OK this one is LONG…..but here goes.
WARNING, this post will be about, CROSSFIT, lots and lots of it! Even better, it’s about The CrossFit Games! I know my CrossFit friends will be interested to hear about my experience watching some of the world’s fittest athletes but I also know that some of you aren’t as crazy about CrossFit as I. So I thought it best to warn all of you who haven’t yet drank the “kool-aid” that this post will be about the good, the bad and the crazy of my trip to the games.
In Carson, California at the Stub Hub center, now dubbed, “the Stud Hubba Hubba” center (I know, I know, bad joke) some of the world’s best CrossFit athletes battled through gruesome workouts vying for the title of Fittest in the World. I was lucky enough to attend this event. For three long days, I watched these amazing athletes, shopped, melted in the heat and met some people that inspire me.
Throughout the weekend I was constantly in awe of what these people could accomplish and how the human body, with the right training, fuel and care, can do incredible things. These athletes did some of the most intense workouts in heat that was at times unbearable! Being surrounded by this energy was incredible. I was blown away by the strength and determination of everyone from the first place to the last.
I would also like to say that I was as blown away by the amazing fans that were at the games watching along with me, but I can’t. Seeing the athletes support each other to the bitter end solidified the community spirit that CrossFit always speaks about and was in full force on the competition floor, but not in the stands. I was shocked at how rude and unfriendly the spectators were. I traveled around the Stub Hub center for days with barely a smile back or an excuse me, as they would push by. I sat in the stands having people literally plow through me to get out of the aisle without so much as a “can I please get by”. Oh wait, there was one guy that, as he was already straddling over me to get out of the aisle said “excuse me”. I was constantly being attacked with mouthfuls of the spray-on sunscreens by those around me who didn’t think the wind would blow their aerosol can spray over their shoulder and into the person next to them (I swear they hardly got any of it on themselves).
The energy of the crowd in the mornings and afternoons was almost none existent. Many times there was barely a clap or cheer. But the roar of the crowd came alive for the evening events. If you were able to watch any of the evening events online, yes the crowd’s cheers were that loud. It is like everyone became alive and it was incredible to be around that! They would cheer, clap, scream and jump around to support these amazing athletes. I would like to say that maybe it was because everyone had alcohol in them, but I barely saw anyone drinking. It was so damn hot everyone was guzzling back the water. Maybe it’s because they wanted to get on the live feeds lol.
The scheduling of events was bang on! The days started and ended exactly as they said (outside of the awards ceremony, that wasn’t on the schedule at all, making me late to catch my ride). You knew exactly what would be on and when.
The seating, oh the dreaded seating arrangements. Those of you who know about the games know that there are events in the soccer stadium and then some in the tennis stadium and you can buy tickets to get you into just the soccer stadium or both. The soccer stadium events were all general admission. It was a huge stadium and there was never a problem finding a seat. In fact, I would move around following the shade as the day went on. But the tennis stadium was not all general admission, and when you purchase your tickets they do not give you an assigned seat. What you have to do to ensure a seat for the events being held in the tennis stadium is, each morning, run for dear life and hope you can out run some of the thousands (and thousands) of other crossfitters to get your hands on an assigned seat. No joke! Each morning you had to go get your seat for that day.
Friday, I arrived at 8:30am and went to the ticket tent and stood in line. After 5 minutes of waiting, I was told they were out of reserved seats (the number of limited seats was never mentioned!). This meant, for the tennis events, there was a few general admission sections and standing room only for the rest of us. Since I was by myself, I didn’t think it was going to be hard to find just one seat. WRONG! People were holding seats for all their friends but these “friends” never arrived (hence all the empty seats you saw if you were watching online). I was finally able to find one seat that I was told was taken, I promised to leave when said person arrived and, go figure, they never did! Nothing would bring me to leave this seat. No food or bathroom breaks would take me away from the only seat I could find. I just set up shop and watched the Speed Snatch Ladder and Heavy DT. After a while my bladder got the best of me and I left for a bathroom break and ran back in hopes my seat wasn’t taken and it wasn’t! So I spent the rest of Friday in this seat.
After my experience Friday morning, I knew I had to go early on Saturday to get into line for the reserved seats. I arrived at the Stub Hub center at 7:30am and to my surprise, so did a lot of other people! The gates opened at 8am, one by one our wristbands were scanned and then off to the races! We all ran (and ran and ran), around the tennis stadium, through vendor village to a row of tables. Once there it was a free for all! People where pushing and squeezing their way up to the ticket table to secure their seat. It was utter insanity! Thank goodness they were only giving out tickets to each individual person. If you had a group, you had to wait for all the members to be there in order to get seats together. So little ol’ me was able to squeeze my way up to the front and be handed one single ticket. Score! Now I could eat (and pee) and not worry about losing my seat.
On Sunday, I thought I’d be smart and get there really early. Arriving at 6:45am, again I was shocked that others had the same idea as me. The same as Saturday, the gates opened and the race was on! This time, however, once we rounded through the vendor village, we were hit with barricades and security guards making everyone form lines before they could enter to get to a table for their ticket. This was still a chaotic mess, as people were standing in line waiting for their friends and pushing their way to the front. I’m happy to report though, that I did get a reserved seat ticket for the Sunday events!
My final thoughts on the seating issue are….. it was stupid! The fact that I had to wear my Nano’s to the games because I knew I would be running a foot race, trying to beat out a bunch of others for a reserved seat is ridiculous! Why they can’t just attach a seat to your wristband is beyond me. I do hope they look at changing this for next year.
The neat thing about being at the games was being able to see and meet some of the people that inspire and amazing me. I didn’t get to meet a ton of people but the few I did meet made my weekend complete. I had the chance to meet and watch Dmitry Klokov work out. If you are like me and wasn’t familiar with him, I suggest you go get familiar! This man is AMAZING! I witnessed him snatch 407lbs! Afterwards, he did a meet and greet and very graciously gave me and signed a 5lb plate (that I then had to carry around with me for 8 hours!). Thank you to my coach for telling me about this side event because it was incredible to watch (and as a thank you, I got the 5lbs plate signed to my coach).
The shopping there is crazy! If you want to shop for new and neat CrossFit things, this is your place. I probably spent my life savings here. My word of advice would be to shop right away. The sizes and options become sparse as the weekend goes on. And for all you Canadians who are used to vendors hounding you as you walk by, that is not the case here. I’m not sure if that is just not their style or they were just being rude but the vendors don’t talk or promote their products much. You just gotta look and investigate yourself. I did still spend a small fortune.
The food options were great! For all you paleo people out there, they had a lot of options for you. However, expect to have to re-mortgage your home or sell your first born to be able to afford to eat there all day, everyday (a bottle of water was $4.00…need I say more).
Overall, I had the time of my life! The location was amazing, the weather was great (hot, hot, hot) and being able to watch the athletes that I “stalk” on social media was beyond words. Being able to witness their energy and determination first-hand, has motivated me to continue to work hard. Spending some time by myself let me reflect on my life and what I am passionate about. Also knowing that everyone was there for the same reason, a love of CrossFit, was an incredible experience. An experience that I will likely repeat year after year.
I would like to take one last moment to tell my Mother how extremely thankful and grateful I am that she sent me on this trip. My Mom is the most amazing woman in my life and always does such incredible things for me. I cannot express how lucky I feel to have her in my life as a role model, a friend, a partner in crime, a confidante and above all the most amazing Mother ever. Thank you so much for arranging this and sending me on this experience . Love you!
By Amber Quibell