"I went back and watched the video (of Event 6), and I was on my feet telling myself to pick up the bar."
Other athletes across the regions might beg to differ, but Cassidy Lance calls Event 6 the most fun of her Regional weekend.
To refresh your memory, the next-to-last workout of a brutal weekend asked individual athletes to complete a chipper of 100 double-unders, 50 handstand push-ups, 40 toes-to-bars, and 30 shoulder-to-overhead reps with an axle bar. As if that wasn’t enough, each athlete then had to lunge 90 feet with the axle bar in front rack position, all within a 15-minute time cap.
Lance was looking to bounce back after a ninth-place finish on Event 5. Out of the gate fast, she was on the toes-to-bars with only 2:30 minutes elapsed on the clock and maintained a 10-rep lead on overall leader Jenn Jones as they both tackled the shoulder-to-overheads. The world record was within reach as Lance lunged, but she dropped the axle with only one step remaining. She and Jones dramatically stepped on the finish mat at the same time to share first place in the event.
While she may not have secured the record, thanks to her lights-out performance she did secure a trip to the CrossFit Games in Carson, Calif. She cruised through Event 7 to wrap up second place in the South Central Region.
“I was excited that day to finish up and perform my best,” Lance says. “I went back and watched the video (of Event 6), and I was on my feet telling myself to pick up the bar. Overall, I am pleased with each event and excited for the opportunity to get better where there were mistakes.”
For Lance, getting better ahead of the Games doesn’t mean focusing on any specific time or modal domain. She believes she needs to get better across the board. To that end, she is training twice daily and following the programming of her coach Matt McCraney —owner of CrossFit BOLT in Coppell, Texas. Before Regionals, Lance was training once a day.
Like most of the “proven” athletes heading to Carson, she anticipates a long endurance event, and as a devoted “lake” person, she is looking forward to her first ocean swim. On the other hand, a chronic ACL knee injury has her looking askance at a long-distance running event.
“While at the University of Washington (competing as a gymnast), I tore my ACL for the fifth time and medically retired from the sport,” she says. “My ACL is still torn, but with the help of CrossFit I am able to do more things than I was ever able to do with an ACL (injury). CrossFit and the correct programming allows for my knee to stay conditioned and strong to tolerate any stability it may need.”
When it comes to the bright lights and big crowds at the StubHub Center, don’t expect Lance to be wide-eyed or overawed. She’s seen it before, though on a slightly different scale. While in college in 2010, she competed in the Affiliate Cup as part of Northwest CrossFit’s team. It was the first year the StubHub Center (then the Home Depot Center) played host to the Games and the crowds were noticeably smaller than they will be in 2013.
Still, Lance believes her experience will keep her from getting the jitters.
“I am a better athlete and have more knowledge of my capabilities,” she says.
This graduate student and full-time CrossFit coach laments the fact she won’t be able to take the “entire BOLT family” with her to California.
“It will definitely not be the same atmosphere (as Regionals) without the neon and blue shirts in the crowd,” she says. “And let’s not forget the great signs they made.”
Still, many of her supporters will make the trip, including family members who will experience their first CrossFit competition.
Four years into her CrossFit journey, Lance extols the virtues of a community that both singles her out for praise and makes her feel a part of something larger than herself.
“I absolutely love the opportunity, the experience and the journey to excel not only in the sport, but also as an individual. It’s an incredible feeling being part of something greater than yourself,” she says. “CrossFit BOLT and the BOLT family is one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me, and I am so incredibly honored to represent them at the 2013 CrossFit Games. Thank you BOLT for your continued support.”