2012 Rumble By the River Crossfit Competition

2012 RUMBLE BY THE RIVER SUMMARY: Day after, Sunday 19AUG12.

I know we went on a little bit of a “media-blackout” if you will, yesterday during the event. Normally I will use my phone to update as the day goes by. Our focus yesterday was different. We were light and jovial but there was an air of seriousness surrounding us. Because of that there weren’t many pics posted and all of our CFTF fans know little about what took place. I will explain it in detail here. (This is the point where you can get off the train if you aren’t in for a long ride).

The team met and traveled down Friday and we want to thank you for allowing us to close the Facility and let us get in the zone. We checked into the skeezy hotel, went for a team jog and then ate dinner. We woke up early on Saturday and got our tent set up and let the nerves settle in. For me it was fun watching some of the team experience their first competition. As the competitors arrived they seemed to be getting “bigger and bigger” and it has a way of making you feel a bit small and unprepared. I have learned that all that goes away when we are equalized with the lung burning lactic acid soon to come.


Event 1: .76 mile run for time.

3-2-1 Go! Dozens of runners sprinting into the choke points of sidewalks and narrow paths. Greg and myself held firm to the lead pack and let them burn out a little. The route was too short to pace or hold back a pass move so we had to just motor. Greg made a strong move as we once again choked into a single path sidewalk squeezed by metal handrails. We broke out onto the street and began the 300 meter dash to the finish line. Greg moved strongly up into 3rd place and I passed two guys that were obviously out of gas (from a local “box” that will remain nameless) taking 7th out of 40. Rhona and Jeff both took 3rd in their heats, and Noah even scared a few people as they heard the snapping sound of his fiberglass blade taking steps closer and closer to them… Kat… well we love our Kat..but Kat hates the run.


Event 2: Dead lift X5 + Burpee over Barbell X10: 5 Rounds for Time

The RX men (myself and Greg) got the short end of the stick by being called to WOD2 literally 15 minutes after crossing the finish line of WOD 1. No need to warm up for the dead lifts I was still sweating. The weight was 275lb and it was just heavy enough to slow you down. The requirement for the burpee was a little strange in that they wanted your hips fully opened before crossing over the bar and we quickly found out that each judge had a different opinion of what that meant. I myself lost about 10 seconds to “no-reps” until I figured out the judge wanted my head to be straight up before he considered my body fully upright. It is what it is. While this was going on Rhona, and Kat were already warming up for what was to be the worst WOD of the entire day… the hill.

Noah got to shake off the nerves with his first ever competitive CF WOD. I had called the event organizers about three weeks ago and designed how we would alter his exercises to allow him to compete result for result with the scaled men (some people were not aware that I would not allow them to put him in a “handicapped” bracket). He had to conduct pistols with a 70lb kettle bell to simulate the 225lb dead lift that his competitors were doing. Then he would drop down to do a 1 armed push up and scramble his way back up to do a one legged hop simulating a burpee or what we have coined the “Nurpee” (Noah’s Burpee… and they are hard! I tried a few). He pushed hard and left nothing behind but was “timed out” anyhow. I said to him, “this aint like the Warrior Dash now is it”.


Event 3: “Afghan Fran” 21-15-9 Thruster / KB. Swing (with a steep flight of stairs and hill sprint between each # sequence).

This event should have been called the “Ouija Board” because it called out your soul to float around you as you struggled. Somewhat similar to my rapid turn around from the run event, Kat and Rhona got called very quickly to this one. They powered through the thrusters at 75lbs and then did their short “sprint” over to the 45lb kettle bell for swings. Moved to the stairs and attacked what I swear must be the steepest hill on the eastern coast. I watched them slow and slow and I knew exactly why…I had run that damn hill last year at this event. Its terrible. Kat fought on and Rhona finished fairly well holding a good firm top 10 placement.

As the girls were recovering from their event Jeff and Noah’s categories were up bringing them into their third WOD before lunch. (Greg and I had a 2 hour break before WOD 3). Jeff takes off on his thrusters and got a few “no reps” for improper range of motion but quickly made the necessary adjustments. He did well but was a bit smoked and fell back a few placings. I lost sight of him on his last round and realized he must be done when I saw him stumbling like a zombie across the grass field (and those of you who know Jeff understand how odd of a sight that his). 

Noah got set up with his 45lb DB to replace the barbell thrusters. He almost knocked out the first 21 unbroken. Moving onto the KB swing he heaved it into the air and got pulled forward stumbling, the way a true 2Pood KB will do to you, much less being on uneven grass and missing a leg. He finished up the reps and shuffled off to the stairs to hop down them on an already exhausted leg. Here came the hill… and the fight begans. He hopped, stepped and scrambled his way to the top as a crowd of supporters formed holding their Iphones streaming to Youtube and Twitter.. “Climb! Climb!” is all you could hear, and climb is all he did. Round 1, turned into round 2. He re-approached the hill with 1 minute left before time ran out. I climbed half way down the hill and yelled to him that he only had one minute to summit. He clawed at the dirt and drove his leg using the prosthetic blade like an ice ax. TIME!… Once again my three team mates to so far attack the hill had left it all out on the field. Now they can finally take a couple of hours rest before their final WOD. 

It was Greg and my own time at the hill. I entered this one with a three thought process. 1) Determination to go until I finished or lost consciousness. 2) Trepidation in knowing that the loss of consciousness was likely, having experienced this hill last year. 3) Damn are my legs already tired! 

Unlike my second WOD on this one I drew a cool judge who was descriptively vocal with “suggestions” on how to please him and receive rep credits. My intentions were to break up the thrusters into manageable amounts. Once we got started I went back to my belief that thrusters suck so badly that you should ALWAYS get them over with unbroken as to come out from under the bar. I could hear Greg having some rep trouble behind and he had to re-do quite a few reps. I moved onto the 70lb KB swings and got to it. Turning to move towards the stairs it happened…NOTHING! Everything in my mind said run and my body even took the form of a runner but a grandma on a Rascal scooter could have passed me.. Forward motion no matter what. On the stairs I heard footsteps coming up and I thought, “what asshole is about to pass me?” It was Greg catching up so I was at least happy that it was one of my own assholes going to pass. I could see a competitor named Brian Kost ahead of me by a few seconds and I was glad to have sight of him as he is rated as one of the pound for pound strongest males in this side of the country. Little did I know that I was about to pass him and (at least for that workout, finish way ahead of him). The hill was as awful as I remember and I chose to power walk it in place of expending the energy to attempt a sprint. The 15 round was much of the same,,awful. This time when I took off to run I leaned forward hoping to propel and I actually almost fell onto my face. Nothing left to do but fight. The 9 round is always bitter sweet because on one hand its almost over and you can just get to it..but on the other hand you are completely spent and have nothing left to give. Finally I was done with the swings and moved off for the final “run”. I dug in and made a decent show of it coming back up to the top of the hill stopping time and crawling away to find shade like a fatally wounded animal running from the hunter who shot it. I placed in the top 10 of this workout but was out of the overall top 10 at this point by 6 seconds.


Final Event, WOD 4: “Heavy Grace” Clean and Press X30 Reps (155lb, 135lb, 105lb)

By this point we were all spent but that is the beauty of a real competition. Anyone can have a good day in their “box” and call time placing at the top of the white board against the same members they exercise with everyday. But who can do it multiple times a day, not on your own time tables and exposed to the elements of heat, UV sunlight and dehydration…. and still answer the call when its time. Simple answer…not many people at all.

Jeff was up first and man did he get after it. He started conducting reps and just didn’t stop.. He made up a lot of the time he had lost in the middle two WODs. I walked in front of him to cheer for him and saw blood running out of his mouth and down his chin (he split his lip with the barbell). He fought, lifted, struggled and spit blood to finish his day in a VERY respectable 7th place over all.

Next up was Noah. His replacement for the bar bell was a 45lb KB. He suffered a good bit by simply having smoked his one leg and shoulder with all the other WODs so even though his time was pretty decent he personally was a bit unsatisfied.. He finished his first Crossfit competition in 25th out of 32 scaled men…But hold on, lets quantify this. A double amputee trained and performed so intensely that there were 7!!!!!! able bodied men who finished behind him… My slogan is “Struggle. Sweat. Conquer.” and his is “Train like a machine.” Either way it worked.

Time for Greg and myself. On my first rep I had a crushing realization of just how tired I was. The 155lb felt like the time I attempted Grace at 225.. very heavy. The cruel fate of the competition gods landed on me as I “control dropped” the barbell and it went bouncing all over the place. I had a crazy bar and found myself chasing it literally in circles throughout the 30 reps. My plates wobbled loose from the clamps and I later learned one even broke in half leaving my bar uneven. Needless to say I had a fight on my hands and fell approximately 22 seconds behind my goal…but it was over and just a few seconds after me, Greg came to the final rep of his first competition.

Rhona powered through her 105lb bar knocking out an unbroken 14 reps-14 reps and finishing up with two strong reps to secure her 9th place overall finish among a pretty impressive bracket of RX women. Kat fought onto the end and even though her favorite workout is Grace, as us men already know sometimes even your favorite woman can turn on you. 

The day was done. All of my team mates did well. We trained hard and disciplined. We put in the necessary time and laid it all out on the field of competition. That in itself is the victory. Most people never even feel the strength stealing ache of pre-comp nerves and the complete vulnerability of taking yourself to the brink, exercising in front of strangers.  Just as last year, I really enjoyed the Rumble by the River put on by our friends at Crossfit Inception. They too are run by former military and we identify together much better than other competitions we have attended. The atmosphere was energizing, competitive and full of community. The competitors were talented, humble and friendly. Thank you to all the judges who voluntarily stood in the hot sun to allow me to showcase my team and our talents. Thank you to Penny and Sandy for being the team support and always making sure we had a cold water or to point us in the direction of our chairs when we were wandering around dangerously in a blinding met-con daze. Thank you to Carol and Jeff’s son Bronson for coming down to see us and taking lots of pictures and videos that we will get consolidated and posted as soon as we can. And of course thank you to all my CFTF athletes for giving us a community of dedication and providing a high level of energy to train around.


RX Men:
Sean= 13th out of 40
Greg= 19th out of 40

RX Women:
Rhona= 9th out of 23
Kat= 18th out of 23

Scaled Men:
Noah= 25th out of 32

Masters Men RX:
Jeff= 7th out of 13


“See you at the top of the hill”

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