If you were making predictions about the fittest men in Canada East based on the rankings from the Open, you might be surprised by the Leaderboard at the beginning of Day 3.
Occupied by men who finished the Open outside of the top 10 are 2nd through 8th place: Jeff Larsh, Simon Paquette, Jonathan Laninel, Chris Christini, Mike LeBlanc, and Matt Lefave. The only consistent name is 1st place Albert-Dominic Larouche.
Even more remarkable are 4th through 8th place for the fact that none of these men placed higher than 15th in Diane. They have been working hard all weekend to make up for the first Event.
The most impressive post-Diane comeback is Matt Lefave. Lefave finished the Open in 4th, but did not complete Diane and fell to 38th after the first event. But he finished in the top three on Events 2-4 and now sits 7th with 44 points, only 14 points away from 2nd place Jeff Larsh.
Lefave knew going in that the handstand push-ups were going to hold him up, but found that the rules about hand placement made them even more difficult than usual. “But everyone was dealing with the same challenge,” he says. “Adaptation is one of the things that the better athletes can do. I just wasn’t able to adapt.”
After such a crushing defeat, Lefave could have given up on the weekend. Instead, he had a chat with himself and treated the next workout as a fresh start. “During Diane I thought, ‘This is going badly’,” he says. “At that point, you can either get down on yourself, you can make excuses, or you can say ‘let’s get to work.’ You have to maintain a positive dialogue.”
“When it’s over, you’ve got to let it go,” Lefave continues. “That goes for disappointments and for victories, and it serves true in CrossFit and in life. Negative energy’s not going to get you anywhere. I really just believe in living in the present moment and moving forward. You forget about what happened and live for right now, that’s all we have.”
Lefave’s self coaching is serving him well; he was the first man to finish all 30 hang cleans in Event 2, the second to finish his dumbbell snatches in Event 3, and completed Event four with the third fastest time.
As for who will claim the top two spots to the Games, Albert-Dominic Larouche has a comfortable 19 point buffer but there is no clear choice for 2nd; only 14 points separate the next seven men.
Several of the six workouts play to the strengths of 2nd place Jeff Larsh. “I got lucky with Diane,” he says. “She’s probably my best woman.”
He also favors heavy Olympic lifts and has a snatch of 265 lbs, the highest of the current top ten men.
Chris Cristini, sitting in 5th place, expects the race to depend on who, if anyone, makes a mistake on the last two workouts, and who will be able to snatch to their full capability, given the accumulation of wear and tear that the workouts have delivered thus far.
Based on the carnage that was left by Event 4, fatigue is certain to be a deciding factor. Lefave described the workout as, “the sort of WOD that makes you question yourself.”
If the first two days of competition are any indication, we will all be left to question who will take the prize until the clock runs out on the very last heat.