Divided We Fall 2011

By Amelia Handoll-Clark

If you’ve been in the gym lately you will have picked up on the buzz from those that went to the Divided We Fall Games at CrossFit Velocity, Swansea. For many of us CrossFit is our fitness regime of choice but, for those that want, there is an opportunity to engage with CrossFit as fun sport.

During October, Charlie, Cathie, Nick, Louis (Team 1 – Charlie’s Avon’s), Andrew, Vandy, Susannah and James (Team Avon 2) trained specifically for the games and over the weekend pushed themselves to new limits, doing us proud!

This year was the largest games yet, with 80 teams from all over country WOD-ing it out to be crowned the fittest CrossFit Team in the UK . Each team was made up of three men and one woman. The two day event had four pre announced WODS on day one and four undisclosed WODS on day two for the top 40 teams from day one.

Day One
We arrived at Velocity at 7:30am and had a long day ahead of us. With 80 teams, there were 8 heats for each workout, but regardless there was a feeling of great anticipation. The gym and balcony were packed with excited fellow CrossFitters and supporters, all in their box colours.

WOD1 was 1km static cycle, 100 press ups, 1km cycle, 100 dumbell thrusters (20kg/10kg), 1km cycle, 100 box jump burpees, 1km cycle, 100 wall balls (9kg/7kg). With a tag team system it was all about the slickness of your changeovers and keeping moving. Team 1 went first and worked tirelessly, completing the work in 29 minutes. Team 2 had a little longer to watch other heats and had the chance to steal some time saving tactics: conveyer belt burpee box jumps turned out to be nifty. They completed in 23 minutes! A good start by all and the nerves were settled.

WOD 2&3 ran back to back. First each member had to do 2 minutes on a 60kg bar. One doing shoulder to overhead (press, push press or jerk), next did Deadlifts, next thrusters (!), and finally power cleans. You then had a 30 second rest before WOD 3: 5 minutes for maximum double-unders as a team. Team 1 smashed an amazing performance, special shout-outs to Louis with 33 power cleans, almost double on the day than he had managed in practice! Just goes to show how competition can really bring out the best in you. Team 2 also hit it hard with some decent numbers all round, special mention to James who only a few weeks before had next to no double-unders but managed to string together some double figures.

CrossFit Avon’s back up team were out in force, with Sally, Jo, Caz, Zoe, myself and guest appearances from Nicks mum and wife! Between us all we screamed, urged, prayed and ferried to keep our teams as supported as best we could.

WOD 4 came around very late in the day. This was the last chance our teams had to get enough points on the board to get through to the next day. Each team had 10 minutes to establish a 3 rep max in the overhead squat for each member. Both our teams managed some big numbers with Cathie nailing 40kg with ease and Vandy getting a PB with 65kg! But neither team will mind me saying their performances were overshadowed by; Ann, 61 years old that very day managed 20kg OHSx3! Oh and a dude from CrossFit Central London boshed out a meagre 120kg.

Then came the wait….. with rumours flying around about tomorrows WOD including swimming we waited for the scores. We whooped the loudest when we heard Avon Team 2’s name read out at number 32. Sadly Team 1 hadn’t made the cut but we had smiles all round because we knew they had all given absolutely everything and we couldn’t be prouder.
And…. Swimming: we were to meet at the Welsh National Pool at 6:30am!!!

Day Two
It was a relay of 15(men)/10(ladies) “In and Outs” of the pool, 50 mtr swim, 50 air squats, 50 mtr swim, 15/10 In and Outs!!! We were in the first heat. On the side lines, joined by Team 1, CrossFit Avon’s cheerleaders made themselves heard! We clapped and screamed our team on in what looked like the most gruelling WOD ever! Susannah (not the biggest fan of getting her hair wet), swam like an absolute soldier. She even got up and did some of Vandy’s squats with him even though she was left walking like bambi after her round. That is CrossFit Avon team spirit. The time cut off just caught up with us and we didn’t quite finish but only two teams did. And we made the next round! 13th out of 40!!!

WOD 6, the quarter final. We were now amongst the fittest 20 teams in the competition. Everyone was aching and sore but with a new coat of lippy on Susannah, Team 2 put their all into 3 rounds of 1 minute on each station of HSPU’s, KB swings (32/24), GHD sit ups, and calorie row with a minutes rest between rounds. Susannah never stopped smiling! But CrossFit Avon had come to the end of their competing journey coming 15th out of the top 20. A really impressive first appearance at the games. Now we could just sit back and enjoy the show!

And what a show it was! WOD 7 had the top 10 teams doing 20 rounds (5 for each member) of 2x thrusters (80/60kg) and 1 x 15ft rope climb. Boys had to use arms only, but girls could use their legs to assist them. With most people’s teams out, the crowd were just cheering on the impressive individual performances we were seeing. Like Samantha Briggs shooting up the rope with no leg assistance! And we willed along those that were struggling on their very first thrusters or their last rope climb.

The top 5 teams had some of the fittest people in CrossFit in the UK. The final was a girls first relay: 3-2-1reps of snatches (50/30kg), and muscle ups with 10 two for one wall balls each round. The room went wild as “3-2-1…GO!” was shouted out for the last time. CrossFit Avon had a special reason to cheer as we were represented in the final by our very own judge extraordinaire, Charlie “no rep” Mentor. The crowd tried to play its part by screaming up some of the athletes up into their muscle ups. But slow and steady won the race. It became clear that most of the teams had one member who, after all the weekends exertions, just could not do all 6 of their muscle ups. So although team Train from Manchester had sped into an early lead it was CrossFit Central London who came through. They were the only team to finish, truly deserving their victory as the Fittest CrossFit team in the UK.

There are different opportunities to take part in CrossFit competitions throughout the year. I urge you all to take advantage and come along at some point, at the very least as cheerleader because the best bit of the weekend was actually right at the end; after the awards and the final speech thank you’s. It was the big group photo for those that had remained until the very, very end. Those that wanted to stay just to keep the weekend going a little longer. Those that got it; the community buzz, that said; it really wasn’t about the winning or even the taking part, but the being a part of it. CrossFit.


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