I’m back! I left to drive down to Los Angeles/Carson last Wednesday, 7/22, and after a 7-hour stretch on the I-5 and into infamously awful traffic in the LA area…I made it. Fair warning: I did not take a lot of pictures. I attended last year and snapped a ton of photos, and then most of them sat on my phone for an eternity and I never looked at them until I had to clear space off my phone. Plus, there are so many “actual” photographers at the event who are using something better than an iPhone. And, to be honest…I wanted to just soak in the experience and not be on my phone the whole time. Am I really a milennial?!
I arrived on Wednesday to the house that I rented with about 8 other people from my gym. The house was beautiful…right across the street from the beach, and plenty of room to house all of us. On Thursday we walked around Manhattan Beach where I had a rather…time consuming experience at Nekter Juice Bar. Apparently it takes 30 minutes to make a smoothie. I won’t go into it. We walked around a bit more to the pier, where we saw Games athlete Emily Bridgers (always exciting to see them walking around like normal people doing normal people things). Then, we drove to Venice Beach, aka Muscle Beach. That was pure, grade-A entertainment…if you’re unfamiliar with Venice Beach, it’s basically where all the body builders/muscle heads go to strut around. There’s also a ton of really tacky shops that all sell the same stuff, but it was actually pretty fun to just be there. I had never been there before, and am glad I got to experience it, but once was enough.
Friday = day one of the Games! LA traffic is awful and I am so happy someone else drove us there that morning, because I think I would have made us about 2 days late with my grandma driving. Even if you don’t want to watch people workout al day, there are tons of things to do – they have an incredible vendor village, meet & greets with athletes, different workshops/demonstrations, and plenty of challenges/workouts to do to win free stuff. Oh, and food! What’s nice about the CrossFit Games is that they really tailor to their crowd; there were so many healthy/paleo food options available, so you didn’t have to sacrifice nutrition while you’re down there. I know that’s sort of a “well, duh” thing to say, but so many sporting events have crap food and you eat it because it’s your only option, and then you feel awful for the rest of the day. We shopped, watched the elite do their thing, and ate a lot.
Saturday we lucked out and got great seats for the team competitions in the morning. Some of the bigger names (Rich Froning & Jason Khalipa, mainly) went team this year instead of individual. We grabbed some seats in the front row on the field and were treated to a nice little private warm up show from Rich Froning himself. For anyone who doesn’t know…he won the men’s competition four consecutive years in a row. The man is a machine and it’s a little terrifying (but mostly awe inspiring). In the evening, both men & women did a clean & jerk max as one of the main events – it’s pretty incredible the amount of weight these athletes can move around, especially after completing multiple events during the day.
Sunday is a bittersweet day – things are officially in full swing, but it’s also the last day. I feel like I should mention that this entire event is just one big giant eye candy convention…literally everyone walking around is in ridiculously good shape, and many take their shirts off. The energy in the air is palpable, and they really go all out to provide a great experience for the fans and spectators as well as the athletes. The final event in the tennis stadium was insane; the scores were close, and every heat was intense. The athletes are clearly exhausted by then, but it’s so fun to cheer them on and see who is going to win.
In the end, Ben Smith (from the U.S.) won the men’s competition, and Katrin Davidsdottir (from Iceland) won the women’s. What’s neat about Ben Smith winning is that the guy is incredibly unassuming; he’s the kind of guy you look at and you say to yourself, “yeah ok, he works out”, but you would never guess the amount of strength or speed the guy has just by looking at him. He has also made it to the games 7 years in a row, starting when he was 18. That is quite the accomplishment, and it was cool to see him finally win the whole thing. Katrin Davidsdottir is so freakin’ pretty and so freakin’ strong!
And, since I know all people really want to see are pictures…here are pictures. Enjoy, Internet!