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2019 Gripmas - Vincent Rivellese Report


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Thanks to Tank Andrade for keeping the Gripmas Spirit alive, and in a gun factory, no less!  And to his lovely wife Amber and energetic son Anthony for providing the support that allowed Tank to pull off the comp without a hitch.  Chris Rice passed the torch to the right man.  Ten gripsters enjoyed the benefits of Tank's efforts, including Martin, a buddy of mine who used to work with me at the DA's Office and just came for kicks.  In fact, he was in my weight class (poor fella, see below lol).

So to the events:

First, we had TNS grippers!  I was excited for this event, because it had only been contested twice before, and the world record appeared to be within reach:  136 RGC.  My best ever was 132, but I have been making gripper gains lately and my 132 was no trouble at all last time I tried it, so I thought I would have at least a fighting chance at beating 136.  And for a moment it seemed I would, because I slammed the 134 as my opener!  No one else even opened that high.  However, I got greedy, and also thought that the look of the 140 Baraban gripper was better than the 137 COC and 138 Tetting, so I went for the 140 for attempt 2.  Tank will attest that I really almost got it - like a millimeter off - but, alas, I did not.  Whether I was dejected or spent or just in over my head, I failed the 138 Tetting for attempts 3 and 4.  Meanwhile, Tim Butler got the 134 on his second attempt (and failed the 138 for 3 and 4), but no one else got that high, and Tim and I ended up tied for first in that event -- with Jedd second behind us.  So, I got my PR, set my weight class world record  for TNS, and I beat Jedd (not a common experience for anyone).  The comp was already a success for me, other than failing the world record, which would have been nice to set but it's not like there aren't a bunch of guys who can beat it if they would have just shown up.  Chez and Shamey obviously, and certainly some other big grip guys.  But 134 at 83K and/or Masters 50+ may actually stand for a while even if this is contested again.  And of course if it is contested again, I too may beat it.

Second, the 2H Euro.  I believe this is the event with which I earned my nickname of "White Tiger" among the NYC guys, because the second time I ever tried it, I pinched over body weight (193 when I weighed maybe 180).  However,  I never really made any gains (and I don't work pinch enough to complain about that), and the several times I have done Euro in comp, I have always topped out at 182-184.  This time I felt good in warm-ups though, so I opened high and I was already in the 180s for attempt 2.  So for attempt 3 I decided to go for my personal PR and I got 194 -- and I figured hey, may as well go for broke.  I tried 200 for attempt 4, and got enough air that I actually thought I was going to make it to the crossbar, but it began slipping down somewhere past halfway there and I put it back.  Best air I ever got on a missed Euro attempt, anyway, and following a PR, I'll take it.  I attribute my improved Euro pull to the fact that I have done some Saxon bar work in my arm lifting dalliances.  As it turned out, I got second in that event, behind guess who?  Jedd.  Now that I can taste 200 on Euro, I will be looking for a comp where I can try it again.  My personal Euro is way too slick.

Finally, the 2 3/8 one-hand Napalm Nightmare deadlift.  This is the size of a rolling thunder but the build of a crusher, and I had gotten around 155 on it in comp once before, which is as one might expect a little above my crusher PR (since that's thicker) and pretty close to my expected rolling thunder pulls.  Thick bar is definitely not my thing, and while I played ball with the big boys on grippers and even a bit on Euro, I knew I had better get on the board and make small jumps here.  I started around 140 and made small enough jumps that I got to 155 on my third attempt.  I made it, and it was not easy -- I gauged it by trying it with my left first, and failed that, but my right is always better and I got it.  For my fourth attempt, I went to 160 and failed it quick -- but I figured that since this was the last event, and I had 45 seconds left, it was worth a charge at a PR.  I called for the smelling salts.  The guys had something extra strong, and Jedd was kind enough to waft it under my nose as I set myself.  Whooooooo!  That 160 just made it to the crossbar, and I had my third PR of the day!  It put me in the middle of the pack for that event, but as I said, I am not Mr. Thickbar, and I was very happy with that number for me.

Finally, the medley.  There were two sides:  the one-point side, and the two-point side.  On the lighter side, I first picked up the two lighter grippers and simultaneously TNS'd them because I could, and I knew I'd suck at most of the rest of the medley.  I then picked up one of the block weights and got it immediately, surprised since I suck at block weights, and in my fury to complete as many items as possible I did not hear people yelling that I had done the heaviest block weight (on the lighter side of the medley) and why not do the other three lol.  I had thought that I had done the lightest one and that I should not waste time trying to get the heavier ones, oh well!  So anyway, the only thing I could get on the two-point side was the sledge face lever (10 or 12, not sure which) and a gripper.  The heavy side dumbbells included one or two that I might have gotten fresh, but not spent like I was.  I didn't even try the 150 COC, which I can close any day I'm working grip, but not spent after a comp.  I got 15 for the medley, and I am pretty sure that was close to the bottom of the pack.  But it was also much fun.

In the end, I finished the comp third of ten, and the two who beat me were Jedd Johnson and Tim Butler -- two guys who noone in grip need ever feel bad losing to.  This was the first time I ever placed in an open class, thanks to the small size of the comp.  It was a hoot to get a little certificate and a gripper DVD as a prize.  However, I am really there to socialize with the excellent people and to push myself to beat my own numbers, and in that respect, I came in first:  first class companions, and PRs in all the events.  I could not have expected this much or asked for more.

Thanks again Tanks and family, and grip family, and see y'all soon, at the next one.  Whether I ever place like this again, who cares, but I do intend to beat myself a few more times before I age out of this cult lol.

Oh, and my friend Martin -- he came in dead last.  But even he had a good time and thanked me, and asked me to thank Tank.  It's all good.

Be well everyone!

Edited by Vinnie
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Very good, Vin and congrats again on the pr’s. Odd Haugen is 69 and competed in armlifting this weekend as well, so you have some gas left in the tank.

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Neat write up - I am so glad Gripmas is moving on into the future.  A huge Thank you to Tank!  Vinnie - sounds like you had a super performance day - Congratulations!  Hoping I can make it next year  - training is coming along and strength is returning since the surgery.


Edited by climber511
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