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Vinnie

2018 - February - SJ 4 for Feb - Vinnie Rivellese

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Vinnie

I had such a great experience at my first ever grip sports event that I jumped onto the grip board almost as soon as I got home and thought I was being all polite and nice remembering to thank not just Nate, but also his family and Sorinex, for hosting this awesome event.  Little did I know that in the meantime, the rest of you were preparing epic masterpieces of grip literature, complete with introspection, character analysis, and, (gulp), love.  OK, well, at least like.  Also, I didn't know that there was a specific place for such posts and that Nate had posted openly encouraging us to indulge in this self-effacing and self-congratulatory practice.  So here I am with mine, and go easy on me, as it is my first.  Yes, I'm a gripboard grip contest trip report virgin!

What got this 48-year-old NYC lawyer who only found out about grip last year, and who is 3 years older than the next oldest person at the comp, to get up at 5:45 a.m. and speed to the Philly suburbs in an effort to arrive by 8 for the contest?  Why who other than F*ckspeare himself:  Anton Torella (h/t to Adam J. for noticing Anton's poetic vulgarity; the asterisk is in case the gripboard moderates language, not because I don't wanna type the u).  I mean that Anton got me to do that in a good way and a bad way.  

The good way is that Anton was/is my first "grip mentor" (many of you are to some extent my grip mentors in one way or another through your posts and advice and comps, etc., so by singling Anton out I don't mean to detract from my gratitude for that).  I originally signed up for the gripboard maybe a year and a half ago when I first bought the men's set of COC (1, 1.5, 2) and got excited that I could almost close the 2 right out of the package (I closed it a week or so later, prompting me to buy the 2.5 and 3 which then kept me humble for a while).  But I did nothing on the board for maybe a year, instead feverishly overtraining until I could close my 132 COC 2.5, unaware that it was a 132 or that this was actually a pretty tough 2.5, since I didn't know that Cannon Powerworks was.  And I pulled something or got tendonitis or something and stopped for almost a year, losing my ability to do the 2.5.  Months later, when I picked it up again and go back to closing the 2.5, I got re-interested enough to pop onto the gripboard and introduce myself.  This was when someone on here posted hey, there are guys who work out in Queens (not more than a half hour from me), why not hook up with them?  Before I could even try to figure out who to contact or whether that would be too pushy to ask to join a workout group, Anton read the post and invited me to join him and his buddies (regulars include Anthony Clarino, Jose Cabrera, and Chez), and I have been joining them for gripping and pinching (implements not each other) -- and drinking -- most Saturdays for a few months now.  They have fueled my interest with their enthusiasm for the sport, which Nate has called a cult, not without some reason -- but a good cult at least!

The bad way is that Anton told me I was supposed to be AT the comp by 8 a.m., not that I COULD arrive as early as 8 a.m. for weigh-in for the TEN A.M. start time.  I'm from Long Island, a little over 100 miles from Nate, so I left home scrambling at 6:15 a.m. worried I might be deemed late and miss something, or just look disrespectful as a lackadaisical newbie.  Had I known I would actually get there before almost everyone, MAYBE I'd have slept the extra hour and put up a bigger number somewhere, but hey, Anton's a good guy, I'll forgive him.

Anthony and I, who both drive Honda Civics, arrived at almost exactly the same time and trolled Nate's block in search of the non-existent house number 1600 (Anton again), realizing that we had the number wrong when we pulled up amidst the sea of 4x4 trucks parked in front of Nate's, when it dawned on us that we had found the right house because there are not that many residents of one house with so many 4x4s, and not likely to be other events taking place on Nate's block SO EARLY that morning. 

Nate, who might be the friendliest person in the world after Anton, immediately offered me food, which I immediately declined because I wanted to weigh in first.  Sure enough, that was a key move:  with shoes off, I made the 83K class by a quarter kilo.  A couple of bites and/or sips could have changed that!  I did not, however, refuse the food after the weigh.  Or the shots of that awesome whiskey which I liked even though I usually hate whiskey.

OK, so here is how I did, and what I felt about it (mostly felt pretty good!):

Grippers - 20mm Block - 138

135 - good
146 - miss
142 - miss
138 - good

I have a lot of trouble trying to set a gripper because I am much stronger in my arms and wrists than in the upper body, so I end up most comfortable with a wide set.  I can table no set close just about any COC 2.5, and I closed Anton's light 3 (145) on more than one occasion from a pretty wide set, but I can't close much (if any) more by narrowing the set, at least not so far.  Also, having to pass the block through it just really puts me off my game.  I have never done that before and that is something I am going to practice for future events.  But these numbers were not bad for a first comp at my body weight, and I am happy and also confident that I can improve upon them.

Ironmind Hub - 21.8 kg

17.8 kg - good
21.8 kg - good
24.8 kg - miss
24.8 kg - miss

As someone else remarked, this was a tough one!  I am generally pretty bad at the hub in comparison to how I do on other implements, but this one was so well-seasoned and I was so encouraged when what I thought was 21 kg was so easy that I jumped to 25, which was a personal best by a few pounds and also seemed deceptively easy, so I got greedy and waited for 28, which I failed twice.  And even though it was really only 24.8, that too would have been a PR for me and I should have been a little less bold.  I also need to work on hub.

Ironmind Pinchblock - 30 kg

25 kg - good
28 kg - good
29 kg - good
30 kg - good

I was trying to learn from my mistake of being a little aggressive on the grippers and the hub, where I might have gotten a slightly higher final number had I inched up more incrementally, and I corrected too much the other way.  For kicks, I kept going to see where I'd have gotten had I been more aggressive, and I did barely get 33 kg up, no one asked for 34, and I knew I'd fail at 35 so didn't bother.  33 kg was a PR by far for me (as was 30), and as with the hub, I think this was because it was so well seasoned.  Happy with the result, and learned from my strategic error.

Ironmind Little Bighorn - 72 kg

65 kg - good
69 kg - good
72 kg - good
74 kg - miss

Anton and the guys and I had worked out a couple weeks before with a different and easier shaped anvil, and we all pulled a lot more than on comp day; this LBH was indeed harder, but within the range we had anticipated.  So I know 65 kg looks a little ambitious for a starting number for a little guy who had never tried a LBH before the day of the comp, but I was encouraged by the previous anvil workout.  Also, I confess that I tried that exact LBH a few minutes earlier while warming up and pulled 67 kg OK, so I figured, let's start a little lower than that and get on the board and then go a little higher for the second attempt.  I suppose I could have gone to 73 instead of 74, but I am definitely OK failing the last attempt, and I did float it.  Happy with the result here as well.  I actually beat Nate's 71 (although his fail on 74 was stronger than my fail on it, so I'm not inviting him to a one-on-one LBH-off, he'd win that).  So on this one, I played it strategically well.

Bending

I don't bend.  I've done a 60d, and it hurts too much to be worth doing for fun or trying to progress.  Call me a wuss.  Call me a pre-arthritic middle-aged man.  Call me Vinnie "Likes-his-fingers" Rivellese.  But don't call me to bend nails.  I thought it was cool to watch though, and if I were to get into any sort of bending, it might be the longer steel.  I won't be very good at it because it is all upper body I believe, but I might enjoy it if it hurts the hands less.

Overall Thoughts/Comments

I don't want to pretend that I can name every person I met, or say something interesting enough to get 1000 likes, but let me conclude with a few observations that I think are in the spirit of why Nate invited these reports in the first place.

First, hats off to John McCarter, who is not even in the biggest weight class but who won the competition in such an authoritative way that other people who are larger and who are strong enough to win just about any competition (that John does not attend) probably cannot even feel competitive with him.  I'm a newbie, but I KNOW those lifts were epic.  I would also like to say that Juliet was similarly impressive.  It is hard to say sometimes with women, because so few are interested, but it was clear:  she was not just posting good numbers because she had less competition, or "for a girl"; she was closing, pinching, and pulling numbers that women and men of her body weight generally cannot do.  That is why she set records, and why she will set new ones annually, I am sure.

And second, hats off to EVERYONE.  Six months ago I did not know that grip sports existed, or that such comps were held.  Now I have new friends, a new hobby, a workout group, stronger arms and hands, and the motivation to improve myself in ways that will add enjoyment, health, and years to my life.  You guys combine geekiness with machismo, warmth with edge, and lighthearted humor with ardent devotion in a way that makes me want to get to know all of you better here on the grip board and in real life, whether it be at comps, working out, or just hanging out.

Finally, once again, thanks to Nate, his family, and the sponsors.  Next year I'm up for sponsoring by supplying a bottle of the whiskey, as long as I can drink it, too.  I feel like I'm officially in the cult, um, sport now.

Vinnie Rivellese

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Chez

It was great that you came Vinnie. I planned on coming to Anton's training session every other week now so we will continue to work on your set. 

Edited by Chez
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Juliet

As a newbie myself, I had no idea this was your first competition.  You did awesome and I even commented to Anton about how good you looked on the LBH. Welcome to the sport and thank you again for taking all the videos and pictures for me.  I truly appreciate it.  I've been watching them over and over trying to learn from them so that I can smash some more records next time.  :) Hopefully you'll be there to witness.  Thank you for the wonderful compliments as well.  Grip sport rocks!  Tell Jose I said hi and that we missed him.    

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Vinnie
Just now, Juliet said:

As a newbie myself, I had no idea this was your first competition.  You did awesome and I even commented to Anton about how good you looked on the LBH. Welcome to the sport and thank you again for taking all the videos and pictures for me.  I truly appreciate it.  I've been watching them over and over trying to learn from them so that I can smash some more records next time.  :) Hopefully you'll be there to witness.  Thank you for the wonderful compliments as well.  Grip sport rocks!  Tell Jose I said hi and that we missed him.    

Maybe you should deliberately smash just one record per meet, and thereby set a record for most consecutive meets smashing a record?

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Juliet

That's an awesome idea!  OR maybe I try to  break a record in a new event at each comp so that eventually I have ALL of the NAGS records.  Either way, I'm cool with it. Lol!

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anwnate

Fantastic trip report man.  The only thing missing is pictures!  Funny stuff!

It was great meeting you.  Anton had told me how strong your grip is right out the gate and he didnt exaggerate.  You guys are always welcome to visit.

 ( I'd train with y'all in the city...Cept I hope to die without ever entering NYC again.  :) )

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Anton.Torrella

Hahah great write up Vinnie and thanks for the commendation! Sorry I screwed up with the weigh-in and start time but I am glad I had you to race against on our day-break derby down the Jersey Turnpike - I'm really glad you had a great time at your first comp and drank the grip koolaide - you have some serious natural grip strength and have plenty more PRs and feats ahead of you - most importantly I'm glad this sport and gripboard brought as together as training/drinking pals and friends - like you said, gripsport attracts an inordinate amount of great people - glad you're in the cult Vinnie "Likes-his-fingers" Rivellese!

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Anton.Torrella

I have no more likes or every post on this page would get them haha

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Vinnie
12 minutes ago, Anton.Torrella said:

Hahah great write up Vinnie and thanks for the commendation! Sorry I screwed up with the weigh-in and start time but I am glad I had you to race against on our day-break derby down the Jersey Turnpike - I'm really glad you had a great time at your first comp and drank the grip koolaide - you have some serious natural grip strength and have plenty more PRs and feats ahead of you - most importantly I'm glad this sport and gripboard brought as together as training/drinking pals and friends - like you said, gripsport attracts an inordinate amount of great people - glad you're in the cult Vinnie "Likes-his-fingers" Rivellese!

That was some strong ass "Kool-Aid" at Nate's!

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anwnate
5 minutes ago, Vinnie said:

That was some strong ass "Kool-Aid" at Nate's!

You won't believe it...but Canadian Kool-Aid. 

$18.99 at Costco in good old "no tax" Delaware. :) 

28643023_10154592709258039_818993008_o.jpg

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Vinnie
24 minutes ago, Anton.Torrella said:

I have no more likes or every post on this page would get them haha

FYI I signed up on here, and WG told me to re-film my MM0, so I have a date with your 145 on Saturday (or Chez's 140 if I'm a little off).  Unfortunately I have to leave early Saturday (maybe 4:30) to suit up and get to a retirement dinner with wife by 6.

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Vinnie
4 minutes ago, Vinnie said:

FYI I signed up on here, and WG told me to re-film my MM0, so I have a date with your 145 on Saturday (or Chez's 140 if I'm a little off).  Unfortunately I have to leave early Saturday (maybe 4:30) to suit up and get to a retirement dinner with wife by 6.

And I will bring my IM Block, with which none of us will ever PR after the one we used last weekend ... but it will be great practice, like swinging two bats!

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Anton.Torrella
19 hours ago, Vinnie said:

FYI I signed up on here, and WG told me to re-film my MM0, so I have a date with your 145 on Saturday (or Chez's 140 if I'm a little off).  Unfortunately I have to leave early Saturday (maybe 4:30) to suit up and get to a retirement dinner with wife by 6.

 

19 hours ago, Vinnie said:

And I will bring my IM Block, with which none of us will ever PR after the one we used last weekend ... but it will be great practice, like swinging two bats!

Haha awesome - I'm lookin forward to you re-slaying that 145 Saturday then - gonna be a good day

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Vinnie
On 3/1/2018 at 11:52 AM, Anton.Torrella said:

 

Haha awesome - I'm lookin forward to you re-slaying that 145 Saturday then - gonna be a good day

Slayed.  And the 148 and 149 too!  And the 35-pound plates!  PR day!  Whoo hoo!

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anwnate
4 minutes ago, Vinnie said:

Slayed.  And the 148 and 149 too!  And the 35-pound plates!  PR day!  Whoo hoo!

Crushin' it!!!

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