It has been about 2 weeks since the Arnold came to a close and, as is customary to me, my body shut down. I have been fighting off some fierce chest congestion and I am now on the positive side of this battle. It is at times like these that my girlfriend loves to point out that I am human.
Anyway, the 2009 Arnold Classic and the Kettlebell Competition was tremendous. I arrived Thursday morning with a good portion of my gym flooring and kettlebells in tow. Myself along with Lorraine, Matt, Bob, Chris, Joe and Rick spent the rest of the day setting the floor plan for the competition. With the floor set and most problems solved, it was time to wait for bells to arrive on Friday and prepare for weigh-ins.
Friday morning was spend distracting ourselves from thinking about the competition the following day. It was then that I made my way around to the various booths to have my fun and play with the various 'challenge' lifts. The GNC Grip Gauntlet was a major stop on that list, but I first wanted to do some warm-up lifts. I searched out and found the American Strongman Corporation booth where they had a 140# loadable dumbbell with 2.25 inch handle. It was an easy lift on each hand and later in the day I came back to do a single arm snatch with my left in front of a nice crowd. Next was the MHP booth and their Inch dumbbell replica, I was able to pull a solid deadlift on each hand. Now I was ready for the Grip Gauntlet.
The GNC Grip Gauntlet is run by the Gillingham brothers, Karl, Wade and Brad, three great guys and great friends of mine. The gauntlet this year was done in a heavy format; the Blob, Rolling Thunder at 207#, and the #3 Captains of Crush gripper. I first pulled the Rolling Thunder to full deadlift without any problems. Next I went to the Blob, I pulled it to my knees about 8 times and was beginning to get frustrated on not getting a full deadlift. I took a break and asked for the #3 gripper, Wade handed it to me and I quickly went to work in slamming it shut. I had certified on the #3 last year by Wade at the Arnold. I was now back at the Blob and with some extra encouragement from the Sorinex crew, I was able to get a full Blob deadlift and complete the GNC Grip Gauntlet in heavy format. The heavy format was also completed by Tex Henderson, Rich Williams and Brian Shaw this year. It has only been completed by 5 others ever.
I was now ready to relax for the rest of the day and begin to coordinate the arrival of bells for the comp. Bells started to arrive around 6pm and I became very good at giving directions to the back loading docks of the convention center. By 10pm all bells had been delivered and it was time to get back to the hotel for some much needed sleep before the next days activities.
I awoke at 7am to drive Matt and Lorraine to the convention center. The first flight began at 8am with the women's jerk. My jerk set began at 11am and I settled into my 8 rpm pace. Around minute 7 or 8 my hand position started to slip and quickly drained energy. I finished with 76 total jerks, not a PR but right where I wanted to be for this weekend.
We had a large break in the action when Arnold entered the building. He did walk through our lifting area and speak on the boxing ring next to us, but the flow of the competition was greatly interrupted.
With Arnold gone and the comp smoothly on its way again, I began my snatch set around 5pm. Again I started nice and smooth at 15 rpm. The last minute on my first arm I had to slow down a bit so I would not lose the bell. The last 30 seconds of the set was me doing my best Statue of Liberty impression as I stood there finishing out the 10 minutes for a total of 137 snatches. Not my best performance but I was happy.
I now had some time to relax before playing around at the conclusion of the competition with my strongman demonstration. For my demonstration I began with some kettlebell juggling and then progressed into my barbell juggling routine. The barbell I use is an IronMind axle with 20kg Eleiko plates on each end, 55kg total. For the finish in my show I rolled up a frying pan, always a sight to be seen.
After the awards were presented, we had to break down our setup and cleanup. The convention hall needed that space tomorrow for another event. I believe we had everything packed back into my truck by 9:30pm and we were back to the hotel to have a beer and catch some of the UFC fights going on in Nationwide Arena next door.