Although Tyson Takasaki wishes he would have been on the floor competing at Wodapalooza—dodging 6-inch puddles during the handstand walk on Friday, snatching on stage under the bright lights as if performing in a concert on Saturday, and even dealing with the incredible fatigue and soreness while pushing his body on Sunday—the weekend provided him plenty of time to reflect. And to gear up for the upcoming 2016 CrossFit Games season.
Emily Beers got the chance to talk to Takasaki the day after the competition ended, and three days before he and Emily Abbott—who placed 7th in a jam-packed women’s division—hop on yet another airplane and head for Boston to the East Coast Championships (ECC).
Knowing these athletes, they'll probably spend most of their free time this week in the gym... and doing their hair.
Emily Beers (EB): What was your favourite event as a spectator?
Tyson Takasaki (TT): I loved the Friday night workout—the airdyne event. The stage had energy like the tennis stadium (at the CrossFit Games). It was right by the water and it almost felt like a concert stage, except the athletes were on the stage instead of the band. It was such a good flowing workout. Super powerful and fast. It even felt like a concert. The announcing and the DJs were really coordinated and the music was great. Actually the whole weekend was very spectator-friendly. I don't get to be on that side of a competition very much.
The stage reminded Takasaki of the famous tennis stadium at the StubHub... but with a rock band competing.
EB: What was the best part about the weekend for you?
TT: Probably just getting to spend time with the people in the house, and just seeing everyone—seeing all the guys. Like Mitch (Barnard) and Brent (Fikowski) and Lucas (Parker). These are all guys I’ve lifted with and trained with. I wanted to be out there with them, and you know it sucked not being on that stage, but we’ll all be together in just a few months. It’s almost like a reunion seeing each other every couple months because we share such a common bond.
Although difficult to watch from the sidelines, Takasaki had a ton of fun cheering for and catching up with his buddies Brent Fikowski, Mitch Barnard and Albert Larouche, who won the men's team event. All about the camaraderie.
EB: What’s the attitude at an event like Wodapalooza compared to the CrossFit Games?
TT: On the competition floor, it’s pretty similar. It’s all serious. But in some ways it’s also a lot more relaxed. People were eating tacos between events. At the Games, it’s more business. And at the Games athletes are pretty sheltered from everyone. There’s security around the perimeter and even your coach can’t be in the athlete chill out area. But here fans were right there and athletes are all just hanging out in between events so it feels more casual.
EB: What about for you? Do you get just as nervous at an event like this as the Games?
TT: I still get nervous for events like this, but at the Games it’s totally different. You literally feel like you’re going to lose your mind before some events, and you get so nervous you start thinking, ‘Why am I doing this, why am I doing this?’ But local competitions are way more fun. It’s easier to enjoy them during the moment, because at the Games there is way more anxiety and stress. At these events you still want to do your best, but it’s not as stressful.
Although not as stressful as Regionals or the Games, it was still a long, gruelling weekend, where teammates leaned on each other to help one and other get through! Here they are: Relieved to be finished!
EB: Is this kind of event an indication of who will do well at Regionals and the Games?
TT: I mean the Games programming tests a lot more things, but these workouts are still very relevant. I think the top 10 here have a pretty good standing heading into regionals and the Games.
EB: After watching this weekend, who would you say are some of the men to watch heading into this season?
TT: Noah (Ohlsen) 100 percent. He was so consistent. And Cole (Sager). He is from our region and placed 5th. And he hung out near the top all weekend. To be honest, any of the top 20 guys in our region could take a spot to the Games this year, I think.
Could this be Ohlsen's—8th in both 2014 and 2015—year to get to the podium in Carson?
EB: What about the women?
TT: Emily Bridgers for sure. And Brooke Wells really surprised me. I didn’t know much about her. I knew she was young and a rookie last year, but she was very impressive. I don’t think she finished below the top 10 in any event. And Camille (Leblanc-Bazinet) and Emily did great, too, as Canadians. 5th and 7th.
EB: What’s going on now for the next few days before you head to Boston?
TT: Well right now the crew is outside (trying to tan). It’s decent out. It hasn’t been hot like you’d expect, so we’re still all pasty Canadians. We’re hoping to get down to South Beach today. And Lucas (Parker) is still in town, too, so we might go hang out with him.
Much of their focus in the next few days will be on recovery—plenty of sleep, good nutrition, treatments, and, of course, Blonyx
EB: What’s the plan for the ECC? (The Blonyx team competing is Emily Abbott, Mel Doss, Dan Tyminski, who is meeting the team in Boston, and Cody Mooney, who the team recruited in Miami to be their fourth).
TT: We haven’t even really talked about it too much. I mean, 48 hours ago we didn’t even have a 4th member. We’ll take this week and chill out a bit, get some work done, and regroup and refocus for next weekend. We’re going to fly to Boston on Thursday and will go to CrossFit Reebook 1 on Friday, and then the competition is Sunday. It’s a team competition so it’s way less stressful. And it’s just one day so it’s less volume and less stress and much easier on these guys.
Dark horse Chase Smith worked his way up the leaderboard nicely at the weekend. Chase hails from Tasia's home gym CrossFit Free and is venturing into the individual scene after a number of regionals performances with Team CrossFit Free. One to watch!
Tune back later this week for ECC Behind the Scenes with the Blonyx team!