2015: An Early Retrospective

I know it’s not quite September but I’ve recently taken stock of what has transpired already this year and there’s a fair bit to recount. I don’t know when I’ll next have the time to do it, so I’m going to do it now.

150 kgs p:h farmers hold croppedWhen the year began I’d resolved to take a break from competing in strongman and switch my focus to powerlifting. I had in fact decided to quit strongman altogether for a season, and come back to it when I felt more capable. Fate had other plans, however. I was contacted  about an opportunity which I felt compelled to take. Soon I was running strongman training clinics at Performance Training Centre Perth, with appreciably greater success than my efforts at Genesis Bentley.

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In May, PTC Perth held its first ever strongman novice competition. Planned and executed by yours truly, with a great deal of assistance from the Rucci brothers and several PTC members. At every stage of the proceedings, from promoting the event to setup the day beforehand, reffing and cleanup when it was all over, there were many hands making lighter work for all. I was and remain extremely thankful for everyone who helped to make the event run so smoothly.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Three months prior to this, I competed in the GPC powerlifting state championships. I totalled 700 and won my division (under 140 kgs). It was my second full powerlifting comp, having competed in the first annual PTC Perth Cup. While this was far from a decent total for a heavyweight, I was happy that my knees had held up well enough in the squat this time, and my deadlift was strong.

me 1Trent 1Darwin 1

Throughout 2015 my saturday clinics attracted a growing number of dedicated lifters. This is perhaps the most exciting thing about the last several months: strongman has more in store in WA and I’m watching it all unfold. It’s deeply satisfying to introduce other people to the sport, help them get stronger, and then compete. The clinics have already facilitated the rise of one contender, with more stepping up to enter next season and a wild card entry into the under 90s at state finals this year, too. But regardless of whether or not my trainees decide to compete, they turn up every week, follow my instructions and push themselves hard. I couldn’t ask for more than that.

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The CAPO state championships landed in June. This was a bigger comp and saw a bigger total: 760, with a 250 squat, 175 bench and 335 deadlift – the heaviest of the 2 day event. I was, again, pretty pleased with the outcome overall but was, again, nursing a minor knee complaint from the squat. I took 2nd place in the superheavys and on the day weighed the most I’ve been since I guess 2011: 142 kilograms. This time not predominantly fat.

335 deadlift CAPO states 2015

Although I was not exactly in the condition I’d planned to be in before making my return, and I only really had about eight weeks to prep, I decided after CAPO states that I would make a gambit for the WA Strongman state finals this year also. My intention had been to qualify for Australia’s Strongest Man, before I found out it was now being held in Bendigo, in November. This year.

 

In the few weeks leading up to qualifiers I accidentally shed six kilograms (from 136 to barely 130). I have no idea how it happened but clearly I’m going to have to further increase my caloric intake. Years ago, weight loss was the name of the game. Now it’s on a list of things I’d rather didn’t happen ever, ever, but most especially when I’m prepping for a five event strongman comp.1st place WASM qual2 2015

Then came game day. There will be a thorough write-up on the comp itself coming soon. For now, I’m just going to leave this here. ->

It’s also here that I have to make the decision to withdraw from the Perth Cup this year. It’s only three weeks after the qualifiers I’ve just limped away from, on September 19th, which leaves not enough time to recover and prep effectively (or even ineffectively) while also staying on track for the strongman finals in October. But c’mon, to be fair, it’s not like I’ve rested on my laurels this year. I’ll be at the cup to assist and spectate. Lifting would be foolhardy.

Where am I headed? Well that’s the million dollar question, isn’t it. There was an Australia’s Strongest Men held at the first ever Australian Arnold, at the Melbourne Convention Centre in March of this year (the one where Eddie Hall pulled his record-breaking 462 kilogram deadlift). Next year the Arnold will apparently be hosting it’s own national amateur and pro-strongman comps. It would be nice to qualify for that, and be there to witness immensely powerful performances from some of the best in the world. I may not do too badly, either, in the national amateur heavyweight class.

To sum up, this year has been pretty spectacular. There’s still much more ahead, and some exciting prospects on the horizon. But I can’t not feel a sense of accomplishment, and pride. And the year’s not even finished.