July 14, 2012
By CrossFit

CrossFit Games competitors find out that pushing this sled sucks.

The Individual men kicked off their third day of competition with a shuttle sprint for time and a rope-climb/sled-push workout afterward.

A handful of men in the first two heats didn’t finish Rope-Sled within the time cap.

The Sprint saw the men run to the 50-yard line and back, and then run to the 100-yard line and back for 50 points.

After a one-minute transition period, the Rope-Sled event followed. It involved five rounds for time of 1 20-foot rope climb and a 20-yard sled drive. Unlike Citizen Kane, this sled brought no comfort. At 100 points, the workout was capped at 13 minutes.

Bryan Diaz and Jason Hoggan were neck-and-neck on the sprint, with Diaz winning by a hair in Heat 1.

Afterward, Hoggan started strong on the Rope-Sled, but Jeremy Meredith and Brandon Phillips were on his heels. Eventually it was Phillip Kniep who took the lead and kept it, putting considerable distance between himself and competitors Hoggan and Frederik Aegidius.

No other men were on the ropes as Kniep was on his final climb. He finished with a time of 10:13.

“I wanted to keep the sled moving as much as I could,” Kniep said.

He focused on moving the sled “little chunks” at a time — choosing a point on the ground, pushing to that point, resting, then repeating, Kniep explained.

“(The rope climbs) were a break,” he said with a laugh.

Rob Forte and Jon Pera made for excitement in Heat 2. Forte led for most of the Rope-Sled workout until Pera crept from behind on the final climb. Pera ended up finishing first in the heat with a time of 9:46, followed by Forte at 10:43.

“I tend to do that on a lot of workouts,” Pera said of his come-from-behind performance.

He said he tried to maintain his pace so he could drive harder on the last two sled pushes. Pera said he adjusted his technique on the sled so he could lift up the end and push.

“I thought it was going to be a lot worse,” he said.

In terms of the climbs, Pera said he just got through them.

“I feel great,” he added. “I have a lot of momentum from this workout and yesterday. I’m amped up, ready to rock, move up the Leaderboard and make it to Sunday.”

In Heat 3, Marcus Hendren and Albert-Dominic Larouche vied for the lead in the Rope-Sled workout in the first few minutes, but it was 2008 CrossFit Games winner Jason Khalipa who took it from there.

Hendren was on Khalipa’s heels, but his efforts weren’t quite quick enough to keep hold of second place in the heat as Ben Smith caught up. Smith finished third at last year’s Reebok CrossFit Games.

“In a workout like that, you’ve got to keep a pace,” Smith said. “I tried to increase the pace as the workout went on.”

The sled, Smith said, was heavier than he anticipated and his legs tired “really quick.”

Like Kniep, he said the rope climbs were a break.

“It was a 100-yard sled push for time,” Smith said of the workout.

Although there is an unknown workout ending the day for individuals, he said he expected to make up ground on the clean ladder.

The afternoon’s final heat had all the big dogs, making for a tight race.

Dan Bailey was unofficially crowned “world’s fastest CrossFitter” by announcer Travis Bagent as Bailey completed the shuttle run with a time of 43.2. The former sprinter blew the final heat away and finished with a monster lead, but Bailey’s time was actually only good enough to tie Justin Allen and Joey Warren for fifth.

On the Rope-Sled workout, Matt Chan took the lead on the second rope climb and never let it go.

As he jogged back to his final sled push, he waved his right index finger in the air to the roar of the packed stands.

“This is your time, Matt Chan!” Bagent roared into the microphone.

Chan finished with the fastest time of the day at 7:33.6, which was easily good enough for first.

But the nail-biting wasn’t over for the rest of the field.

It looked almost certain last year’s champ, Rich Froning, would secure second; however, Austin Malleolo gave him a run for his money, finishing in 8:43.5 with a quick and steady push on the sled. Froning, who had trouble finding the right angle on the sled, had to take some rest in the final 20-yard push and finished in 9:12.

On the Sprint, the winner was Nate Schrader in 42 seconds flat. David Levey was second in 42.2, and Lucas Parker was third in 42.8.

On Rope-Sled, Chan was tops, Khalipa’s time stood up for second, and Malleolo’s hard drive to the finish earned him third.

After this event, Froning had opened a sizeable lead with 560 points to Kyle Kasperbauer’s 513. Chan is now third with 497.

Next, the men take on the Clean Ladder where they perform one clean every 30 seconds with progressively heavier barbells. The weight starts at 245 lb. and increases by 10 lb. to end at 385 lb.

The day’s final workout had not been announced at press time.

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