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King of the Mountain V was scheduled in late August this year instead of June, making it a great opportunity to finish off the summer strongman season for me. I had high expectations going into this contest since it is also a final tune up heading toward nationals in October. With the temperature outside at nearly 100 degrees and a black top surface to compete on, surviving would be just as important as lifting big.
Event #1 - Farmers Carry / Tire Flip Medley
There were a couple great times put up before I went. I took the 280lb farmers conservatively for 60' knowing that the bulk of the time is in the tire flip and a mistake in the farmers could have been devastating. It took 7 flips of the monstrous 800lb tire to get it across the line but I made it through at a good pace. I lost way too much time between flips though (big mistake) and placed third in the event I expected to be my best on the day.
Event #2 - Log Press
240lb Log, lifted to the shoulders one and then pressed as many times a possible in one minute. I knocked out a quick 7 reps, sucked a little air, and another quick 3 to tie for the lead and win in this event. Despite winning the event I was feeling exhausted at this point in the contest and deep down I wanted to quit. This was due to a serious lack of sleep over the last week. I actually dozed off for a couple minutes in between the first two events. I pounded some water, powerade, and took a couple HMB and was back in the game by the next event though.
Event #3 - Tombstone Carry
The super heavy weights were taking 350lbs for a stroll. Sounds simple enough right? Wrong! This tombstone was absolutely brutal to carry. My training partner Aaron West had the lead with 180' and second place was 120' when I went. It was tough to find a grip on this thing, so once I got something mildly comfortable I started walking. I made the 60' turn quick but knew 180' was out of the question today. As I crept toward 120' mark the implement kept slipping and finally hit the ground about 10' before the line. Still third place but not the result I needed and I lost another point to the leader. On top of that my hands were both numb from holding this thing. In fact, as I'm writing this three days later, two fingers in my left hand are still numb. Even worse, now I had dropped to three points behind.
Event #4 - "Eliminator" Truck Deadlift
This apparatus is basically a full size Dodge Ram pick-up on a pivot. The truck can be moved forwards and backwards to increase the weight in the competitors hands. By the time it gets to the HW division this thing gets brutally heavy. I played the numbers game here. I did two solid reps on the approximately 750lb lift before the third rep shook me up. I was shaking so bad on the fourth rep I decided to stop there and put everything I had left into the Atlas Stones. My four reps here still secured 3rd place out of 12, with nearly half the field unable to make a lift. I was now 5 points behind the leader going into the last event.
Event #5 - Atlas Stones
Only one competitor lifted all five before me. I needed to win this event in a bad way. I had no thoughts of winning the contest at this point. I just wanted to finish strong! We got the start command and I gripped and ripped. I put the 260, 280, 310, and 330 stones up to the platforms with ease. I grabbed the 360lber next ready to finish this thing, lapped it easy, wrapped it up and grabbed nothing but dust giving me a horrible grip. I squeezed that stone with the intention of crushing it and was just able to hold on long enough to slip it onto the platform for the event win. Strangely, this also won the contest for me as the leader going into stones had to bow out with a hamstring injury. The win was a little bittersweet since I won partially due to another's misfortune.
Winning nonetheless gets my training for 105K Americas's Strongest Man started on a high note. It is also a good reminder to do the best you can do no matter what your situation. Train hard, eat well and take your HMB. Check back in a few weeks to see how training for ASM 105K is going.