The Cave
Fitness Evolved
Weight Lifting

The Cave Blog

Archive for the ‘CrossFit Games’ Category

The 2014 Crossfit Games Open Has Come to a Close!

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

Congrats Cave athletes!  We did it!  The 2014 Crossfit Games Open has come to a close.  We saw PRs, pouting, frustration, re-dos, comebacks, triumphs, and now it’s over.

Before I go any further — Make sure to come join us on Friday at 4 PM at the Silver Peso for a celebration!  (Childcare is being offered at The Cave, so no excuses.)
First, I want to begin by thanking Coach Bo for his programming and direction.  I think we have all seen huge improvements from last year, with all of us being stronger, faster, and fitter.  Last year, I finished The Open in 72nd place, this year in 38th.  Your Bogramming is working, so thank you!
Second, congratulations to the 5 Masters athletes moving on to the Regionals Qualifier!  This is the first year CrossFit HQ is doing the qualifier event, so we are not sure what to expect.  When we know more about how and when these athletes are going to perform, we’ll be sure to fill you all in.  To Rich, Karen, Bill, Mark and Martin, we are here to support you and push you however you want us too!  Go kill it!
Ashley, Jimmy and Sera all had outstanding performances as well.  Jimmy and Ashley fell just outside the top 200, and Sera qualified at 204 in our region.  These are huge numbers, and I hope you are proud of yourselves–we are proud of you!
Here is a our leader board:

Amanda’s recap of 14.5:
I woke up on competition Friday with an awful stomach ache, the kind where all I wanted to do was hug a pillow.  Great, back to another week of fun competition.  I went into the gym with low expectations.  My thought was to do the workout, see what it felt like, and attack it again the following Monday.  I was relaxed because I was really only doing exercise.  Thrusters, being one of my least favorites in CrossFit, scare me.  In chatting with Martin the day prior, I decided to use his strategy.  Break them up into 3 sets on the rounds of 21, 18, 15, 2 sets on the 12s, and complete the 9, 6, 3 unbroken.  (If you’ve somehow forgotten what the workout was for 14.5:  21-18-15-12-9-3-6 of Thrusters and Bar Facing Burpees–yuck.)
3-2-1, Go!  Thrusters and then burpees.  I kept a consistent pace and just kept moving.  I followed the strategy until the round of 12s where I felt like there was no way I could handle just 2 sets, so I broke it up into 3.  The 9s I also did in 2 sets, and the 6s and 3s were supposed to be a “sprint”.  I finished the workout in 11:31, about 2 minutes faster than I expected to.  I was happy!
Monday:  Why am I doing this again?!?  My score was still holding pretty well, but I knew I needed to try again, if not for a better time but personal satisfaction as well.  I thought in a perfect world I could make up time in my transitions.  3-2-1, Go!  The first set of thrusters felt much harder!  Apparently I was 5 seconds behind after the 21s which made Karen really nervous (my time-keeper).  But, I guess I made up time in the 18s and held it.  The only thing I changed was being diligent on getting back to the bar, and I did hold on to the round of 12s in 2 sets.  Otherwise, nothing.  I PRed on this workout with a time of 11:15.
By mid-day on Monday, I was still in the 30s overall on the leader board.  I figured that I would drop into the 40s and just squeak into the top 48.  But, I finished at 38!  I met my 2 goals:  Make it to Regionals, and make it to Regionals with a guaranteed spot (as opposed to a second round of invitations).  I was hopeful to have performed better in this Open.  I had high expectations for myself and truly believe I could have done better on both 14.1 and 14.3.  But, the important thing is that I made it, and have Regionals to prove my standing.  Overall, I am really happy and feel like this was the most fun Open yet.
Thanks to all of my supporters, coaches, and pit crew!  Thanks to all of my fellow athletes for working out next to me.  Thanks to this great community of people!  We’ve put another year of the Open in the books.
Now, onto the next round!

The Muscle Up — The Bane of 14.4

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Well, 14.4 has come and gone.   This week, I actually have nothing to complain about!  How amazing is that?  I think I finally decided to start competing…only 4 weeks into the game.  Nice, Amanda.

14.4–The Chipper: 60 cal. row, 50 toes to bar, 40 wall ball shots, 30 cleans, 20 muscle ups, 14 min. AMRAP


Ehren H. has taken the lead over Anthony of most attempts at this workout.  It paid off for him though, as 14.4.1 and 14.4.2 gave him no muscle ups, while 14.4.3 got him 2!  Great job Ehren!

Sera S. got 4 muscle ups in her second attempt.  Huge score for Sera, considering her muscle ups are a fairly new skill.  Awesome.

Mark A. apparently had seconds on the muscle ups and was able to pull out 4!

Martin H. takes the throne on 14.4 with 13 muscle ups completed!  Well done Martin!

Both Lori E. and Mark R. attempted 14.4 again on Sunday.   They improved significantly on their second go at it.

Lygia B. visited us from Outlier CrossFit in San Diego.  After getting used to our rings, she made a muscle up (almost 2) on her second attempt.

Again, so many PRs, so many epic tales.  Cavers, you continue to impress me!  Even if you didn’t make your muscle up, or you couldn’t complete the cleans, the gym performance has been outstanding.  (Some of you even competed sick.)  We’ve got one more to go, so stay in the game!

Here is our leader board:

Amanda’s recap of 14.4:

Competition Friday shaped up to be a good day.  I had planned to race Bo so that I would have someone to chase.  Most of you know about my love for rowing (it’s one of my least favorite activities, next to thrusters), so when I was informed that the chipper started with a row, my heart sank a bit. I was not going to do this alone!

After many graphs, tables, and time trials (thank you to the analysis team Martin, Ashley and Rich), I figured out that I wanted to be off the rower and started on the toes to bar at 3:30.  From there, in a perfect world, I could spend 2.5 minutes on the toes to bar, 1.5 minutes on the wall ball, and 2.5 minutes on the cleans.  This would give me 4 minutes of muscle ups.  Although this scenario was a bit ambitious, I wasn’t too far off.


I tried for the above splits.   I was slower on the toes to bar and a bit faster on the cleans, putting me to the muscle ups at 10:54.  Bo was off the rower probably 30-45 seconds before me, so I was able to chase him down on everything.  I was able to catch up on the cleans.  I tried for a set of 2 muscle ups which felt pretty good.  I was playing it smart by sticking to 2 so that I wouldn’t fatigue.  It hit fast, though, and I was able to complete 7, failing 3.  One of the fails was a fall from the top of the rings–very dramatic.   Bo completed 9.  Win for Bo.


I stuck to the same time plan.  I decided to break up the toes to bar more (because I failed some in the first attempt) and go harder on the wall ball (because I was scared of them on the first go).   I gained 20+ seconds on the toes to bar and wall balls, but used it during the cleans.  I think in the end this was a better idea so I wasn’t as winded for the muscle ups.   I ended up getting to the muscle ups one second faster than the first attempt. This time, though, I did singles.   Bo was faster here as well, having slowed down his row which made the entire workout different.  He was on the rings first getting a set of 5.  My goal was 10.  Doing singles, I was able to complete 10 with no fails and 30 seconds to go.  I went for 2 more and failed them both.  Bo also hit 10.   Tie for BoManda.  Martin still wins.

If I could change anything about my performance, I would have waited a little longer before attempting the 11th muscle up.  I most likely would have made the 11th, and failed the 12th.  I didn’t know I had hit the wall yet.  I ended up ranking 33rd on this workout which only bumped me up 3 places. I now sit at 47th. I was thinking that this would give me a better buffer, but I sit around a tight spread.  Until this week, I sit and pray for something good, but I’m pretty sure I know what to expect…not my favorites.


14.5 = Thrusters and Burpees

How to prepare:

Learn how to feel no pain, and do Tuesday’s programming!

Good luck everyone!

What’s happening this week at The Cave!

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

From Roger:
“The CrossFit Games Open 2014 is coming to a close within the next week. Only one workout remains. We are waiting with anticipation to see what the final workout will be. I’m sure everyone hopes the workout contains at least one element of strength for each of us!  Work hard, stay strong.  Barring a disastrous last workout, our own Amanda N. is heading to Regionals! It will be her second bid at Regionals, initially qualifying in 2012. Let’s hope for a strong finish for Amanda!
Our three Level 6 girls are headed to State Championships on Sunday, March 30th. All three girls have done great in their first optional season. We have gymnasts in two sessions at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds. The first session starts at 12pm with Liv and the second session starts at with Ashlyn and Mia. Feel free to cheer on and show your support for our talented, young athletes!”

Are you looking for some fun activities to keep the family busy during the spring break?  Our Spring Break Camps are perfect for any kid at any level!   Kids love spending extra hours with their coaches or getting to know new ones.
Spring Break Camps:

Register on-line by clicking the links above, OR call 415-927-1630 to sign up now!

If you like the idea of keeping the kids healthily active during the summer (while giving parents a few hours break),  check out our Summer Camp schedule below!  Then be sure to register NOW, - these classes fill up FAST!
Summer Camps:


14.4 - A Little Something for Everyone

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

The Open does it again.  This time, we have a sweet little chipper that has something for everyone!

14.4 - Complete as many rounds and repetitions as possible in 14 minutes of:

60 calorie row
50 toes to bars
40 wall ball shots (20/14)
30 cleans (135/95)
20 muscle-ups

This workout is a great test of fitness.  For most of us,  there is something we’re good at and something we’re not!   For me, it was the row — I felt it took FOREVER to get through 60 calories, but I was grateful to have 50 toes to bar waiting for me.

Before you tackle 14.4, make sure you warm up everything because this workout hits all our major body parts.  Be kind to them so they can deliver when you’re ready.  Warm up with good mornings, leg swings, a few hollow rocks, pigeon pose, and some jumping air squats.  Build up to your clean weight, row 200 meters, then you’re good to go!

When you’re ready, set a good pace — about 80% on the rower.  You won’t spend too much time here, but you don’t want to burn out either.  If you don’t have muscle-ups or don’t think you’ll make it to them, don’t worry too much about saving your grip on the toes to bar.   Relax off the bar a few times for there are still cleans to do.  I did 2 sets of 15 and then 2 sets of 10, chalking up after my 2nd set of 15.  Then, it was time for the wall balls.

At this point in the workout, be sure to make every rep count!   You’re tired and your form is starting to deteriorate.  There is nothing more  heartbreaking than hearing, “No rep” because you didn’t break parallel, or worse,  just missed the target line for the ball.  Inefficiency will just make extra work for you to do.

Prior to starting, decide how many reps of each exercise you think you can do before breaking.  Think about previous workouts with wall balls and decide from there.  In most WOD’s I can do 10 without breaking, so I stayed with that number and it worked well. I counted to 10 in between each set and went from there.

If you make it to the cleans, take a second to remember your form.  You don’t have to worry too much about getting a no rep.  As long as the bar starts on the ground and makes it to the front rack in one clear movement, it’s a good rep.  BUT, 135/95 is a big weight under fatigue.  Think about your set up, keeping your head neutral, getting full hip extension while the bar remains close to your body, (but not so close that you break your clavicle).  If you’re doing touch and go cleans, make certain the bar clearly hits the ground every time.  If you’re like me and you dump it after every rep, be certain the bar comes to a rest before you set up again.  If you make it to the muscle-ups, you’re my hero!

When the 14 minutes were up, I took a quick 400 meter cool down run — I wasn’t ready to stop moving.

As always, The Open doesn’t disappoint and this  time it handed us a workout that has something for everyone.  When you’re done, hydrate and do some mobility!  I’m looking forward to Amanda’s recap of our amazing Cave athletes and her inspiring performance when 14.4 is done.

Et tu 14.3?

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

CrossFit Games Open, why do you do this to me?!  Another week has passed and I have yet another epic Amanda tale.   But, before we get into that, let’s give a few shout outs!:

Karen L., you have the meanest deadlift in the gym!  You KILLED this one!

Stephanie R. has PR’d on yet another workout.  Do you believe you are stronger yet?

Glen R. didn’t even have the 4th round of weights set up because he didn’t believe he would get there.  It may have been ugly, but you got it!

Anthony E. proves, yet again, that he does these workouts more than anyone…(NOTE:  This is not recommended).

Deadlifts and box jumps were what we were faced with in 14.3.  Not only were the deadlifts a ladder in strength, but also in reps. This workout certainly skewed the leader boards.  CrossFit Marin athletes continue to impress me in their efforts!  You guys are awesome both in your attempts and in your camaraderie.  We’ve got two more weeks, and a celebration well-deserved to follow!

Here is the CFM leader board:

(NOTE:  If your numbers are not on the gym board, please be sure to fill them in!)

Amanda’s Epic Tale of 14.3:

Where do I begin?  This year the Open was supposed to be easy for me.  I was going to be in the top 40 all the time, no problem. Well, here I am, sitting at 50. Yet again, I am fighting for a spot at Regionals!

I came on Friday having no idea what to expect.  This workout scared me a little, not knowing what I needed and what it was going to feel like.  My deadlifts have gotten so much better in the last 6 months, but they still have a long way to go.

Bo was my judge.   I had Rich, Karen, Narendra, Bryan O., Bill and a few others surrounding me.  Since I have to video my workouts (in case they invite me to Regionals), my clock was set on the ground facing the camera.  I was waiting until everyone was ready, not standing in position, when I suddenly heard, “3-2-1, go!” and jumped on the bar.  Not the best way to start, but I recovered.

I hit the set of 10.  Plyo box jumps.   I went into the 15’s…box jumps.  The set of 20 felt heavy, but I got through it.  Suddenly, I was cruising — 95, 135, 185, 205.   Holy crap!  I am actually getting into the 225!   In my head I am a freakin’ rockstar!  I was beating the chicks in the video.  I am lifting my previous PR (hideously).  I was killing it!  My deadlifts broke down big time, but I didn’t care.   I was going to keep going to get the best score I could.  I got 3 at 225 and fell to the floor.

Bo went to tally up my score and totaled 133.  WHAT?  No way, I got into the round of 225.   All the heads came together trying to figure out what was going on.  He said I got 133.  We went over my weight changes, and sure enough, I had skipped the 155 weight, meaning I did everything a whole lot heavier.

Bo, you’re fired.   Don’t worry, Roger is fired too — Need I mention 14.1?

I was pretty pissed off.   I knew that score wouldn’t hold up, but I also knew my back was in a bad way.   Still,  I’ll need to do it again.  All weekend long, I iced, rolled, stretched, soaked in a hot tub, hydrated…   I pulled out every trick I knew, including alcohol.   It took me a while to recover from my pissed off-ed-ness.  I really wanted to find someone to blame.   Shoot, the whole gang of people didn’t catch the mistake.  But, I really can only blame myself.   A Monday re-do would be fun…NOT.

So, I gave it another go.   Thank you Rich for being my guru on my second attempt.  I must have asked 5 times if we all agreed on my weight changes.  It went much better, getting 145.  I really, really wanted to be in the 150’s.  I’d say my back was at 80%, so if I was fresh, maybe it would have been possible, but 145 was it.  This was not going to be my strongest workout of the Open, but I wanted more.   Now I am in 50th place, and the fight continues!

I am hoping the next 2 weeks will be smooth sailing.  We’ll see what happens.

This week, I’ll bet the chipper comes along with the muscle up somewhere in there.

How to prepare:
Keep your back healthy and keep up your training.  Don’t let the Open change your patterns.  Be ready to just do work!

14.2… THAT was quick

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

My attempt at 14.2 only proved again what I already knew; The Cave has fantastic coaches and  my shoulder is weak.  I’m on re-entry from an injury, so I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to handle this one.  First I spoke with Bo.

“Bo, what do think I’m better off doing.  An empty bar for the overhead squats, or go for the Rx weight and just do front squats?”

“Well, it depends on your intent and how you are feeling.  An empty bar overhead might help stabilize your shoulder muscles and aid in recovery.  But if you want to experience the workout similar to everyone then stay with front squats.  How has it felt doing overhead?”

After a few more minutes of talking, Bo recommended that I stay with front squats, and I’m one who always listens to her coach.  I was thankful for the sound advice and I was ready to tackle my version of 14.2.

I filled Coach Anthony in on my plan. He advised me on how to warm up and a good strategy for my sets.  If you haven’t had a class with Anthony, you should! He has a great understanding of fitness and kept a close eye on my form.

Anthony set the timer and off I went.  The first set of ten squats weren’t a problem, the chest to bar felt good also.  I broke the kipping pull-ups into 2 sets and dropped off the bar once.  Shoulder recovery and kipping aren’t a great mix.  Out of the corner of my eye, I heard Coach Russ telling Anthony to watch out for my shoulder.  Another epic coach looking out for me.

I think that first set took me a minute, maybe 1:10.  Coach Anthony was giving me great encouragement, I was feeling good, I had lots of time and picked up my bar again.  I didn’t go as fast because I was thinking, “This is going to go longer than 3 minutes, I’ll make it to the next set and I should start pacing.” Squats were decent, I did them in sets of 5 and jumped right back to the bar, did 2 chest to bar pull-ups, and came right down.  My face said it all, and Anthony quickly advised me to stop kipping and do them one at a time.  It was sound advice and it went well, but slowly.  I was grateful for Anthony’s quick thinking so I didn’t have to fully abort, but I knew I was done after 3 minutes.  I went to run it off, and when I came back, Anthony was ready with numerous mobility suggestions and an alternative workout.  What a great coach!

Once again, the open didn’t disappoint.  Sometimes you learn about yourself, and other times you learn about who surrounds you.  This time it was about a deeper appreciation of the coaches and knowledge at my disposal and less about pushing myself.  That time will come… again.


CrossFit Games Open Workout 14.1

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Congrats to all the athletes who competed this week in the CrossFit Games Open Workout 14.1! We saw some amazing efforts from our competitors representing CrossFit Marin in The Cave, as well as a great community of cheerleaders and spectators from those who chose not to compete. We’re only one week into this five week marathon. Keep up the good work!
Below is the CrossFit Marin leader board and results table.

For those of you unaware of the CrossFit Games Open workout 14.1, athletes had 10 minutes to complete as many rounds of 30 double unders and 15 snatches. Weights varied for men and women, as well as age groups. The numbers you see equal total reps complete by each athlete.
*If any score is incorrect, please let me know and I will make the change immediately!
My recap on 14.1:

Rumor has it that the CrossFit community is disgruntled about the first open workout of 2014 being a repeat of the 2011 CrossFit Games Open. I, for one, was really excited for this workout! I am generally pretty good at double unders, and tend to do well at snatches. I was thinking that this would be a great way to start off the open and get my name high in the rankings.

I came in on competition Friday to do the workout. I was amped!

I started off tripping on my first set of double unders. Then, I proceeded into the snatches where I was no repped twice for hip extension at the top. I have NEVER been no repped on a snatch! EVER! So my game was thrown quite a bit. I continued on making errors (sometimes more than 3) on every set of double unders. Not pretty.

My judge said I did eight rounds and 20 double unders–not bad for a girl who tripped so many times. After a bit of recovery, Bo came over and asked if I counted my rounds. Of course not…
He then told me he was pretty sure I was given an extra round somewhere. I thought, no way. What a Bo thing to say!

After thinking about it though, he had to have been right. So, I reviewed my video on Saturday and sure enough it was 7 rounds and 20 double unders.

That judge is fired!

All weekend my internal debate was to go on Sunday, so that Monday was available if I royally screwed up again, or to wait it out until Monday. So I did a 10 minute EMOM on Saturday night of 5 burpees and 30 double unders. I tripped once, and it was because I was rushing. I was back!

Sunday rest, Monday compete. I had it in my head that just by correcting my mistakes in the double unders that I would be able to get 8 rounds no problem. Monday came, double unders rolled, but snatches were a bit slower than usual. I worked hard, really really hard but did not get that 8. I did, however improve by 16 reps, completing 7 rounds 30 double unders and 6 snatches. A good score.

Unfortunately I am sitting at 60th in the region. I was hoping that this workout would put me ahead in the rankings, but it’s fighting time again! I have to remember that its the first week of 5, and I beat some heavy hitters in this workout. Anything can change with what they throw at us next.

My Predictions:

We know we will see a clean and jerk of sorts, chest to bar pull ups, box jumps, deadlifts, wall balls, toes to bar, burpees, muscle ups, and some sort of Fran workout at the end. I am betting that an overhead squat will grace us this year.

How to Prepare:

Keep training as usual. Put some extra time into your mobility and range of motion on your movements. Work on things you know you have trouble with. Stay hydrated and properly fed. Stay smart and don’t get hurt!

Good luck!

14.1=11.1= Oxidative Pathway

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

2014-games“I can guarantee we’ll always repeat a workout. It’s our way. We like to see the data and compare results. We can judge whether the whole community is improving. Of the 27,000 people who did it in 2011, we can compare their scores to now. We can mine that data.”
“The workout served its purpose. We compared Rich Froning in 2011 to some of the top athletes in 2014. And his score still stands.”—Dave Castro

The open has begun!  I had a lot of fun speculating what the first workout would be.  Would we see a repeat of the 7 minute burpees?  Maybe snatches again.  But please no wall balls!!!
Open workout 14.1, or should I say 11.1 is testing our oxidative pathway.  The oxidative pathway  is one of 3 pathways that our bodies derive energy from and it provides energy for low-powered activities, those that last in excess of several minutes.  Crossfit is about variation, so those that did well at this workout don’t get to comfortable because there are 2 more metabolic pathways still to test.
If you weren’t happy with your performance, go back and look at your workouts this past year.  Have you been avoiding the 20 min AMRAMP?  Even a 7 min AMRAMP will condition and train your oxidative pathway.  And this is something I need to do! When comparing my results to 3 years ago, I quickly learned I’m not challenging my oxidative pathway and should think about adjusting my programming.
How did I handle this workout?  Understanding this is about endurance, I picked a pace and stuck with it.  Restraint, especially in a competition setting is hard, but I knew it would pay off so I stayed at a 70% pace until the last 2 minutes then I gave it all I got.  Love the open.
What will 14.2 bring?

CrossFit Open Kick off party!

Friday, February 21st, 2014

header-imageTonight is The Cave’s kick off party for the open!  Come learn about the open, get inspired an motivated! Party starts at 7 PM.  Hope to see you there!.

Results From The Reindeer Games

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

The Cave sent a Masters team to the Reindeer Games at Crossfit Adventure in Concord on Saturday, December 14. The team consisted of Ashley R., Karen L., Mark A. and Martin H. Coach Bo W. came along for emotional support. Rich L. and Sandy S. came along to cheer and take pictures, thank you!

There were five WODs on the schedule, four of which were published about two weeks prior to the event. What was surprising was not such much the content of the WODs, but how much time and energy spent Ashley spent analyzing and strategizing the best way to optimize the team’s performance for each WOD. She had a spreadsheet, several pages of notes, multiple emails and texts to the team, as well as an illustrated guide to the best transition techniques. Don’t you have anything else to do? She also made our team t-shirts, tank tops and sports bras, which are awesome by the way. Everyone needs to enter a competition just to earn the right to own one!

The day started out reasonably well in that we all showed up at The Cave, our rally point, at the agreed upon time of 6am. While we snuck into the gym to appropriate a couple of kettlebells and a jump rope for Mark, we got a sneak peek at the new-look Crossfit area (if you haven’t seen it, it looks awesome!) The trip to Crossfit Adventure was unadventurous, although Bo seemed to tire of the uninterrupted chatter from his much older companions, but with his constant stoicism it was hard to tell.

After arriving, we set up our tent, complete with blankets, chairs, foam rollers, barbell, plates, food, drink, PVC bar and kettlebells. It was a lot of stuff. The only thing we forgot to bring was a heater because it was frigid outside and that’s where we would be spending a lot of time waiting. Fortunately, one of the neighboring tents had the foresight to bring a gas patio heater, so we were able to leech some heat from them.

Our first WOD was a sled drag: first person had to drag 25# 200m, the next person 50# 100m, the next 85# 60m and the last 120# 40m, all within a 10 minute time cap, with any remaining time used to do squat clean thrusters with an axle bar for total load. All of us had practiced the sled drag earlier in the week and we thought we were ready. Oh how wrong we were. Our first stop after setting up our tent was the porta-potty, and conveniently right next to the porta-potty, the sled drag was set up. Only these were no ordinary sleds, they were more like friction generating machines. We met the guy who made them and he cavalierly described them as “evil torture devices”, a description that would prove to be shockingly accurate during the WOD. The “sleds” were made of a tire (lying flat on the ground) with a cleverly affixed pipe standing vertically on a plywood platform that was bolted to the top of the tire. Dragging a rubber tire on asphalt is not easy. All of us were reduced to a trembling mass of tears by the time we had finished our respective legs. And then we faced up to the axle squat clean thrusters … and of course all of us had very little experience with an axle bar, so we were in new territory again. Fortunately, the sled had eaten up most of our time, so time suffering under the axle was short. We finished a distant fourth. Ugh.

Our second WOD was also strength biased, sort of like a Crossfit Total, except each team member had to do a different lift. Ashley did the shoulder press, Karen the clean, Mark the back squat and Martin the deadlift. We had 12 minutes and two bars to work with to each establish our respective 1RM. The team was apparently pumped up because we all PR’d! Still, this was only good enough for fifth. Things were not looking good and Martin started to cry.

Our third WOD was a chipper with a 16 minute time cap:

200 double unders

70 HSPU60 wall balls 20/14

50 box jumps 30/24

40 shoulder to overhead 95/65

30 KB snatch and OH lunge 44/26

20 weighted pistols 44/26

10 rope climbs 12ft

… and then back up again

To cut a 16 minute story short, we got no-repped about 20 times, Ashley tried to start a debate in the middle of the WOD with our judge, Martin had no sense of urgency on the first rope climb but Mark’s quick first step saved us all, Karen rocked out the shoulder to overhead and showed that full range of motion on weighted pistols was child’s play, Ashley put her abs on display for all while repping out sets of 10 HSPU (and there are pictures to prove it), there was a lot of yelling, confusion and excitement … and the team still managed to finish first! Was a comeback in the making?

Our fourth WOD had been graciously programmed by Bo the previous week, so we all knew what we were getting into, which from an emotional standpoint made the whole thing more difficult as we all knew how bad the pain was going to be. The WOD was a relay-style, 4 minute AMRAP for each team member, where the next team member started with the prior one left off: 12 bar burpees and 25 snatches 75/55. We were again afraid that the two really strong teams were going to destroy this WOD because the time domain wasn’t long enough for our endurance to come into play. 16 minutes later, and with Martin writhing on the ground like Mark had just kicked him in the groin, the team was done … we all looked at our judge and we apparently finished second! Only one more WOD to go!

The fifth WOD was a bit complicated. We each had to row 500m, relay style. After the first person got off the rower they had to an AMRAP of C2B pull-ups while the second person was rowing, etc. The last person to row had 90 seconds to complete their AMRAP. There would be two scores, the time to complete the 2,000m row and the total number of C2B. Prior to the WOD, back at the tent, we were all sitting around eating, drinking and discussing the upcoming WOD. Bo declared that we should have Martin go first, then Karen, Mark, Ashley and that we should go at about 90% to save something for the C2B. Ashley disagreed and went to her bag of goodies and produced a notepad, a pencil and a calculator. She made some notes, scribbled them out, did some math, looked at the sky for inspiration and was still working on the optimal solution as we headed to the rowers to start the WOD. So we rowed and we C2B’ed. Just as Ashley had 50m left to row, Martin looked around and saw that no-one else had finished the row either, so he yelled at Ashley: “SPRINT!” Which she did, and it appeared as if we had finished the row first, but the clock said that we finished second by 0.7 seconds. We also finished second on the C2B … good enough to tie for second overall! Of course we soon realized that had we won the row, we would have been outright first overall. The whole team was quick to blame Ashley (as she was last on the rower), but luckily before the first actual, physical stone was thrown (plenty of verbal ones had been hurled her way), it transpired that both Mark and Martin had had 5-10 seconds up their respective short sleeves, so it was really their fault, and in fact Ashley had PR’d her row! It was only then that Ashley said: “I think going in the order Martin, Karen, Mark and then me was the right thing to do”. Really, you just figured that out after the WOD?

So, we were tied for second overall, how were they going to break the tie? Apparently the organizers had not considered the possibility of a tie because there was no pre-established tie-break procedure, so we sent in our best negotiator, Rich, to make magic happen. Among the choices: toss a coin; choose a WOD at random, higher finisher wins; higher finisher in last WOD wins; split the pot; and lastly, Rich’s masterful suggestion: whoever has the most first place finishes wins, a la the Norcal Masters tie-break method. No decision was made at that time (it was about 3:30pm) and the podium presentation was at 5:15pm, so we were told that we would find out at the podium.

So now we had 90 minutes to kill, what to do? Go get a drink of course! We packed up our tent and Sandy found a dive bar nearby on her phone: The Captain’s Chest. It was only 7 minutes way, so off we went. When we arrived, there was a post-it note on the door that said “back in 5 minutes”, and we all stood staring at it in disbelief for 30 seconds before our disappointment evaporated when James the bartender showed up. Two rounds of drinks (thanks Ashley!) and a free round of shots (thanks James!) later, it was approaching 4:45pm and Rich said, “let’s start heading back, we should be there a little early”. So back we went. Martin made a wrong turn and added 3 minutes to the return trip. No big deal.

As we sauntered back casually into the gym, we heard the MC say “… is first in the Master’s division”. Wait, we are in the Master’s division! Sure enough there was an empty spot on the podium! Ashley crashed through the wall of spectators with the rest of us close behind. We jumped up onto the podium yelling “we’re from The Cave, we’re The Cavers, we’re Crossfit Marin, are we third or second??” Standing on the podium we couldn’t tell whether we were higher or lower than the team on the other side. It was only afterwards that we got a look at the height and it turns out we came second (thanks Rich!)

Thank you from the whole team to Bo, Rich and Sandy. Thank you to all who sent their best wishes and who followed along at home. The Cave is a great group of people and we all had a blast. We’ll be back next year and won’t be leaving that 0.7 seconds behind again. Now all we need are some axle bars and some tire sleds …

More photos available:

Sandy’s collection

Rich’s collection