Battle at the Rock – take 4 – review

Another year has passed and another attempt at finishing in the top half of the male athletes competing at the Battle of the Rock has passed. And another year in which I did not make that goal. At the age of 39 competing with guys in their early 20’s is getting more and more difficult.

My goal every year for this event is to finish in the top half of the athletes and this year I finished 47th out of 73 athletes. Close, but no knee sleeves.

This event continues to be really well run. I don’t compete in many events every year, but this is one I always will try to compete in.

I think they were on time all day except for maybe the last two or three male heats of the second to last event. But I think they caught up for the last event even with the re-seeding of athletes. I believe the first male masters heat of the last event was supposed to start at 4:30 and I think I went right at 4:30.

The judges were super nice. The swag bags were on point. The free chiropractic service was awesome and it looked like the winners loot was bountiful.

The communication prior and even after the event was top notch. You can tell that the folks who run this event truly care about it being one of the most successful events every year in Colorado.

Now on to my recap of each event and my day:

I started off my day with the floater. This was an event with a three minute time cap. In the allotted time I had to row 10 calories then do two rounds of five ground to over shoulder with an 100 pound sandbag and then an 80 foot carry where I had to carry it at waist level (in front and not above shoulders). The sandbag wasn’t your typical sandbag. It resembled a bag of money you might see in a cartoon – a sack with a knot on top holding in the sand. This made it pretty awkward for me to pick up. Most of my time was spent trying to get my fingers under the bag. Once I had it I didn’t have trouble getting it over my shoulder. I was off the rower in less than 20 seconds, but then it took me over another 80 seconds to complete the rest of the work. This was good enough for 52nd place out of 73 competitors.

No excuses. I had a chance prior to play with the bag, I just couldn’t move it quickly enough during the event. I was not pleased with my performance.

About 20 minutes later I was on the floor for the first event. If I have one major complaint about this competition it was this event. This was an event with a 12 minute cap, but two distinct segments. The first segment carried a rep scheme of 4-6-8 of deadlifts and box jump on and overs. There were three rounds of the 4-6-8 with the deadlift weight increasing each round. This segment had a seven minute cap. Immediately after completing that work (do not wait for the seven minute mark) the athletes performed 40 bar facing burpees. The burpee portion carried a five minute cap (or more if you finished the 4-6-8 portion before the seven minute mark). The problem I had with this is that they scored it three times. the 4-6-8 was a score, the burpees were a score and the two combined was a score. In a day in which there were six scored events it made this one event very heavily weighted.

What is the point of that? Could you tank the deadlifts on purpose to crush the burpees? Probably not a good idea because you would probably tank your overall score, too. There were several athletes that finished all of the work in just over six minutes – and many more than finished in less than eight minutes. So if you tank the deadlifts for the burpees you are really tanking two of the three available scores.

I would have rather it either been scored as one event – how much time it takes to complete all of the work, or two events – the deadlift/box jumps is one event and when you complete that work you rest until the seven minute mark and then the burpees was a second event where everyone started at the same time. One score for all of it, or two scores for the two segments. But three scores to start the day and essentially dig your grave or put yourself in position for the podium after what feels like one event is pretty extreme.

As for my performance… I knew it wouldn’t be my thing. Box jumps are one of my worst movements. I’m not a good jumper and since I weigh a lot more than most of the guys competing they take me a lot longer than others. I finished the 4-6-8 part in 5:57 which was good for 52nd place. While I do like burpees, my quads were shot after the first portion and there were at least two occurrences of my brain yelling at my body “JUST GET DOWN!!” to start another burpee and my body yelling back “FUCK OFF – I MIGHT PUKE”. It took me 3:58 to do the burpees (to compare, when fresh, I have completed nearly 100 burpees in less than five minutes before). That was good for 55th and my overall time of 9:55 was also good for 55th.

After one event, which was really half of the scoring for the day, I was firmly locked into 55th place (or close to that). A big hole to dig out of.

The next event started with an 800m run – no digging out of that hole. A fat guy like me has trouble running, too. I guess my overall fitness needs some work? After the 800m run we had to complete 30 kettle bell swings, 15 thrusters (95#), 30 pull ups, 15 thrusters and 30 KBS. Looking at that portion of the workout I actually kind of like it. I did the 30 KBS unbroken to start and then 8/7 thrusters. I broke the pull ups into sets of five or six as the feeling we all know so well as “Fran” was starting to set in. After coming off of the pull up bar I think (at this point I think I had lost consciousness) I did sets of five on the thrusters. When I got to the KB I do distinctly recall only getting six swings to start. I recall this because I love KBS and to only get six I thought to myself – oh shit. At the 11 minute mark I also recall the thought that I might actually throw up. I have never thrown up doing CrossFit and I thought this was going to be my time, in front of a crowd, in a competition. Whatever the case I just couldn’t muster the energy, will power, ability, whatever to complete the KBS. I ended two short of completing the workout. Looking at it initially never did I think I wouldn’t complete it. Looking back, I wish I would have taken longer breaks and then performed larger sets of the KBS. I think had I done that I would have finished rather than just putting the pedal to the metal.

A score of 12:02 was good for 46th among competitors.

The final event was the only event squarely in my wheelhouse: “Grace”. 30 clean and jerks for time is what I love to do. Love it. I have done heavier versions of Grace before, longer versions, versions with odd objects, whatever. We had three minutes to complete Grace and then in the remaining time do as many double unders as possible. I completed Grace in about 2:10 (20 seconds off my PR) and then I thought I completed 47 double unders. Another member from my gym thought I completed 49. The judge thought I completed 43. Hard to argue in that situation so my final score was 73 (30 clean and jerks plus the double unders). This score was good for 10th among all of the male competitors.

52nd + 55th + 55th + 46th + 10th + 52nd = 47th place overall.

To put this in a bit of perspective, and I’m not trying to be mean here at all, but this is my competitive side coming out. There is a member of my gym who I routinely beat in any workout on a daily basis that doesn’t involve running. Almost any and every workout I beat him unless it involves any significant amount of running. He beat me in every workout on Saturday except Grace. I just didn’t perform. I think I could have done much better. Much, much better.

In any case, it was still fun. I still had a good time. I still enjoyed pushing myself to those limits. It was a well run competition, the people were great, the schedule was on time and overall it was a great day.

I will definitely do it again next year.

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