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joey warren run.JPG
Thomas Campitelli reports:

CrossFit got its start in Northern California, and the region remains one of the premier proving grounds for talented CrossFit athletes.

On an overcast and rainy May 2 and 3, 2009, 142 men and 51 women descended upon Aromas, California, to take part in the Northern California Regional Qualifiers for the CrossFit Games. The Ranch at Aromas--which will also serve as the venue for the 2009 Games-- provided a scenic backdrop and an opportunity to use the landscape for workouts that normally can't be accomplished in or near most CrossFit gyms.

The competition spanned two days and comprised three workouts: two on Saturday and one on Sunday. The first workout combined 500 meters of rowing, 30 burpees and 10 reps of moving a barbell from the shoulder to overhead at a weight of 165 pounds for men, 95 for women. Designed as a sprint against the clock, the workout was capped at 10 minutes.

The second workout tested the athletes' abilities to generate sustained intensity over a 10-minute period, requiring as many repetitions as possible of muscle-ups and moving a barbell from the ground to the shoulders (cleans). The loads were 185 pounds for men and 105 for the women. Unlike some CrossFit met-con workouts, the number of repetitions of each movement was left to the discretion of the athlete, though the men had to complete a minimum of 10 muscle-ups and 10 cleans. For women, four muscle-ups and four cleans were required. Scoring was based upon the total number of reps completed.

After the first day, the top 40 men and top 20 women advanced to the final workout, affectionately titled Catch-22. Performed against a running clock, the workout leveraged the challenging terrain of The Ranch and generated a great deal of interest in the CrossFit community.

As in the classic Joseph Heller novel for which the workout was named, absurdity was a prominent theme in CrossFit's Catch-22. The WOD began with 22 deadlifts (315 pounds for men, 185 for women), and then the athletes ran to pick up two dumbbells (45 pounds for men, 25 for women) that would accompany them on a 200-meter farmer's trek up the steep inner loop on the front side of The Ranch. Slightly after the crest of the hill, each athlete executed 22 thrusters before carrying the dumbbells back down and depositing them where they picked them up. Next came 22 chest-to-bar pull-ups, followed by a 300-meter run up the longer and steeper outer loop. Near the crest of the hill, the athletes were rewarded with 22 overhead squats (95 pounds for men, 65 for women) before hurtling down the steep slope of the outer loop to the finish.

For extra effect, a slow but steady rain fell for most of the heats, making pull-ups a difficult affair and rendering the already unsure footing of the outer-loop descent especially slippery.

As expected, the athletes contesting the NorCal Qualifiers rose to the challenge and turned in inspiring performances, demonstrating their abilities to endure great physical discomfort while performing multiple complex movements. They also displayed unequaled sportsmanship along the way. The competitors were truly a credit to themselves and the CrossFit community.

The Top 5 women's finishers in order were Jocelyn Forest, Candace Hamilton, Breanne Feudale, Elyse Umeda and Apollonia Helm. For the men, the Top 5 were Jeffrey Leonard, Darren Rosten, Justin Riley, Joey Warren and Angel Orozco.

10 comments on this entry.

1. Eric Lester wrote...

May 22, 2009 2:36 PM

When I saw Sevan's preview video I really thought it was a joke. I didn't imagine the workout would be anywhere near that extreme. Starting off with 22 deadlifts at 315? And that isn't the hardest part? Yikes.

2. cletus replied to comment from Eric Lester...

May 22, 2009 3:57 PM

I also thought it was a joke and gave a friend of mine a hard time for thinking it was legit :)

May 22, 2009 7:15 PM

i was in the final mens heat, and that was something to behold. definitely the most fit 10 men in nor cal for sure, those guys are total studs. the farmers walk broke my soul. without a doubt the hardest crossfit workout ive ever done.

4. pelon wrote...

May 22, 2009 10:39 PM

5. Blair Lowe wrote...

May 23, 2009 12:50 AM

I got to go through the WOD after the main heats as my friend opted out from trying as his back was hurting (so I got his spot).

The farmers walks were bad news followed by the thrusters. probably the worst part of it, imo. I had a helluva time with my grip on the pullups and recovering from that farmer's. I knew it was going to be bad, just not that bad. I don't think thrusters have ever been as hard. If I was thinking straight at that time I would have faced the hill I had walked down at the thrusters to have a good footing.

The rain only hampered the pullup bars and the last downhill, it was more of a steady drizzle than a rain, imo.

I can only imagine how bad the DL could have been if they were at the end, hah!

I remember snickering on saturday and wanting to tell my buddies that the sunday workout was true after I was told it was it by one of the higher ups, especially as they doubted that would be the workout.

6. Jocelyn wrote...

May 23, 2009 1:10 AM

I thought it was going to be a joke too but to no avail. Although it was the most brutal workout I've ever done personally, it was only so tough because, due to it being such a big competition I took it to a higher level of intensity. Just like most CrossFit WODS, it is as hard as you make it.

Having said that, I want to say again (I posted before on another blog) that the weight for women was just too dam light. I'm kind of offended that the weights in all the workouts were scaled far more than usual. Usually women's weights are around 30% lighter than men's but these were upwards of 40%ish and more. Tony Budding has even suggested before that technically there is no "women's weight." Rx'd is Rx'd, period. I realize that for competition sake that is a little unrealistic but I think who ever is programing the workouts should show us some respect and require that we be able to push some legitimate weight.

7. Brandon B. wrote...

May 23, 2009 6:58 AM

Tom C,

Nicely done. Clearly, the most eloquent description of a Regional Qualifier, yet. I would expect nothing less, as you have cut your proverbial blogging chops on the CFO site. A site that does not suffer the inarticulate lightly.


8. Ryan wrote...

May 23, 2009 9:44 AM

Now THAT is a sick workout schedule. There must have been a huge separation with that much work to be done. I like these workouts because they're pretty well balanced between absolute strength and relative strength + cardio endurance.

May 23, 2009 11:47 AM

i totally agree with you, i thought that girls got off pretty easy all weekend on weights. especially catch 22, i thought the dl weight for girls should have been like 225. the clean and muscle up wod 115 or 135 and the jerk 105 or more. you chicks are freakin strong, and we need to exploit that!

10. sierra wrote...

May 23, 2009 5:58 PM

Nice work, Tomas! We love you!