Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Dynamic View of the 2012 Crossfit Games

I was there and it was cool.
So this morning I got a Facebook-kick-in-the ass from fellow firefighter, Big Dawg, and owner of The Human Lifestyle Ryan Polak to get my shit together and get a blog post going about my experiences down in Carson, California and the 2012 CF Games.

I'll throw out all the typical excuses right now, I'm busy/I'm working/I'm swamped/I have a child/ blah blah blah, which all amount to pure horseshit.  I did have some serious catch-up to do with the business, but due to my new streamlined efficiency and wicked advice from Mike Fitzgerald of Optimum Performance Training in Calgary ("Get your shit together.  Work faster.  Or hire monkeys.") I am pretty much caught up.  So, in my typical ADHD fashion, here's my thoughts on the Games:

Just For Clarification:  I was there as a spectator; yup, I had athletes competing, but at this point, the last thing they need is some skinny-ass dude yapping at them about grams-per-kilo of dextrose, beta alanine, and bitching if they forgot to take their CoQ10.  As much as I would have LOVED to be on the sidelines, I wasn't.  So I was a spectator.  With tequila in hand. :)

Venue:  The Home Depot Center.  Awesome.  Nice track, nice arena, room for vendors.  Problem is, place was packed.  Fucking packed.  And on the last day, our herd (I use that term with affection) was slow getting out of the gate from Sunset beach, and got there late.  Not a seat to be had.  The overweight security guards made sure you didn't stand in a nice shady spot, god forbid.  Overheard rumor is that it'll be there next year, but they'll just crank the prices.  The state of California, as a whole, rocks: Sunset Beach, Huntington Beach, Beverly Hills, etc---I get the draw, and why people want to be there.  Waaaay too packed for this Canadian, though.  I would go fucking mental living in that kinda of proximity with 30 million people.

Might just be the fucking coolest vendor at the Games

Vendors:  There was a SHITPILE of vendors at the Games.  I was literally in a daze walking through them.  Apparel, equipment, shoes, jump ropes...you name it.  It's amazing to think that Crossfit has spawned businesses that thrive entirely on it's existence.  To me, that's just unreal.  If you own Rogue or Again Faster or any of the apparel companies, well, props to you for getting your foot in the door early.  The potential seems limitless.

 On the same hand, I didn't buy a single goddamn thing for myself, other than a pink tshirt for my daughter.  Something about the "commercialization" of everything put me off.  I tried to discuss it with my psychologist/accountant, but he just told me to shut the fuck up, and bought me a double tequila.

Crowd:  While there were many positives I took away from the Games, this had to be the best.  By far, this was thee fittest, hottest, most jacked crowd I have ever seen.  Approx 8000 people, and not a fat fuck to be seen except for the HDC staff.  Eye candy galore for both guys and gals.  And I wasn't the only one who saw this.
Ask for a Coke and Fries here, and you get a Demonbell upside the head.

Food:  Probably the second most positive aspect; Paleo Wagon?!?  Check.  Plates of 3/4 pound meatballs, avocado, veggies?  Check.  Fresh Produce?  Check.  Once again, amazing & positive.

Of course, they also had strategically placed booze vendors.  Paleo or not, the sales were hot:
Say Hello to $50USD worth of tequila
Celebs, Associates, & Friends:  I'm not a big celeb guy; ok, let me clarify, I'm DEFINITELY, myself, not a celeb.  I'm also not a star-struck kinda guy.  But it was cool to see folks from the community in person, and at a distance.  I think I was most caught off guard by Mark Sisson bombing past me, wearing nothing but a backpack, his still-blonde hair bouncing, SoCal style.  Surreal.  Other Spottings & Musings:
  • Nicole Carroll was seen on the battlefield, looking all offical, and shit.  In jeans.  Boo.
  • Someone (Not me) spotted Welbourne.  "I thought he would be bigger.  His hair was stupid".  LOL.  If you are reading this, John, do not come find me and kill me.  I'm fast.  Ninja fast.
  • Glassman was nowhere to be found.  I guess he was shitface drunk in the Goodyear Blimp.  I don't blame him, considering how the Games have grown.  I would be too.
  • Khalipa is a fucking bear.  Watching him run the 400s in the track triplet that's all I could think of...bear.  And, in all honesty, I'd rather deal with a pissed-off bear than a pissed off Khalipa
  • Teams:  Watched the final...wish I would have watched more, as I missed Rachel "Rocky" Siemens & Team Taranis completely.   Looked like a blast, watching Tommy Hackenbruck bust out a nearly unbroken "Karen" in the final was f-ing awesome.  Props to TJs Gym for making it to Sunday; unbeknownst to most, I played a (very) small role in that, which started back in Dec of 2011.  Focus + Goals = results.
  • James Fitzgerald:  Got a chance to sit and BS with James for a short bit; it was a bit odd, just sitting on the stadium steps chatting, while people walked past, having no idea he was the inaugural winner of this epic event.  Big Dawg Nate Schrader made it top 12, which is pretty damn cool.
  • SuperVixen:  Did get to meet up with the famous SuperVixen (aka JaimieB), who more than likely keeps Crossfit Invictus running like a well oiled machine behind the scenes and keeps CJ from exploding from being so busy.
I wish I could have hooked up with all the folks that were shooting me texts and messages;the crowd/timing/etc made it tough to get around, plus my phone blows, even with a data package (I used 100mb of data.  Shit.).  I ended up going down there with 8 other friends from Lethbridge, (aka The Herd) which was very cool---rented a swanky house on Sunset Beach, nobody killed anyone during our stay, did some pretty cool touristy things outside of the games, and had a overall wicked time.

Programming:  I'm going to be brief, here:  I liked it.  A LOT.  I'm sure there's probably an in-depth breakdown done by someone with much more experience than I have out there, so you can read that if you want an analysis.  From a spectator POV, they were easy to follow, you could see progression, they used the "Girls" on the last day (perfect, IMO), and it was neither too much nor too little, in terms of volume and what athletes could handle, at this international level of competition.   It's a spectator sport, folks.  Some events aren't a "test" of fitness.  There's a difference.

For those bitching about the mini-all terrain "surprise" triathlon...why???  Perfect. If this sport is going to label itself, and it's athletes, as "The Fittest", then that's the complimentary event to max strength and anaerobic capacity.  I have a single (or two) beef about it, though, which I'll describe below.
Time to Bitch & Moan
Beefs: What would a review of the Games be without some armchair bitching?  A shitty review, that's what.  So here are some of my highly accurate, opinion-is-fact, laser-beam criticisms:
  • Los Angeles is a fucking nightmare to drive in.  This is coming from a guy that drives 17 ton trucks at high speed for a living.  
  • Masters:  Over 45 y/o?  Pfft, stick 'em in a dusty corner and let them play.  BRUTAL.  I get that it would be logistically impossible (or would it?) to have them schedule it around the individual & team events, but it's a goddamn crime that barely anyone watched.  I'm guilty of this, btw.  But I think it's a helluva lot more inspiring to see a 60+ athlete clean and jerking and busting out double unders than a 20-something fueled by fucking peanut butter sandwiches and bible verses.  I'm just sayin'.  And speaking of bible verses...
  • What the FUCK was with the opening prayer????  Don't get me wrong, I'm not hatin' on religion.  Yup, got my own set of biases, but I actually think it *COULD* have been a classy move to have an opening prayer (I know, gasps from those that know me).  But turn it into a promo for Reebok, Glassman, and pushups?  Thank God for Glassman?  I puked in my mouth.  That was terrible.  
  • The Point System for the Tri:  200 goddamn points???  Completely brutal.  100 would have made sense.  Zero would have made sense.  I know, it didn't seem to change much in the way of the final results, but 200 seemed excessive for a single event.
  • The Fueling, Or Not, during the Tri:  Now, I wasn't there, and I've only had really short convos with HeatherG and JeremyM about this, but from what I gather, fueling offered for athletes for this was non-existent.  2-3hr event, no fuel?  WTF?  Something of this nature requires 60-90g/carbs PER HOUR.  Silliness, bordering on dangerous, if true.
So, those are my thoughts.  I'll leave you with a well done video by Matt Ufford; all in all, I found it very overwhelming in size, and highly inspiring.  Athletes at that level are truly elite; personally, I've been inspired to go back, and do all the benchmark girls.  I recently hit "Elizabeth", and, oddly enough, did not do it in 2:33 unbroken.  I'm pretty sure that doesn't mean I'll be eating PB&J, but it's damn cool to see what's humanly possible in both elite athletes and those that are inspired by them