March 27, 2013
Hardening for Battle: Team Taranis
By Kate Rose

"Every member of our affiliate with the desire and passion to compete and represent this box has an opportunity to do so until the Regional teams need to be announced."

CrossFit Taranis is a model of consistency in Canada West.

Since 2010, Taranis has qualified for the Games every year, with a best finish of fourth in 2011. After three workouts in the 2013 Open, Taranis is second in Canada West.

“We don't have a team until we build one,” says Reed MacKenzie, an owner of CrossFit Taranis. “We have many athletes that want to compete on Team Taranis and a lot can happen in a year. Every member of our affiliate with the desire and passion to compete and represent this box has an opportunity to do so until Regional teams need to be announced. First, we must tackle the Open and qualify a team this year. Nothing is taken for granted.”

Taranis puts equal emphasis on the Open, Regionals and the Games.  

“We focus continually on excellence and community. We find that if we do this, it takes very little to ‘motivate’ people to take part in the competition,” MacKenzie says. “The big struggle is giving people a plan and keeping them patient and focused. Motivation is rarely a problem.”

Games experience has taught a few lessons to the Taranis team members.

“Defeat can sting and our showing at the Games was a tough pill to swallow for some of those members,” MacKenzie says of their 36th-place finish in 2012.

Competition has gotten tighter, and Taranis has changed its focus.  

“We need to lift more weights and be stronger. When Team Taranis placed third in the world (in 2011), our approach was to be balanced and equally good at everything,” he explains. “With the loads continually getting heavier and the requirement for all other aspects of CrossFit essentially staying status quo, the focus has to shift to load and lifting.”

To ensure their competitive edge, Team Taranis had added components to training.

“We do individual programs and team practice sessions, as well as a competitor development program and supplemental lifting. Our coaches work very closely with all of our athletes and keep an active role in their development, rest, recovery and injury prevention,” MacKenzie says. “It is becoming increasingly more demanding as our athletes strive to reach the pinnacle of their natural potential. It used to be that randomness and variety was enough but nowadays you need variety, randomness and a concrete plan. Seems like a contradiction but its doable.”

He adds: “Much respect to all other affiliates out there, though, and we take nothing lightly or for granted. If we end up in 20th after the Open, I will also not be surprised as every year more and more beasts come out to show their quality.”

MacKenzie believes in his athletes, and they are always aiming for the top podium finish. But he knows it’s a different scenario than 2012.

“Last year CrossFit Taranis sent two teams to Regionals with a 16th-place (I think) and a first-place finish. This year we aren't taking qualifying for Regionals lightly.”

Many of the athletes are rookies.

“We have exceptional athletes on the roster but some pretty are green. They need to be battle hardened and it needs to happen quickly.”