California’s Strongest Man Recap
I’m still waiting for the official results, but I’ll put up what I know for sure.
This was my first strongman competition and I decided to enter it eight days ahead of time. I trained the log press three times in those eight days, tire flip three times, arm-over-arm pull once, truck pull once, and keg toss once. So, I was pretty prepared. Haha.
California’s Strongest Man is a Platinum level contest (I’m not sure what that means but you strongman fans probably know) held in sunny and beautiful Huntington Beach, CA, right on the beach. Sadly, someone forgot to inform Huntington that it was supposed to be sunny, so instead it was rainy, super windy and in the 30s/40s all day. I’m sure you tough midwestern and northeasterners are laughing at me for being a soft California kid, but I was freezing.
The first event of the day was the log clean and press. The weather made it basically impossible to do any type of real warm-up, so I just got on the log and started warming up with whatever was already on there, which was in the ballpark of 85, 175, 215 and 250 pounds. We had to give them all three attempts ahead of time, mine were 275, 295 and 325 pounds. The most I did in the gym at this point was 300 pounds, with a near miss at 315. I wasn’t expecting this to be one of my stronger events, but once it got going, I saw that I was going to be in the mix. I made 275 and 295 easily and was given the option to switch my third attempt to 310 because of the inclement weather, but I decided to go for broke and take a shot at 325 pounds, which would have put me third in the event. As you can see in the video below, I barely missed. Even with this miss, I feel good about my progress in one week on the log and know that it’s something I can improve upon quickly, yet I was frustrated that I cost myself a few points in the standings with a tactical error.
Day 1: Log Pressing
Next, we were on to the Keg Toss and received a quick break in the weather. Having spent half of my life throwing things, I felt good here, despite the fact I hadn’t actually thrown a keg before and didn’t know quite what the weights would be. My one training session for this consisted of throwing 25, 35 and 45 pound plates over a branch of a tree in the park. I got a couple practice tosses in before hand and knew that this event was my time to shine. I was first up in the keg toss, since I was the last person to register for the competition and started it off with a bang.
I finished second here, by about 1.5 seconds and after watching the video, I realized I could have shaved a few seconds off by lining up the handles before I began. I also could have thrown the kegs from where they were instead of bringing them to the middle of the platform.
As we prepared for the third event, which was switched due to weather from a harnessed truck pull with a rope in front of you (which I felt very confident about) to an arm-over-arm truck pull (which I felt very shitty about), the rain and wind really began to pick up. I was in third place overall (or at least went third to last in this event, which according to most other competitors, meant I was in third place) and had a very difficult time moving it. All of the highest-ranked guys did too, because the rope got extremely wet and stretched out over the first 10 or so competitors, who were able to move the truck fairly well. I have no idea how far I pulled it, but it wasn’t more than 20 – the same number I probably placed in the event.
The fourth event was switched from a Tire Flip/Keg Load Medley to a Keg Load/Farmer’s Walk Medley. I was scheduled to go second to last in this event, which gave me the impression I was in second place. The tire flip was the one thing here that I did more than once in my life before last week, so I was disappointed to see it go. The rain wasn’t too bad now, but the wind really picked up. The event wasn’t particularly heavy with a 300 pound keg over a 48-inch bar and 275 pound farmers per hand for 25 meters. We had to load the keg, do the farmers and load the keg again. The first keg load was my first experience with the movement, but it was pretty natural and I felt quick with the farmers after. I’m not sure how my final placing was in this event but I did beat the guys who went before and after me, who, I was under the impression, were in third and first place respectively.
The fifth event was scheduled to be the Atlas Stones going from 275-380 onto 48-inch platforms, but with the rain all day, the equipment was soaked and even the more experienced guys were having a hard time getting the lightest stones up. Though I was excited to give the stones a try, I didn’t mind not having to do a fifth event in the freezing wind after being out there for 7 hours already.
I ended up fifth overall, which I’m not quite sure how that happened, as it seemed going into the final event that I was second and then performed well, but who knows. I did beat last year’s winner and third place finisher.
I really enjoyed my first strongman contest and I’m planning on competing again in the near future.