This story has everything from poop to french toast…
I decided that whenever we travel to do a barbell seminar that I can do my best to chronicle the event. Aside from the the seminar itself, these trips have a focus on eating, drinking, training, and taking in the scenery. Maybe in that order.
Washington state is lush with consistent rainfall, and the leaves are in the middle of melting into golden and pink flecks along the rolling landscape. Giant maple leafs litter the damp ground while douglas firs huddle with their Christmas tree cologne. Alders and ash, cedar and birch, hemlock and hawthorn, oaks and pines, willows and spruce…Fuck, that place was pretty.
Well, when we got into Seattle, two of the three bags we checked did not make the trip with us (mine was the one that made it). The belligerent airline employee had no reasoning for the delay, but I suspect this was the TSA’s fault. They don’t do anything but fuck things up anyway. The airline employee working the baggage claim area gave Rip some lip about his company losing Rip’s bag. The exchange was mildly amusing if you weren’t Rip or Stef. Why would anyone hold onto a job in which the sole purpose is to deal with people who are pissed off?
CrossFit Eastside was the gym that was hosting the seminar. Mike Street and Carrie Klumpar co-own and coach at the gym. Unlike most silly CrossFit “gyms”, this one has some power racks, weightlifting platforms, an emphasis on barbell training, and coaches who are good at making people strong. If you live in the Bellevue and Redmond area and want to get strong, pay Mike and Carrie a visit.
CF Eastside held a CrossFit Total meet (a powerlifting-type meet that includes a squat, standing overhead press, and a conventional non-sumo deadlift and follows a weightlifting meet format) on Friday night. I was the head judge while Rip announced the meet. It’s always good to see people get excited about getting strong and hitting PR’s in a meet.
More importantly, on Friday and Saturday we went to a sub shop where I got a giant size (which had to have been 16 inches long) Philly cheese steak with double meat and double cheese. I’d estimate 1,500 to 2,000 calories in one of those bad boys. I thought it would give me detention with the commode later, but my digestive tract has experienced some sort of adaptation to this kind of thing. Sorry, no pictures of these beasts — I wasn’t thinking properly because I felt so famished. Famished = 90’s Small. That, my friends, is a dangerous thing.
In the seminar, we have a little friend named Mr. Thrifty who helps everyone learn skeletal and muscular anatomy. Mr. Thrifty lost an arm, and as a result, started hitting the bottle.
Mr. Thrifty goes over the edge after his limb loss
There were a lot of interesting people at the seminar. My buddy Charlie marked himself on the first day with his choice of socks. Luckily he’s one cool dude. He’ll be trying out for a minor league basball team next May, so he should understand the importance of strength to do so. It should be easy — he’s got one helluva mullet brewing.
There are some other notables from the seminar. Billy is a strong fella who competed in the Total meet on Friday, went through the seminar, then trained again Monday night. If I remember correctly, he weighs a solid 220, and he’s got some 70’s Big potential. Billy: get to 240, quick.
Then there’s my pal Anthony, who is 6’6″, and somewhere around 180. I mention him because he is SUPPOSED to be going on a milk and meat fetish. Anthony: please gain 100 pounds. You will easily conquer small villages at this height and size. Again, I don’t have any pictures; cut me some slack because I didn’t decide to chronicle the weekend until Monday.
Street and Carrie had an anatomical model that was conveniently used to teach the relevant musculature in strength training. I just thought it was amusing because he had a removal penis.
Mr. Thrifty and Removable Penis Guy
Sunday morning we experienced the Brown Bag in Redmond (I think). You guys won’t believe the awesome 70’s Big breakfast I had. Giant cinnamon rolls were cut, battered, and fried. I had cinnamon roll french toast. Behold…
Eggs, bacon, sausage, and cinnamon roll french toast. Heaven.
I had it twice. Scrambled eggs this time. Food porn.
This is one of the more awesome things I’ve had to eat in a while. I could eat it every day.
The seminar ended, I had a 1 pound burger and some other stuff…yada yada yada. Usually we leave on Monday, but we hung around to travel up north towards the Cascade Mountains. We stopped off in Sultan to go to the Sky River Meadery. Mead is an ancient honey wine that has been enjoyed by warriors and poets for ages. When we drank a bottle that night, Rip was disappointed that we lacked a horn to drink out of. Find yourself some mead and enjoy it like a viking (but make sure it is dry mead, the extra sweet flavors would be the equivalent to drinking Zima). After purchasing the mead, we wandered around a Skyhomish, a town that is more or less near the base of the Cascades. We got coffee several times, once in a stand run by a rather ravishing girl who asked if we wanted ice in our coffee to cool it down (weird). There were some interesting lawn ornaments around the parking lot, including this:
Hopefully he grows to provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner
After perusing some antique shops (I bought a book called “The Age of Louis XIV” by historian Will Durant), we headed up a road that led us deep into the thick forest that surrounds the mountains. When we stopped to hike around a bit, we saw the following sign:
A sense of humor in liberal Washington state
Rip, Stef, and I got out and started walking down a gravel road. Everything was still. The forest around us was incredibly dense and swallowed the sound waves that our blundering made. Mist started to grow along the treeline, and the sky marbled darker as we walked. It’s an interesting contrast to walk upon a dewy trail that is slung right in the middle of lavish, green grass. I found a nice cross sectional piece of cedar which carried a rich, sweet aroma. After drinking from a busy stream, we turned to head back. Somehow we missed the pile of glistening shit that lay in the middle of the trail that was probably left by a coyote not too long before us. Rain drops spattered around us as the day descended away. Getting back in the car was a rude awakening to reality.
We headed back to the Bellevue area, consuming calories along the way. It was time to train again at CF Eastside. I’ve already given an account of clean and jerking 145 kg for five singles, squatting 450 lbs. for three sets of five, and doing some light bench press. I still felt the affects of this training session when I snatched on Wednesday. That night, we drank a bottle of mead, something I recommend to every nobleman out there.
Our little traveling crew had joked about finding a giant maple leaf before we left, yet we hadn’t really had the chance to look for one. When we approached the car on Tuesday morning, a maple leaf was waiting for us on the back windshield. A serendipitous delight, indeed.
Rip and the maple leaf
On the way back, our flight was delayed by two hours. This helped push back our return to Wichita Falls until after midnight. These trips to do barbell seminars are always worth it to me, and hopefully by chronicling them I can keep track of the people we meet that should be getting 70’s Big (somebody’s gotta hold them accountable), allow those people to see the recap of their seminar group, list the food we eat, the delicious drinks we partake in, and any interesting experiences the group has. There’s not enough time to cover everything, but hopefully this gave you an idea of what we are up to.
As for what goes on in the seminar itself, you’ll have to find that out on your own. For a synopsis, visit StartingStrength.com. This is where you can find information about the new seminars that will begin in 2010 as well as the location of Rip’s question and answer forum that was previously located on Strengthmill.