Zone Games 5 Recap!

Image credit – Felix or Kingsley?  Nicci clearing the “over” bar in the Obstacle course

Hello team!

Well, the lactic acid is barely clearing out of my system but the details fade fast so I’m getting this blog out quick!  Zone Games 5 was all that it promised to be – a nice test of work capacity with the added spice of “unknown and unknowable” with the first ever obstacle course in Zone Games history!

The idea for the obstacle course came to me when watching the CrossFit Games down in California this year – they had the giant monkey bars set up, they had the big rope climb in another WOD, and in 2010, they had a couple of challenging wall climbs – but they haven’t yet strung them all together.  Obstacle courses are great challenges of all-round athletic ability (including agility, coordination, balance, flexibility… etc etc), so I made sure to include all of those elements in the course design.  Saturday evening saw myself, Craiggers, and Brigit come together to put the design into action and to test it out.  I really enjoyed watching it and participating in it on Sunday and (in spite of the logistical challenges) thought it worked out pretty well 🙂

The other two events were definitely tests of work capacity similar to what we saw in the 2011 Sectionals.  To win in these events, athletes had to have a moderate base of strength added to the ability to push at a high rate of work through the rounds.  These are the type of events I expect to see in the Taranis Winter Challenge, although likely the time domains will be more mixed in that competition.

How it all shook down.

The call came early – 8am doors opening at the Zone – something not everyone (or maybe not anyone!) was looking forward to.  After a short intro to the intricacies of the obstacle course (confusing me even though I designed it!), it was off to the races with our Novices leading the way.

Our Novice division was an intriguing match up with a coupe of very different bodies competing for the title.  We saw that come into play a bit on the obstacle course as Meagan “Doc” Timney’s diminutive frame and gymnastic flexibility and grace was pitted up against James’ power and speed.  In the end, it was Meagan who pulled out a slim 11 second victory after 4 laps of the course.

The Open division consisted of three groups of athletes:  our Intermediate men (May and Jon), Intermediate women (Nicci, Heather, Lindsay F, and Sarah), and our Advanced women (Wendy, Adrianna, and Lindsay M), which proved to be another intriguing mix with scaling appropriately presenting a significant challenge (more on that later!).  Again, different strategies were employed on the course, ranging from elegance and precision to power and reckless speed (not naming any names!).

Some tremendous displays of grip strength were also evident, with some of the intermediate women in particular hanging onto some pretty precariously angled barbells in the farmer’s walk.  Jon’s monkey bars were impressive also.

At the end of this event, the times ranged from 3:35 to 4:51, but the top three were from an Intermediate man (Jon), an Advanced woman (Lindsay M), and an Intermediate woman (Nicci).

The Advanced Men category featured 10 motivated athletes with Greg Rangel gamely moving up from Intermediate men to mix things up.  He set the pace early on with a blazing 3 rounds of the obstacle course, showing not only great strength and power but also agility and flexibility for a big man… I guess that’s why he’s employed pulling people out of fires and cats out of trees!  Speed on the monkey bars and precision on the over-under were big deciders in this category with some athletes setting out to crush the course in around the 3 minute mark before getting stuck with burpee penalties.  Allan Jackman showed probably the most promising form until the last “under” bar caught him.

When the dust settled, Mike McCabe held the top spot with a time of 3 min, with Warren and Cam tied at 3:03.  At the suggestion of Event Coordinator Brigit (you’re my buddy), a tie breaker was called – 25 burpees, head to head.  With both athletes utilizing the one-fist, one palm style of burpee due to gimpy wrists, it was  a fair contest, with the reps being a dead heat until Warren “Dub” Reeves pulled ahead on rep 23.  Seeing his chances of a second place finish disappear through his teary eyes, Cam pulled the ‘chute as Dub claimed a well-earned victory.

Event 2 – Stop, Drop and Roll.

This event was a toughie, made slightly more so by my decision to go with the full 15-12-9-6-3 rep scheme as opposed to the less aesthetically pleasing 15-12-9.  Featuring power snatch, barhop burpees, and box jumps, the challenge was always going to be in the legs and shoulders but the duration hammered the lungs also.

Our Open division was again very interesting to watch, with differences in comfort and technique in the snatch a big separator.  For this wod, our Intermediate women owned the roost, with all four of the top spots going to this group (Sarah, Nicci, Lindsay F, and Heather in that order).  From there it was a free for all with the bar weight appearing to be the decider in terms of who beat who in the other divisions.  May narrowly beat Lindsay M, Adrianna pushed hard to squeeze under the 12 minute cap in 11:37 and Wendy and Jon just barely missed completing the wod by 4 and 1 reps respectively.  Impressive push all round by these athletes, and great for the spectators to watch!

In Advanced men, the Adam Giles show was about to commence.  After placing 6th in the first event, Abzilla was angry and after some low scores to get him on the podium.  Standing their ground in his way were Mike and Paul “Youngblood” Lance (a very tough competitor in his first Zone Games).  Adam’s aerobic power came into play with an “unbroken” approach to the wod and nosed him ahead of Paul by only 2 seconds, finishing in 7:01.  Mike, as solid as ever, pushed strongly throughout the workout to finish third, followed closely by Gord Kehoe (a big man with lots of strength and energy that we’ll see much more of soon).

The rest of the gang was strung out a bit, with Sean Bruce narrowly missing a chance to take down Turts by a couple of seconds.  Warren, Allan, Greg, and Eric rounded out the rest of the ten competitors, with each one showing an impressive commitment to this workout in spite of a lot of accumulated fatigue.

WOD 2 – Novice – “Legs”

This was one of THE events to watch of the competition – A big strong man versus a smaller woman with an incredible engine.  The wod was a mixof bodyweight challenges (squats, situps, box jumps) and rowing (300m) – with the expectation being that the athletes would excel at different components.  That was exactly the case as through rounds 1, 2, and 3, Meagan would catch up and pass James only to have him power back during the row.  In the end, James’ great commitment to the erg couldn’t match Meagan’s relentless proficiency in the calisthenics.  Awesome to watch and full effort by both athletes.

WOD 3 – “Quadoplasty”

This wod was loosely based off the “killer kage” workout from the 2011 Games.  4 rounds of 7 front squats, 300m run, and 11 pullups were scaled by weight and difficulty to provide a solid challenge for all levels.

In the Open division, most placing switches came down to pullups – who could do them consistently through the rounds and who had to break them up into 2, 3, or 4 sets as the workout went on.  Lindsay F and Adrianna in particular fought through some very tough sets, much to the enjoyment of the crowd.  These two athletes threw down their first kipping pullups and first chest-to-bar pullups inside a competition!

That isn’t to say that the other components weren’t challenges also – for some athletes, the set of 7 front squats became a battle of will versus bar.  In particular, Jon’s struggle with the squats was epic – requiring some desperate power cleans to complete some of the sets.

Nicci and May also had a great battle with May bringing rapid-fire strict pullups to the fight and Nicci trying to stave him off with great rhythm in her kips.  Heather Cameron showed her true heart in this one with an incredible energy output throughout the workout and her front squats were great to watch.  Wendy Callendar put in another very solid performance, showing that she has developed not only strength and stamina in the lower body, but also in her upper body, with very smooth and definite chest-to-bar pullups.

Last but not least, Linsay M was magnificent on the pullup bar and strong on the squats.  She will be the first to say that running isn’t her favorite activity, but the most important thing was that she completed the course so that she could crush more chest-to-bars and front squats!  Well done Linds.

The Advanced Men final event became an all-or-nothing affair.  Mike was in first spot by 4 points, while Adam, Paul, and Cam were tied for 2nd (at 8 points) and Warren and Gord were only one point back with 9 apiece.  As long as he didn’t falter in the last workout, Mike would secure top spot in ZG5.  A few seconds here and there and the 2nd and 3rd place podium spots were anyone’s game.

Indeed, it came down to seconds in the end – three athletes were separated by only 1 second each (Warren at 10:24, Gord at 10:25, and Paul at 10:26)!  Just goes to show that every second counts in this game!  Abzilla Giles showed again why he is a force to be reckoned with, garnering his second win of the competition in an insane 8:07.  Mike also demonstrated his class with a very strong 8:16 – stamping his authority on first place.

I enjoyed my battle with Paul through this wod – his running was awesome, we were about even in the front squats, but I just managed to get him on the pullups.  It was a great back-and-forth struggle and I’m sure that he will continue to become a force in the Crossfit competition scene.

Eric Brown chose the last WOD of the day to show some of his true class, running well and kipping beautifully to capture 7th spot in this workout, a scant 5 seconds ahead of Sean Bruce (who to his credit, is essentially breathing through a straw right now so is completely anaerobic for the whole wod :).  Greg Rangel chose the best option by stopping at the finish of the third round – ensuring that he will continue to drag people out of trees and cats out of fires (or is it the other way round?).  He competed very well and stood up to every challenge and will live to fight another day!

So, here’s the full shakedown of placings.  I’ve written enough so I won’t go into detail about the awesomeness displayed by the volunteers (judges, bbq, run turn-around peeps, etc) or the spectators, who were generous with their cheering (great to have the kids there too!).  I will say another thanks to Craig and Jer for sourcing and creating our new trophies – cute little boxes and neat little cups!  Suffice to say everyone that YOU are what makes the Zone the community it is, so thanks for that.

Hope to see you all at the next Zone Games (I’ve got a few other tricks up my sleeve!)


PS.  Check out all of the sweet pics on our Facebook page!

name time place time place pts total standing
meagan 2:28 1 15:01 1 2 1
james 2:39 2 16:16 2 4 2
time place time place time place pts total standing
linds f 4:07 3 9:25 3 2rds +1 9 15 7
heather 4:18 5 9:42 4 11:14 5 9 3
sarah 4:12 4 8:33 1 10:37 3 8 1
nicci 4:40 8 8:54 2 9:56 2 12 5
May 4:23 6 9:57 5 9:34 1 12 4
Jon 3:35 1 -1 reps 8 10:53 4 9 2
Wendy 4:39 7 – 4 reps 9 4rds – 12 7 23 8
Lindsay M 3:37 2 10:35 6 13:40 6 14 6
Adrianna 4:51 9 11:37 7 2rds +4 8 24 9
Advanced Men
time place time place time place pts total standing
Greg 3:37 9 10:11 9 19 10 28 10
Eric 4:28 10 14 10 10:59 7 27 9
Sean 3:30 8 8:52 6 11:04 8 22 8
Adam 3:23 7 7:01 1 8:07 1 9 2
Mike 3:00 1 7:36 3 8:16 2 6 1
Cam 3:03 3 8:50 5 9:11 3 11 3
Paul L 3:16 6 7:03 2 10:26 6 14 5
Gord 3:16 5 7:47 4 10:25 5 14 6
Allan 3:03 4 9:56 8 11:08 9 21 7
Warren 3:03 2 9:21 7 10:24 4 13 4

QOD: What was your favourite/least favourite moment/part of the CFZ Games 5?

Today’s Workout

Buy-in: Back Squat – 5 x 5

  • for this round of 5×5, work up in weight over your sets (75-80% of 1RM is a good target)
  • keep technique solid – the weight should be challenging but you should NOT break down technically

WOD:  Two Tutus

This is a simple little cardio push workout – keep track of your own time by the main clock in the gym –
5 rounds of:
  • Row 200m
  • Run 200m
  • 200 skips (or 50 double unders)
  • Rest 3 minutes
  • Take your total time elapsed on the clock and subtract 12 minutes for your “score”
  • Partner up as needed to share equipment

Zone 2 – 50 single skips per round, 3-5 total rounds

Zone 1 – scale wod as needed

Cash-Out: FTL stretch


More Posts

Summer Indulgence

Fresh local Strawberries are now available. These delicious little berries are rich in polyphenols which are known for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging benefits. Here

It’s a Fight Gone, Whatt?

Good… I hope! Wod tips: Choosing a different starting position can affect your score! We’ve found that starting on the row, or starting on box