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CrossFit Games Update: Day 1

[/caption] The first day of the CrossFit Games is in the books. I had the pleasure of starting the day at 5 a.m. on the bus of male athletes headed to Camp Pendleton. The bus was a pretty raucous place on Monday night, but it was deadly serious this morning. Little talking. Lots of thinking. No laughing. Around 8 a.m., after staging and briefings, the athletes headed into the Pacific surf, and the CrossFit Games were underway. From a media perspective, you can’t cover the CrossFit Games in any traditional sense. It’s like Hunter Thompson’s experience at the Mint 400. We watched the athletes start the race, and then they disappeared into the hills of Pendleton for about 90 minutes. There were media people and course marshalls all along the rugged course, but we had no real idea what was happening once the athletes left the beach. We got a ride over to the finish area with Marine Capt. Johnson, and I used some of the spare time to talk to the uniformed Marines about guns. One of them let me hold a machine gun, and another explained how rocket launchers work. Apparently you can only fire a shoulder-mounted RPG about 5 times a day before you get a concussion. Apparently a rocket launcher is just about the loudest thing in the world. Eventually, we pieced together what the hell happened on the course by talking to the people stationed at various points and comparing notes. Chris Spealler had at one point tracked down the leaders but cramped up and fell behind in an event that many thought he would win. Aussie Chad Mackay won it despite the fact that he’s 225 and yoked all to hell. Lucas Parker got naked at one point, as expected. Numi Snaer Katrinarson finished second but was in a whole other world for a good period after the race. Canadian Angie Pye finished with class as always. The obstacle-course event was more static but just as chaotic, with wave upon wave of athletes tearing though in less than a minute while armed helicopters pounded the sky overhead. We watched the event, then sat on military cots in the medical tent, brushed dirt off laptop screens and fought a race against dying batteries and a shitty wi-fi hotspot to get the story to press. Covering traditional sports is easy. Covering the CrossFit Games is about as challenging as the workouts. That’s what makes it more fun than writing radio commercials, which I did for one awful year. I’ve covered all sorts of sporting events, and they’re pretty easy to work because you know the start, the end, the sport and the rules. You can just sit there and watch from the press box. In CrossFit, it’s the wild, wild west. Everything is fair game, and as a media team, we have no knowledge of what’s coming or when it will happen. We’re usually as blind as the athletes. But the athletes adapt, and so do we. That’s the fun of covering a brand new sport. There are no rules. You just figure it out on the fly. And you have fun doing it. That’s just like the workouts themselves. You could do 3 sets of 8 every Monday at 5 p.m. It’s safe and predictable, and it’s better than doing nothing at all. Or you could show up to CrossFit 204 and find some wild trip involving sled pushes, kettlebell swings and jug carries, all with Megadeth cranked in the background. That might not be considered a “traditional workout,” but I can tell you this: it’s the one I’d choose every time. The path less travelled is a hell of a lot more fun.

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