This past weekend was The Royal Cities Strongest Man competition for 2017. While my training has focused around the Eastern Canada's Natural Strongest Man competition that is now less than 2 weeks away, competing in this event had a couple of things going for it as to why I attended.
Since Clydsdale Power coach Giles was running this competition, access to the gym was out of the question to train the events for ECNSM. Also, fortunately the events in the Royal Cities competition overlapped quite well with the upcoming competition. Finally, shaking off the cobwebs for a new season is a great idea before going into a show where the stakes are higher.
The Ace of Spades
Giles always shuffles and draws cards for competitor order on the first event. I think that it's a very fair way to pick the starting order.... unless you happen to draw the ace of spades, then it just sucks! ;) Two for two now this year I've drawn the Ace of Spades for starting order. I guess my late-draw luck ran out last year.
The first event was one that's particularly handy to go later on, farmer's walk for distance with 275 lb. per hand. Having no idea how everyone else is going to do is tricky when it comes to a max distance event for pacing and pushing yourself. I simply had to push myself to go to failure and try to improve upon distances done in training, so that the only pressure in my mind was trying to best myself. The parking lot we were competing in was challenging with a significant slope to it, but I managed to make the turn at 85 feet well and continue on to a final distance of around 141 feet, if I recall correctly. It wasn't a bad distance, as I managed to improve upon training and ended up placing third in the event.
Keep on Rollin'
The tire flip was the second event. Same tire as last year, which weighs somewhere around 800 lb. but is actually a really easy tire to flip. It's wide and short for an 800 lb. tire, which makes it easy to complete the flip on. Looking back on last year I completed 100' around 45 seconds and completed the 85' this year in 34 seconds, which is likely a bit faster as the last 15' might be completed in one flip. I flubbed the second flip a little bit, but this was still good enough for 1st place in the event, so I guess that makes it my best event of the day.
The third event was the good ol' log press with 250 lb. for reps. My pressing was going really well this winter, but hasn't been going great lately. I don't really know why, but I have lost some weight over the past couple of months due to lots of work with moving and also opening a new business. I've also been able to focus on lower body with more gusto since I'm not lifting in a basement apartment any more, and it is hard to progress on all lifts in the same training block. After having set PRs in the log press this winter, it was disappointing to zero the event and I lost my "gimme" from being first in the previous event and would now be one of the first to go on the next event.
Back on the Right Track
The penultimate event was a heavy one with a 750 lb. yoke walk. Ryan's yoke is very sturdy, which makes it feel better even with a spine-crushing weight. This event was both heavier and for a further distance than last year and I hadn't really worked my way up to this weight a whole lot yet this year. With the competition adrenaline and tunnel vision focus, the weight felt really good. It took an extreme amount of focus to keep my body moving and the weight up on this run, and I almost dropped it several times. The yoke is always an event that's going to be determined by a matter of milliseconds. I am very happy with the time I put up on this and yet it was still only good for third place, with first and second place finishing less than half a second ahead of me.
Who Needs a Car Jack?
The car deadlift was the final event in the competition. It was made significantly heavier than last year where everyone was repping out around 20 reps. All the goods were on the line in the final event. I was in third place ahead of fourth by half a point and my teammate Drew was in fifth one point behind me. I was striving for a podium finish at this point and it all came down to this last event. Since the order was going off of the previous event still and I did place third in yoke, I was the third last to go and got to see how most of the athletes performed on the car. The reps slowly ramped up and each new lifter set a new number to beat. Drew went right before me and set an outstanding number with 13 reps. The amount of heart he put into grinding out those reps was incredible, but I had to put all doubts out of my mind. I prepared myself and knew my number to beat. The reps had to be dead-stop based on the rules, but I still kept the tension while waiting for the up command on each successful rep, as I've found this to work better for repping out a car deadlift. I banged out the first 10 reps, but that's really being generous, as my legs were already burning and it became a sheer test of willpower. I dropped to both knees to take a bit of a breather at 10 reps. The next three reps started to grind. I wanted to stop there, but I couldn't. I heard the call, fifteen seconds left. I took another deep breath and forced out rep 14. My legs were starting to feel like jelly. 5 seconds left! I could've left it there, but thought what the hell and drove as hard as I could. I got the down command at the buzzer and had completed my 15th rep. It was hard, but it felt good.
A Great Prelude to a Better Season
Competing in strongman is always a great time and I was happy to get out and practice for the more important shows coming this year. I've scheduled some of my vacation time around the dates of the Natural Strongman competitions and I hope to qualify for the Canada wide show in less than 2 weeks time.