Open Workout 13.4 is in the books.
“13.4 in the books,” Chris Dozois says. “That was more of a sprint than I thought it would be — which is great for me. One-hundred eighteen, and I will not be doing this one again.”
As Dozois so eloquently put it, 13.4 is now in the books and we look forward to the final chapter in this year's South West CrossFit Games Open. Whereas 13.3 presented a gauntlet of strength and endurance, Workout 13.4 proved to be an all out speed rush with a snaking series of clean and jerks and toes-to-bars.
Adapting on the fly is a necessary skill in the world of CrossFit, and no one knows this better than Front Range CrossFit's, Caleb Sommer, who took into account the approaches of other athletes before coming up with his own plan of attack for Workout 13.4.
"When I first saw the workout and watched (Chris) Spealler and (Graham) Holmberg go head-to-head, it seemed like they both went out too hard, so my initial strategy was going to be to pace it,” Sommer says. “However, after seeing some of my teammates pace it I realized it is more of a controlled sprint.”
Sommer finished with the seventh-best score in the region explained Sommer, who finished with the seventh-best score for the Men by going all in on the clean and jerks.
"I mostly did sets of three on the clean and jerks until the set of 18, where I was doing anywhere from fours to singles, just trying to hold on until I hit that magic 18," Sommer says, who hit the "magic 18" with 15 to 20 seconds to go, giving him enough time to pad his reps total with a few toe-to-bars.
Sommer was not the only athlete to glean tactics off of Spealler. Geoff Turner, who was on vacation in Florida was not able to strategize for the exercise as much as he would have liked. However, he still managed to piece together a quick plan for Workout 13.4 using the CrossFit Park City athlete's video as a jumping off point for his approach.
"He is more efficient than I am in the Oly lift but felt if I could keep on his pace with my motor and strength (overhead), I would be OK," Turner says.
For the South West Men's Division, 13.4 proved to be rife with competition. Front Range's, Chris Dozois, and CrossFit Cedar City's, Jacob Hutton, each had 118 total reps apiece to lock down a share of the top slot. Matt Wills had 117 total reps to nab a third overall finish, while Jamie Handley and Chris Hoppe rounded out week four action with 115 and 113 reps, respectively.
And what of Spealler, the most-watched man in the South West? He powered his way to an eighth-best finish this week with 110 total reps.
Heading into the final week of Open action, Dozois remains atop the Leaderboard, followed by Tommy Hackenbruck, Spealler, Adrian Conway and Turner.
In what has become a tradition in many South West circles, the announcing of Open workouts is something of a celebratory event, especially when the workout itself caters to one's strengths.
"Every Wednesday night at 5 p.m., our box gets together to celebrate the next Open (workout),” Tennil Reed, a relatively new athlete competing in her very first Open, says. "When 13.4 was announced, I was super pumped. I love clean and jerks and toes-to-bars."
However, being strong in a certain area or enjoying a certain type of exercise is hardly the only recipe for success when it comes to CrossFit workouts. Tactics of the body, as many are well aware, can make or break an athlete, on any given exercise.
Like Sommer, strategy also played a big part in Becky Conzelman's approach to 13.4. The Front Range CrossFit athlete, who enters the final Open workout ranked fifth overall in the South West, explains how the latest workout came down to preserving her hands.
"My strategy was to preserve grip as much as possible and not break toes-to-bar until 12," Conzelman says, who tied with four other female athletes with a third-best score of 105. "I broke up my clean and jerks into sets of three until the round of 18 where I did ones and twos. I used ‘just enough’ grip as needed. Surprisingly, I felt my legs load at six (minutes) before I felt any fatigue in my grip."
Leading the way for the South West women was none other than Front Range phenom, Colleen Maher, who strung together 18 clean and jerks to go along with seven toes-to-bars to finish with 115 total reps. Maher was followed by Cynthia Ackerman, who had 106 total reps, and a quintet of 105-rep athletes consisting of Conzelman, Natalie McClain, Mandi Janowitz, Loree Smith and Tennil Reed.
As we head into the final week of this year's Open competition, Taylor Richards-Lindsay remains on top of the Leaderboard for the second straight week, followed by a surging Maher, McLain, Tiffany Hendrickson and Conzelman to round out the top five.
If the Open is indicative of what is to come, the South West Team competition looks to be a two horse race between Hack’s Pack UTE and Front Range CrossFit. After opening the season with first-place finishes in Workout 13.1 and Workout 13.2, it was clear that Hack’s Pack UTE was working as a well-oiled machine. However, over the last two weeks, it has been the members of Front Range CrossFit who have made some noise, registering back-to-back top scores in 13.3 and 13.4.
Led by Dozois' 118 and Colleen Maher's 115, the Denver-based affiliate topped the Leaderboard in Workout 13.4 and looks to give Hack’s Pack UTE a run for their money in the final stage of this year's Open competition. To its credit, Hack’s Pack was not too far behind, finishing second among all South West Teams with 624 reps.
Rounding out the Teams for Workout 13.4 was CrossFit The Club with a combined 601 reps, followed by Ute All-Stars with a score of 581.
Tekton CrossFit athlete, Brett Wilson, registered yet another dominating performance, topping out the Men's 55-59 Division with 97 reps in 13.4. Wilson enters the final Open workout ranked third in his division, but he is nipping at the heels of Brian Ritchey and John Mariotti, who currently hold down the first and second positions, respectively.
Over on the Masters Women side, Becca Hartley paced the way for the 55-59 Division with 78 reps, followed by Iris Kamm's 69 reps. Alice Phinney and Marcia Walker each had scores of 68.
Will Scott Olson round out this year's Open with five consecutive top finishes? That is certainly a possibility after the Front Range CrossFit athlete notched his fourth consecutive first-place finish in Workout 13.4. Olson's 90 reps once again paced the way for the Men’s 60+ Division, and he certainly looks poised to make a major push at this year's Games.
Lisa Fullerton's control of the Masters Women 60+ Division also continued this week, as the CrossFit Northwest Tucson vet strung together four solid rounds for a total of 69 reps to lead the way.