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Living Legends And Some Other Guys 2019: Tom Flesher Report


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Tom Flesher

This event was a bit of a logistical nightmare for me from jump. Often, my wife travels with me to grip competitions and we try to roll someone (generally @Anton.Torrella) up into a carpet and throw them into the trunk to keep us company, or my wife stays home with our chiweenie (which I assume is her actual preference (because have you met my dog? She's pretty badass)). Unfortunately, Katie's best friend is getting married to one of my drinking buddies (we bonded over our futile rooting interests in the Bills and the Mets as well as the obvious), and the bachelorette trip was this weekend. Once we got Carrot dropped off with said drinking buddy, we went our separate ways to exchange ill-timed drunken texts about how much booze and/or fun we were having with the weird people.

I left Long Island around 4 AM to pick up @temmmeeee and set off for Pennsylvania to load into @richcottrell's SUV. Anton was supposed to come with us but had some very positive reasons not to (way too much work to do) and so missed out on this trip. Traffic was nonexistent and I got everywhere early, but had I left any later I would have gotten tied up in the rush hour traffic around New York City and screw that nonsense. Tim brought his own Legends anvil and Heller blob. We had gotten rooms in the Econolodge that was across the street from the gym - location could not have been better.

We made it to Durniat Strength just in time to weigh in and warm up. I came in around 278 in jeans after a day of sitting on my butt in the car and eating trash. Right now I'm generally waking up around 274 and am trying to drop a few pounds the honest way before doing a water cut for King Kong; I'd hoped to be solidly at 120kg for this comp and well on my way to 105kg for KK, but a combination of heavy deadlifts, lots of newbie gains on overhead work, the attendant expanding back and traps, and my fondness for Scotch, beer, and ribeyes has slowed the downward crawl on the scale. I'm a much nicer and healthier 275 than I've been in the past, but I'm going to be a lot more competitive when I'm in a better class. Also, not for nothing, my doctor likes to remind me that my knees don't care whether it's a beer belly or a big set of lats that's weighing me down.

Open class, because have you met me? And the people in the Legends class? I'm pretty sure that @Andrew P was thinking specifically of me when he added the Open class, so I'd have some friends to play with this weekend.

Grippers: I don't train them. I should, if I'm going to focus on gripsport, but my eye right now is on bending first and strongman second, so I get a much better carryover from thickbar and pinch than from grippers. It showed - although I thought I was sufficiently warm, I bungled the set on my opening attempt (105) and pinched the skin on my hand to prevent the close (@James Retarides: "A pinch of the Flesh for the Flesher"). I forget how I ran the intermediate attempts, but I got 115 (comp PR is 120) and failed 125 on my final attempt.

Hammers: I opened with the women. I hadn't trained this except briefly on @Donc101's rig in May, so I was testing during the warmup phase. I believe I made 5, 7.5, and 10, but failed on 12.5. Surprisingly, several of the Legends bombed the 20 pound opener and Andrew held a mulligan round early Saturday. I'm unsure how this affected the final placement; the zeros came as a surprise to just about everyone. Everyone was very helpful with technique pointers - I got into a pretty good groove once I got my cues down. I thought of it as starting in downward dog for abdominal tightness, dropping down to the knees with the ring fingers as fulcrums (Retarides' cue), and driving the elbows down. This was a very difficult and technical event that I think was affected by a lack of good training options for a lot of the competitors. I'm not sure who if anyone trained this specifically. There was also some discussion about the padding on the comp platform versus the warmup platform and several of the competitors said they'd warmed up using weights they missed in competition.

Dinner was at Fiore's, AKA the Italian restaurant next to the hotel. Rich, Tim, and I got there late because I couldn't get my hotel room selfie right (I was too tired to grin in a sufficiently coy and flirty manner) so we forced them to retake the group picture. @Joseph Sullivan had ordered pizza, despite being a native Brooklynite visiting small town Ohio; I picked up the "hawg wings," which was a 3 pork shank meal that came with sweet potato casserole. The tap beer selection wasn't great so I went with Glenlivet and then the local bourbon, Minglewood. If you were to ask me about Wooster's local whiskey production, based only on Minglewood, I would tell you that Wooster is home to an excellent gym.

Andrew's Axle: The 2 3/8" axle was a big unknown to me. I had tried to get 120kg at Gripmas but couldn't lock it out, so I opened at 95 kg. (I'm not certain this was an allowable amount but didn't realize that until after I'd requested it.) 95 went up easily so I jumped to 110, and then 120. At that point we were doing only 10 kg jumps, so my final attempt was at 130kg. I got it a few inches off the ground three times in the 30 second time frame but it slipped each time. I think if I'd been allowed to take 125kg I could have locked it out; this is a really fun implement!

Saxon Bar: The bar we were using to warm up on was bare steel and slick as snot. I warmed up to 70kg. The competition bar was much crustier. I based my attempts on my Euro max of 177ish and aimed to finish slightly higher. I opened at 65, then took 70, 75, and 80 kg and locked each of them out pretty easily. @Darrin S was judging and said I probably had at least one more jump in the tank. It felt really good, but opening at 65 rather than 70 was an overly conservative move.

After this my recollection of the numbers gets fuzzier.

Legends Anvil: I've had a lot of trouble with this. Standing on blocks was surprisingly helpful and I felt, even though I can't understand the physics behind it, that I got much better power off the ground from the blocks than from a flat stand. I'm not sure why that worked better for this lift but I'll have to experiment with blocks for the Little Big Horn for King Kong. I honestly don't remember my numbers but they were low; I could probably have taken another jump or two but the implement and I don't get along and I didn't want to blow a pretty good competition by getting too cocky.

Dumbbell Medley: I stole Hilde's technique of alternating hands on the lightest implements and got the first couple pretty quickly. The 150 dumbbell stopped me - I broke it from the ground once or twice, I think, but couldn't get it onto the platform.

Blob Medley: Ditto - I want to say the half 90 stopped me, but it may have been a half 80. This time I wasn't very successful on the final lift - those blobs got heavy very, very quickly. (On edit, I got the half 80 but couldn't get the half 90. In fact, none of the Open class got the half 90, and I hadn't realized I was a few seconds off winning the medley.)

It's always fun to see @Jedd Johnson and @Lucasraymond, and I'm greatly enjoying watching the rise of @JasonD. Not sure if he's on the board, but Pork Chop (whose last name I can't easily recall) was really an unknown legend by the end of his first grip competition and plays the ukulele with the finesse of Lilo and/or Stitch. @PITTisKING is an awesome guy, and I hadn't gotten a chance to see much of @acorn's personality before so I hadn't realized what a savagely witty guy he is. @Andrew Dube generously drove Tim, Rich, and me to the brewery to hang out with the Durniats, the Pantkes, and Aaron, and I got to take a few meals with Dube where we shared quite a few laughs.

I'm certain I've forgotten to namecheck many people, because I was having so much fun talking to so many of you at Durniat's unbelievable space that it's easy to be overwhelmed by all of it. Thank you, everyone, for a fun and excellent weekend. I can't wait to do it again.

But if anyone asks, try not to transport an Inch in the back seat of a Honda Civic coupe.

Edited by Tom Flesher
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Awesome write up - sorry I missed this one!  And I have a Civic sedan, so if anyone has an inch to transport, easier to get it in and out.

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Tom Flesher
1 minute ago, Vinnie said:

Awesome write up - sorry I missed this one!  And I have a Civic sedan, so if anyone has an inch to transport, easier to get it in and out.

It was a really fun trip! Getting to meet @Thomas Larsen and Hilde was a real treat too, and believe me when I tell you they did not fly in from Norway for the whiskey.

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Colin Ramsey

Wow, very thorough write up man. Glad you enjoyed yourself. I watched some of the videos that @Jedd Johnson uploaded to YouTube, and they were awesome. Always cool to see the absolute best in grip face up against each other.

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Tom Flesher
59 minutes ago, JasonD said:

Very nicely written Tom! It was a pleasure seeing/competing with you again.

Always a pleasure to see you guys!

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Tom Flesher
41 minutes ago, Colin Ramsey said:

Wow, very thorough write up man. Glad you enjoyed yourself. I watched some of the videos that @Jedd Johnson uploaded to YouTube, and they were awesome. Always cool to see the absolute best in grip face up against each other.

There was a ton of talent there. I was just happy to be in the building with the guys setting all the records.

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Mike Rinderle

Awesome seeing you again Tom.  Always lots of fun.  Great job!

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