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2023 Golden Potato Championship - Vancouver, WA - Vin's report


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I really wanted to go to the Golden Potato Championship because I had such a good time there in 2021, but with all the travelling I am doing with my son looking at colleges, I needed to minimize the time and cost of this trip.  So I bought airfare NYC JFK to Portland PDX so that I would arrive about 11pm Friday night, stay just that night in a hotel, do the comp and then catch the midnight red-eye Saturday back to JFK.  I figured that would leave me plenty of time to finish the contest and maybe hang out afterwards with the crowd, which I didn't do in 2021 because I had a flight to San Francisco.

But my plane was delayed.  We boarded two hours late and were about to take off (pilot had announced that we were fourth in line and cleared), but then the pilot announced that because of the delay, his hours had passed the legal limit and we had to go back to the gate and wait for another crew.  Everyone on the plane's mouth just dropped open in a collective "huh?"  Not that anyone would have objected to limiting pilots from crazy hours to make sure they are awake when they fly.  That's a good thing.  More like, um, "Things you think of before you taxi down the runway and announce you are about to take off for 100, Alex?"  So I arrived in Portland after 3 a.m. Portland time instead of 11, and I got to my hotel around 4 a.m. (7 a.m. NYC time, which is later than I usually wake up).  I had trouble sleeping, too.  But I remembered the time that Anthony and Anton arrived late to Nationals because they were carpooling separate from me and got stuck behind an accident between exits on Route 80, for HOURS, and arrived after 2 a.m. the night before.  The next day on too little sleep, they PR'd all over the place.

And well, turns out that's not a universal rule.  However, it worked out OK.

I arrived at Frank and Addam Chaudoin's familiar garage, and I immediately stepped on the scale (hopefully I was polite enough to say hello first).  Will Maddox was the only other competitor there besides the brothers, so I asked whether I was early -- but it turned out it was just the four of us.  And Addam was injured, so he was not really going to be pushing it.

OK, the scale.  I wanted to make the 80kg weight class (176.37 pounds) before running off to eat something; the morning before I was just under 80kg wearing only boxers, so I ate almost nothing for a day just to make sure I wouldn't have to strip -- but with the 5 hour flight delay and no sleep, and a few plane snacks seeming necessary, I knew it might be close.  I stepped on the scale and it said 179 pounds.  But this was not possible!  At my desperate request, they moved the scale to a flatter surface -- and I was 79.9 kg.  THAT was exactly what I expected.  Phew.  Frank then graciously dropped me at McDonald's so I could grab some chow before we started.

Then we did the comp.  In like an hour or so.  None of us took all four of our silver bullet attempts:  I went with a mission to get a few seconds on a COC 4 -- I had done this in a grip sports comp with an easier COC 4, but I wanted to do it with a stouter one, even if not for as long, and to get on the arm lifting board if I could.  I had gotten 10 seconds a few times without the weight, just by holding a gripper handle instead of the bullet, but I knew it would be a little harder with the five pounds dangling.  I got 6.4 seconds.  I would have needed about 9 seconds to make the top ten leaderboard for the US arm lifting competitors, but it was not to be -- my second attempt was 2 seconds, and I did not see further attempts likely to beat the 6.4 so I waived them.  For his part, Frank got a PR, holding his MM0 gripper for over 12 seconds, and Will struggled a bit with technique because while he only used a 1.5 or a 2, it looked like he practically TNS'd the gripper onto the bullet.  Addam hates grippers.

We did rising bar for the rest.  I started low on everything and I don't remember all the jumps.  I had already gotten what I really went for, with the SB, and I hadn't trained the other stuff.

Rolling Thunder:  My PR is around 167.  I ended at 155.  Meh.

Saxon Bar: My PR was 189, and 190 went up pretty solid so now I have an easier to remember PR.  I suppose I could have played small ball and gone for 192 or 194, but I went for 200.  Not even air.  Baby steps!

Axle: PR is 308, but I have been weak in the legs and core lately.  I got 285 on blue fat grips a few weeks ago, and 295 felt good in my hands but I couldn't stand up with it.  Same happened here on axle: 290 felt fine in my hands but was really really hard to stand up with, and 300 I got off the ground but it just did not feel safe to keep trying.  I think I could get back to and past my PR on axle just by training deadlifts, but I've had back surgery and I am not as interested in the big lifts as many are.  So if I die with a 308 axle PR, well, there are worse fates I could imagine.

Golden Potato: I had some sort of weird thought that because I got about 10 pounds less than my body weight last time, maybe I'd get body weight this time (176).  Ha!  It wasn't even close to last time.  Lucky if I pulled 150, and it might not have been even that.  They tell me there are 8 different potato molds, so maybe some people's hands just work better with certain molds, and it just wasn't my mold this time.

At the end of the comp--which was before lunchtime!--the brothers allowed me to try some of their lifting stones.  There was a 40-odd-pound odd-shaped stone that no one had one-hand pinched before, and I got it, so they named that one after me.  They might even have written something on it on my behalf.  

Frank again graciously gave me a ride, this time dropping me off at the beautiful Vancouver Waterfront, a great block of shops and restaurants.  I was too tired to stroll around too much in the heat, so I parked myself at a wine bar and sat for hours sipping flights and eating cheese and crackers.  Because my next two comps are grip sports, and I can weight 83kg (183 pounds).  That's a piece of cake.  Or as many pieces as I want.

Caught my 11:48 pm red-eye and got home by 10 a.m. Sunday.  Just one blurry long day.  But, I did win the comp!  And I am sure that I set a record--not for any of my lifts, but I would bet money that I am the person who travelled the farthest for the smallest and shortest comp!

The Chaudoins did a great job hosting; they recorded lifts on video, they have calibrated plates and are careful and accurate about the totals, and they are good company.  Hope next year the turnout is better.  It's worth attending.

Edited by Vinnie
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2 hours ago, Cannon said:

This is a great write-up. :) 

Thanks, Matt!

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