Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Western New Yorks Strongest Man

July 18 was the day before the Western New York Strongest Man competition. I wanted to make sure I was full of fuel for the long day ahead so a friend and I met at the local Longhorn Steakhouse. Three quarters of the way through the 22-oz. Porterhouse, I knew it was not going to be enough, so I ordered up a 14-oz. Prime to be consumed as well. With 36-oz. of beef nicely placed in my stomach I was ready for some sleep and the day ahead.

5am came quickly, but I was ready to get going and on the road for the 3.5 hour drive to Dunkirk, NY. I was among some of the first to arrive at the sight next to the Little League Baseball field and was able to check out some of the implements we would be using. Soon the rest of the competitors arrived and all weigh-ins completed, I came in at 218.6 lbs, I should have eaten more steak. I was in the Lightweight Open class, 231 lbs. and below.

The first event for the day was Incline Press with a 12” log for reps. The posted weight was 235lbs. (what we used was 245lbs.), but it was the same for all competitors and this is strongman, we didn’t come here to be picky about lifting heavy. The first event went in alphabetical order and that put me somewhere in the middle of my class. Strict pressing of any sort is not a strong suit of mine and I was only able to squeeze out 8 good reps in the 60 seconds allotted. I believe the top individual did 15-16 reps with a few others between us.

Next up was the Carry and Drag, carry 225lbs. farmers walk handles 60 feet and then backwards drag a sled weighing ~450lbs. back 60 feet. This event, like all the others was on grass, I did not bring any cleats with me so I was able to borrow some off one of the high school kids there with size 12 feet, a size small but I wasn’t planning on being in them for too long. The first competitors to go struggled mightily with the backwards drag which caused a group of us to start worrying about our own performances to come. Soon I was up and took my grip on the handles, the whistle blew and I was off….FAST. When it was all said and done, Mike Landrich, the promoter walked over to me and said that even if we doubled your time, you still win. So there is one thing I happen to do well.

Next came the Axle Clean and Press. I chose to start at 220lbs. which went easily and I continued to play conservative for my 2nd attempt at 240lbs. This also went easily, I guess today is a strong day. 3rd attempt, screw conservative, lets go to 280lbs. I first tried to power clean this weight without success. If it was to go, it would have to be a full squat clean, I do not have a belly to continental clean with. I pull and jump under, catch it on my shoulders and start my ascent. Unfortunately on my way up I lost my hands on the bar, so now I have 280 sitting nicely across my shoulders with my hands out in front of me. So I bounce the bar up and slide my left hand under first and then do the same with my right. Now I'm set. Dip. Drive. Lock it out in good split jerk style for a new PR on the axle.

It was not the top clean and press and it did not count for me because I took and extra 18 seconds than allowed, but damn was it fun and as my competitors commented, "we all saw you lift it." That meant more than points.

Soon after we all had the pleasure of watching Matt Dawson set a new American record for the axle clean and press. Matt lives in Mentor, OH and I hope to be traveling to train with him once a month. He came away with the 1st place overall for the heavyweights.

Next up was the 405lbs. deadlift for reps in 60 seconds. My goal was 20 reps and I came close with a solid 18. Unfortunately so did 2 other athletes and we had a 3-way tie for first in this event.

The last event for the day was the Loading Medley. We loaded 5 objects of increasing weight onto platforms. We had a ~130lbs. field stone, ~160lbs. keg, ~200lbs. square stone, 240lbs. field stone, and 300lbs. machine wheel. I was again very quick finishing in a time of 18.5 seconds for another first place event.

In the end I was the 3rd place finisher, my incline log press killed me. However, I did finish 1st in 3 events and competed a 280lbs. clean and jerk on the axle which was a new personal best. I met some great guys and caught up with some old friends. Mike Landrich organizes an excellent event and I plan to return again next year.

I don't know names, but the 1st, 3rd (me) and 2nd overall place finishers respectfully.


charley allen said...

Andrew, if you ever make it up to Amarillo, TX, here is the steak you need to eat


Terence Mitchell said...

Hey Andrew

Awesome stuff this last weekend, you motivated me to seriously include more strongman exe's into my training.

There is something ive been wondering about. Is it normal for ones poundages to drop when using a very thick bar 2.5" - 3" bar? I can strict press 90kgs on a standard bar but there's no way in hell I can do that with my beast bar??

Interested to know your thoughts on this?

Thanks bud