Archive for August 16, 2011

“It’s not the Size of the Dog in the Fight…”

Posted in Competition on August 16, 2011 by oldcountrystrong

2011 PipeHitters Classic Recap – WOD 1

In the old days, fight dogs were weighed on their Gameness. Gameness being their quality of pedigree and aggression. So if a dog was Game, its mood for fighting was peak. Some people think only certain dogs have Game. Some people think they can judge by a look which dog has a Game. Being the owner of a loving pitbull, I can tell you that’s wrong.

I’m sure it’d be those same people that would have misjudged the soft spoken men and moms that lined up against top tier athletes this weekend at the Second Annual PipeHitters Classic. From the first click of the stop watch, their inner beasts were released. These men and women were as furious as any feral animal. They were Game.

The PipeHitters judge crew was up early setting up caution tape and rolling out bars for the 5 minute blitzkrieg that would be the first workout. As lanes were finishing being fitted with cones, athletes began to roll up to SODO Crossfit for check in. There was a light friendly tension in the air. Some former competitors from last year sat with head phones in ears and hoods up. Some competitors new to the event asked the question, “So is this like crossfit strongman highland games or something?”

I’d call that a fair guess. As the standards were announced for WOD 1, most people got the point that PipeHitters was a event unto itself.

7 Deadlifts 225/185
140 foot Zercher Walk 185/115
A 5 burpee penalty was in effect every time the bar touched the ground outside of the start zone.

The standards were straight forward: a Deadlift looked like a Deadlift and a Zercher walk was simple… Take the bar on the ground in front of you get it in the crook of your arms however you can and move… FAST.
As Fast as you could because the crushing weight not only constricted lungs but also tore and bruised arms.

The women were up first and from beginning to end did not disappoint. Bobbie Stanage is a marathon runner whose tall frame might tell you she wasn’t Game, but you’d be wrong. Bobbie stepped up to 185 (which is her PR Deadlift) and attacked it. She pulled that weight rep after rep as the crowd roared!

With Bobbie setting the pace, all the women after followed suit. No quit round after round after round. Jess Ferrel misjudged a return and found herself doing burpees just a few inches away from the return platform on her Zercher walk. Unfazed, she blazed out her burpees before yanking the bar from the ground to return it to the platform. Game.

The intensity in the face of Michelle Chan in that first workout could only be beat by the sheer determination that defending champion Jessica Suver showed in the final heat for the women. Suver’s Deadlifts were as effortless as they were reckless. Few could match her stride for stride down the lane. It was a clinic put on by the 2010 champion that would leave her in first place when the smoke cleared and time was called.

The PipeHitters machine fired alive, bars were stripped, rolled and reloaded and the men were told to prepare themselves. The women had set the bar high and now it was their turn, and they did not disappoint.

Reckless violence would best describe the manner of Zercher pickups from all the men. We saw everything from Johnny Winters‘ clean-to-Zercher-catch to Teague Lindmans high knee to curl (nicknamed the barbarian curl). But there was one common thread: these boys were going for it. Game. Deadlifts pounded the pavement under horse stall mats. The crowd grew louder and the heats got faster and faster. Beau Maples came out guns blazing and set the bar so high it seemed it couldn’t be matched with 6+ rounds in his heat.

It seemed that would be the number of the day until the finals men’s heat. This crew of surly individuals held last year’s returning champion, last year’s runner up, and a late entry with two Crossfit Games appereances under his belt. Right out of the gate, the pace was set and almost all athletes reached their Zercher bar at the same time. Then the fireworks started, off to the races… bars were tossed like rag dolls in the air, caught and then athletes took off sprinting.

No one athlete seemed to have a clear lead over the other until last year’s runner up Skylar Pond kicked it into overdrive and took a lead that would see him catch even Maples’ score. Game. Bars crashed to the ground at the call of time and athletes were sprawled across the lanes, trying to figure out what exactly had just taken place, it was best summed up as an “Awful” experience.

Competitors gathered themselves while scores were tallied and all waited to hear the final standings and the announcement of the heats for WOD 2: Max Weight Shoulder to OverHead.

Posted By: Z