The annual PTC Perth cup is a 2 day event held at Coventry Village in Morley. This was its premiere, and it was easily the most well-run Powerlifting comp I have ever been involved with. The platform itself was placed central to the market square, and was fortunately surrounded by the air-conditioning ducts. Outside was a blistering 39 degrees, so the competitors were very fortunate to have this prominent indoor location. It drew a serious crowd, which was also well-catered for with a one hundred-seat arrangement, directly facing the stage, and plenty of other seating provided by the various al fresco cafes and restaurants surrounding.
The inimitable Adam Coe had the microphone for most of the weekend, and demonstrated once again that he’s the best at wielding it; heckling lifters coming late to the platform, spotting champions of yesteryear in the audience… and occasionally making chit-chat with the hangry-looking heavyweights who wandered passed, on their way to weigh-in.
Day one saw the ladies and the lightweight lifters, with some truly amazing performances from one of PTC’s only two geared lifters, Darwin. Darwin has a special name, and on the day performed a 290 kilo squat at under 90 kilos bodyweight… and nearly locked out a 300 kilo deadlift.
Day two was comprised of two flights of the heavier mens; under 90s and under 110s were followed by the under 125s and the super heavyweights. I was there with the main intention of breaking a new 1RM deadlift. More specifically, the aim was to showcase a 300+ lift… this unfortunately didn’t happen.
I hadn’t eaten or drunk anything since dinner the night before, which was about two hundred grams of roast lamb and about 250 mls of milk. My slow, steady cut was not as on-track as I’d hoped, and the morning of weigh-ins my home scales read 126.3, so I had resigned myself to not making the under-125 weight division. But my hopes resurfaced when I got on the official scales at 9AM; 125.6. And I’d just been told I had another several hours to make weight.
People have quizzed me on this, and one of my coaches was adamant that I not cut to make this weight class. He saw it as pointless, and to his mind it may well have been; I could have jeopardised strength. But I did have a point, and it is this:
When I decided to change my life, I weighed over 150 kilograms. I don’t know how much over, because the scales only measured up to 150, so for the first several weeks, each time I’d get on the scales it would read 150. 150, 150, 150. Then one day, it wasn’t 150, it was 148-point-something. This was March 30th 2010; the day I started recording weight loss. Not quite four years later, and I wanted to be able to say I had done what I always said I would do, after attaining 125 kilos bodyweight mid-2012. I wanted to ‘walk around’ at a competitive weight for both Strongman and PL, and I wanted to be able to say officially that I had lost at least 25 kilograms of just body fat. I maintained this approximate bodyweight while slowly recomposing myself into a strength athlete. This was not just a weigh-in for a PL comp. Not to me.
Long story short, I made weight.
The disappointment came, as it has in the past, right at the beginning (I was actually reminded of my first event at the 2012 Am Nats); warming up for the squat, I was repping 140 and my left knee (fucking left knee this time) started hurting bad. No fluid, but pain. And the right was not much better, if I’m being honest. I had just re-injured myself (or I suppose, more correctly, aggravated an existing injury that had quietened down enough for me to think it had healed) and I hadn’t even unracked my first attempt. I wrapped up, walked out to my already low-balled 180 kilo squat, and hit it nice and deep. I’d like to say it was incredibly comfortable, and to Mr Markopoulos it must have looked it, but in fact it was incredibly painful, and I couldn’t continue in the squat.
Then came the bench press, and I did fairly well but couldn’t lock out my third attempt, which was 160. 145 was pretty strong and smooth, but on 155 I forgot to properly sink my humeral balls, which affected the press. I got it after a brief struggle mid-way from the chest. When I return to PL training (some time after ASM), I can see board press in my future. Board press… and deficits.
My biggest and best lift was already in jeopardy. I was applying a cold pack and wrapping my knees during breaks, just to try and push everything back together before the lift. It works, but only for a little while. My opener – which I stubbornly insisted must be a new personal record – was agonising. While I’ve always been a back-dominant deadlifter, my back had virtually zero assistance today. I was stiff-legging my warmups to, again, save my knees for the big pulls. It went up, to three white lights… and I had not enough left in the tank for the 305 that myself and Adam Coe had decided would be my second attempt. The angry squid was especially angry today, and I wasn’t prepared for it, but it did distract me from my throbbing kneecaps. It did not help with the lift itself. I was so whacked, I was leaking from the eyes and nose, and my setup suffered as a consequence. All piffling excuses for the fact that I just fucked up my 300+ kilo deadlift; a milestone I’ve been chasing since I pulled 260* at the Strongman Amateur Nationals in October 2012. I’ve been held back by injury and surgery and rehab. I’ve been held back by poor timing; by diligent and sensible programming; by the tenet that you never test 1 rep maxes in training. Now I’ve been held back by weak knees and not opening just a little lighter.
But I’m not overly concerned, not about that, at least. Right now my main focus is on getting my knees fixed so I can get on with training for Australia’s Strongest Man. And not that it matters, but I did walk away with a GPC gold medallion, taking first in my weight class (and putting up better numbers than the one competitor in the under 140s above me). The under 110s was where it was at though – some very impressive stuff from PTC’s own Tim Tomkinson (pictured far right, being bombed by Asha) and several other lifters, some travelling from as far as the Dungeon Powerlifting gym in Bunbury to compete today.
It was an utterly awesome experience, and some poignant moments were shared by the PTC family, who witnessed an all-round, record-setting performance from one of its youngest (and rowdiest), Brian Cook. The day was overshadowed by the tragic news that the Rucci’s father, whose health has been poor for some time now, had suffered a turn for the worse and was currently in a critical condition in hospital. Aaron Doyle, the third name behind PTC Perth, was brought close to tears when he took the mic during the award ceremony to advise why Dan and Paul had had to leave so suddenly. Despite their notable absence, the Perth Cup continued on without a hitch; a further testament to the many PTC crew who were running everything, on and off the platform.
There will, of course, be more pictures to come. Just as soon as I purloin the best ones I can find on Facebook.
Squat: 180 kilograms (injured)
Bench: 155 kilograms PR
Deadlift: 295 kilograms PR
*no… it was only 260. I planned 275 for my next one, but didn’t get it