THE BATTLE OF BALLARAT
On the 26th of November, the team travelled to Ballarat to compete in the first mixed pairs Strongman competition.
Alira and I competed as a team in the U75kg/U90kg division.
Mari and Scottie teamed up in the U85kg/U105kg division.
And Bec partnered up with long time Strongman/CrossFit competitor Ryan Fuller, in the U65/U80kg Division.
The events to be tested were:
1 Tram Pull
2 Max Axel Press
3 Carry Medley
4 Max Tonnage Stone to Shoulder
I remember the week leading into the competition was excruciatingly hot in the Garage Of Dreams, and a lot of our sessions were cut short, one time resulting in a trip to the beach instead.
However, we arrived in Ballarat to a thunderstorm, and a lot of us wondering if the competition would continue.
In true Strongman style, they started the Tram Pull in the rain. Both team members harnessed to the tram, attempting to pull it up the 10 metre course as fast as possible.
I'm not sure if it was the rain, the slight incline, or the tram's breaks, but no one moved that thing. Even with proper climbing shoes and a quick prayer to Thor the God of Thunder, it was no use.
One team in the U85kg/U105kg moved the tram a few metres, but this was only after they had driven the tram forward and back to re-set the breaks. After them, it was back to nothing.
After seeing everyone struggle to move the tram, Alira and I used a different tactic for our attempt, and we managed to budge the tram a few inches further than any one else in our category.
We got the points, but it was a slightly disappointing start to the competition, in the event everyone was looking forward to most!
Moving on to the Max Axel Clean and Press, and the rain cleared with the sun shining through.
This was the event I was most nervous about.
I was surprised I was nervous at all on this day, given it wasn't a major comp or a qualifier. But the 3 trips to the toilet for number two's reminded me I was a tad anxious about the day. No matter how big or small the competition, I can't help the expectation to perform I place on myself, and today was no exception.
We had 2 minutes to establish a max Axel Clean and Press, and we all killed it.
Bec and Ryan placed first with lifts of 68kg/100.5kg
Alira and I placed first with 78kg/123kg
Mari and Scott placed second with73kg/123kg
I felt a massive sense of relief after this event, and could finally start to enjoy the day. There's something about overhead events that makes me super nervous at competitions. I think it's because the lifts are so technique based, that it's easy to miss lifts and not register a score. I made 3 lifts during the 2 minutes, of 113kg/118kg/123kg.
I had missed 123kg about 12 times in training, only making a successful lift one week prior, where I also hit 126kg.
On comp day, the weight felt so light, I believe I would have lifted 130kg+ if I had needed to.
I'm a huge believer in doing what is needed in competition.
Winning comes first, then records, then PB's.
I don't think any of us PB'd our Axel Press on this day. We all did enough to place 1st or 2nd.
We did manage to get our names into the record books, check out the Australian Axel Press records here: http://www.strongmangoldcoast.com/category/strongman-records/axle-overhead-records/
Event 3 was the "Mystery Carry Medley", which comprised of a 30m partner carry, followed by a 30m keg carry.
Bec and Ryan placed 2nd after a judging call forced Ryan to backtrack to put his foot over the line for a second time.
Alira and I placed first, with Alira learning a valuable lesson about how to hold a keg properly for running next time.
Scott and Mari also placed first, with an amazingly fast run!
Alira and I had the fastest time out of any of the 25 teams for the day. Mari and Scott had the second fastest time, just 1.5 seconds slower, but using heavier weights!
We train a lot for speed in the Garage Of Dreams. It's a major part of Strongman that many people avoid.
It's not just about training with light weights to practice moving fast. You need to train the right muscle groups responsible for speed as well.
Event 4 was Stone to Shoulder, with a slight twist. 75 seconds for max tonnage, with a variety of stones to choose from.
Strength, fitness, and tactics would determine the winner.
I'll save the suspense, as we all placed first in our categories. Alira and I totalled more than any other team on the day, Scott and Mari the second most.
It wasn't an easy event, a missed rep would have been quite detrimental to a teams total score. I was super proud of the effort and focus everyone put into this event. It was close to flawless.
I sucked down an ice cream while waiting for the scores to be tallied. I knew Alira and I had won every event, and Bec and Ryan had only dropped one point all day, but it was going to be super close in the U85kg/U105kg class with Scott and Mari.
As they called out the winners, we watched Bec and Ryan receive their trophies, then Alira and I.
When they called for Mari and Scott, I felt the biggest sense of pride, relief and happiness.
I wasn't surprised that they had won, as I know how strong and fast they both are. But for all of us to be standing there with trophies was unexpected, and quite a surreal moment.
Briony and Aaron from Iron Revolution took out the heavyweight division. The rest of the trophies went to Vic Strength Club. I remember feeling like a lot of eyes were on us, maybe with contempt, and I found myself almost feeling guilty for winning everything. Maybe it was just in my mind, and it sounds ridiculous that anyone would feel guilty for winning, but that's the feeling I had when we stood there getting our photos. Perhaps it was due to the constant comments and reminders on how the day was designed for "fun" and it was a "get together".
I have fun competing, and coaching, it was an amazing day. If there is an event called Battle Of Ballarat, then I'm there to battle. And I'm really good at it.
Thanks to Kay and co. for running the event, was a brilliant idea for a mixed pairs competition, and we can't wait for next year!
Find the scoresheet here: