I hate off-season competitions

I mean, I like them, but I hate them. The CrossFit Games season is over and you are left twiddling your thumbs at your computer wanting to watch more. You wake up everyday, and sit in front of your computer all day long. In your bathrobe you sit and eat oatmeal all day, unshaven, waiting for more CrossFit action. And then it finally comes in the form of off-season competitions like the Granite Games and Wodapalooza.

These two competitions are just the start of the off-season, there are many more to come all over the world ranging from Dubai to Switzerland. These competitions attract some of the biggest names in CrossFit.

The Granite Games had Patrick Vellner (4th at this years Games), Brooke Wells (14th at the Games) and fan favorites like Sam Dancer competing. Vellner is competing again in Switzerland with Lindy Barber (one of the ladies on Team CrossFit Mayhem with Rich Froning). The Dubai Fitness Comp had Ben and Alec Smith competing last year, Sam Briggs and Annie Thorisdottir to name just a few. Oh, ya, and the reigning Fittest Man on Earth, Mat Fraser was also in Dubai competing for $75,000 (I think is how much the winning pro male and female won).

Why would I hate these competitions? Well, in most of these competitions the big name athletes compete on teams. Teams with their sponsors name on it as a way to advertise. They aren’t competing individually (the Dubai comp they do). I don’t care that they are competing for a company and marketing – they have to pay their bills. What I do hate is that I can’t easily tell who is on which team when I look at leaderboards. Here is the male pro team leaderboard from Minnesota this past weekend:

Capture

Who is on “Bilingual Bandits”?? I actually do know the answer to this because Vellner made sure to post often from the competition, but I would like to know who made up the Opex – Elite Team, for example. As someone who used to follow OPT programming when it was free I am still curious and follow some of the names who train in Phoenix. I’m guessing “Kill Cliff” from QTown CrossFit is Sam Dancer and Jared Stevens just because I know Dancer owns Qtown.

Same goes on the ladies side. Would love to know which ladies make up which teams. And the same will apply this weekend in Switzerland. In a month or so in Miami I will be left hunting trying to figure out which athletes are on which pro team. When Kill Cliff has it’s big competition in Boston early in the new year….same thing. These competitions need to do a better job letting spectators know who is on which team. I think in the long run it would definitely attract more eyeballs to the comp. For the benefit of the comp itself that is trying to sell tickets to Floelite who seems to “broadcast” all of these competitions – knowing who is competing and being able to root for teams would make it more likely that individuals would pay to watch.

As it stands I don’t know if I want Team Fitchalk to win…who am I rooting for??

PS: Am I the only one who has gone through seven very large boxes of Quaker Oats from Costco since the end of the Games??

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10 Consecutive Years at the Games

I watched the “Behind the Scenes” today for the California Regional. Much of the early part of the video is about Becca Voigt making it to her 10th consecutive Games appearance.

I, of course, have some thoughts and two stand out.

  1. Sure, 10 years is super impressive, but the first several years competition wasn’t the same. Making it to the Games in 2008 took nothing more than buying a ticket, much like you buy a ticket to any local competition. The first two years (’08 and ’09) Voigt went to the Games there wasn’t any sort of qualification process – you could just go. So she was really trying to qualify for her 8th consecutive, the first two there was no qualification process. I suppose that is just nit-picking, though. My real point here though is that qualifying for the Games six or seven years ago wasn’t nearly the same thing as it is today. Even as recently as five or six years ago many of the competitors to qualify for the Games were not full time CrossFit athletes – that wasn’t even a thought in anyone’s mind yet. The sport has come a long way. The athletes weren’t to the standard they are today. I’m not trying to say Voigt qualifying six years ago isn’t impressive, but it isn’t as impressive as qualifying now. There were also slightly more competitors invited to the Games in the early 2010’s and the pool of available candidates was not as large, so the percentage of athletes to go was larger – albeit very small.
  2. Now, do we think we will see anyone else do it again? I bet we will. Let’s take Alec Smith, for example. Smith is 24 and going to his first CrossFit Games. He appears to really love the sport and has an older brother and younger brother that also love it and compete. He is part of a family that owns an affiliate. He appears immensely talented and while this is his first CrossFit Games I don’t think it is out of the realm to think he might go to nine more…in a row. And speaking of his older brother, Ben Smith has been on the podium several times in recent history and is going to his ninth consecutive Games, so if he qualifies next year it will be 10 in a row. Voigt would have company next year. Not to mention other young CrossFitters making their second appearance at the Games before they are 23. Jonne Koski is only 22 and Sam Kwant is only 21. For such an unimaginable achievement you wouldn’t think she would have company next year.

Making it to the Games 10 consecutive years is definitely impressive, but not nearly as impressive as Rich Froning winning it four years in a row. Someone in the video compared the two and said that those two achievements were equal. I think that is hyperbole at its best.

Voigt is amazing, a great athlete and certainly very, very fit, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves by acting like it would be the biggest achievement in the sport of CrossFit, equal to Froning winning it four times in a row. Just like I don’t count Froning winning the team division as anything equal to him winning individual. Two completely different things.

Who do you think will make it 10 years in a row? Noah Olsen?

Always accurate Regionals predictions

Here is my 4th (???) installment of predicting the results of Regionals. I have yet to miss any pick. Ya, last year, when Dan Bailey didn’t make the Games, I predicted that. Or when that obscure gym from the Meridian Regional made the Games, I predicted that. I called Rich Froning retiring from individual competition before he did.

I’m that good.

Go ahead, look it up. It’s all on this site somewhere.

On to this years perfect predictions.

First weekend – I CAN’T WAIT!!

East Regional

  • Women: Hard not to pick Katrin Davidsdottir to win this region, right? She is the reigning two time Fittest Woman on Earth. But I’m going with Kari Pearce to pull out the upset with Katrin finishing second. Wrapping up the top 5 I will go with Dani Horan, Carol-Ann Reason-Thibault and Chelsey Hughes.
  • Men: Um, duh, Mat Frazier. I’m not going against him. Patrick Vellner will finish in 2nd, but well behind Frazier. Alex Vigneault, Chase Smith and Albert-Dominic Larouche take the remaining qualifying spots. It sucks not having Lucas Parker at the Games…but it ain’t happening this year.
  • Teams: CrossFit Milford, Pro1 Montreal and Reebok CrossFit One take the top 3 spots. Team Back Bay and Ocean States Finest go to the Games, too.

South Regional

  • Women: Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet wins the region and this year she will finish top 5 at the Games. I’m calling that now. Margaux Alvarez, Tennil Reed, Brenda Castro and Alexis Johnson qualify.
  • Men: Niklas Hecht wins over Roy Gamboa. He comes strong out of Vegas. Travis Williams, Sean Sweeney and Tommy Vinas round out this region. I miss the days when a bunch of Colorado athletes owned this group. Colorado is hard to find now other than CLB.
  • Teams: Wasatch Brutes, Salt Lake City CF, EADO Elite Blue, Max Effort Avengers and CrossFit Jaakarhu win.

Pacific Regional

  • Women: Really hard to pick against Kara Webb, and I am not. She edges out Tia Toomey. Does it really matter past those two? I don’t think so. Anyone else out of this region is shark bait at the Games.
  • Men: Ricky Garard, Rob Forte and Khan Porter stand on the podium. James Newbury and Mitchell Sinnamon take spots in Madison.
  • Teams: I’ll just go with the top 5 teams out of Australia. Asia gets blanked.

California Regional

  • Women: What used to be a beast of a region has certainly fallen. Lauren Fisher is back and healthy and wins. Chyna Cho is right there along with Alessandra Pichelli. Kirsten Pedri takes fourth and I have to pick Becca Voigt to go to her 35th straight CrossFit Games. No Jamie Hagiya this year.
  • Men: Josh Bridges should clean up. No really heavy barbells to slow him down this year. Jason Carroll and Christian Lucero are next up with Julian Alcaraz (and all those Street Parking WODs with dumbbells) and Lorin Adams rounding out.
  • Teams: Going to be hard to be NorCal, I think. Invictus always sends a team and this time Paradiso, 209 Sport and 808 go to the Games.

Central Regional

  • Women: This might be the stacked female region. Sara Sigmundsdottir wins it. Kristi Eramo and Stacie Tovar come in next. Brooke Wells makes it, but without a really heavy barbell she doesn’t have home run power this year. Jenn Smith takes the final spot.
  • Men: Scott Panchik wins. The men side is stacked here, too. Sam Dancer somehow pulls out second without the help of a heavy barbell….or any barbell. Zak Carchedi goes to the games along with Alex Anderson and Dan Bailey (who will need to come out of the 2nd heats on Friday).
  • Team: Obviously Mayhem Freedom. They win almost every event and OC3, Timberwolf, 417, Three Kings and Koda CrossFit go to the Games.

Meridian Regional

  • Women: Sam Briggs benefits from no barbells. Jamie Greene looks poised to make noise at the Games. Annie Thorisdottir will squeak out third over Kristin Holte. Emma McQuaid comes out of nowhere to take fifth. Some of the other Dottir’s succeed with a heavy barbell, so this will not be their year.
  • Men: Jonne Koski wins and Karl Gudmundsson taking second. Frederik Aegidius joins his girlfriend (Annie) and Lukas Hogberg and Elliot Simmonds go. Rasmus has to wait until next year to play with Fisher in Madison.
  • Team: I have to be honest – I don’t know any of these teams. So…I’m going to abstain. I can’t be wrong if I don’t pick.

West Regional

  • Women: I think Emily Abbott won almost every Open workout in this region, so she wins. Carly Fuhrer, Carleen Mathews, Alex Parker and Emily Rolfe go.
  • Men: Brent Fikowski podiums in Madison this year. Sam Kwant takes second. Tyson Takasaki returns and Ben Stoneberg and Mitch Wagner take the final two spots.
  • Team: CrossFit Fort Vancouver is always at the Games. Marysville, Armoury, Taranis and Cascade qualify.

Atlantic Regional

  • Women: Emily Bridgers cleans up. I feel like all of these workouts are in her wheelhouse. Alison Scudds makes it along with Alea Helmick, Meredith Root and Cassidy Lance-McWherter.
  • Men: The Smith boys take one and two with Ben edging out younger brother Alec. Noah Ohlsen comfortably gets in and Jacob Anderson and Travis Mayer take the final two spots.
  • Team: 12 Labours wins. Balance, Diamond State, Training Think Tank and Peak 360 also go to Madison.

There you have it. Book it. Bet it. Money.

Only 3 more days!!!

Did you actually search to see if I am always right? I’m hardly EVER right…

Get rid of HSPU in the Open

I’m terrible at handstand push ups. Terrible. I think I had about 90 seconds to two minutes to get as many HSPU as I could get during 17.4 and I could only muster 12 of them. This post has nothing to do with that. I am much worse at muscle ups and I don’t think CrossFit should do away with those in the Open. HSPU are judged way too differently to really use them.

I wrote about this two years ago. How athletes are able to get their heels above the line when they are several inches (feet?) from the wall or super wide hands just doesn’t make mathematical sense. As I note in my original blog post if you place a ruler flat against a wall with the end of the ruler placed where the floor meets the wall…and then move that end away from the wall the ruler will obviously not be as high. Does this seem to make sense for HSPU? Even with the three inch drop from where your wrists are measured?

Let me start at the beginning. Here is how the standard is written on the Games website:

Games

I’ll call out the wording “hands over their head with elbows locked out“. LOCKED OUT.

Brooke Wells being measured:

Wells

Patrick Vellner being measured:

Vellner

Tennil Reed being measured:

Reed

Do any of those athletes look like they have their elbows locked? Nope. Not one of them. I would be willing to bet they aren’t the only ones. I’m not just talking “profressional” exercisers either. I am sure this sort of “lock out” is seen at gyms all over the world. Almost makes me wish I held my athletes to this same poor standard. If top Games competitors can get away without locking out their elbows then why can’t my athletes?

I know that for myself those few inches would make a big difference in the ease of reps for my HSPU.

I’m fairly certain I won’t be promoting the Open in my gym in 2018. I enjoy competing enough that I will probably sign up myself in 2018, but it is becoming a joke for the average Joe to do the Open. First of all, what’s the point anymore? Not like you can even compare yourself to other athletes around the world with the poor standards being upheld in other gyms. And now it is getting hard to compare yourself to the pro’s since they don’t hold up to standards either.

I honestly believe that for each of the athletes pictured above their scores should be marked as invalid as not one of their HSPU met standards.

*****************EDIT**************

No fear, Sam Briggs won 17.4 and her measurement was on point. So good to see her extend her arms and lock out her elbows for her HSPU measurement. I hope she doesn’t go Masters this year and competes with the younger ladies.