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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Chicago KB Classic keeps it real in the best way

Last weekend, June 7th,  Chicago Kettlebell Club and Rock Cox collaborated with IKFF in the 2nd annual Chicago Kettlebell Classic. The timing of this event was perfect for me to prepare a first ever 20kg Biathlon, taking two weeks of my own strength programming and eight weeks of Biathlon-specific programing from Coach Sergey Rudnev.

The event was an excellent moment for me, bringing together my favorite features of Girevoy Sport competitions and a wonderful group of people. All this justifies my most grueling training cycle yet!

Here's where I give massive respect to lifters who can do Biathlon at consecutive events! This is no small feat, especially if the lifter is planning to break personal records.
I learned several things in training for this Biathlon:
1) pine tar on the elbows
2) chalk for Snatch before doing Jerk sets
3) use electrolyte replacement drinks for "during workout"
4) it's not possible to get enough sleep, but try

The judging was the first thing that brought this event into the realm of "class act" for me.
Of the two judging perspectives (the easy "friendly" judge vs. the hard "prove it" judge) I conclude that the standard at the IKFF Chicago KB Classic was closer to the second.
As far as I could tell none of them participated as lifters. No-counts were given. Got one myself for a weak Snatch. The timer/counter electronics gave me immediate feedback from my judge, and aside from this she put no energy into communication before or after my sets. All business.

No music, at all. Some would say this makes the event too serious, for me it's easier to concentrate on my own preparation when the sound system has minimal presence. Yes, it did intensify the focus when a flight came down to just one lifter. I predict that next year a larger crowd will generate more of that trademark sideline encouragement known at larger meets. Folks got great results at this event, and as we all know, each little detail contributes to a good or bad set.

Holding the event in an airport hotel has it's pros and cons. The biggest positive was the shuttle service from O'Hare, giving me the fly-in, perform, fly-out experience of a Rock Star. We had a nicely discounted group rate, another plus, and the competition was in the same building.

The hosts and their teams were absolutely awesome! Bea and Rock each brought great sportsmanship and organization.
Bea craftily using a congratulatory hug to take my weight.

This event featured some exceptional women! Of note were Jamie Foster-Wolcott lifting double 12kg LongCycle (10 minutes), and Sandy Doyle with 2x16kg Jerk (5 minutes). Both of these women also performed second events!
It's worth mentioning, though it was a small field of competition, a high percentage of women showed up with 16 and 20kg lifts in 10 minute events. Renae Stritzinger stood out with 24kg LongCycle, earning CMS!
Speaking of ranks, three women (myself/Biathlon, Ada Wong and Sandy Doyle/both LC) showed determination to excel with MS ranking sets in 10 minute events.

This in not to diminish powerful performances by the men who showed muscle and shear love of the sport. Namely Nathan MacBrien with 20kg Biathlon and John Lesko with 28kg Biathlon. There is no rank for 20kg and the highest rank for 28kg Biathlon is 1, but both athletes demonstrated admirable sporting attitude with solid performances in both lifts. John showed us an amazing 200 rep Snatch set! That is no accident.
5 minute events dominated the Men's Division, with weight loads from 16 to 32kg. The turn-out of transition weight loads, 20 and 28kg, shows that these guys are working on long term goals and used this event for peak performances. Mike Salemi earned the only Men's MS rank with 32kg LongCycle (5 minutes).
That's Rock (left). Non-stop focus, but takes time to congratulate me.
**Late addition to the post**
The Relay was the fun and revealing conclusion to the Chicago KB Classic.

A KettlebellSport Relay an opportunity for individuals on a team to prove their collective excellence. Every competition can choose to offer this as a fun finale after the main lifts have finished. In large events all participating groups will enter teams. If a few groups don't have enough members they will collaborate to assemble one team.
The traditional time for each lifter is 3 minutes with a 15 minute race total.
The most important rule is that if a lifter does not finish his/her time, the next team member is not allowed to finish that time. The weights must sit on the platform for the duration of that leg.
The winning team is the one with the most correctly completed repetitions at the end of the time. It can be a very heated contest.

In this case, Rock assembled Men vs. Women, 5-person teams for a 10 minute race, meaning each team member had a 2 minute leg.
The Women's team was given the opportunity to choose the lift and kettlebell load, so we chose one arm Jerk with 16kg. The Men, bless their hearts, went along with the Jerk, but chose to lift 2x24kg.

Keep in mind it is a race.

The video link from Bea's Facebook page. Thanks to Mike Salazar!
Women's team in order of lifting: Bea Rodriguez, Christian Goldberg, Juliet Lederle, Renae Stritzinger and Kimberly Fox. Total reps = 242
Men's team in order of lifting: Leonel Ribas, Mike Salazar, Victor Culiuc, Rock Cox and John Lesko. Total reps = 191

Conclusion of this competition review?
For the record, attend next year. The date is set for Saturday, June 6th, 2015. If you need coaching or community, hit up Bea RodriguezRock Cox, or me for online programming!

For myself, Snatch Only!

I hope to see everyone who didn't attend the Chicago Kettlebell Classic at the IKSFA Michigan Kettlebell Sport Championship on June 28th!

Best wishes for safe, efficient lifting,