One year later in 2012 they brought a couple lifters up to my tiny Atlanta kettlebell competition and decided not only to go full on into the sport but to host, what in my opinion, was the best run kettlebell sport meet in the country ever-at least that I've attended. They set the meet date for April 13, 2013 and I decided right about January that going down and making an appearance wouldn't be good enough, if I was going to support their efforts I had to dust off my weightlifting shoes and get back on the platform. It's funny, this sport sucks, it's frustrating, it hurts, and it can get you in the best shape of your life, but it sucks. However, just like my other iron love the sport of powerlifting, kettlebell sport is addictive. There is nothing like taking the platform and seeing if you can bring your best on that day. For me, it's going the full 10:00 set in my event, the long cycle (clean & jerk of 2 kettlebells).
So that was it, after getting back to training after a 2-year layoff, some friendly joking with a former student of mine who I "convinced" to join the competition, and submitting my entry fee I was in. My training was adjusted to focus on the long cycle and I supplemented it with basic strength work and running. Simple.
My best efforts in competition to date had been 37 reps with 24kg kettlebells in the clean & jerk at the 2009 Arnold Classic and 65 reps with 20kg kettlebells in the clean & jerk at the 2009 Atlanta State kettlebell sport meet. At both of these competitions I weighed about 220 lbs. competing in the 90+kg weight class. Going into the FL meet I was tipping the scales at a much trimmed down 180 lbs and actually weighed in the morning of the competition at 83kg-2kg under the limit of my new class.
I have to say, Karen and Jay did an amazing job putting on this meet. Not only did they get a big turnout, the meet was incredibly well run and the lifting was of a very high quality. Even many of the beginners I saw were putting up very good repetitions which is a testimony to the attention to detail Karen and Jay take when they teach their students.
I ended up hitting a personal record of 67 reps with the 20kg bells which was good enough for best male overall long cycle and a rank 2 lifter classification; and my friend Jason Sanchez put on an amazing display winning the 28kg men's overall biathlon title and missing Candidate for Master of Sport ranking by a heart-breaking 2 repetitions in the snatch! In the women's division Teri Stabler won the best female long cycle with the 16kg bell making 57 reps, and Melissa Swanson of the Ice Chamber put on an amazing display of kettlebell lifting winning the best female lifter with an amazing 105 rep total with the 24kg bell!
It was great to get back down to Sarasota and see the amazing progress Punch Gym has made in the world of kettlebell sport after only a year and a half! They have a great group of lifters led by a couple of great coaches. I'm already looking forward to next years event, and maybe, just maybe I'll get back on the platform again!
To view the results of the competition click here: