“My expectation for the Open is to make it to Regionals, and then have a blast. I'm not going to say I'm going to the Games yet. I just don't think I'm there. But next year my goal will be to make it to the Games."
Wes Piatt finished on the wrong side of the red line last year: he ended the 2012 Open in 62nd place in Southern California. Though he went on to compete as a member of Team CrossFit Inferno at Regionals, he still wanted to qualify as an individual this year. Now, after the second week of the 2013 Open, Piatt finds himself far from that red line — he currently sits in second place overall in Southern California and 22nd in the world.
“Last week’s finish (on 13.1) absolutely gave me confidence going into 13.2,” Piatt says. “I constantly have to prove to myself that I am actually good enough to be at the top in this region. When I see my scores coming close to Kenny Leverich and Ryan Fischer and other top guys, it is hard to believe! It is surreal, but cool.”
Piatt’s approach to 13.2 was to attack it at a good pace, never stop moving and then speed up towards the end. He admits he should have turned on the intensity earlier because he finished just shy of his 12-round goal, with 359 reps, landing him in fourth place in the region.
“I did push jerks from the beginning, steady deadlifts and then box jumps the entire time,” he says. “Because of the pacing, I felt like I could have gone harder a little earlier. I tried to ramp it up every round. I should have gone harder around the seventh round, but ended up picking it up about the eighth round. At the end, I had a bummed out feeling that I didn’t get to 12 rounds.”
Though Piatt was initially disappointed, he reflects, “I am happy with my results this week. I can’t believe where I am at now. It really shows that just dialing in training has paid off.”
Piatt explains that to achieve a higher level of competitiveness this year, the No. 1 change he has made was to his diet.
“The biggest thing I changed this year is I started going Zone. I wasn’t getting enough carbohydrates,” he explains. “I was thinking the more meat that I ate, the better off I was. I was eating strict paleo before and feeling great, but the second I started weighing and measuring my food, I started feeling much better. I need more carbs to perform better, and (discovering that) was huge.”
In addition to changing the amount and composition of food he was eating, Piatt also learned how to pace and manage his energy.
“I used to go 100 percent all the time. I’d start out sprinting right away, red line it, and die in the end. This year, I figured out how to pace better and avoid that red line,” he says.
Piatt admits his competitive spirit has always driven him to be better. When he first started CrossFit in 2009 as member of the U.S. Air Force deployed in Kuwait, he trained with friends and loved the push working out with others gave him.
“I remember one of the first real CrossFit workouts (my friend and I) did was the Filthy Fifty,” Piatt says. “Neither of us could finish it. We had this Army guy come through and once he found out we didn't finish the workout, he ragged on us so hard. I have never given up on a workout since then.”
Piatt still enjoys competing with his friends. Fortunately, he’s been able to chase Bill Grundler, owner of CrossFit Inferno, where Piatt trains and works. At 43, Grundler is currently ranked fourth in Southern California and 29th in the world in the Individual Men’s division.
“Having a guy like Bill to chase has really helped me develop as an athlete,” Piatt says. “He is amazing and I try to keep up with him.”
Though Piatt’s placing at this point in the Open is high, he is humble about his goals for the season.
“My expectation for the Open is to make it to Regionals, and then have a blast,” he says. “I'm not going to say I'm going to the Games yet. I just don't think I'm there. But next year my goal will be to make it to the Games. This year, I think, is the year I realized what I'm capable of with some discipline and hard work. Next year is where this year’s hard work will pay off.”