In competition, nothing is guaranteed.
Yesterday night, fans watched as the men’s leader, Noah Ohlsen, plummeted from first to fifth in just one event. Ohlsen finished Event 5’s couplet of 315-lb. deadlifts and 30-inch box jumps in 7:53, which was only good enough for 40th place in this competitive region.
He returned to the venue this morning determined to make up ground on Events 6 and 7.
This morning, the competitors faced another chipper. This time, it demanded that they work through double-unders, handstand push-ups, toes-to-bars, axle shoulder-to-overhead and an axle-weighted walking lunge.
"When I get to the lunges I'm going to go until I cry," Ohlsen said in an interview
before Event 6.
To make it back into the top three overall, Ohlsen needed to close a nine-point gap between himself and third-ranked Julian Serna.
In the final heat, Brandon Phillips came from behind on the 30 reps of 160-lb. axle shoulder-to-overhead to pass Irving Hernandez, Guido Trinidad and Jeff Evans.
One step away from the end of the 90-foot walking lunge, Phillips dropped the axle.
Ohlsen, lunging like a man possessed, seized the chance to pass Phillips to seal first in the heat with a time of 9:55. Phillips cleaned the axle to his shoulders and took his final lunge to cross the line at 10:01.
Watching from the sidelines, 12th-ranked athlete, Dominic Maurici, was elated to see that his time of 9:44 had stood up against the top-ranked men in the final heat.
"I have been working with Hybrid, Rob Orlando and the strongman crew so I knew that axle bars would be no issue," Maurici says. "Axle bars combined with lunges made for a great workout for me so I just kept pushing forward wanting to set the time to beat."
In Event 6, Maurici took first, Ohlsen took second, and Phillips took third.
Remarkably, Ohlsen was able to close the nine-point gap in just one event. While he added just two points to his total, Serna had to swallow 13. After Event 6, Ohlsen had returned to the top three overall (third), while Serna dropped outside of the cut to fifth.
“Be consistent the whole time,” Mayer says. “Being consistent will put you up on top, and I think that is what I have done from the beginning.”
1. Dominick Maurici (9:44)
2. Noah Ohlsen (9:55)
3. Brandon Phillips (10:01)
1. Travis Mayer (55 points)
2. ZA Anderson (56 points)
3. Noah Ohlsen (60 points)
2011 and 2012 CrossFit Games competitor, Jaime Gold, may not make her third trip to Carson, Calif., due to an injury sustained in Event 5.
"Last night, during the deadlift / box jump (Event 5), I felt a pop in the back of my leg. I kind of had a feeling of what that meant as far as maybe tearing my Achilles,” Gold says. “After checking it out--we haven't gotten an MRI or anything--we've kind of wrapped it, fixed it to the best we can.”
To continue on, she will have to modify her approach to the movements in Event 6.
“Single-legged double-unders instead of two feet,” she says. “You know, just be a good sport about it like CrossFit's all about. Just come out and show them that I'm not going to give up no matter what happens. I'm here, and I'm happy to be able to compete.”
Remarkably, Gold made it through the entire event in 13:47 to take 17th. The score bumped her to fourth overall.
All eyes were on Talayna Fortunato and Emily Bridgers as they raced through the event. Bridgers was the first to the walking lunge, but her lead didn’t last long.
Fortunato shouldered the axle, toed the line, and slammed her knee against the rubber with each lunge. At the halfway point, she caught Bridgers. From there on, they went lunge-for-lunge. It came down to a sprint to the finish mat, with Fortunato edging out Bridgers by just one second.
Fortunato finished in 9:40, and Bridgers followed in 9:41 for first and second on the event.
"Her damn long legs! Oh, those damn lunges!" Bridgers said after the event. “There's only so much you can do on those weighted lunges though. I couldn't breathe with that thick bar sticking into my neck.”
Although she wanted to win, she admits that second isn’t a disappointment.
“I'll take second. I at least want to be in first or second all day today. I'm just aiming to get as little points as possible," she says.
Fortunato had the worldwide competition on her mind.
"What did Sam [Briggs] get on that one?" she asked after the workout.
Earlier this morning, Sam Briggs had finished the event in 9:43 for third in the region. Fortunato beat Briggs by three seconds, but didn’t pass the European Event 6 winner, Katrin Tanja Davidsdottir (8:31), nor the North East Event 6 winner, Danielle Horan (8:55).
When it comes to strategy, Fortunato was focused on keeping her elbows up during the weighted walking lunge.
She called out the same strategy to the other athletes as they fought through the final reps, including Olympian Anna Tunnicliffe.
"The axle bar makes things a little harder, but you have to keep your arms and elbows up," Fortunato says.
Going in, Fortunato’s goal was to go sub-10.
After six events, Fortunato leads with just 16 points. Anna Tunnicliffe holds second with 43 points, and Emily Friedman follows in third with 46 points. Jaime Gold and Emily Bridgers aren’t far behind with 48 and 50 points, respectively.
Although Friedman has several women breathing down her neck, determined to take her spot after Event 7, she remains calm.
“I feel good. I’m staying calm and plan to do my best for this next workout. It’s really all you can do. Push your limits and just do your best,” she says.
1. Talayna Fortunato (9:40)
2. Emily Bridgers (9:41)
3. April Lowe (11:50)
1.Talayna Fortunato (16 points)
2. Anna Tunnicliffe (43 points)
3. Emily Friedman (46 points)
CrossFit Atlanta Formulx, CrossFit Adrenaline, and CrossFit RX have held their positions on the Leaderboard all weekend long, and this morning was no different. After Event 6, they still maintain the top three spots and look to have a sure shot at the podium.
For teams, Event 6 is a classic but grueling team workout. One male and one female must make their way through a series of gymnastic movements and heavy weight.
CrossFit Charleston was the surprise winner in Event 6 with the best time of the day at 9:28. The axle bar didn’t seem to affect them at all.
"We've got (an axle bar) at CrossFit Charleston, so we practiced with that,” team member Andrew Duffy says.
“Honestly, it wasn't that much of an issue. We both have pretty good grip strength. It's just different. If you've never practiced it before, I can see how it could throw you off a little bit."
"My partner Brittany [Faulker] and I had a really good game plan going in. We practiced together last weekend so going in we kind of had an idea of what we could do. We didn't set a specific goal as far as getting to an absolute number of reps, but we kind of just talked with each other and said 'Ok, three more, five more.'"
"When we needed a break, we would just look at each other, breathe together, and count down. We just flowed pretty well throughout the whole thing. We didn't get ourselves to where we were completely redlined the whole way. We knew our work capacity. We didn't want to blow past that so that we were so taxed going into the next movement or so that we had to take too long of a break."
CrossFit Adrenaline finished the workout in second place at 10:29 and said their strategy had to change due to the handstand push-ups.
“We had a strategy going into it,” team member Allison Bourdon says. “And it totally went out the window with the handstand push-ups and having to come down every time.”
"We practiced it last Saturday, and it was a lot harder out there. Our 90 feet in the gym was probably about 70, so the lunges were tough. But we did the best we could...”
With a time of 11:32, CrossFit Hardcore took third place on Event 6. Omar Torres says the axle bar was the toughest part and used one word to describe the event.
“Horrible!” Torres says. “It was very challenging with that fat bar. It didn’t help that it was my bodyweight. The gymnastic movements were easy, but the shoulder to overhead and lunges…”
“Especially coming off the toes-to-bar,” team member Jana Bieger adds. “After hanging on the bar for that long and then trying to pick up the fat bar… I really had trouble picking up that first one.”
CrossFit Atlanta Formulx finished Event 6 in fifth but maintains the top spot on the Leaderboard.
Team Event 6
1. CrossFit Charleston (9:28)
2. CrossFit Adrenaline (10:29)
3. CrossFit Hardcore (11:32)
1. CrossFit Atlanta Formulx (14 points)
2. CrossFit Adrenaline (19 points)
3. CrossFit RX (29 points)