March 20, 2012
The Casual Competitor Meets the Elite
By Aaron Carr
Aaron Carr stopped by Ute CrossFit for 12.4 and met Taylor Richards-Lindsay and Tommy Hackenbruck.
Aaron Carr stopped by Ute CrossFit for 12.4 and met Taylor Richards-Lindsay and Tommy Hackenbruck.

Aaron Carr stopped by Ute CrossFit for 12.4 and met Taylor Richards-Lindsay and Tommy Hackenbruck.



In my continued road travels, I had a chance to visit Ute CrossFit, chat with Taylor Richards-Lindsay and Tommy Hackenbruck, and even get judged for Open Workout 12.4.

I don’t find it to be a coincidence that pockets of elite competitors are aggregating. The women at Valley CrossFit push each other to new heights. Chris Spealler and Eric O’Connor have talked about how they push each other. Meanwhile, Ute CrossFit has more than its share of elite competitors.

Taylor Richards-Lindsay

I had the pleasure of meeting Taylor’s whole family, including her husband, Joe, and beautiful daughter. I was even privileged to witness Joe’s first muscle-up as he was preparing for 12.4. 

Taylor started CrossFit after finishing her basketball career at Utah State back in 2008. Her strength and conditioning coach told her she would enjoy it and CrossFit would feed her competitive nature. Her first workout was Karen. She only made it halfway through and knew CrossFit was a perfect fit for her. “Karen defeated me and I loved it.”

She started with Cache Valley strength and conditioning and went for her Level 1 after less than a month. A couple years later, when she was expecting her daughter and knew she would need more help, Taylor and Joe moved to the Salt Lake valley to be closer to her parents. Not surprisingly, when she moved, she found another family at Ute CrossFit.  

“They just welcomed me in and made me part of the family,” she told me. “They were leaving for Regionals and asked me to watch their house and feed their dog for them. I was sitting there pregnant and watching the 2010 Regional workouts on the computer wishing I was there.”

After a strong finish of 2nd in the 2011 South West Regional and 23rd at the 2011 CrossFit Games in Carson, Calif., Taylor has spent the last year working on her weaknesses (of course, weaknesses is a relative term) and is excited. She is not a big fan of rowing, but even by Tommy’s assessment, “She rows well for a short person.”

I must admit, it is a somewhat “interesting” experience to interview a woman 8 inches shorter than me that could decimate me on any given workout (in a very ladylike way of course).

Since giving birth about a year ago, she is still strengthening her core and focusing on gymnastic skills. Apparently, pregnancy has some impact on your abdominal wall and core stability. (Side note: thank you to all mothers and the sacrifices you make).

When she is not focusing on her weaknesses and improving in CrossFit, she loves playing with her daughter and spending time with her family. Coincidentally, I am not aware if there is a legal limit on cuteness, but if there is, I have no doubt that Aleeyah easily exceeds that limit. Nothing gives Taylor more pleasure than blowing bubbles with Aleeyah, except for maybe watching “The Great Mouse Detective” in pajamas.

Tommy Hackenbruck

The first surprising thing about Tommy is that he is normal in height. I expected to be meeting Goliath. For some reason, it seems many of the videos are shot from below or he is standing next to a vertically challenged person (Is it appropriate to blame Sevan for that perception?). Turns out, Tommy is a normal-sized guy who is ridiculously fit.

This year, Tommy is getting back to what he enjoys the most. With the growth of Ute CrossFit, he found himself spending all his time doing back office work for the affiliate. “Here I was paying someone to do the work I love to do, so I could spend all my time doing work I hated.” He hired an office manager and is back to coaching more and enjoying the training experience. 

On the CrossFit Games side, Tommy is very excited to be involved in the team competition this year. Growing up, he always enjoyed, even preferred, being part of a team. “At the end of the game, I never cared about my personal stats. It didn’t matter if I had a couple touchdowns if the team lost.” Even in high school, when he competed in track and field discus to improve his speed and strength on the football field, he also ran the 300 hurdles to score points for the team and help them win the meets.  

Tommy is an excellent argument that evolution is ongoing. It makes perfect sense to me that he is the next step in the evolutionary chain: fish, lizard, rat, dog, monkey, me, Tommy. For crying out loud, the guy can wall ball with an atlas stone. The only thing I have a hard time understanding is how he can motivate himself listening to Taylor Swift and Katy Perry. He may try to blame it on his wife when those songs come up on his iPod, but you know that is just an excuse.

Ute CrossFit

The Ute Team, Hacks Pack UTE, is poised for a powerful performance in 2012. With Tommy Hackenbruck, Mary Lampas, Erin Bennion, Adrian Conway, Thomas Bradley, Michael Cazayoux, Monica Lowe, Alli Ceruti, and more, the Ute team has some serious depth and breadth of skills.  

Friday night they finished Workout 12.4 with many impressive performances. Tommy finished with 270 reps and Taylor finished with 261. The Ute team has a current score of 1,542 for 12.4 and is placed in 1st for the workout and 3rd overall in the South West region as of Saturday March 17th.

As far as how I did on 12.4 … am I allowed to blame my performance on the high-altitude? If not, I am sure the sun was in my eyes.

Let the Games continue.