The Granite Games: Road to Minnesota by Janet Durant
“The Road to Minnesota”
As far as competitions go, The Granite Games may only be seated behind the CrossFit Games and the Wodapoloza as a “must do, bucket list” competition. It is one of the largest and most well known CrossFit events in our nation. The competition lasts for 3 days and is held in St. Cloud, Minnesota, just Northwest of Minneapolis. The venue is located at St. Cloud University.
Last month, I had an impromptu invitation to compete on a 3-person team at the Granite Games. My 2 teammates, Gina and Brittany (both from Reformation CrossFit in Yakima, Washington) had originally done the online qualifier with another athlete to get the opportunity to compete. They easily qualified. Athlete 3, Tina, had opted to not make the trip, that’s when Gina contacted me and I jumped at the opportunity. Upon arriving, I was absolutely flabbergasted at the amount of athletes that lined the bleachers of the hockey stadium we would be competing at. I kept thinking to myself, all of these people are just the athletes! I was blown away. In just my team’s division, there were approximately 70 teams competing, that’s 210 athletes!
One WOD really stood out for me and made me realize why I have really come to love being a team athlete and not just an individual. The work out was held on the second day of the competition. It was our last event and my teammates and I were all starting to feel the toll the length of the day had had on us. The work out looked as follows:
Each athlete had to complete 7, 5, 3, 2, 1 front squats at various weights. The kicker being that all athletes had to hold the barbell in the front rack position while each individual teammate squatted the allotted amount of reps. If any athlete dropped their barbell while their teammate was squatting, none of those reps in that set would count.
Brittany, whose 1rm front squat is a whopping #245 got the heaviest load at #145. Gina took the #125 and I had the #135. We had a safe strategy and to avoid any mishaps or early fatigue, we planned to drop after the 7th and 5th rep. We’d then hold on for the final 3, 2, 1 reps.
Walking out on the floor was exhilarating. All 30 teams in our heat ran out in a single file line to each of their stations on the hockey stadium. (For those of you who struggle with math like I do, that’s 90 athletes on one floor!) There were camera’s set up everywhere and 2 big screens were located at opposing sides of the stadium. They do a great job of making you feel like a big deal. Once arriving to our spot, the room had gone noticeably silent with anticipation. Then the announcer stated, “10 seconds,” and a blow horn signaled for us to go.
We ran to our barbells, picked them up and began working through our set of 7. I was the last to go and on my final rep, we all dropped our bars. Within seconds, we’d all picked them up again and went into our set of 5. Our strategy was running smoothly. All we had left were 3, 2, 1 reps. The set of 3 was easy. The 2nd rep on the set of 2 felt strangely difficult and I worried how much I’d have to fight to get through the final rep. I watched Brittany go, then Gina, only my rep remained. I felt my elbows drop and later Brittany told me she could see in my eyes, a moment of panic, but I managed to stand up out of the squat. We dumped our bars and ran to the finish mat. Looking around, we saw that we were only one of three or four teams that had finished in our heat that quickly. All of this happened in a matter of 2 minutes and 11 seconds. Probably less time than it took you to read my elongated post.
After 3 days, our team ended up in a solid 23rd out of the 70 teams. I experienced so many incredible moments during the time that I was in Minnesota that will remain with me, I hope, my whole life and these memories continue to remind me why I compete in the sport of CrossFit.
Maybe next year we can take a few athletes from CrossFit Coeur D’Alene to get to experience the excitement of The Granite Games on teams or as individuals. I would gladly do it again!