The party came back to the Chimkowe Event Center on Day 2.
CrossFit BIGG and CrossFit Tuluka brought back the drums, and a legion of giant purple flags to accompany them. Not to be outdone, on the other side of the stands, fans of CrossFit BEF waved a 10-foot banner to support their team.
With muscle-ups, handstand walks and strict handstand push-ups required of teams within the first two days of competition, this year’s regional events send a single message, loud and clear: the fittest teams of 2014 will be the most well-rounded.
But stellar skills are just the foundation. Brawn is just a tool; it’s brains that wield it.
Events 4 and 5 forced teams work as single entities, two athletes becoming a human squat rack while a third worked in the couplet of thrusters and rope ascents.
Event 6 was all about strategy—was it better to complete all the reps, or get the best-penalized time?
Team Events 4 and 5
In Events 4 and 5, identical couplets for the men and women each, the work could be divided any way teams chose. Once the bar came up in each set of thrusters, it could not come back down, and each teammate had to perform at least one rep of each movement in each round.
Only seven teams finished Event 5 within the 10-minute time cap. No teams finished in Event 4.
To win these events, teams had to be efficient.
In the first heat, women struggled to put the 95-lb. bar overhead—and then struggled to pass it to their teammates, experimenting awkwardly with front passes from the hang, and two-person holds while the working athlete switched out.
Events 4 and 5 exposed weaknesses on the rope for some teammates. By the time Team CrossFit BH women finished their set of 40 thrusters, The 7 Milers were still on their first set of rope ascents. The men of The 7 Milers were only slightly more adept when they had their shot at the rope in Event 5.
“It was pretty tough workout,” said one of The 7 Miler men. “It was longer than I was expecting ... I had problems with my grip doing the rope climbs.”
In these events, athletes had to think as quickly as they moved.
Some forgot to advance the bar after each set of thrusters, or to touch the mat before beginning the rope ascents. It was a lot to remember, and chaos ensued after the clock ran out on the first heat of women—forgetting that they needed to touch the mat again to send their men to the floor, athletes had to scramble back to the mat, delaying some teams as much as 10 seconds for the start of Event 5.
But by the time the final heats took the floor, athletes knew what to do.
Team Reebok CrossFit PTY had the most efficient technique for passing the bar between athletes on the thrusters. Their working athlete held the bar in the front rack, assuring the replacement athlete would not have to perform a hang clean to get the bar up.
In the final heats of Events 4 and 5, teams had each section of the stands screaming in turn, as they volleyed the lead with every transition.
Just past the eight-minute mark in Event 4, the women of CrossFit SP Hulks Team took the lead with their final set of thrusters, logging 15 reps before Altair CrossFit joined them at their side.
CrossFit SP Hulks Team’s first climber had but five seconds remaining after she tumbled under the wall. Though she made it within arm’s reach of the top, the buzzer sounded before she could touch the knot.
Still, she banked six more reps than her neighbor from Altair CrossFit, taking the event for her team in 10:07.
“We tried to break our reps for each athlete, each one of us (doing) five to 10 reps in order to not get tired,” said Debora Diegas of CrossFit SP Hulks. “So that allowed us to go at a good velocity, doing rope climbs.”
The crowd bellowed as the women tapped the mat, rolled under the wall and dashed to their male counterparts, waiting to thruster. The men of Altair CrossFit showed the crowd a new trick, passing the bar from one man’s back to another’s front.
For the first eight minutes of Event 5, Reebok CrossFit PTY, BIGG Friends and CrossFit SP Hulks traded the lead, never straying more than 10 reps from each other.
Reebok CrossFit PTY’s thrusters were faster, but BIGG Friends had an expert climber. Taller than most others on the floor, he scaled half the rope just by jumping, reducing the ascent to just two pulls each time.
With a minute-and-a-half remaining before the 21-minute time cap, it looked like BIGG Friends had locked in the win, the first to reach the rope for the final ascents. But when their climber lost his grip and fell from the rope, Reebok CrossFit PTY kept on climbing, taking the win in 9:07.
Two seconds made the difference between first and second place.
Though the winning team had planned on assigning roles to each teammate, they changed their strategy on the fly—the decision paid off with their first event win.
“We (planned to leave) one guy to be focused on the thrusters, but at the end we shared the work,” said Cristian Cuellar, of Reebok CrossFit PTY.
Event 4 Results
1. CrossFit SP Hulks Team (10:07)
2. Altair CrossFit (10:13)
3. CrossFit Moema (10:19)
Event 5 Results
1. Reebok CrossFit PTY (9:07)
2. CrossFit SP Hulks Team (9:09)
3. CrossFit Santiago (9:22)
Team Event 6
Event 6 was won and lost on the wall.
But it wasn’t about who was the best at strict handstand push-ups. The win went to the team who knew when to fight for a rep, and when to take the hit of a penalty and potentially save time on the clock later.
That team was Hangar 193 Brazilian Hurricane in the second heat, taking their first event win with a time of 21:19.
In the second heat, CrossFit Moema was the first to send all three men to the finish mat, their first two males completing all reps unbroken. While their third male took no-rep after no-rep for failing to reach full extension on his hang power cleans, Hangar 193 Brazilian Hurricane caught up and flew past, sending out its women.
Hangar 193 Brazilian Hurricane’s first woman completed her first round unbroken. Reaching the round of sixes at 15:45, she slowed her pace on the hang power cleans, conserving energy for the grueling inverted push-up.
But she got a second wind on the burpees, which carried her through her third round, giving the team’s final woman just under three minutes to complete the work.
The last woman of Hangar 193 Brazilian Hurricane went balls to the wall. With just a few minutes to work, it didn’t matter if she burned out. After blazing through her first round unbroken, she managed six sideways handstand-pushups and half of her cleans before the clock ran out.
Second place went to CrossFit Revolver and Tuluka El Templo, in the third heat, each with a time of 21:55.
Event 6 Results
1. Hangar 193 Brazilian Hurricane (21:19)
2T. CrossFit Revolver (21:55)
2T.Tuluka El Temply (21:55)
1. BIGG Friends (18)
2. Reebok CrossFit PTY (22)
3. CrossFit SP Hulks Team (23)
4. Tuluka El Templo (31)
5. Cygnus CrossFit (39)
6. CrossFit Revolver (33)
7. CrossFit Santiago (48)
8. CrossFit Moema (52)
9. Altair CrossFit (54)
10. Maori CrossFit (60)