From left to right: Jenn Smith, Zach Forrest, Matt Chan, Christy (Phillips) Adkins, Paul Tremblay, and me. (not pictured our team captain: Julie Foucher)
Last weekend was my 5th year at the CrossFit Games, my 2nd time there not as a competitor, and my first time on the demo team. I have to say I enjoyed the experience immensely. When I’m there as a competitor there’s always a certain amount of nervous energy no matter what I’m doing that only goes away while I’m competing or once it’s all over. This weekend there was only that nervous energy for a few minutes at a time when Dave would tell us what we were about to test. What definitely made the experience most enjoyable was the group of people I was with. If you’ve never heard Matt Chan tell a story you definitely should. It was constant comedy around these guys, the girls spent most of our time just laughing.
The boys spent some of their time posing for GQ magazine spreads.
Seeing what goes on behind the scenes more this year gave me even more respect for the volunteers and judges. They literally work all weekend long, non-stop to pull it all off. They move a TON, actually probably multiple tons of Rogue equipment all weekend long. These are the bars for the snatch ladder event.
Perhaps the busiest of all is Dave himself. First one on the scene each day, he oversees pretty much the entire process. It would never go down without him. Sometimes people think he programs with a certain athlete in mind, but after this weekend it was clear that’s not the case. We tested a few individual workouts, including the final, and quite a few team workouts. They need us on site to do this the week of because of the dynamic nature of the event. For instance knowing how long it will take 6 people to push a lighter than last year Big Bob sled across the grass on the soccer stadium. You can’t really know that without doing it, so some events are literally finalized the week of depending on logistics. Seeing how all of this is done made me realize that they aren’t programming to favor any one except the fittest on earth that weekend.
Dave and the demo team unveiling the vests for Murph to the athletes.
Big Bob was painful!
Paul demoing the team tire jump overs.
Ahhhh the worm… Such a fun piece of equipment! Not really. I am very glad it was soft and not wooden this year though!
The athletes were tested this year like never before. Some think too much. It was clear that while some were able to rise to the occasion, it broke down others. Especially during Murph with the heat stroke and muscle soreness that came after. The CrossFit Games is a test of recovery as well as fitness. I heard the argument made that when you’re testing for the fittest you have to take the athletes to their limits to see where they lie. If you want to find the limit of those at the top, should you stop where the limits of those at the bottom are? I’m not giving my opinion either way, just sort of discussing the issue. There are also multiple long endurance races in the heat every year. Those athletes are just more accustomed to pacing themselves accordingly and taking the necessary steps to handle it. The Iron Man on Kona has seen it’s share of athletes suffer from heat stroke, but it’s seen as part of the challenge of the sport.
The Demo Team trying to find a little shade.
Another issue some people had about the programming was that the peg board was too hard, mainly for the women. I agree, it was too hard, but not because the event was bad, because it revealed a hole in their fitness. The Games has always been famous for showing people where the holes in their fitness are and every time the entire field comes back better at it. Climbing can be considered an aspect of fitness and the women were not skilled at it… yet! Guaranteed they won’t let that happen again. There were only 3 that made it up the peg board 3 times. I don’t think this is because they weren’t strong enough. There is a technique to it.
The demo team did get to try this workout. The first time trying it was difficult, but after a 1/2 hour all of us were able to make it up 2-3 times in a minute. Granted we did not endure the entire preceding weekend’s events, but I think had the girl’s been more familiar with climbing technique they would have been able to do it. It’s definitely not harder than a legless rope climb, just different. The fact that most of them couldn’t and it was exposed is what Castro is famous for doing at the Games. This article illustrates well why he will continue to try to expose holes in people’s fitness: “The pegboard was too hard for women”.
Hopefully he’ll never put in motorcycle riding. They scare me more than heights do! There was no danger of us actually stealing this bike, lol.
Watching the Games made me eager to train again for next year. I’m happy to say I’ve been enjoying training more and more again. To my surprise though, I wasn’t upset not to be competing at the Regionals or the Games this year. I guess because I made the decision 7 months ago and have already dealt with it, and also because I think I needed the break. I am quite glad I got to test the pig and other events though. Part of the fun of the Games is getting to try so many new things you don’t do most of the rest of the year.
As you can see by my face the pig was quite heavier than 2 years ago! 85lbs heavier, for a grand total of 395lbs for the ladies!
Contemplating with Matt Chan what might be behind the tarp before the final event announcement. Of course we already knew.
Taking the board the teams used during the swim event for a dip.
The entire team at the beach event. I’m really glad we got to watch this one!