What can I say other than it was awesome?! For the first time, we got to travel with a TEAM, not just Doug and myself! It’s an amazing thing, and we are trying to grow that team for the April competition in Sarasota Florida and the May here in Charlotte, so if you want to join the team and start training your ass off come see us!
Anyway, back to the competition. If you don’t already know, Ice Chamber is kind of like the western world’s Mecca of kettlebell sport training. They have a team of world class FEMALE lifters. It was awesome to see them all in action! To see all the different techniques and styles…mind blowing! And they put up ridiculous numbers! We also got to meet a whole slew of international lifters: from Canada, the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil and Russia. The whole Canadian group (there were 2 different Canadian teams), was compiled of amazing athletes. Just amazing. Steve from the UK was in Doug’s weight and bell class, and he is actually smaller than Doug by quite a bit, but bested Doug by 14 reps! My good friend Leanne was watching the live feed and said he was “freakish”, in a good way, but man he could lift! Paul White from New Zealand…where to begin? He has been training for years and is well known in the kettlebell community due to the videos he posts on youtube, but there are competitions in New Zealand and it is tough for him to travel so this was his first competition and he got Master of Sport in 2 different events?! Who does that?! Paul White does! MS is on the 32’s. That’s A LOT of weight! And he’s not a big guy, not much bigger than me! The junior lifters from Brazil were ridiculous in their own right! Junior = teen. This girl was almost my size, and lifted her ass off on the 16kg in biathlon. And beat some of the adult female competitors. The junior boy was spectacular. This skinny, string bean of a kid, and he competed in biathlon on the 24’s! THE TWENTY FOURS! He looked really good too! Could you imagine starting that young?! And of course, Anton Anasenko from Russia. Anton Anasenko is a world class, multiple times over champion. He did long cycle on the 32’s, and made 84 reps. He made it look so effortless and didn’t waste any energy. To see these amazing lifters putting up such big numbers with impeccable form, it just makes us want to train even harder.
On to the Pride Conditioning competitors!
Matt did amazing! Matt’s best set in training was 54 reps, and he pushed out 70 reps in competition on the 20’s! SEVENTY! That’s huge! Like, awesome huge! I also think he won the award for best beard and comic relief during the jerk relay team. Matt also won overall best long cycle lifter for his bell size! His next closest competitor was one of our friends, John Beamon from Huntersville, and he beat him by 16 reps! He did have to cut a little weight the night before at weigh-ins, but had everyone there cheering him on as he jogged on the treadmill…in his leather jacket…to cut 1/10th of a pound! I think seeing him running on a treadmill in a leather jacket definitely made him a fan favorite! I don’t think he could hear it while on the platform, and Doug was warming up so he may not have heard either, but everyone was screaming their heads off for Matt!
Doug took second in his weight class. He gained 6 reps between training and competition. Which is also huge because he was on the 24’s! According to a coach we know, the 24’s are what separates the serious lifters from those who think they can lift. He finished second to Steve from the UK, but was able to tie a guy who dropped his bells (ha!) 20 seconds early. I tried to get him to push out one more rep to beat him, and one of our good friends and coaches from Punch, Jay Trunzo, was sitting by Doug’s judge yelling at him to keep pushing and get one more rep, but after giving it his all, he simply had nothing left, which is pretty much our goal – leave it all out there on the platform! He also made rank 1, and got 3 extra reps on top of it, so it was an awesome day for him!
Doug and Matt also took part in the jerk relay, after both of them put up podium finishes and PR’s they struggled a little on the jerk relay but still pounded out some quality reps. Doug told me he thought he was going to drop the bells on his head after the first rep but just kept pushing. Matt gave the crowd some comic relief as he put the bells overhead and exclaimed “wow these are heavy!”
On to my set. I got to lift with two awesome ladies from Punch in Sarasota, FL. I love our extended kettlebell family, but when I’m lifting, I’m in my own zone and out to kill my set. I had the “luxury” of being on platform 1. Which, in all seriousness, was nerve-wracking because guess who was sitting right behind Doug? Anton Anasenko. No pressure, right? Nothing like having one of the world’s best kettlebell lifters sitting right in your line of sight. Ugh………..back to that in a minute. The good thing about our training this time around, is I had an awesome taper so that by the time competition came around, that 16kg bell felt LIGHT! I got 93 reps for a third place TIE with Debbie from Punch. My training best was 84. And I had zero “no counts” for the second competition in a row! I’m going to see about making that a habit from now on! Anyway, the bell felt light, my legs felt strong, and my lockout felt solid. It all melded together. So, at about 2 minutes in, I catch Anasenko’s eye, and he twirls his fingers, as in “pick up the pace.” So, my brain goes, “oh shit, what do I do? I can’t ignore him, but I’m ON MY pace. I’m doing good, right? Shit, how often will he ever sit in front of me again and basically give me a pointer while competing? I’d best pick it the f*** up!” (all that went through my noggin in about 2 seconds.) So I started to push the pace. I ended my left side with 45 reps. On to the strong side!!! My first minute on my right hand I crushed it! I was flying! Unfortunately not at a pace I could sustain, so minutes 7-9 I kept a good pace, until I caught Anasenko again, twirling his fingers…again. I’d already hit rank 1, so I figured, “f***ing hell, why the hell not?” so I pounded out 13 reps in the last minute. All those sprint sets paid off. I did also look over at Debbie’s score and saw I was down a rep, and just had to push out that last tying rep to get on the podium! Anyway, whenever a world champion from the country where the sport you’re competing in was developed is sitting RIGHT in front of you, expect great things to happen during your set! Other notes, I apparently impressed some of the Ice Chamber girls with my color coordinating outfit (black shorts, gray shirt, black and gray socks), and was told next time to paint my nails to match either the outfit or the bell I’m lifting…this will surely lead down a dark and dangerous path for me! In a good way for me, but maybe not Doug! I was also told by a lady from from Luke’s Barbell Club in Austin, TX, that her coach, former WNBA player Joyce Luke, told her to record my set because of how well connected I stay to the bell for being as small as I am, and of course, because of the crazy technique Doug and I both use to clean the bell. But, talk about being taken by surprise! “What? Me? Really? You just made my day!” So, because of that, next week I’ll being doing a video of how and why I clean the way I do!
The day after the comp we went with a huge crew of lifters to visit Alcatraz, we joined Maya and Steve who own and run Ice Chamber, Paul White from New Zealand, Chris Duffey, Steve from the UK, our friends Judi and Valerie and Cara from NYC and several others. One of the great things about kettlebell sport is making all these friends from all over the country and the world, lifting together, competing and then going out to have fun!
All in all, it was an amazing experience. I’m so happy we got to go! I’m hoping we can increase the number of Pride Conditioning lifters at this event next year! We met so many new, awesome people! We saw old friends. We got cheered on and cheered everyone else on! We saw amazing performances, PR’s, and awesome lifters! Definitely a good day for your 3 fearless trainers, and we hope to have more of you competing alongside us at future events! (Did someone say May?!)