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Archive for December, 2013

6th Annual Epic Bridge Run Coming Soon!

Friday, December 20th, 2013
Cold Wet Bear Crawls

Cold Wet Bear Crawls

2014 is almost upon us. It is time for the 6th Annual Epic Bridge Run. This started as a group of friends getting together to just do a workout on New Years Day and has become a Cave/CrossFit Marin tradition. Nick W. has run this event since the beginning and rest assured he is still involved in the planning. Unfortunately he’s not going to be able to join us as his LEO duties will be keeping him busy.

A little history on the Epic Bridge Run.

2009: Golden Gate Murph. This was an impromptu get together. It involved doing Murph, but using the bridge as the “mile run”. 4 people attended and it sparked the idea to do this every year.

2010: Bridge Ball Brought down a truck load of equipment, and utilized medicine balls on the bridge for a variety of tasks. Unfortunately the Golden Gate Bridge authority didn’t like us bringing equipment on the bridge. After I spoke with them it totally made sense. They were actually quite kind when they approached me about the potential problems.

2011: Zombie Apocalypse The first of the themed Bridge Runs. This event involved tasks and scenarios that may be encountered during a zombie Apocalypse.

2012: Bridgepacolypse What would you do at the end of the world. Would you be able to help your fellow humans, or would you become a burden? Gathering resources and getting around without modern machines is difficult.

2013: Caveman Games The life of the caveman was hard. Gathering supplies and hunting large game is exciting and exhausting.

2014: Come and find out!!!

Be sure to register. The earlier you register the better we can plan for the event. Hope to see you all there. Participate in a Cave Tradition!!

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

Every Second Counts

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

From Carly Jones

The crew

The crew

I had the pleasure of attending Oakdale Crossfit’s “Every Second Counts” team competition on Saturday December 7th to cheer on and photograph the Cave’s three teams - the celebrated “Team BoManda,” the rookie “Team Chapzuma,” and menacing “Team Three.”

The competition consisted of 3 WODs and was scored according to overall combined time for the WODs.  There was a timecap for each workout – any reps not completed within the cap would add additional time to a team’s score.  Thankfully BoManda, Chapzuma, and Three all finished within the time caps.

Lesley Chapman and Lori Erezuma kicked off the day for the Cave’s teams with the scaled WOD #1 –  40, 30, 20 deadlifts at 135# and box jump overs.  Lesley and Lori have been working hard on deadlifts at the gym lately, often doing their workouts at RX+, and it sure paid off!  The box jump overs were a little more tricky as we hardly see those in our routine WODs at the Cave.  The scaled competitors were allowed to do step-ups, and after some experimenting, Team Chapzuma got a good rhythm going with their shuffle style up-and-overs.   They finished the first WOD in 4:48, tied for 7th out of 27 teams in the scaled division.  Most of all, they were stoked that they finished well under the time cap for the workout – something that they had been foolishly concerned about.

Team BoManda was next.  The Rx teams had a similar WOD: 40, 30, 20 deadlifts at 275#/185# and box jump overs (no step-ups allowed).  Amanda and Bo kept a steady pace for the heavy deadlifts, tagging back and forth fairly often.  They made up some time with their explosive box jump overs, establishing a quick pace early on.   BoManda’s final time was 5:50 for the first workout, putting them in 13th out of 23 teams in the Rx division.

Martin and Shari, as Team Three, were in one of the final heats for the first WOD.  Martin got off to a strong start, stringing together at least 8 of the 275# deadlifts – impressive!  The box jump overs was where Shari’s strength really showed – she had been practicing a side-to-side approach in preparation for the event.  Their form with the awkward movement only improved throughout the workout.  Team Three finished the first workout in 6:42.

WOD #2 involved 50 partner med ball situps, 40 burpees over barbell, and 30 snatches at 135#/85#.  The scaled teams reduced the weight to 95#/65# and were allowed to sub clean and jerks for the snatches.  The medball situps were no problem for Team Chapzuma and they zoomed through the 50 reps.  The burpees over barbell were a piece of cake for them as well – Lori, with her especially small stature, stayed close to the ground and soared over the bar.  Going into this workout, Lesley had planned on sticking with clean and jerks for the second exercise — although they can be slower, she finds them less fatiguing than snatches.  Lori’s strategy was to get through the ground to overheads with as many snatches as possible as she has some mobility issues that hamper her front rack.  Although they had these moves down pact before the competition, the excitement of the day (and presumably their nerves) made these movements a little more difficult.  But after a couple hiccups and some adjustments to their lifts, Team Chapzuma got into a steady rhythm with their clean and jerks, finishing the entire WOD #2 in 5 minutes flat.

Team BoManda was next up for the second WOD.  As suspected, this was their strongest of the three workouts.  In warming up just before their heat, Amanda snatched the bar in front of her and immediately a look of distress came across her face.  We were momentarily concerned for her until we did a quick inventory of the plates on her bar.  Either Martin or Shari had to yell to her that she had been practicing with at men’s weight!  Pounds sure are confusing!  Thankfully we noticed before the heat started, which made women’s weight feel great for Amanda.  The med ball situps and burpees were a breeze for Bo and Amanda – Bo managed to look quite nimble during his burpees, staying close to the ground and very light on his feet.   Amanda started them off with the snatches and in doing so, commanded the attention of all the spectators.  She knocked out 10 touch and go reps right off the bat!  Sitting in the front row I heard the crowd buzzing with, “Who is she? Where are they from?”.  Team BoManda finished WOD #2 3rd overall in an impressive 3:39.

Like the teams before them, Team Three took on the med ball situps and burpees over barbell without any trouble.  Martin had been concerned about the weight of the snatches, but both he and Shari cruised through them at a steady pace.  Shari looked especially solid. Even after seeing my video footage of the WOD, Martin was pleased with his form and performance.  Team Three finished WOD #2 in 4:49.

The final workout, dubbed by Crossfit Oakdale as “Franniversary” to celebrate the 2nd anniversary of their gym, consisted of 45 thrusters at 115#/75# and 45 chest to bar pullups (45 dumbbell snatches for the scaled division at 45#/35#).  Team Chapzuma was in the first heat of WOD #3.   Lesley and Lori had decided to get through their 45 thrusters five at a time and stuck to that plan throughout the grueling set.  Lesley looked especially strong during the dumbbell snatches.  Team Chapzuma’s time for WOD #3 was 4:40 – again, under the time cap!

Shari started the thrusters for Team Three and they steadily chipped away at 45 reps. Having seen another team do it, Shari removed her shoes for the pull-ups –  sometimes small things make a difference.  As other teams in their heat finished the Franniversary workout, they rallied around Shari and Martin as they finished their final reps.  It was fun to see the crossfit community come together to cheer on teams from other gyms in the spirit of friendly competition and encouragement.

Team BoManda tackled WOD #3 with predictable ease.   I’m somewhat new to crossfit, but it seems that thrusters are something that all crossfitters, both beginning and experienced, agree are pure torture.  In true Bomanda style, they made them look effortless.  Both Bo and Amanda knocked out 15 each before tagging off, leaving Bo to finish the final 15.  After crushing the thrusters, Amanda busted out flawless chest to bar butterfly pull-ups that were just as impressive as her snatches from WOD #2.  Bo’s were just okay.  Kidding.  Team BoManda finished the Franniversary WOD in 6th with a time of 2:35, just 23 seconds behind the first place team for that event.  Their cumulative time for the three workouts qualified them to move on to the finals with nine other teams.

Bo and Amanda were in the first heat of the final workout which consisted of 200 double unders,  100 wall balls, 50 toes to bar, and 25 clean and jerks at 185# / 115#.  Bo started off the double unders for the team and finished his share of the 200 without any errors and was reluctant to tag out to let Amanda start hers.  After no errors on the double unders, Team Bomanda was leading their heat.  They started off the wall balls with sets of 25 each and maintained their lead all the way through.  Following the wall balls, Bo started off the toes to bar with such efficiency that the owner of Crossfit Oakdale came to personally make sure his toes made contact.  After Amanda finished the toes to bar, they started the clean and jerks, some in sets of two, some in sets of three.  While these were heavy cleans and jerks, they looked much tougher for many of the other teams.  Team BoManda finished the final workout, first in their heat (more than 1 minute ahead of the next finishing team), tied for third overall in the final workout, with a time of 8:19, making them 5th overall in the Crossfit Oakdale “Every Second Counts” partner competition.    While they both left an impression on Crossfit Oakdale and the neighboring Central California gyms, many in the crowd were especially taken with Amanda, as there was only one other female competitor in the finals (and because she is just straight up amazing).

Overall, I had a great time in Oakdale and felt honored to spend the day with the Cave’s fearless althetes!  I am so proud of Team Three for sticking with the Rx level, of Team BoManda for their almost-podium finish, and of Team Chapzuma for making their competition debut.  You guys all rocked it!  Congrats and thanks for having me.