Let the Games begin.
The 2016 CrossFit Games started in the dark of early morning, as 40 men and 40 women crammed into plane seats at 3 a.m. and flew from the Games HQ in Carson, California, up to Aromas, California, where Games grand-poo-bah Dave Castro grew up and the first CrossFit Games were held.
Here's what you missed on Days 1 and 2:
Event 1: "Ranch Trail Run"
On its face, a 7-kilometer trail run doesn't sound that bad. (It's not even 4.5 miles!) But the trail run at the Ranch (a deliberate throwback to the decidedly non-glitzy 2009 CrossFit Games) was a plenty challenging start to this year's proceedings, especially after the athletes had to fly up to Aromas at 3 a.m. Pacific Time. The trail was scrubby, sun-baked, and hilly—hardly a challenge for elite distance runners, but more than enough to put the hurt on the CrossFitters without enough endurance training.
Unsurprisingly, endurance specialist Samantha "The Engine" Briggs claimed the event win in 36:08, nearly a minute faster than runner-up Kristin Holte (and faster than 38 of the men.) Kristi Eramo, Katrin Davidsdottir, and Candice Wagner rounded out the top five.
On the men's side, the burly Mathew Fraser raised more than a few eyebrows by winning in 34:10.27, a solid 1:20 ahead of second-place Josh Bridges (35:30). Brent Fikowski, Jacob Heppner, and Adrian Mundwiler rounded out the top five.
Event 2: "Ranch Deadlift Ladder"
Essentially death by deadlifts, Event 2 challenged athletes to complete 1 deadlift every 30 seconds at progressively heavier weights, for a total of 20 barbells.
Men: 425-435-445-455-465-475-485-495-505-515-525-535-545-555-565-575-585-595-605-615 lb.
Women: 275-285-295-305-315-325-335-345-355-365-370-375-380-385-390-395-400-405-410-415 lb.
Better yet: It started 10 minutes after the trail run ended, starting with the last-place finisher in the trail run.
That was no trouble for Sam Dancer, though, as the titanic Illinois-based powerlifter dusted himself off after a last-place finish and machined through his favorite lift up to 615 lbs for an Event 2 win. Newcomer Brooke Wells likewise topped out at 415 lbs—a personal best for her—as she maxed out on the last barbell for her first event win.
via @crossfitphotojournal ・・・ "Wednesday, 9:20 AM. The athletes arrive at The Ranch, the childhood home of @thedavecastro and the site of the first three CrossFit Games. Castro announces that the first two events of 2016 will be repeats of the first two events of 2009– a brutal 7k trail run followed by a Deadlift Ladder. Castro is quick to point out that he's increased the weight on the Deadlifts and made the trail run more difficult. The athletes then gather inside the CrossFit Ranch facility for a safety brief, which involves some serious warnings about Mountain Lions. "They killed three of my dogs," Castro says. #CrossFitGames #crossfitphotojournal #CrossFit #reebok #CrossFitRanch" #CFG10
Event 3: "Ranch Mini Chipper"
This one was a grinder, even if it was short. Athletes completed the following for time:
50 wall-ball shots
25 med-ball GHD sit-ups
Hill sprint with med ball
(30-lb medicine balls for the men, 20-lb for the women)
Brent Fikowski finished in 4:14.10 to claim the men's event win. His technique? “I’ve done some hill sprints at home with a weighted vest and a kettlebell," he said. "When I did those, I made sure I didn’t stop running, even if it was a slow run,” he said.
Annie Thorisdottir reminded the field why she has two CrossFit Games wins, churning through the chipper in 4:28 for a lightning-fast Event 3 win. How'd she feel? Pretty stoked, apparently:
Event 4: "Ocean Swim"
Nothing fancy here: 500 meters of hauling through the Pacific off Redondo Beach as fast as possible—every competitor, men and women, at once. (It wasn't much for spectating.) Jonne Koski claimed the event win in 06:54, while Australia's Tia-Clair Toomey—who, by the way, will be representing Australia at the Rio Olympics in weightlifting—was the first woman to complete the swim in 7:28.23, ahead of even fifth-place men's finisher Sean Sweeney.
Scores after 4 events:
Men's Top 10
1. (304) Mathew Fraser
2. (290) Brent Fikowski
3. (240) Alex Vigneault
4. (228) Travis Mayer
5. (222) Björgvin Karl Guðmundsson
6. (222) Lukas Högberg
7. (220) Josh Bridges
8. (220) Patrick Vellner
9. (220) Alex Anderson
10. (220) Ben Smith
Women's Top 10
1. (318) Tia-Clair Toomey
2. (302) Tennil Reed
3. (294) Samantha Briggs
4. (290) Ragnheiður Sara Sigmundsdottir
5. (266) Annie Thorisdottir
6. (236) Alessandra Pichelli
7. (236) Margaux Alvarez
8. (234) Kristi Eramo
9. (232) Brooke Wells
10. (226) Katrin Tanja Davidsdottir