CrossFit Ontario Challenge Wrap-Up

5850_130949430637_610945637_3647981_6066838_n This is going to be long….buckle up.


Going into this meet, I'm not sure what we expected.  I thought Tyler had a good shot at the title, and I was honestly expecting to make a run at the top 10.  Reading the online blogs, the times posted for the WODs weren't out of reach.  Not sure what Mike's expectations were, or Whitney's, but it became very obvious at sign-in that there were a LOT of quality athletes there.


6:50am – check-in.  Most competitors already there.  The Armouries are massive, so we had lots of room to move around.  A lot of nervous sideways glances, but also a lot of hand-shaking.  Some people knew me from conference calls and emails, and it was nice to put names to faces.  Talked to the editor of the CrossFit Journal (Daniel Freedman) about the CrossFit Games for quite awhile, and it was really fun to get an insider's view.

6168_139219384288_40608834288_3069786_5475805_n 8:30am – competitors' meeting.  Rules spelled out for the first event, which we already knew.  We expected to learn the 3rd event, but it wasn't to be.  Interesting to see folks warming up; this was my first glimpse of how enlightened CrossFit athletes are.  I'll get into this more later, but I've never been to an athletic event where more than a handful actually knew how to warm up properly.  I'm more accustomed to getting odd looks from other competitors when I do dynamic stretching, but the vast majority knew HOW, WHEN, and WHAT to stretch to prepare.
9am – Tyler's flight.  I was glad he was first.  Ty was out the door with the group, and was mid-pack after the 400m.  He blasted through the 165lbs clean and jerk x 5, was second going onto the pullup bars, and first out the door.  Tyler's like a shark in competition, and I think he could smell blood in the water; he was first back in the door after the second run, and I believe he was first overall in the 'As-Rx'd Group' (those doing the actual weight, not scaled) for his flight.  There was a young guy who was really fast in the runs, but couldn't clean the weight, so he was in the 'Scaled – 1' class.
I should explain that one: there were three classes for men and 3 for women: As Rx'd, Scaled 1 (less weight,) and Scaled 2 (even less weight.)  There were a LOT of guys in the Scaled classes.  In fact, I think quite a few competitors chose speed over completing the WODs as Rx'd.  Since our CrossFit Box emphasizes completing WODs as Rx'd as soon as it's possible, and time be damned, I was a little surprised to see the opposite.  I would have done much worse in the Scaled groups, though, because they were so fast anyway.
9:30 – my group.  I was surprisingly calm on the first run, and it didn't seem that anyone was really attacking the first 400m.  I came back in the middle of the pack, went through things pretty quickly, and was back out in the middle of the pack.  To my surprise, I started catching several people on the second run, including the guy I'd tagged to win our heat.  I nailed the first two C&Js, thrustering them out of the hole.  I caught the third in a power clean, then squatted with the bar and pressed it up.  I was worried about depth, but the two judges assigned to me didn't say anything, so I hit the fourth rep the same way.  One judge gave me a warning about my squat depth, so I went extra deep on the fifth rep and headed for the pullup bars.  I had 8 pullups done when the head judge told me to go back and repeat two reps on the clean and jerk.  I was definitely rattled, and had to shake it off, hit two more reps, and return to the bars.  I did two reps, dropped, and turned to run out, but my judges stopped me and told me I had to re-start the pullups.  The event organizer was called over and told me to head out on the run.  By this time, most were back in the gym for their final cleans, jerks, and pullups, so I hammered the final run to pass a couple of competitors and then went for broke inside the gym.  It's funny: you can't hear anything, or see anyone else; you have tunnel vision and your hearing is completely blocked by your heartbeat.  But I did hear, through everything else, my four-year-old yelling "go daddy go!" So I hammered it.  My last round was probably my fastest.  
6168_139218789288_40608834288_3069687_4837471_n Tyler finished in 8:50; I finished just under 12 minutes.  My judges were awesome; the screw-ups were just the kind of miscommunication you'd expect in a brand-new event.  These kinds of bugs happen, and I'm glad it happened to me instead of someone shooting for top spot.  The organizer came over to apologize, but it wasn't necessary.  Stuff happens.  I still had a PR, and I wasn't killed.
In the third heat, our new buddy Alex Jeffrey (opening CrossFit Huronia on August 15!) finished in a spectacular 7:15.  WOW.  He was in the Scaled 1 group, but he could have done some real damage in the Rx group too.
Whitney was next; we were trying to guage her competition, but there were a lot of women competing, and not all in the Rx group.  Whit had a big PR in this event, and I think she was in 3rd overall in the Rx group afterward. I went outside to take a picture of her on the run, missed her at the turnaround, and then didn't make it back inside to catch her third round.
Mike was taped up and ready to go by the time I made it past all the locked doors to get back inside.  6168_139219689288_40608834288_3069837_6352653_n He took his first run pretty easy.  I thought, if he's with the main group after the C&J and pullups, he's going to win his heat.  Every other heat blasted the first round, and then died on the second run, and I knew he wouldn't have that problem.  Unfortunately, he injured his shoulder on the Wednesday before we left; would it hold up?
His first round of C&J looked painful.  The tape on his shoulder came off on the second rep, and the judges called him on uneven foot placement on his jerk – twice.  Two extra reps HURTS, folks.  He did them, nailed the pullups (with one extra) and headed back out on the hunt.  He caught  a few on the run, but then struggled on the C&J again.  The pullups again posed zero problem, and his third round was pretty much the same as the others.  The judges held him to the same high standard even though he was clearly suffering.


We were all pretty happy to have the first event done, and then something happened that REALLY impressed me: the foam rollers and massage therapist
s came out.  More than at any other event I've ever seen or participated in, athletes knew how to take care of themselves, and did so.  One CrossFit owner went around taking pictures of athletes' meals for his blog; he said he still has a lot of clients who don't believe we can compete without a big carb-up.  Others were doing active release in the corners.  Think about this: when have you seen a 10k race, half marathon, or marathon where the runners knew how to take care of themselves during or after the event, where you even saw so much as dynamic stretching beforehand?  It just doesn't happen.  CrossFitters are EDUCATED, and not just within the CrossFit world.  These are some of the best-read athletes I've ever encountered, better than most Personal Trainers.
On that note, I'd also like to mention physique.  I'm not one to put aesthetic first (I prefer to let form follow function,) but the physiques of these athletes rivaled any, and topped most of the bodybuilding community.  Both men and women were in phenomenal shape, and LOOKED the part too.  


6168_139219639288_40608834288_3069827_5702212_n Round two was no stranger to us.  We knew the event: 5 deadlifts, 5 burpees, AMRAP in 10:00.  Tyler had practiced with 285lbs on the bar (30lbs heavier than game-day weight) and gotten 12 rounds; I'd done 12 rounds with 255; Mike and Whitney both had 11 rounds last week.  Add the fatigue of the first event, though….
Ty went first.  He was slowing after the 3rd round of deadlifts.  I thought he was pacing himself, but it turned out that he was having low-back fatigue.  After 9 rounds, he tapped out.  
I hammered through my first 5 rounds, repeated two reps after the head referee called me for not locking my knees.  My normal powerlifting lockout wasn't going to cut it here, so I had to change and each rep took longer and was tougher on the quads, which were already tired from the squat cleans.  I was slow in the middle of the 10 minutes, and then sped up for the final two, finishing with 12.5 rounds, good enough for 11th.  First in my heat had 17 rounds – unbelievable – and that stood up all day.  Mike hit 12 rounds for a PR, and Whitney was right between 12 and 12.5 rounds too.  Our DL prowess carries us again…..
Then we had a 3-hour rest.  Whitney wanted to go for a walk.  I thought I'd go, too, but it took about 40 minutes to recover from the previous WOD.  I ate again, hammered the olive oil and contemplated the lines for the massage therapists.  There was still no clue about the third WOD, but the weights were all being stowed and the plyo boxes were still around, so we assumed some kind of bodyweight chipper.  
6168_139219824288_40608834288_3069860_7365865_n After hanging around chatting for an hour, the rowers started to drizzle out of the storage area.  I wasn't happy, despite having a 500m PR last week (1:36.)  The last WOD was announced, and there was a rush on skipping ropes so athletes could practice double-unders.  The WOD: 1000m row, 50 box jumps, 50 double-unders.  My quads were whimpering already.
Ty was set on a rower before most guys were done warming up.  He had his game face back on.  There were some very tall guys in his flight, and I kept my eye on them.  Facing the rowers, we had no idea who was leading until they were done the 1000m.  Tyler was third off the rower, but managed to hammer the 50 box jumps without stopping.  That bought him a ton of time, and he put together 50 double-unders fairly quickly with only a few misses.  Good thing, because a LOT of the competitors were stringing together 50 double-unders without a single stop.  Ty won his heat; it was so close that another competitor finished his skipping, threw his rope into the crowd, and was surrounded by his entourage before a judge let him know he was second.  Meanwhile, Ty was lying quietly on the ground behind him….
6168_139219809288_40608834288_3069858_541077_n I was next.  I'd seen the taller guys row, and knew that I'd have to change to a longer reach with more arm and back to save my quads.  I hit the 500m mark in 1:38, just seconds off my best pace, and closed my eyes for the last 400m.  I wasn't the first off the rower, but definitely second or third.  My quads locked up on the short walk to the box jump, and my first two jumps didn't count.  I was pretty shot; a lot of guys passed me on the box jumps.  I could barely see straight when I started the skipping, but managed to put together 20 in a row, a PR, right off the bat.  Then I pieced it together to finish in the mid-8:00s.  
Mike and Whitney were grouped together in the 4th heat.  Several competitors withdrew when they saw the final WOD, which was a shame.  Whitney stood to win it all, and we knew it; she was facing very stiff competition from a really tall woman who raced skulls.  She took Whit, but not by much, and all the other female competition fell apart on the box jumps.
Here's the final standings: CrossFit Ontario Challenge
Here's a video of Chris' heat at the Deadlift/Burpee event:



…and here's our buddy, Alex Jeffrey, of the future Huronia CrossFit:


…all in all, a great event.  I'm incredibly proud of Catalyst coaches for showing up against the most fit in Ontario and really representing the Sault well.  We left it all on the platform, with zero regrets and big plans for next year.

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