Wednesday, August 3, 2011

CrossFit Games Recap: Part 2

[Previously: CrossFit Games: Recap Part 1]

The marine layer burned off soon after the finish of the WOD at Santa Monica Pier. By the time we arrived at the Home Depot Center for the rest of Day 1's events, it was starting to heat up. I lingered for a few seconds in front of the Big Ass Fan booth before moving on to check out the rest of the venue.

The Reebok CrossFit tent was situated smack-dab in the middle of "Sponsor Village," the cluster of makeshift stores set up next to the stadium. Early on the first day, Reebok still had plenty of CrossFit-specific gear for sale, though merchandise appeared to be flying off the shelves.

Of course, as an admitted shoe whore, I was drawn like a moth to the blindingly shiny yellow Reebok CrossFit shoes. I was so entranced by the pair in the display case that I failed to notice that REEBOK WAS SELLING THEM FIVE FEET AWAY. (Only a limited number were offered for sale. Reebok had brought a few hundred pairs with which to outfit the Games athletes; the "extras" were then sold to fans at the Games.)

Like a big dummy, I wandered off to check out the stadium. A rope-climbing rig was already set up, but the competitors were elsewhere at the moment.

So Tim, Joe and I strolled around Home Depot Center. We checked in on the Master's competition, where the male athletes were grinding through a grueling WOD:
  • 21 overhead squats (95lbs)
  • 21 hand-release push-ups 
  • 150 yard shuttle run
  • 15 overhead squats (95lbs)
  • 15 hand-release push-ups 
  • 100 yard shuttle run
  • 9 overhead squats (95lbs)
  • 9 hand-release push-ups 
  • 50 yard shuttle run

Tim's buddy Ken Clark was competing in the Master's 45-50-year-old division -- in this particular workout, he placed 8th out of 19, with a time of 5:05. In other words, he kicked ass.

Next, we moseyed on over to the track to watch the individual competitors tackle Event 2 -- a three-part skills test consisting of:
  • Max L-sit for time (1 attempt)
  • Max distance softball throw (2 attempts)
  • Max distance handstand walk (1 attempt with 1 mulligan if less than 5 yards)
After the excitement of the beach WOD, this one wasn't nearly as much fun to watch. A static L-sit for time is incredibly challenging, but as a spectator sport, it's less fun than watching pro bowling.

Jason Khalipa won the L-sit portion of the event with a 51-second hold -- but not too long thereafter, he completely muffed the softball throw. For all his athletic abilities, Khalipa obviously never learned to throw a ball; each of his throws were inaccurate, short, or both.

He wasn't alone. Plenty of the other guys (including Austin Malleolo)  were clearly uncomfortable throwing a softball.

Spencer Hendel, a former baseball pitcher, won the softball-throwing contest with a screamer that traveled almost 260 feet. But of the male competitors, 13 failed to record a single successful throw.

The women didn't fare much better with the softball throw, though a few -- including Michelle Kinney,
Jessica Pamanian and Angie Pye -- bested many of the men.

After watching a bunch of people try to throw a ball (some apparently for the first time), we got antsy, so Tim, Joe and I wandered back to the Sponsor Village to check out what the vendors were selling.

At the Steve's Original tent (where I loaded up on PaleoKrunch bars -- they're made of crack, I tell you), I had the pleasure of meeting Liz Wolfe of CaveGirlEats. I've been reading her blog for a while now, so it was great to finally meet her in person. (Plus, we're having dinner with Liz and a bunch of other Paleo luminaries in L.A. next weekend, so I definitely wanted to stop and say hello.)

Liz was just the first of many Paleo and/or CrossFit weblebrities I met at the Games. Next door to her tent was Patton Gleason, the founder of Natural Running Store, who was working at the Altra booth.

Patton's a great guy, and his online store offers lots of great options for runners and CrossFitters alike. (Natural Running Store also happens be the sponsor of Tim's wife, ultrarunner and fellow CrossFitter Kristen Dymmel.)

Next, we dropped in on the SICFIT crew. For all of our online interactions, this was the first time I'd met the gang face-to-face. Over the course of the weekend, I got to spend time with fellow shoe-geek Ben  Flores...

...Aaron Arehart, Diego Centeno...

...the mighty Ruben Rojas...

...CrossFit Central owner (and former Games competitor) Jeremy Thiel...

...and, of course, the brains and hustle behind SICFIT (and husband of Lindsey Smith), Web Smith.

It was a little overwhelming to finally put all these faces to names (and Twitter handles), but in many ways, it was like meeting up with old friends. Maybe it was the atmosphere of the Games, or perhaps it's because almost everyone I met turned out to be a friendly, warm and enthusiastic conversationalist, but we all got along famously. The closeness of the CrossFit community clearly reaches across state borders.

Okay -- I'm rambling, it's late, and I still have a crapload of stuff to cover. I'm not even done recapping DAY ONE yet, but I guess it'll have to wait 'til tomorrow...