Compared to past years, this year’s Open had a very low barrier of entry for a continued season. The format started with the 3-week open, which I thought was a very short and sweet way of condensing the season for the whole community.
I thought it was a good improvement for the year. It was a lot less stress on affiliates for logistical reasons, and it captures the attention for all the beginner, middle and elite level athletes. This year, if you finished top 10% in your Continent, you were granted another invitation to continue your season within the CrossFit Games calendar: Quarterfinals.
Not to date myself back to my football days, but this made the open feel like “Pre-Season” and as soon as those 3 weeks were over the seriousness began.
After seeing the Open wrap-up and seeing how we finished 27th in North America and Top 50 Worldwide – we had an awesome number (12!) of athletes from our gym qualify out of the Open to compete in the next round – I knew we had a legitimate shot of going deep into the season, with the new goal being to make it to the CrossFit Games.
CrossFit is typically an individual sport, but this year the athletes from our gym decided to come together and give the team competition a-go.
It all started in late 2020 as the year was wrapping up and Taylor Streid planted the seed of the idea of doing a team for 2021. Given her prior experience with team Mayhem Independence and with a new appreciation for team competition vs. individual, we decided it would be the best decision to join forces and see what we could do.
Our young gym is growing and I knew we had a number of fit individuals joining up with us to where if we really wanted to take this thing seriously, we could be successful.
Using the Individual Quarterfinals as a Tool
We decided as a crew it would be best to run through the Individual Quarterfinals events since we had a feeling it would be a similar format as the team competition. We were hoping for similar workouts between the individual and team rounds, so we could use an official measuring stick to set our official team roster. Lucky for us (and annoying to most) the workouts for the Team and Individual looked almost identical, so we knew how these workouts would feel and how we could best strategize our athletes to put up the best possible score.
I’m super proud of how last weekend went, not only of how we finished on the leaderboard, but of the effort put out by every athlete and the support system around the gym.
Break it Down.
(We did all these tests out of order to leverage our recovery and availability, so this was really Test #2 for us.)
Each partner does:
2 rounds each of:
15 strict handstand push-ups
15 dumbbell hang power cleans
Male athlete 1 completes 1 round, then male athlete 2 completes 1 round. Repeat.
Then immediately into 2 rounds each of:
15 kipping handstand push-ups
15 dumbbell shoulder-to-overheads
Male athlete 1 completes 1 round, then male athlete 2 completes 1 round. Repeat.
After the men have finished, the women complete the same sequence.
♀ 35-lb. dumbbells
♂ 50-lb. dumbbells
Time cap: 30 min.
I originally underestimated the long-time cap, but considering the best individual scores in the world were scoring around 7-minutes for their workout, getting 4 athletes through in under 30 min cap would be a big deal.
Knowing that dubs under fatigue are a GOAT (Weakness) for me, but I knew as a team we were all well rounded enough to excel in gymnastics and power through the dumbbell movements. With everyone being able to move pretty fast, this workout came down to who could stay poised and avoid tripping on the rope. I gave my best effort but I had plenty of trips! We ended just short of 14 rounds, which would have allowed both the girls to start their last round of the kipping reps. The shoulder burn was real.
This one landed us an 85th placing which was our lowest finish of the weekend.
This was actually our 3rd workout on the weekend, which we had to do Off-Site at CrossFit Uncharted (Shout out to Lynette!) due to only having 1 GHD in our gym and a short ceiling for the required Rope Climb Height.
M/F pair 1:
70 synchro GHD sit-ups
14 rope climbs, one 15-ft. rope, switch as needed
70 synchro alternating single leg squats
50 synchro GHD sit-ups
10 rope climbs, one 15-ft. rope, switch as needed
50 synchro alternating single leg squats
When M/F pair 1 finishes, M/F pair 2 completes the sequence.
Time cap: 25 min.
Coach Matt Dettman briefed us before the event as reminded us since you can really only move the GHDs and the Rope so fast, this workout would be won on the pistols. I knew this was a strength for Taylor and I, so we paired up and flew as fast as we could!
Since only 3 or 4 teams in the entire world could actually finish this one under the time cap, we knew the overall goal was to go as fast as possible to buy Chris and Marrah as much time as possible to get every rep they could. We were just short of getting back to that final round of pistols. All 4 athletes showed up big time and this ended up placing us in 20th which was our second-best score all weekend.
Side note: We might’ve been a little fearful of how bad this was going to make us feel the next day, since the individual version had 180 GHDs in their workout. Luckily 120 is significantly lower and the after-effects of this test were not nearly as bad as the first time around! I truly believe doing that the first time around helped our recovery in feeling better for the rest of the weekends’ tests.
Easily the least favorite test of the weekend, so we did this last on Saturday.
M/M and F/F pairs each complete:
100 wall-ball shots
Then, athlete 2:
120 wall-ball shots
Both pairs start at the same time and add their times together for their final score.
♀ 14-lb. ball, 9-ft. target
♂ 20-lb. ball, 10-ft. target
No time cap
This was just a very raw test of stamina and grit. I wouldn’t consider rowing the strength of any of our teammates, and Chris has been nursing a strain to his lat muscle so we weren’t sure how that might affect his pace.
Through a display of mental fortitude he was able to step up big time here and was able to hold onto a solid pace. Along with everyone not being 100% and considering the strengths and weaknesses of all 4 teammates we ended up with getting a pretty decent time. 40:03 time for combined time for all athletes to run through their part. Ended at around a 50th placing overall which was a pleasant surprise!
We did this one first thing on Thursday on fresh legs so we could put up the best score we could.
4-rep-max front squat:
Each teammate’s heaviest successful attempt is counted toward the team total. Time frame: 20 min.
Test 4 was a very simple test of strength. Those who are familiar with heavy front squats and thrusters know that when that bar gets heavy enough, it can really challenge your positional strength and ability to keep your chest and torso upright. And when you go from rep 3 to 4 at something close to 85-90%, that 4th rep became a game-changer for a lot of people.
If I have only one talent on this earth it probably is the ability to Front Squat more than most people can deadlift.
We knew coming in this would set us up for some success. Not only that but every athlete PR’d their 4 Rep Front squat that night. Marrah hit 207, Taylor 222, Chris 367, and I hit 461 for a total of 1257. Not only did this land us a 2nd place for the test, but gave us a little Shout out on the Games Central Channel as well.
For time, as a relay, each athlete completes 9-6-3 reps of:
Burpee box jump-overs
♀ 125 lb., 24 in.
♂ 175 lb., 30 in.
Time cap: 15 min.
Quick. Heavy. Pedal to the Metal type of Sprint. Personally, my favorite test of the weekend. We are all pretty experienced weightlifters in this group so we were able to cycle those heavy barbells pretty handily. Every Athlete ended up going faster than their individual quarterfinals performances as well, which was awesome to see.
The short/fast ones easily give me the biggest butterflies before the clock starts. It was Friday night and we were looking to just rest a little bit heading into our last workout for Saturday, so we gave it everything in hopes of not having to retest on Sunday. Flawless execution. No Misses. The energy in the room with the community watching definitely pulled us through on this one. 29th Place on test 5 sent us to a finishing 22nd overall on the leaderboard after all the video reviews were finished.
The ball is in CrossFit’s court at the moment. The effort from us was put out there and now the standings are final. We just have to wait on CrossFit to reach out and tell us not IF but WHERE we get to compete for a semifinal and a shot at a ticket to the CrossFit Games. The top 80 go to the next round, which we easily qualify for. Our hopes are that we put an effort great enough to allow us to CHOOSE where we want to play next.
We will decide as a team if we can, but its looking like we are going to be tripping to either Tennessee or Vegas in early-mid June if we are granted the opportunity to choose ourselves. In the meantime training will be dialed up another notch. Time to hone-in on some weaknesses and work more high-skill and specific workouts that will be expected in the next stage.
Stay tuned for more details later!