The 12th Annual Central USA Strongman Challenge was a great success. I placed 1st overall in a field of very talented and strong Pro and Amateur lightweight competitors.
The weekend started with traveling to Kokomo Indiana all day Friday. The whole day consisted of me worrying about my weigh in at 7:00 PM. The entire flight and drive I had to deplete my body of as much fluid and glycogen as possible which is never fun when you are competing in a strength related event. Luckily Chad Coy let me weigh in a few hours early, I made 105 kg (231 lb's) and went straight to a large platter of loaded potato skins, a bacon cheeseburger and as much dextrose as I could drink. By the next day (competition day) I was back to almost 240 lb's and felt ready to go.
The comp started at 4:00 pm which is a nice change of pace since my body is used to training at this time of day and they usually start a lot earlier. Coming into the comp I was very nervous. I was worried a little about the herniated disk and back issues, but even more concerned about LW Pro Eric Todd who recently placed first at the battle of the bad ass in upstate NY. Normally I would worry about the other competitors in a situation like this, but I had never seen him compete before and he just placed first over both of the Nowack Bros., who I consider to be two of the best Pro Lightweight competitors in the country. This was also a comp with a lightweight Pro card up for grabs so you know that the LW amateur competitors that were there were hungry to go pro and ready to compete.
The first event was log clean and press each rep with a 240 lb log. Normally I am very worried about overhead events such as this one, but a couple of good training sessions before I left gave me a little boost of confidence going in. I ended up getting 7 reps, just one rep shy of Eric Todd who squeezed out 8. Not a great feeling coming out of the first event, but I also knew that it was my weakest event with my strongest events still to come. Going into the Farmers Walk Todd was in 1st place and I was in 2nd by very little.
The Farmers Walk was originally supposed to be 250lb's per hand for 160 ft with one turn. Chad had hinted at making it a straight shot for 100ft but raising the weight. This made me very happy, farmers is usually a good event for me, but this gave me even more of an advantage. Without a turn I can really build up some decent speed. The weight was raised to 285 lb's per hand and people were having a hard time with with it which concerned me a little. It was our turn, Myself and Eric Todd going head to head. I knew all I had to do was grip hard and move as fast as I could, so I did. The weight came off the ground easy and I started moving my feet as fast as I could. I wasn't sure where Eric was, but I was pretty sure he was behind me. This could have been my best farmers performance to date. I ended up completing the 100 ft. course with the 570lb's (285 per hand) in just about 12 seconds. I was very happy to win this one, not only to make up for the log, but also because it meant my speed was with me and the remaining events would rely heavily on that speed.
The next event was the carry and drag medley. Here we had to pick up a 250lb keg and run 80 ft., throw it down and drag a 350lb tire back for 80 ft. This is normally the kind of event I will do very well in, it's a time where athleticism comes into play more than absolute strength. I grabbed the keg and ran as fast as I could, I didn't think there was to much distance to gain here since most guys would take roughly the same amount of time to complete the 80 ft keg run. The drag was where I made up time and pulled ahead. I can remember a lot of guys not being able to finish the drag portion of the medley which worried me at first, but I had been working my drags quite a bit recently and made the whole 80ft. without stopping. This one might have been close, but I knew that I had pulled off first place once I got that tire over the line.
By the way for those of you who don't know, when you win an event in strongman you get to go last in the next event. This is a huge advantage on some events because you have a number or time to beat in your head. After winning two events in a row I was pumped, because I knew I had a slight advantage over the rest of the field.
The next event was the yoke. Here we had to complete 80ft. with a 700lb. yoke on our back. This was the most awkward event for me, not only because it bothered my back the most but also because I had never tried the event until about 5-6 weeks earlier. Besides the thing skidding along the ground the whole way, which definitely did not help regardless of what some people might think, I was pleased with my time and happy to take a 3rd place in the event behind Adam Keep and Eric Todd ( I think ???)
Next up, the 750lb tire flip. By this time everyone was hurting real bad, these events were just a rough combination for a lot of guys including myself. Tire flip is normally a very strong event for me, and I knew I could pull off a win here as long as nothing went wrong. At this point Eric Todd and I were neck and neck, so I knew if I could pull of a win it would help me big time going into the last event ( car deadlift ). As soon as the whistle blew I could tell I would have a fast time, but the course was long for a tire flip event and you never know when you body is going to decide to quit on you. I felt very strong all the way up to just about the last flip and I started to fail. Luckily I got the last flip over and secured another first place for the day. This was a tough one, normally this would be the type of event that everyone would finish, but on this day the tire got the best of quite a few competitors. Some making it anywhere from 3-6 flips total.
Going into the Pt Cruiser deadlift event I was ahead of Eric Todd by .5 points, which isn't a very big margin in strongman comps. Basically I had to beat him and if I didn't I would finish 2nd overall for the day. The great thing about this event was that Eric and I were the last competitors going head to head with two vehicles. Both of us started strong, and as I remember both of us stalled at 19 reps. I knew that the day all came down to me getting at least one more rep, so I went for two. I wasn't sure what was happening on his side but I knew he was capable of getting one or two more. Luckily the evnt went my way, I ended up with 21 reps and he ended up with 19. This was a great feeling, everything I had been through the last few months had paid off.
After the event everyone hung out for a little while, drank beer ate ribs etc. Chad Coy put on an awesome competition, everything for the athletes was top notch not to mention the evening to follow which I am still feeling today ! Now I am going to set my sights on the Pro National championships in SC. this August. I will take a week or two off from events and start training again, hopefully everything holds together for me. I would have to say that this was one of the more enjoyable strongman weekends to date for Sully and I, hopefully there will be many more.
I've posted videos of each event if you're interested. The quality isn't the greatest, but it will give you an idea of how things went. Talk to you all soon.