(By: Ryan Woods)
After years of hard work and dedication, 6 of our athletes accomplished the goal of competing in Regionals. The entire experience was something none of us will ever forget. Every one of us had spectated at Regionals before, and it was a dream come true to be the people on the floor actually doing the workouts.
Arriving at check-in, reality struck. The staff gave us each our own number, and moved us along to pick up our free clothes. We all joked about how we really only worked hard during the Open for free Reebok gear, so we considered faking injuries and withdrawing immediately once we had our stuff. Instead of that, however, we continued on to explore the workout floor, which was already set up for “Jackie” the following morning.
Looking around the venue was surreal. There were bleachers, a lot of bleachers. All of which would be full of fans from around the region. It was quiet but full of nervous energy. We worked hard, and knew that it was time to finally test ourselves against the other 29 teams from the Southwest Region of the United States.
We came in ranked 23rd in the region, so we were the very first heat of the entire weekend. Ryan and April took on partner “Jackie”. As a team, they had 15 minutes to complete the workout. The workout is a 1,000m row, 50 thrusters with the empty 45# bar, and then 30 pull-ups. April went first and did exactly what she planned to do: breaking her thrusters 30/20, and her pull-ups 20/10 finishing at 7:58. Ryan got on the rower immediately and nearly executed his plan. After unbroken thrusters and pull-ups broken 27/3, they went on to finish the workout in 14:01 which jumped the team up to 10th place overall.
Events 2 and 3 were combined for the afternoon workout. Our ladies started on the overhead squats. They were given 7 minutes for each of them to find their 3 rep max overhead squat. Our guys started on the muscle-ups: 7 minute AMRAP of burpee muscle-ups. With a 2 minute break in between workouts, we then switched workouts. Our team goal was a 1,000 pound total for the overhead squats. We finished with a total of 1,030, which was good enough for 14th overall. On the muscle-ups, our ladies crushed it with 33 reps between them, giving us a total of 99 reps and a weekend best 4th place finish on the workout.
At the end of a very successful and confidence boosting day 1, we were sitting in 7th place overall.
After a very solid day 1, we were in the final heat. This means we would be competing with the top 10 teams in the entire region. Included in this elite group were Front Range CrossFit and Hack’s Pack Ute CrossFit. Both of these teams are Games veterans, Hack’s Pack having won the 2012 CrossFit Games. This day would be such an amazing experience and we knew we would be pushed beyond what we thought was possible for ourselves.
Event 4 was a team workout where we would all do 30 reps of: wallballs, chest to bar pull-ups, pistols (1 legged squats), and single arm dumbbell snatches (70/50#). There was a 25 minute time-cap on this workout, and going into it we were concerned that we might not finish the workout. Our order was Kyle, Don, Ryan, April, Christina, and Lisa bringing us home. Something that not many people knew was that on her last muscle-up on Friday, Lisa sprained her ankle landing and could barely walk. Our amazing PT Melissa got her all taped up and Lisa put on her lady balls and proceeded to have the most clutch and inspiring thing I have ever been a part of at any CrossFit competition.
With every other team across the line, and 2 minutes left, Lisa arrived at the dumbbell snatches. 30 reps typically takes 3 minutes, but she did not have that time. With the ENTIRE Olympic Oval behind her, Lisa managed to finish the snatches and cross the finish line at 24:54. With an 18th place finish on that workout, it stands as our most memorable and proud moment as a gym.
Event 5 was Kyle and Lisa’s turn to go together as they took on 21-15-9 deadlifts (275/185) and box jumps (30/24”). When this workout was released, none of us wanted to do it. After testing the workout, Kyle and Lisa gave us the best chance at meeting the 11-minute time cap. In practice, Kyle did the workout in 7:15, which leaves Lisa 3:45 to do a workout which has never been done faster than 3:00. When it comes down to it, this was not going to be an amazing performance for us. However, because of the atmosphere and competition, Kyle PR’d by 45 seconds giving Lisa more time than expected to push through as much as possible. She got 1 deadlift on her set of 9 before the time cap hit. This gave us a time of 11:18 which was 24th overall.
While not an amazing day for us, we are proud of what we did and experienced some amazing competition from our athletes. Lisa doing pistols and box jumps with a sprained ankle, and little Kyle doing box jumps which my as well have been as tall as he is. Take aways from day 2: you are capable of more than you think, and competing with athletes better than you make you a better athlete. After a tough day 2, we were sitting in 14th place overall.
All of our lower bodies were trashed from the first 2 days of competition, so Event 6 was a welcome breath of fresh air. Don and Christina got to crush their shoulders with a combined 100 double unders, 50 handstand push-ups, 50 toes to bar, 50 push jerks with a fat bar (160/100), and a 90 foot front rack lunge with the axle bar. The catch: handstand push-ups could only be done while the other partner rested in the handstand, toes to bar resting was done hanging on the bar, and the push jerk rest was holding the bar in the front rack. Not an easy workout at all.
Both Don and Christina did the double unders unbroken. When they started the handstand push-ups, it was obvious something was off. The stress and mental exhaustion of the weekend caught up and both were struggling with the HSPU. After fighting through them, they flew through the toes to bar and got to the axle. The handstand push-ups had crushed their shoulders more than expected and that bar felt twice as heavy as it did in practice. They got through 41 of the jerks when time expired, giving us a 21st place score of 15:11.
Our afternoon workout was a combination of rope climbs and squat cleans (225/135#). This is a weight all of us could handle, although the 20 minute time cap was not something we were terribly confident we would be able to meet. Because of this, we decided to go out as fast as we could and get the athletes who struggle with the weight the most amount of time to finish us out. We had all prepared the best we could and knew the movements and how the workout would feel.
Once you step out on that workout floor, almost everything you know in your brain goes out the window. As Don put it: “It felt like I forgot how to do a clean.” That 225# barbell was giving him trouble. Falling backwards onto other bars, injuring his thumb, and multiple ridiculous no-reps set us back and off our schedule. April flew through her set making the weight look like it was full of helium. During the final 2 minutes Ryan got through 2/3rds of his reps and we were cut off at the time cap. For the record, Christina looked beautiful out there. Another 21st place finish dropped us to 17th overall.
We all hate that we did not finish all the workouts. It is not in our spirit or nature to quit the work before it is done. Are we disappointed in our effort? Hell no. We all left 110% of ourselves on that workout floor.
Our team came in to the weekend ranked 23rd out of over 200 teams in the region. We left ranked 17th out of the fittest 30 teams in the region. We gained 6 spots on teams who were “fitter” than us going into the weekend. We have no negative feelings about how the weekend went. Do we have goals about how next year should go? Absolutely. We will be a year fitter, and hopefully more successful.
We hope that we inspired people to begin competing, because every single one of us has been in the stands hoping to be out on the floor one day. It was a dream come true for us, and we would love nothing more than making it back and improving next year.