With the rain long gone and the heat way up, the Affiliate Cup teams broke the seal on the Home Depot Center Stadium at 3 p.m.
The stands were packed tight with the world’s fittest crowd, and the teams stepped up to a rack with 4 minutes for all six members to register a 2-rep max front squat. After a short reset, it was a series of events for three mixed-gender pairs: row 750 meters while one athlete holds a front rack position (215/145 lb.), 50 burpees while one athlete holds a bar overhead (135/95 lb.), 50 thrusters while one athlete holds a support on a set of dip bars.
The catch: the barbells used for the front-rack and overhead positions were fat bars.
In practice, several teams were struggling badly to figure out how to get the bars up, and Rob Orlando of CrossFit Strongman was on hand to talk them through the various techniques for dealing with fat bars.
With only 4 minutes to squat, teams had to decide whether to be conservative or to push the envelope with big opening lifts. Most chose to get safe weights in the bag before going big, but doing so ate up precious seconds as more plate changes were required. The best teams coordinated their loading like a NASCAR pit crew while one athlete prepared for the lifts.
The big winner on the Men’s Front Squat was Hack’s Pack Ute, led by Tommy Hackenbruck, a multi-year Individual Games competitor and former linebacker. With Hackenbruck squatting just below 400 lb. for a double, the men of Hack’s Pack squatted a combined weight of 1,065 lb. The next closest team was Bayou City CrossFit, who racked up a total of 1,020 lb. CrossFit Southie was third with 1,015 lb.
On the women’s side, CrossFit Invictus team squatted a combined weight of 645 lb., giving them a first-place spot ahead of CrossFit Atlanta and CrossFit Greensboro, who tied for second with 625 lb. CrossFit Fort Vancouver finished fourth with 620 lb.
Managing the bar was a big key to the success of the team on the squats. Jeremy Thiel of CrossFIt Central, competing with his sister, Carey Kepler, dropped his weight while attempting a squat, meaning the team had burn time putting the weight back on the squat rack before continuing. The CrossFit Intensify team yelled instructions at their teammates, trying to get the right combination of weights on the bar as quickly as possible.
The Team Triplet was all about the fat bar. Some teams could lift it well, while others lost a lot of time trying to get the bar into the rack position. The fat bars were similarly cumbersome for overhead holds and thrusters, but the top teams had no trouble with the strongman axle.
CrossFit New England (CFNE), last year’s Affiliate Cup winners, competed in the first heat after a disappointing finish in the Sprint Relay and Big Bob. That didn’t slow them down, as they dominated the first heat, showing off a mix of strength and endurance and finishing in 14:44.
After dominating the Front Squat, Hack’s Pack UTE held strong in the Team Triplet. Hackenbruck was a machine on the thrusters, and his team finished with a time of 14:30, a first-place time that held through later heats.
Kepler of CrossFit Central, a former Games competitor, struggled during the event. She dropped the bar while trying to hold it in the front rack position.
“I did something to my shoulder during the event, and couldn’t hold the 95 lb. overhead,” Kepler said after the event. “This is my first year doing team.”
She stopped for a moment as tears came to her eyes.
“And even though I feel like I let (my team) down, they still love me.”
In the final heat, it was a battle between CrossFit Diablo and TJ’s Gym, until RAW Training came from behind to win the heat with a time of 15:05, good enough for third overall.
“We spent hours working out the order of this workout,” said Bruce Barger of RAW Training. “We put our fastest rower first and ground through the rest. And then we crushed it at the end.”
This long and varied event moved Hack’s Pack UTE into first place overall (307 points), followed by Diablo CrossFit Anejo (298 points) and TJ’s Gym Mill Valley (288 points). Despite their impressive performance in the Team Triplet, CFNE is in 18th place overall at the end of Day 1. They will have their work cut out for them tomorrow, another full day of competition that starts on the track with a yoke carry followed by the Rope-Clean event.
For full results, visit the Leaderboard.