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3/20/2012 11:45:15 AM -
California's Strongest Man Recap

I'm still waiting for the official results, but I'll put up what I know for sure.

This was my 1st strongman contest and I decided to enter it 8 days ahead of time. I trained the log press 3x in those 8 days, tire flip 3x, arm over arm pull 1x, truck pull 1x, keg toss 1x, so I was pretty prepared haha.

California's Strongest Man is a Platinum level contest (I'm not sure what that means but you strongman fans probably know) held in sunny and beautiful Huntington Beach, CA, right on the beach. Sadly, someone forgot to inform Huntington that it was supposed to be sunny, so instead it was rainy, super windy and in the high 30s-low 40s all day. I'm sure you tough midwestern and northeasterners are laughing at me for being a soft California kid, but I was freezing.

The 1st event of the day was the log clean and press. The weather made it basically impossible to do any type of real warmup, so I just got on the log and started warming up with whatever was already on there, which was in the ball park of 85, 175, 215 and 250. We had to give them all 3 attempts ahead of time, mine were 275, 295, 325, the most I had done in the gym at this point was 300, with a near miss at 315. I wasn't expecting this to be one of my stronger events but once it got going I saw that I was going to be in the mix. I made 275 and 295 easily and was given the option to switch my 3rd to 310 because of the incliment weather, but decided to go for broke and take a shot at 325, which would have put me 3rd in the event. As you can see in the video below, I barely missed. Even with this miss, I feel good about my progress in 1 week on the log and know that it is something I can improve upon quickly, yet I was frustrated that I cost myself a few points in the standings with a tactical error.

Here is Day 1 of my log pressing...

Here is the competition...

Next we were on to the Keg Toss and we got a quick break in the weather. Having spent 1/2 my life throwing things, I felt good here, despite the fact I hadn't actually thrown a keg before and didn't know quite what the weights would be. My 1 training session for this consisted of throwing 25, 35 and 45 pound plates over a branch of a tree in the park. I got a couple practice tosses in before hand and knew that this event was my time to shine. I was 1st up in the keg toss, since I was the last person to register for the competition and started it off with a bang...

I finished 2nd here, by about 1.5 seconds and after watching the video realize how I could have shaved a few seconds off by lining up the handles before I began and throwing the kegs from where they were instead of bringing them to the middle of the platform.

As we prepared for the 3rd event, which had been switched due to weather from a harnessed truck pull with a rope in front of you (which I felt very confident about) to an arm over arm truck pull (which I felt very shitty about), the rain and wind really began to pick up. I was in 3rd place overall (or at least went 3rd to last in this event which according to most other competitors meant I was in 3rd place) and had a very difficult time moving it. All of the highest ranked guys, did as the rope had gotten extremely wet and stretched out over the 1st 10 or so competitors who were able to move the truck fairly well. I have no idea how far I pulled it but it wasn't more than 20' or how I placed.

The 4th event was switched from a Tire Flip/Keg Load Medley to a Keg Load/Farmers Walk Medley. I was scheduled to go 2nd to last in this event, which gave me the impression I was in 2nd place. The tire flip was the one thing here that I had done more than 1x in my life before last week, so I was disappointed to see it go. The rain wasn't too bad now but the wind had really picked up. The event wasn't particularly heavy with a 300# keg over a 48" bar and 275# farmers per hand for 25m. We had to load the keg, do the farmers and load the keg again. The first keg load was my first experience with the movement but it was pretty natural and I felt quick with the farmers after. I'm not sure how my final placing was in this event but I did beat the guys who went before and after me, who I was under the impression were in 3rd and 1st respectively.

The 5th event was scheduled to be the Atlas Stones going from 275-380 onto 48" platforms but with the rain all day the equipment was soaked and even the more experienced guys were having a hard time getting the lightest stones up. Though I was excited to give the stones a try, I didn't mind not having to do a 5th event in the freezing wind after being out there for 7 hours already.

I ended up 5th overall, which I'm not quite sure how that happened, as it seemed going into the final event that I was 2nd and then performed well, but who knows. I did beat last year's winner and 3rd place finisher.

I really enjoyed my first strongman contest and am planning on competing again in the near future.

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Chad Wesley Smith

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