Going to contests combines something I love with something I hate. I love lifting things but I hate traveling. I loathe traveling as I can never really get comfortable. I welcome the day when we can just teleport somewhere. A man can dream...
The day before my dad and I left, I got a text from my occasional training partner Lou Costa and he wanted to know if he could get a ride up to the contest. So we three amigos left for West Coxsackie, NY, listening to the comedic stylings of Patton Oswalt and his ilk. For dinner we stopped at Outback Steakhouse. We got a table at about 7:30 but we didn't start getting food until after 8:30. I blame Lou for charming the waitress with his debonair under armour cap. The food was good so that almost made up for the long wait. We didn't make it to the hotel until after 10:30PM. Then again, there's nothing to do there anyway besides sleep. I slept like a log, a loud log, but a log nonetheless.
I was tired upon rising and took a nap in the shower to wake up. I had planned on eating a full breakfast of pancakes and yogurt but that was apparently too complex for me that morning. Luckily the quality programming on the CW for Kids! kept me occupied. I had no idea we had such great shows on at 7:00AM like The Winx Club and King of the Dinosaurs. The news channel said it was 4 degrees outside so I dressed accordingly: shorts and two sweatpants, t-shirt, long sleeve shirt and jacket, gloves and a hat.
We drove up to the Barn and tested out the implements. I had to weigh in but I didn't feel like taking off the warmth providing armor of clothes so I just took off my thick jacket, shoes, gloves and hat. I came it at 263lbs, so I probably was about 260lbs without the rest of them. I was having mixed feelings: on one hand I wasn't a walking zombie like I was at Clash of the Titans but on the other, I didn't feel like I was going to kick ass. First event was the press medley.
The press medley consisted of a 145lbs one arm dumbbell clean and press, a 130lbs 2" handle dumbbell clean and press, two circus dumbbells (150lbs and 170lbs), a 175lbs keg (had to be pressed parallel grip style) and a 200lbs steel block. I knew I'd do okay in this event as I'm quite good with circus dumbbells. I made sure I tried out the circus dumbbells, the keg and the block before going. I didn't want any surprises. The implement I was most worried about was actually the one hand clean with the regular dumbbell followed by the block. I was up last as I had sent in my form the earliest in my group. The number to beat was four lifts in 60 some seconds I think. I went for the regular dumbbell first, fairly easy clean, a little slow on the press. I moved on to the 2" dumbbell. Again a somewhat easy clean but I missed the press, brought it back down to my shoulder and then jammed it up to lockout. Next was the first circus dumbbell. Pretty easy on to the second circus dumbbell. I heard Rob Agnoli yell all day so I knew I had to yell it back as I rocketed the 170lbs dumbbell overhead. I moved on to the keg had an easy clean and got it overhead. At this point I had won the event but I wanted to try the block. I had pressed the 185lbs block during warm-ups but I couldn't get my hands into position to press this one. I gave it another go and got my hands in to position but I was too winded from fighting with it to get any higher than my eyes. First out of five.
The next event was the yoke with 750lbs. The course was 60' with a 60 second time limit. These were some wide yokes. I did work up to some picks with 625lbs on the warm-up yoke and that seemed to bother my mid back. I knew two things going into this event: 1) I would finish and 2) I would lose some ground. I've done this weight before and then some but I knew that at least two of my competitors were going to be faster than me. I was last to go again and since there were five competitors and we were going head to head, I got to go against Lou in the other lane (he had 800lbs). It didn't feel that heavy and I was making a decent pace, for me at least, but then I dropped it. I had drifted to the left a little and I think I was worried about hitting the posts. I just couldn't stay tight under it. I had four drops total and was the slowest to finish. Third out of five.
Up next was a the car deadlift. At this point it was a three way tie for first. I knew this was going to be a tough pull. It was most likely over 700lbs in hand at 18" which is a lot over what I can do. Only one person, Andrew Mangan, had gotten reps with the car. Everyone else had bombed. I gave it my all for three attempts but it refused to budge. I need to get stronger. Tied for last with everyone but Andrew.
Next was the farmer's walk. These were with oxygen tank cylinders so it made them a bit tougher to walk with. 325lbs per hand for 60' in 60 seconds. I was in a three way tie for second at this point. I went second to last and everyone was having issues with these in my weight class. I had to beat 20 some feet to if I wanted to regain the lead. I was also worried with this event since my lower back was just killing me from essentially doing three isometric max pulls and that doing picks with just 200lbs earlier in the day bothered the middle of my back. Luckily that wasn't the case as I made decent pick (for me) and started to pick up speed. I felt like I could finish the course. Then my grip said oh yeah and I dropped them. I some how able to refocus and repick them, something I've never been able to do with heavy farmers, and made a few more steps. I made it 30'6". Surprisingly, first out of five on this one.
Finally it was time for the keg load medley. The kegs were 230lbs and 230lbs to 54", 250 and 275lbs to 48" and 300lbs and 320lbs to 38". Also there was a power step at the end of it. It was a loading pin with a carabiner and a handle. This makes it hard to get a good amount of swing into it to load. This was 375lbs and had to be put on a 18" step. I was in first by one point and in order to win I had to do better than third and beat Kevin Cronin in this event. I've never been in this position where I had a chance to win a contest. I felt that I would do really well on this event as I had trained keg loads at Joe's the previous two weeks. Kevin went and up to this point, no one had done the 320lbs keg. Kevin had a little hiccup on the it but got it and then got the power step. It was on. Everything just kind of went silent as I knew what I had to do. I had to destroy the medley. I attacked the kegs. I one motioned the first four kegs and pounced on the 300lber, lapping and loading like I had trained at Joe's. I moved on to his ugly older brother the 320lbs keg and go it much the same. Now it was just me and the power stair, get it and I win. I got it most of the way it one lift and then shoved on the remain few inches. Victory! First place on the final event.
I ended up in in first place in the 265lbs and under class. It felt good. I know I still need to work on my pulling strength; that's a given really. Since I won three events, I got three new jars of Jack Tacky. I also got a big engraved glass mug for a trophy. My younger brother and sister were disappointed I didn't get a sword. You hear that Curtis, the children were upset I didn't get a dangerous weapon. I had good time hanging out with Brett and Lou. Got to put faces to names from message boards too. We had much better service at Outback on the way home. Victory steaks are so good. Going to take it easy this week and get ready to go for Viking Fest.
Bob Gajda - Shoulder Specialization by Bill Starr
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