March 21, 2014
Moments in Bellevue
By Emily Beers
Six minutes and 39 seconds was exactly how long Scott Panchik and Josh Bridges had to draft a game plan at CrossFit Bellevue for Open Workout 14.4.
Six minutes and 39 seconds was exactly how long Scott Panchik and Josh Bridges had to draft a game plan at CrossFit Bellevue for Open Workout 14.4.

Six minutes and 39 seconds was exactly how long Scott Panchik and Josh Bridges had to draft a game plan at CrossFit Bellevue for Open Workout 14.4.

Six minutes and 39 seconds was exactly how long Scott Panchik and Josh Bridges had to draft a game plan at CrossFit Bellevue for Open Workout 14.4.

That’s the amount of time that elapsed between the time CrossFit Games Director Dave Castro announced the workout was a 14-minute AMRAP of a 60-calorie row, 50 toes-to-bars, 40 wall-ball shots, 30 cleans and 20 muscle-ups, to the moment Panchik and Bridges heard, “3-2-1 ... Go.”

Both men had a plan about how they’d spend that moment. “During those seconds, I’m going to figure out a plan A and a plan B, and hopefully one of those works out for me,” said Panchik.

For Bridges, the only thought he envisioned would be circulating through his mind in that moment was, “Let’s go.”

And go, he did.

Although Panchik—the taller of the two—took an early lead on the rower, Bridges clawed his way back, passing Panchik during the cleans and holding the lead through the muscle-ups. After a final row that looked agonizing for both athletes, Bridges finished with a score of 244, nine calories ahead of Panchik’s 235.

Having so little time to prepare played to Bridges’ strength. “I don’t really game plan workouts anyway. I tend to go on feel,” Bridges said. “I hate anticipating workouts with all my heart.”

That being said, the workout felt different than Bridges imagined. He expected to hold on to bigger sets of muscle-ups, but after hitting four unbroken muscle-ups in his first set, he was soon relegated to singles.

Panchik’s review of where he could have improved was simple. “Be better at muscle-ups,” he said with a smile just moments after the workout.

The North West Moment

The 14-minute chipper wasn’t just about Panchik and Bridges. It largely belonged to CrossFit Bellevue.

In a packed house, it seemed the entire North West Region was on hand, not only to cheer for two top CrossFit athletes, but also for themselves.

Unlike many sporting events where the crowd is full of fans more interested in getting hammered in the beer garden than in the game itself, the fans at the 14.4 announcement were intimately invested in what was unfolding in front of them.

CrossFit Advantage’s Tia Wright eagerly watched from the stands. She pointed out that the evening was a bit of a who’s who from her region’s Leaderboard.

“I see these people in the virtual world every week. So tonight kind of turns the Open into a real event and brings the Leaderboard to life,” Wright said.

“There’s a lot of anxiety,” she said pointing to all of her competitors, each one looking eager, nervous and excited to return to their affiliate and attempt what they just saw Bridges and Panchik do.

Bozman’s Moment

CrossFit Head Judge Adrian Bozman’s moment in Bellevue was filled with responsibility. Although he’s an experienced CrossFit Games judge, he still takes the time to mentally prepare for each live Open announcement. Workout 14.4 was no exception.

“I don’t practice in front of the mirror … but I mentally prepare about how I’m going to make things clear to the athletes, where I’ll be standing, what the angle will look like,” he said just a few hours before 14.4 was announced.

For Bozman, the pressure he felt in Bellevue was even greater than what he feels at the CrossFit Games. “It’s a different context here. These events are live. They’re a big production and everyone is focused in on just two athletes. At regionals and the Games there are so many other things going on,” he said.

Tonight, there was just one thing going on: two men fighting through rowing, toes-to-bars, wall-ball shots, cleans and muscle-ups, trying not to hear the words “no rep.”

For Bozman, taking away the odd rep is just part of his job. While he doesn’t get excited to wave his arms deliberately while sternly saying the words “no rep,” he also doesn’t feel bad about it when it needs to be done.

“Not at this level,” Bozman said. “These guys know what they have to do … they’re professionals.”

Castro’s Moment

Castro’s moment in Bellevue was one he has grown accustomed to: a moment that saw tens of thousands of people around the world glued to their computer screen waiting for him to give them a piece of information they so desperately wanted.

Panchik said he thinks Castro looks forward to this moment. “He has the world at his hands, and I think he enjoys every minute of it … but who wouldn’t enjoy that? He plays the role well.”

For Castro, this moment is one he takes very seriously.

“I’ll rehearse and rehearse over and over in the days and weeks leading up to (the announcement) … But I don’t have lines in my mind. I have concepts,” Castro said. “There are 10,000 different ways to announce 21-15-9 thrusters and pull-ups. You could announce the weight first, or the reps or the movements.”

But he doesn’t practice this part. Instead, Castro practices the concept of his announcements—in front of his mirror—over and over.

“I come up with my angle. My twist,” he said.

Tonight in Bellevue, when he found himself in that moment, he announced the chipper in reverse order for a change, looking like he was enjoying every moment of it.

“I don’t know if it’s enjoyment, but I understand it,” he said.

He paused, and then added: “I respect that moment.”