Month: March 2016

What you had to do to make it to the 2016 Masters Qualifier

The CrossFit Open is all about numbers.

How many reps did you do in 16.1? What was your time in 16.5? How many people went faster or slower? It’s all numerical, and I like numbers.

As I did in 2014 and 2015, I took a snapshot of what it took to make it into the Masters Qualifier in 2016. As a refresher, the top 20 Masters in each 2016Games-logo“over 40” age group are invited to the Games. Before that happens there is a weekend of WODs, performed wherever you happen to be, where the top-200 finishers in each Age Group are allowed to compete. Think of it as a mini-Games but done in your own box.

What did it take in 2016 to get into the Top-200 of each Age Group? By updating my spreadsheet from last year it was pretty easy to figure out.

Methodology – I pulled the results from each age group of the people who finished from 190th to 210th place in the Open. This includes 10 people who made it into the MQ and 10 who didn’t, but it gives a solid indicator of what it took to come in right at 200th place. For this exercise we’ll set aside that it’s basically the Top-20 in the Open who make it to the Games with some exceptions (as I wrote about in a previous post, Does the Open even Matter?). This post is only about making it into the Top-200, and it’s meant as a general guideline and not a comprehensive analysis. Use this to start planning your training for 2017 if your goal is to get to the MQ.

So, what did it take to make it into the Top-200?

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 11.29.50 AM

Some  explanation:

  • I have not figured out a way to elegantly adjust for Scaled Scores
  • Cells with “VALUE!” are where 1 or more participants cracked the Top-200 with a Scaled score
  • I think it was the W55-59 where there is a Scaled score at 180th place, but not in 190-210
  • “Dev” is the standard deviation

How does this compare to last year? Given that the WODs are different, the reps are different too. However, when it comes to Scaled Scores, the results are VERY different. In 2015 there were several Female divisions where it was possible to advance to the MQ with a Scaled score. This year – not so much. Only the 60+ age groups, this year both male and female, see a Scaled score at the 200th place range. With the given data it’s not possible to say why this is: competition is much tougher, WODs were more accessible, whatever.

At the Ranch for the live 16.5 Announcement

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 12.10.32 PMMy box hosted the 16.1 announcement, but I was in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress and couldn’t attend. I’m not much of a crowded spaces, enthusiastic crowd kind of person although I do get stoked off the intensity. When someone posted that he had a spare ticket to the 16.5 announcement at the Ranch I jumped on it. Well, after clearing with my wife that it was OK to not be home until late. That’s how I roll.

I wanted to go for a couple of reasons. The obvious reason of seeing Fraser, Smith, and Froning throw down. Sure, there’s that. The other is the innate curiosity I’ve had about Castro’s Ranch for a couple of years now. I grew up on a rural piece of property with a bunch of outbuildings and hills. Was it similar> Just where did this Castro kid grow up?

I’ve seen the YouTube videos of the 2007 and 2008 Games. I’ve seen the various random workouts they host at the ranch. I live within 50 miles of the place and drive through Aromas fairly frequently, but I never knew exactly where the ranch is.

It’s not where I thought it was.

A quick look at directions had me thinking it was a few miles south of Gilroy at the overpass where you can cut over the coast range to Monterey (and I did once, but my then 6 year old puked all over the back seat because of the curving roads). Nope I was well into Blood Alley when I looked to the left and saw a bunch of cars and a big container with CrossFit written on the side… Oh, it’s right on the freeway.

First I had to exit the freeway and head back north for a mile or so. Cool, the new overpass, that I’d watched being built for a couple of years, was my turnaround. I’d never had any reason to drive over it.

I almost overshot the small road off of the freeway, but easily found the Ranch. The guy directing parking was my box-friend who had supplied the ticket. That was cool – I hate it when I give something away and someone doesn’t use it.

Let me explain the Ranch.

It’s your typical California semi-agricultural, semi-industrial space. A house nearby and a big metal warehouse/workshop and a parking pad with a hill behind it.

IMG_3626That’s it. At the moment the hill was green and wet, but that will change soon.

It is a hell of a lot closer to the 101 than I had expected. Actually, it’s literally ON the 101. And it’s on the East side. For some reason I just assumed it was on the West side of the freeway.

The media setup is pretty intense. There’s a huge main camera and several remote cameras. There’s a media trailer. It’s probably the minimum for a live broadcast, but it’s impressive nonetheless.

The crowd was a few hundred people. Obviously they were crossfit folks. It seemed pretty casual. To fire up the crowd they did a few contests; a full contact handstand walk, an L-sit hold. They started with a short hill run. Really should have tried to jump in on that because, well, runner….

During this time they had brought out ergs and barbells with an assortment of weights. The assortment of weights made a few folks think it was going to be a ladder of some kind or a one-rep max. Nope, that was just for the athletes to warmup.

And then the announcement. One take – we’re doing it live. Keep the speeches short and on point.


Oh shit, we’re doing 14.5 again.

Then a break while they brought out the mats with the rep counts numbered. Then they brought out the barbells. It’s a lot of work to pull it all together. Given that they clearly have to practice all of this I’m still surprised that someone hasn’t leaked a workout yet.

Mats rolled out (the ones’ on the floor. I have no idea if Fraser rolled out). Froning, Smith, and Fraser came out again. Just saying, but those guys are not very tall. Fit as hell, but not very tall.


3….2….1…. GO!

I was within arm’s length of Fraser for his 21 reps, and he looked slower than Smith or Froning. Fraser’s thrusters were much faster than mine will EVER be, but compared to Froning and Smith, Fraser’s thrusters looked almost methodical. Extend, slight pause at full extension, back down. His burpees though, were blazing fast, and he soon caught and passed Froning and Smith.

I can’t comprehend how fast they can move both weight and their bodies. It’s surreal. By the round of 15 it was clear that Ben Smith was slowing down. Fraser was hauling ass. To be clear, “Ben Smith was slowing down” is only relative to the 2 guys beside him. I plan on slowing down in my set of 21.

To borrow from my ultra and adventure racing days, my goal is to “start slow and then taper off.”

Not just that they were going unbroken on their thrusters – they were repping them out faster than most people can do for a set of 3 when fresh.

Fraser won – as we know. I hung around for Ro vs. Boz because Castro said he was joining them. I really wanted to see Castro throw down. Unlike many people, I know he is an athlete, and I don’t harbor any animosity towards him. But I still wanted to see what he could do. Especially after he said during the cooldown show that he was “going to fucking war to beat both Ro AND Boz.”

No. No he wasn’t going to do that….

Yes, I saw a lot of CrossFit royalty. No, I didn’t get any autographs or take selfies. Hell, I didn’t talk to anyone because total introvert. Still had a blast.

After Boz finished, securing his 2016 sweep, I headed out. Had to hit Costco and Trader Joe’s for some Easter Dinner shopping.

I know. I live a life of pure glamour, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

When I shoot down to Monterey via the 156 or down to Paso to visit family as I negotiate from 75 down to the lower speed limit I’ll look left towards the Ranch. Now I know where it is.

16.2 part 3. single-single-double-single-single-double

My dubs are gone. Completely gone. Sure, I should have practiced them more often, but I’m usually good for 10 in a row. Nope. Not this time. Just no rhythm whatsoever.

A few of us grouped up to hit 16.2 again this morning. I tried my RPM rope. I tried my Rx rope. I tried a gym rope. Bah. Nothing. Got a lot of good advice from those around me, including a couple of coaches, but still couldn’t make it happen.

Counted for one of our coaches. He asked for me to judge, and I had to no rep him. Feet did not break the plane behind him during a couple of his T2B. Must…be….legit.

My turn. I hit my 25 T2B easily. Moved on to the dubs. Kept trying but kept failing too. Finally sucked it up and started doing single-single-double. Too late though as I only got to 38 reps. Too much wasted time.

That was frustrating as hell. I quickly decided that I was going to hit this thing again, and I was going to hit it today. I judged another athlete and set myself up again. No matter what I was going to get to those damn squat cleans.


Toes to Bar were less snappy than the first time. 25 down and back to the rope.

This time I went single-single-double from the start. So what if I had to do 100 extra singles to get 50 doubles. I was going to get 50 doubles. I took way to damn long, but I hit 50 doubles even with a few screw ups along the way. Only had 20 seconds left, so I raced to the bar and knocked out 3 quick reps.

I got to the damned bar.

Not going to lie. I’m equal parts relieved and pissed at myself. No plans on doing it again though.