By the time Workout 4 kicked off, the stands at the Douglas County Fairgrounds gym were packed and the crowd was nothing short of raucous. And it's a good thing, too, because Day 2's afternoon festivities were a staggering test of endurance and strength and the athletes needed all the support they could get.
Men, women and teams alike were greeted with dumbbell snatches, as well as a barrage of back squats, shoulder-to-overheads, pull-ups, front squats and overhead squats which proved to be every bit as draining as it sounds.
Still, South West athletes were not deterred, instead relishing the opportunity.
"It’s a long workout, but actually it was pretty badass," says CrossFit SoCo's Lori Metke, whose team made it to the last set of overhead squats before time expired.
Still, she adds, "More time on the clock would have been nice.”
Here's how the rest of the action shook out on Day 2.
With a little under 3 minutes remaining, a spent Eric Hockridge mustered just enough to get through his final set of pull-ups. Slowly making his way over to close out a brutal Workout 4, Hockridge pushed through his remaining shoulder-to-overheads to finish with the top time for his heat, 20:20.
He was the only athlete in Heat 1 to complete the event under the 22-minute cap.
“Finish it," Hockridge says of his strategy. "Just break it up so I didn’t tire myself out too much. I needed a good score to bring myself back up.”
Similarly, Chad Cole approached the final set of shoulder-to-overheads with time waning. Needing a burst, the CrossFit Apollo athlete reeled off 30 reps unbroken a mere 10 seconds before the judge blew the horn on Heat 2.
"I knew I had to go unbroken," explains Cole, giving a nod of appreciation to the packed arena crowd. "I got to 10 reps and I was like, 'I want to stop, I have to stop,' but I knew the guys around me wouldn't and the crowd was going crazy, cheering my name, and I was like, ‘That's for me! That's for me, I can't stop!’"
Similarly to the first heat, Cole was the only athlete to finish under the 22-minute mark. Michael Moseley finished with an adjusted time of 22:49, followed by Spencer Marx at 22:58.
In the third heat, none of the athletes beat the time cap. CrossFit 801's Chris Stowe fell short by a single second. He was followed by Christopher Gartrell at 22:20 and Matt Clark at 22:35.
Forty unbroken pull-ups and a dominant exhibition of strength set the tone for the final heat, with Chris Spealler and Matt Chan going head-to-head in a crowd nail-biter.
Known for his pull-up prowess, Spealler pulled his way ahead early with a showcase performance in the first set. Chan then muscled his way through front squats, shoulder-to-overheads and overhead squats in convincing fashion.
Chan eventually overtook Spealler, finishing at 17:27. Spealler followed 26 seconds later at 17:53 in a performance that had fans on their feet.
"For me, I wanted to go through the pull-ups really quick," says Zach Forrest, who finished third in the heat with a time of 18 minutes flat.
However, he readily acknowledges the competition was stiff, if not unworldly.
"I knew that was where the bigger guys that were already ahead of me would slow down, but Matt Chan, holy crap," he says.
"At first, I was like, 'He'll slow down. He can't keep this up.’ But he didn't. He was moving quick [and] any time you can beat Chris Spealler in that workout, wow," adds Forrest.
Heading into the final day and Workout 5, Patrick Burke remains in the top spot overall, followed by Chan and Forrest.
Of the three women’s heats, only one athlete came in under the time cap.
Just as the male athletes who preceded them, the first women's heat struggled with the demanding and draining workout.
In Heat 1, Kathy Gunther was the closest to finishing the workout, but still came up nearly a minute and a half short at 23:20.
"Kill the squats. I’m good at squats," Gunther says when asked how she strategized. "That was the most fun part of the whole weekend. I feel way better than I did yesterday. More tired, but way better."
Behind Gunther were Cyndi Frieling at 23:31 and Alli Cerruti at 23:49.
In Heat 2, CrossFit Park City's Julie Weldon appeared poised to finish under the cap with a powerful display of butterfly pull-ups. But the workout proved too difficult for her to conquer. She finished at 22:40.
“Go as hard as I could and not stop," says Weldon of her approach. "I’m good at pull-ups.”
The final heat of the day saw a CrossFit veteran pitted against a rising young star, and the young star won.
Seventeen-year-old Colleen Maher powered her way through the reps to become the only South West woman to finish Workout 4 at 19:44.
"It was rough," Maher says. "I actually like pull-ups a lot and the light squats are good for a shorter person, so I was excited to go into it. But it was definitely brutal."
Of the other Heat 3 participants, Jasmine Dever came in 2nd with a time of 22:34, followed by Cherie Chan at 22:35.
"As you can tell from what happened there, people were all over the place," Maher explains. "That was a lot of squats and after the pistols yesterday, I think everybody was definitely feeling the effects of it."
Following her finish, Maher was right at her competitors’ sides, rooting them on until the sound of the horn.
Maher heads into the final day of Regional competition atop the leaderboard, followed by fellow Front Range CrossFit athletes Dever at No. 2 and Conzelman at No. 3.
At the start of the team competition, the word was no team in the world had successfully completed Workout 4 in the allotted time.
The South West was no different.
Hacks Pack UTE approached Workout 4 with a fervor matched by few, if any, of their fellow competitors.
Attacking each exercise as if it was the last, Hacks Pack appeared destined to be the first team to break through. A wave of anticipation rippled through the gym as the team powered through the last set of pull-ups with relative ease, but much to the chagrin of everyone in attendance, time simply ran out.
“It was brutal," says Hacks Pack’s Adrian Conway, whose teammate was 26 pull-ups into the last round before time expired.
Despite falling short, Conway still sees it as a huge confidence boost for his team.
"It was a great workout to really test our team chemistry. Obviously, the transitions were huge. It was great to see where we are work-output wise,” he says.
But like CrossFit SoCo's Metke, Conway isn’t interested in a consolation prize.
"Our goal was to finish, so we’re not really that satisfied.”
Of the three team heats, Hacks Pack UTE ultimately finished with the top time for Workout 4 at 25:49, followed by MBS CrossFit at 27:10 and CrossFit The Club's time of 27:16.
As we head into Day 3, Hacks Pack is ranked No. 1 overall, followed by Front Range CrossFit and Bomb Squad.