"We decided to move because Boulder is beautiful. I always wanted to live in the mountains, and now I do."
Just because she’s the reigning fittest woman on Earth doesn’t mean Camille Leblanc-Bazinet is immune to being nervous about the upcoming CrossFit Games season.
Especially since the five-time Games athlete will compete outside of the Canada East Region for the first time. Leblanc-Bazinet is registered in the South West this season after putting part of last year’s $275,000 prize toward buying a house in Boulder, Colorado.
“I don’t know if I'm excited. I think it’s a little bit scary because I don't know the competition here (in the South West Region),” Leblanc-Bazinet said of the move. “In Canada (East), I knew I’d be with Michele (Letendre). I was talking to Michele last weekend and said I like competing with her, and she said she doesn’t like competing with me because I make her nervous.”
Leblanc-Bazinet laughed at Letendre’s response, though there are plenty of others who would echo the sentiment. Just talk to any woman from the South West, South Central or Latin America Regions who will most likely have to compete with her at the South Regional this May.
While Leblanc-Bazinet has plenty of concerns, the new regional format isn't one of them.
“I don’t think it can be harder than years past,” she said. “Competing in Canada East, there were always only two (Games-qualifying) spots. If you didn't do well in one event it could cost you the whole Games. Now with bigger (regionals) the quality of the athlete is going to be much higher, and I think that will make it more fair … the best will go through (to the Games).”
It all started a few months ago, when she and her husband, Dave Lipson, decided to stay in Colorado for a few days after they taught a Level 1 Seminar in Denver. The impromptu vacation was easy since their friends Matt and Cherie Chan live just 40 minutes north in Boulder and invited them to stay at their house.
While there, they spotted a house for sale just down the road. On a whim, they checked it out. It became a running joke that if LeBlanc-Bazinet were to win the Games she should buy the house.
And that’s exactly what happened.
“We decided to move because Boulder is beautiful,” LeBlanc-Bazinet explained. “I always wanted to live in the mountains, and now I do.”
Her training now rotates between the Chans’ garage gym, nearby CrossFit Roots and her own brand-new garage gym, all of them vast improvements over the globo gym she used to train in when she first found CrossFit in 2010.
“If you look back in the 2010 Games I'm wearing shoes that have holes,” LeBlanc-Bazinet said. “People think when I started I had a coach and money, and this and that. I had no coach, I found most of my stuff (for workouts) online and there was this red-haired girl working at the gym who made it her mission to try to take me out of the gym because I was annoying her doing things like pull-ups.”
The athlete with no coach in 2010 now has three in 2015. Leblanc-Bazinet follows programming written by CrossFit Invictus owner CJ Martin, with Chris Hinshaw overseeing her endurance workouts, and Sean Lind in charge of her gymnastics work.
With coaches spread across the western side of North America and a job on the Level 1 Seminar team, Leblanc-Bazinet has become accustomed to remote coaching and regular travel. For years, her only strong ties to Canada East have been her family and enrollment at the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec. When she found out she could finish her last two semesters online, she decided she really could move.
“No matter the region, your goal is to go to the Games. In your head you should be able to qualify at any region. It shouldn’t matter where you are,” she said.
Correction February 6, 2015, 3:30 p.m. PT: It was originally stated that Annie Thorisdottir would compete in the East Regional with Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, had Leblanc-Bazinet stayed in Canada East. This hypothetical section was removed. Thorisdottir will soon leave New York City for her home in Iceland, and will compete in the Europe region and potentially the Meridian Regional this year.