Around the time the CrossFit Games were starting up last February/March I had been doing CrossFit for two or three months, part time. At that point I was still only going to CrossFit LoDo once a week, maybe, and then going to the gym and either running or doing my own CrossFit based on videos I had seen online. I am sure if I watched video of myself from about 10 months ago I would fall out of my chair at how bad the form was.
A lot has changed in the past year. So much so that it is hard to believe that it has only been a year.
I was really engrossed with the games. I went to the Regionals in Castle Rock and watched a few of the events and even then I felt out of place. I recall when Chris Spealler did Diane in what was then a World Record time I didn’t even know who he was. In fact, this is the quote from the picture I took of him on my Facebook page: “This is the guy who set the world record with a 1:52 Diane. I guess he is pretty well known in the CF world.” The picture I took is on the right.
Gee, who is that? Needless to say I am much more familiar with who is who in the CrossFit world at this point in time, but still learning.
Back then I started to dig and when I saw that Matt Chan, winner of the Regionals and Pat Burke were from Colorado and had boxes in Denver I was shocked. Maybe I had someone locally I could root for during the games – and that is what I did. I wanted Chan or Burke to win so bad for Denver’s sake.
Along with all of this action of the games and my new found favorite CrossFit athletes I started to hold CrossFit Verve and MBS CrossFit on a pedestal — they must be amazing places to create such fine athletes! I even went so far as to drive by Verve one day on my way to LoDo to see what it looked like. Verve must be like the Major Leagues of CrossFit while LoDo is a minor league ball club.
When the theater shootings happened in Aurora (about one block from where I work) and Verve posted on their Facebook that they were going to have a memorial WOD I had to go. This was my chance to see where Matt Chan works out and…dare I say…maybe he would be there!?
I showed up to Verve plenty early and hoped to see some highly trained CrossFitters in action. I was slightly bummed when I got there and I was the only one there other than a few of the Verve trainers – and none were Chan.
The gym itself is amazing. I was chatting with the Verve folks a bit and found out they had recently moved into that space and it was quite the upgrade over their old box (I have since found this video on Vimeo of the very early days of CrossFit Verve. Pretty cool).
As the start time of the first memorial WOD drew near the place started to fill up. It was all hands on deck at Verve as all of their coaches were there to assist anyone who might not be familiar with CrossFit and the movements for the WOD.
We started outside doing some warmup drills and the group was about 30-40 individuals. The coaches who did the warmup had good tips and watched everyone very closely on the warmup and gave out pointers where needed. There was no doubt they were going to leave a great impression with everyone who showed up for the WOD that day.
This is the the WOD and its symbolism:
Seven Rounds for Time of:
12 Thrusters, 75#/55#
Run 200m, 20#/14# medicine ball
The seven rounds for time along with the 200 meter run featuring the 20# medicine ball signify the date of the tragic event (7/20/2012). Whereas the 12 thrusters and the 9 reps of toes-to-bar represent the 12 innocent victims who were killed inside theatre 9 of Century Theaters.
It was a doozy. Carrying the med ball got to be really difficult by the end.
Back to the box. It was super nice. You could tell that a lot of time had been spent on where equipment belongs and how to store it so it looks good and is easy to use/find. There were plenty of ropes and even some nets that they use for WODs along with the regular CrossFit barbell/kettle bell/bumper assortment of equipment.
The staff was super friendly and the co-owner, Mas Godinez, was especially friendly.
CrossFit Verve is to CrossFit LoDo as Cherry Creek is to Aurora. Verve is swanky and LoDo is dirty. As I have said before; I like dirty. I like Aurora. The one thing that really threw me off was the “store” at the front of the box. Shirts and sweatshirts are one thing but Verve sells shoes and even a CrossFit Verve soap. It seemed too corporate to me. Corporate might work, though, as Chan has done pretty well for himself.
It was a nice box but it wasn’t for me. That is fine and I am sure Verve is OK with that. One of things EVERYONE should do when looking for a CrossFit box is to check out a few of them and join one that feels right to you. If it means spending a bit more money to join or drive a bit further to feel comfortable and like where you lift, so be it.
I am still a big Matt Chan fan. I hope he does awesome at the 2013 games and knocks Rich Froning off of the top spot on the podium. I have taken a liking to following his wife on Twitter, too. Cherie Chan is a CrossFit Level 1 trainer and one of the head trainers at Verve. She is a great follow (@Matt1Chan and @cherizle). I will always root for Colorado.
Here is a video of the WOD that I took of the second group of CrossFitters who participated.