it. I thought maybe the announced course was a joke--that they couldn't seriously ask over a hundred athletes to RACE up and down that hillside. Turns out they could.


First workout: 7.1k run


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They assembled the athletes on the stadium, with electronic chips in their shoes that would record their elapsed start and finish times as they ran over special pads, so they wouldn't have to jostle for space at the starting line. They sang the National Anthem, then Coach Glassman came out and said a (remarkably) few words before handing the mic off to Dave Castro, who caught everyone off-guard by simply saying, without any preamble, "3-2-1 go."


The run was a mile of flat on the road, then three laps of increasing length and steepness on the hill, then a final mile on the road. With so much looping around, it was hard to get a sense of where the competitors stood at first, but it was a lot of fun to watch Polly come flying down the hill, passing other runners like they were standing still (unfortunately, once the road started going up again, they'd often pass her again). It was NOT fun to watch two women run themselves to mental and muscular failure - one falling down the hill as though she were completely drunk, and the other falling down and unable to move her legs less than fifty feet from the finish line. They were taken to a hospital, where hopefully their prognosis is good.


Polly finished the run in good time and good shape, saving her energy for the rest of the day.


Second workout: Deadlift ladder


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This was completely fascinating to watch. They lined up 40 barbells, 20 for each gender, at 10 pound increments. The men went from 315 to 505, the women 185 to 375. Each competitor had 20 seconds to complete their lift, and 10 seconds to move to the next barbell. They used a particularly cruel reverse seeding mechanism throughout, so that the athletes who finished the run last started the deadlift ladder first. The athletes went as far up the ladder as they could before failing. Several men made it all the way through, but only one woman did. Polly made it to 265, a 25 pound PR for her.


Third workout: Sandbag sprint


Starting down in the stadium, athletes had to sprint a short distance to their sandbag(s) (one 35# bag for women, two for men), pick up their bag, then sprint to the top of the hill approximately 170m away. This was my least favorite event, from a spectator's point of view - they ran it in heats of five athletes, but didn't announce or post scores so there was no way of knowing where anyone stood or how well they needed to do. One very interesting moment was the heat with Jason Khalipa and Chris Spealler, athletes at opposite ends of the spectrum. Speal's first-place finish in the run but very weak deadlift put him solidly in the middle of the pack, as did Khalipa's nearly-last place run and completion of the entire deadlift ladder. On the hill sprint, they wound up neck-and-neck, finishing within 1.5 seconds of each other. Polly started strong, leading her pack out of the stadium, but fell behind as the grade got steeper and steeper. She still did well with a time of 1:26.3.


Fourth workout: Row/Sledgehammer


What a bizarre workout. Row 500m, then hammer a metal stake into the ground, then row again. The separation on this one between the people who knew how to use a sledgehammer and those who didn't was huge - some people knocked it down in almost no time, while others kept flailing away at it, either missing or not using enough force to push it down. The audience tried to cheer on the latecomers, but it was all outside our experience to try and judge. Due to the quirks of the ranking setup, Polly wound up sitting right next to CFO's Candace Hamilton, her rival (at least as imposed on her by us). So that made for some good cheering. Polly used the flat of the hammer to settle the stake in the ground, which served her well, but waited a bit too long to turn the hammer and use it properly, slowing her down. Her time of 7:56 wound up putting her in her lowest ranking of the day - 52nd place (50th overall).


It was enough to keep her out of elimination, though, something she seemed decidedly ambivalent about - storming back into the tent demanding her lifting shoes and cursing up a storm about having to do the final workout - a brutal couplet of wallball and squat snatches.


Fifth and final workout: Couplet


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3 rounds, 30 wallball and 30 snatches (75#/45#). Remember, this is the same wallball that wrecked the affiliate teams the day before, and wallball is a longtime nemesis of Polly's. To be honest, I kind of expected her to phone this one in - it was impossible for her to make the top 16 to advance to Sunday, and she'd already done four difficult workouts that day.


She didn't phone it in. She attacked that thing with a level of ferocity I haven't seen in Polly before. She came up with a good rhythm of letting the ball drop off the target, catching it on the bounce and throwing it back up that suited her well, but where she really shone was the snatches. Disliking the slant of the ground when facing the audience like they wanted her to, she turned around and faced the woman behind her, working the snatches in what looked like an eye-to-eye competition. This put her back to us (we were all crowded around the fence), so we yelled as much encouragement as we could in the hopes that she could hear us. It damn near killed her, but she came in second in her heat and 20th overall, her strongest performance of the day.


It was a long, long day. Most of us wound up missing the last couple heats and heading home so we could get dinner started (Polly, Gita and Max stuck around). With all restrictions on being responsible lifted, I believe there was some rather...rambunctious celebrations downstairs. I don't really know, though - I was passed out in my bed.


Sunday: Planet CrossFit


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The final day was a relatively lower-key affair, with some folks having to head home early, some folks enjoying the opportunity to sleep in a bit at last, and having to check out of our lovely house. Most of us missed the first event, a 1RM snatch workout. We got there in time for the second workout, though - an AMRAP triplet of HSPU's, kettlebell swings and GHD situps that had a few athletes looking completely rocked. Jason Khalipa was particularly impressive on this one - he basically never stopped moving, coming in second.


The Affliate Cup final was exciting. Although it was essentially a foregone conclusion that Northwest CrossFit would win, it was thrilling to watch Invictus and Calgary come from behind and then finish the workout in a neck-and-neck race. The individual final for the men and women did not have as many tight races, but it certainly had some great moments - watching the Icelanders (Annie and Sven) learn how to do a muscle-up during the final workout of the CrossFit Games had the crowd going nuts, even though neither of them were able to finish the workout because they couldn't get the necessary 10 muscle-ups. Charity Bell turned in a breathtaking performance, often 2-3 exercises ahead of her closest follower. Jeffrey Leonard (a local and a favorite at CFEB) had great difficulty getting through his muscle-ups, but cracked everyone up when he walked over to the 40# dumbbells for the push-press, picked them up and started strict-pressing them like they were 2-pound womens' calisthenic weights. Mikko Salo turned in a solid, no-nonsense and no-drama performance like always, taking the title from Tommy Hackenbruck, who just couldn't maintain his lead. Jason Khalipa turned in yet another fantastic performance, quieting all the critics who said he didn't deserve the title last year. If not for the trail run where he performed so abysmally, Jason would almost certainly have gotten the title again this year.


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Overall, going to the CrossFit Games was a bit like going to a different country - if not a different planet. Nearly everyone there, women included, looked like they could easily kick your ass, yet they were without exception the friendliest, most easy-going people I've ever hung out with. The crowd, made up entirely of CrossFitters, knew the pain the competitors were going through at the most personal level, and cheered just as wildly (if not more so) for someone in last place as they did for someone in first. The Castros and the Ranch did a fantastic job of hosting, and the whole thing moved very smoothly - impressive considering it's only the third annual games, and it has grown so rapidly.


I'm already looking forward to next year.


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Thanks to Doron Serban, Allen Bauer and Rebecca Hodges for the photos.
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CrossFit EastBay at the 2009 CrossFit Games (l-r):  Rebecca Hodges (Team Competitor), Gita Dombrowski (Programmer/Team Competitor), Maximus Lewin (Trainer/Team Competitor), Daniel Olmstead (Programmer/Team Captain), Andy Matthews (Team Competitor), Ynez Arce (Team Competitor), Elaine Eng (Team Competitor), and Apollonia Helm (Individual Competitor)

Congratulations to all of the competitors for your truly inspiring work, and many thanks to everyone who supported us in person and spirit this weekend, and in training for the last several weeks.  It was an unforgettable weekend!
You can keep apprised of our activities and status this weekend in a couple ways:

1) Facebook.  If you're not already on Facebook, make an account and request to be my friend (Daniel Olmstead) and Rebecca Ralls.  We'll be posting photos and updates throughout the day.  So will others, I'm sure.

2) The official CrossFit Games site.  You can check it out now for some videos and previews of the events, and they've promised to update it with scores in real time.  CrossFit Radio has said they'll be webcasting live.  There's also a Twitter feed from Sevan and Carey, the semi-official CrossFit filmmakers.

If you need to reach someone, you can try me at 510-684-0103.

Affiliate Cup: Workouts and Schedule

July 8, 2009 @ 2:00 PM

Posted in Affiliate Cup »
Comment » on this entry

Games09StdPullup.jpgThere will be three workouts for every team on Friday, July 10, 2009.

General Affiliate Cup Rules
1. Each workout will be performed by two men and two women from the team.
2. If the team signed up more than the four athletes, they can assign a different set of two men and two women for each workout.
3. The movement standards are typical HQ unless otherwise stated.
4. Each team will be ranked according to their time or score relative to the other teams for that workout. Their final score for the workout will be equal to their rank.
5. The five teams with the lowest score after all three workouts will compete on Sunday in the final workout.
6. Teams will benefit from strategies that consider the relative strengths of their athletes, particularly in terms of the work/rest demands of different positions in the workouts.

Stadium Workout
30 Wallballs (20lbs/14lbs)
Row 300m
30 Box jumps (24")
30 KB swings (24kg/16kg)
30 DB Push press / Push jerk (40lbs/25lb)
30 Deadlifts (225lbs/135lbs)

Rules:
1. The wallballs are performed one athlete at a time, starting with the women. When all four athletes have completed the wallballs, they move on together as a team.
2. The middle four drills are then performed together in "Annie R U Ok?" format, meaning all four team members start at different stations at the same time. They rotate in the order listed once all four athletes have completed the rowing and reps. When all four athletes have completed all four drills, they move together to the deadlifts.
3. The barbell will be pre-loaded with 225lbs. Both men will perform 30 deadlifts each, and then the team will be responsible for removing 90lbs. Both women will then perform 30 deadlifts each, and the clock stops.
4. There is a 20min cap on this workout.

Hill Workout
2500m (approximately) Hill run relay

Rules:
1. The first athlete will run one lap (approximately 500m) carrying a short piece of PVC.
2. At the completion of the lap, there will be a well marked transition area in which to pass the PVC to the second athlete, who runs one lap with the PVC.
3. This repeats until all four athletes have run one lap with the PVC.
4. The team then runs one final lap together.
5. The clock is stopped when the last athlete crosses the finish line holding the PVC. If the last athlete to cross the line isn't carrying the PVC, the clock stops when that athlete grabs the PVC.
6. There is a 20min cap on this workout.

North Pad Workout
3-rep Overhead Squat plus
Max total pull-ups in 3 attempts

Rules:
1. Each team will have 20min to record the above efforts for all four athletes.
2. Each team will have one pull-up bar, one barbell, one rack, four 45lb bumpers, two 25lb bumpers, two 15lb bumpers, two 10lb bumpers, and four 2.5lb plates.
3. In any order, all four athletes must perform exactly three sets of max pull-ups. Pull-ups are standard ROM, and will be judged by middle of the neck reaching the height of the bar.
4. All four athletes perform the heaviest 3-rep overhead squat possible (as many attempts as they want within the 20min time limit).
5. The greatest successful loads lifted by each athlete are tallied, and added to the total reps for the 12 sets of pull-ups performed to become the team score.
6. The team with the highest score wins.

2009 Affiliate Teams and Numbers
2009 Affiliate Cup Friday Schedule

Oregon CrossFit out in Bend, OR is just one of many affiliates who will be sending a team to compete. They made a video of their team ... [wmv] [mov]

 

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Andy M. 2 Pood Swing


Individual and Team WODs will be announced tomorrow: Team members, Captain, plus Polly please plan on being at BIW at 7PM to stragegize.

WOD 090708

Run 800 Meters x 4 every 9 minutes on the ninth minute.

Post splits to comments.

090709 - No Class

090710 - Affiliate Cup Competition, Aromas CA
090711 - Individual Competition, Aromas CA
090712 - Final Elimination Individual and Affiliate Cup

New Club Records

Andre
"Grace" 1:57, 2nd
Andre
"Fran" 2:57, 2nd

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Competition category from July 2009.

Competition: June 2009 is the previous archive.

Competition: August 2009 is the next archive.

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