May 31, 2014
Africa Team Report: Day 2
By Irene van Rhyn and Imtiaz Desai

Can Double Platinum halt PBM's charge to the top of the podium?

Onlookers entered the Coca-Cola Dome in Johannesburg yesterday talking about the impending match-up between CrossFit PBM and Double Platinum. If they were expecting another Platinum team to dominate the Africa Regional, PBM showed otherwise by winning all three events of the day.

The talk today is about Double Platinum’s chances of halting PBM’s charge to the top of the podium, and the latter team’s ability to work as a single unit.

On the agenda for Day 2, an event each for the men and women, and one event for all six members that includes the harsh time cap penalty for missed reps. Both events demand sound teamwork.

It’s a day of opportunity: a good performance could secure a Games spot, but stumble slightly and your Games hopes will disappear.

Team Events 4 & 5

Events 4 and 5 were identical rope climb and thruster couplets. The women went first on Event 4, with the men beginning Event 5 on the women’s 10-minute time cap. The work could be divided up between the team in any way, but each team member had to complete at least one rep of each movement in each round and the barbell could not touch the ground on each set of thrusters.

Event 4 was a 10-minute slog for the early women’s heats. Most athletes surprisingly struggled on both the rope climbs and 95-lb. thrusters!

In Heat 1 the CrossFit Radium ladies were most proficient on the thrusters and kept a steady pace on the rope climbs to win Heat 1 with a score of 10:45.

Only four reps separated the top three finishers in Heat 2; CrossFit PBM 2 (10:40), CFB Ironside (10:42) and Shack Pack 2 (10:44).

But it was all about Heat 3. Would PBM or Double Platinum start the day on a winning note?

The Double Platinum ladies took the early lead with a smooth and efficient changeover on the thruster. Each lady completed five thrusters before racking the bar on their backs to pass the bar right on to the front rack position of the next teammate. The strategy had them complete the set of 50 thrusters first.

Double Platinum teammate, Cindy Ellis said that they had rehearsed the changeover in the thrusters after seeing teams from other regions do it, and found that it was the easiest method for them.

“For this event, communication was all-important,” Ellis said. “We kept communicating constantly throughout the event and that really helped not to make any mistakes or waste unnecessary time.”

Double Platinum was also quicker than PBM on the ropes.

“Their rope climbs were fast,” said PBM’s Wilna Appel about Double Platinum. “I think that’s where they took us. But we just needed a solid finish on this event, we are still five points ahead.”

The Double Platinum ladies were the only team to finish Event 4 within the 10-minute time cap.

“This was our event,” said Ellis. “We know we are the stronger girls; we love lifting heavy weights and climbing ropes.”

Would Double Platinum’s men be able to match their counterparts’ efforts and steal a win from PBM?

On the call of “3, 2, 1 ... Go!,” PBM’s Engelbrecht set a quick pace on the thrusters and he and his teammates never slowed. Meanwhile, Double Platinum stumbled under the pressure and dropped the barbell early into their set of 30 thrusters. They were penalised by having to start the round again, losing precious seconds.

PBM finished the event in a time of 9:04, and Double Platinum followed 45 seconds later (9:49).

The podium has three places though, and the competition for third place is almost a reflection of the one for first. Team RTF CrossFit and Team CrossFit Tokai tied for third place in Event 4, and then Tokai beat them in Event 5.

Branco Visagie, coach and team captain for Team CrossFit RTF, said that he is happy with the team’s overall position.

“We are definitely aiming for the podium. It is our first year as a team, we have very good individual athletes, and I’m looking forward to seeing how we will do,” Visagie said.

Team Event 4 Results (Women)
1. Double Platinum (9:21)
2. CrossFit PBM (10:03)
3T. Team CrossFit Tokai (10:39)
3T. Team RTF CrossFit (10:39)

Team Event 5 Results (Men)
1. CrossFit PBM (9:04)
2. Double Platinum (9:49)
3. Platinum (10:03)

Team Event 6

In Event 6, each athlete had to complete 9-6-3 reps of strict handstand push-ups, hang power cleans and bar-facing burpees. All six teammates completed the workout in relay format, with all the men going first.

In the first heat, CrossFit Brooklyn tied with CrossFit Proform for a time of 23:45, with no successful handstand push-ups from either team’s women.

CrossFit Real World Fitness took the second heat in a time of 23:34, followed closely by Pretoria East CrossFit (23:36), with both team’s ladies managing a few handstand push-ups.

The speed at which the ladies could complete the strict handstand push-ups was expected to be the rate-limiting factor, but that wasn’t how it played out in the final heat.

In the final heat, Double Platinum’s three men performed the majority of their reps unbroken, while CrossFit PBM’s Frederik Engelbrecht got stuck on his handstand push-ups, seemingly unable to understand why his judge was no-repping him. His shoulders burnt out quickly from the no-reps, slowing him down even more.

Meanwhile, PBM’s men gifted the Double Platinum ladies a head start. Their first lady, Susan Claassen, got through her workload quickly with the crowd counting down her reps for her. Cindy Ellis came on after Claassen and completed her handstand push-ups in a series of quick singles, receiving only one no-rep for her event.

Claassen, who in her own words “prefers being upside down” was thrilled with the team’s performance in Event 6.

“We knew the boys would get through easily, so it was just a matter of them being clean on their reps,” Claassen said. “Cindy (Ellis) was actually the hero of this (event), as she has never finished (the event) before. She just kept her head about herself, and didn’t get too hasty and finished it!”

Double Platinum edged closer to PBM with their first-place finish in Event 6. But CrossFit PBM who finished in 2nd hold on to first place, four points ahead of PBM, going in to the final day of competition. For Double Platinum to earn first prize they would have to win both events on Day 3, and PBM would have to place outside of the top four in both events. Stay tuned, Day 3 is going to be big!

Team Event 6 Results
1. Double Platinum (21:55)
2. CrossFit PBM (22:20)
3. Team RTF CrossFit (22:23)

Overall Standings
1. CrossFit PBM (8)
2. Double Platinum (12)
3. Team CrossFit Tokai (29)
4. Team RTF CrossFit (32)
5. CCF Mighty Ducks (39)
6. Kings of Kyma (47)
7. Platinum (55)
8. CrossFit Durbs (65)
9. Pretoria East CrossFit (75)
10. Real World Fitness 1 (77)