After Brent lifted, we went to eat and then perused the biggest Bass Pro Shop this/that side of the Mississippi. Our group was split up and lost on several occasions, so AC and I stopped to take a nap.
Once we found everyone and headed to the parking lot, Mike really wanted to show AC a particular joke that I started the day before when AC wasn’t with us. It starts with me in the rig (old person boat-car) and radioing the team (everyone but me) that their evac is on the way to the LZ. It goes something like this:
Overlord (me): Hunter-two-one, this is Overlord, come in, over.
Hunter-two-one (Mike/Brent/AC): Overlord, this is Hunter-two-one, we’re taking heavy fire, over.
Overlord: Roger that, we are two clicks north of your position, prepare for pick up. Let’s get a move on because that LZ is HOT! Over.
It proceeds with my yelling into the phone how hot the LZ is and how the team needs to hurry up. I like the joke because it is literally hot outside since Denver is over a mile high, thus the sun is more intense, and the LZ is hot because it’s taking heavy fire. That and because I’m screaming at the top of my lungs while driving towards my friends causing a scene.
Well, on this occasion, I wanted the team to feel like they were actually stranded. I drove around with Chris in the rig for about ten minutes to make sure they were good and hot, and then gave them a call. Let me tell you, AC was not amused by any of this. He said something to the effect of, “Where the fuck are you? It’s hot out here and I have to lift tomorrow.” I understood, so I reported back with, “I KNOW Hunter-two-one, that LZ is HOT. What is your current location? Over.” And then he hung up on me.
I found them as they were about to walk into a movie theater a few clicks east of the original LZ, and I was screaming hysterically for them to have a rapid evac because that “LZ is smokin’ hot”. AC was only mildly amused. Luckily his four minute walk in the sun didn’t create too much of a disturbance in his diaper or with his pacifier, because he was prepped and ready to rock the next morning when his session started at 9:00 AM.
This was the first time that I coached AC in a meet, and it was a lot of fun. He trains his ass off, is a genetic freak, and lifts with maximal intensity. Our goal for a few months was to squat 550 at this meet, and he was looking good in warm-ups. We opened with 232.5 (513lbs), and Ace McGonague rocked the FUCK out of it. Watch the video below – you’ll see the bar flap UP when he completes the squat.
I decided that going to 242.5 (534lbs) was a good second attempt. It was an increase of 10kg after he wrecked 232.5. Ace knew he had this one, and had a solid lift for a 2.5kg PR. Now it was time to go to work, because we both knew he could get 550, but it would be a bitch of a squat.
AC’s adrenaline was pouring out of him – his eyes were welled with tears as I talked him up. There’s nothing he wanted more than to have five and half hundred pounds on his back. He un-racked 250kg (551lbs), looked at the judge, and was finally released to attack his last squat. He hit it rock bottom and bounced it out of the hole. The bounce was fast, even on this last attempt, and he made it a third out of the bottom before the straining started. He knew it was going to be a battle, and he let out a battle cry to help himself. The vein in his neck was bulging and he shut his eyes because of the exertion. This would ultimately be his downfall, because he lost his reference point and dipped forward slightly. Once you let a quarter of a ton drift forward an inch or more, it isn’t coming back. He barely missed that squat, and I think he could have finished it if the bar stayed in the groove over the middle of his foot. God damn, he went out fighting though.
If you go back and watch the first squat attempt, the judge tells AC that he has to wrap his thumbs around the bar (AC had them on top like we teach so that the wrists aren’t bent). There is no such rule in the rule book related to what the thumbs should be doing, and in the three different meets AC has been in he has been told three different things. I’ve heard people gripe online about USAPL seemingly “creating rules out of thin air” and this was disappointing to deal with. Not only was Brent allowed to squat with his thumbs on top of the bar the day before, but there were at least two other lifters in AC’s session that also had their thumbs on top of the bar, yet weren’t told to do anything differently. Inconsistency in the implementation of rules is bullshit.
Anyway, we opened with an easy 160kg (350lbs) on the bench press. How awesome is it that 350lbs is not big deal to a guy weighing 213? Apparently too awesome because AC fucked it up by not waiting for the down command. He bent his elbows, straightened them again, and then received the command. The lift was red lighted as it should have been – if you listen in the video, I literally fucking say, “Wait for the commands” two seconds before he does it. Whatever. It was easy, and we went ahead with the scheduled 167.5kg (369lbs) for a 7.5kg jump. This time AC obeyed orders for a solid lift to match a PR. Our goal for a few months had been 380lbs, and 380 is what Ace McGonague got. A solid 172.5kg was lowered to his chest, he was given permission to press it, and he added one of his trademarked battle cries to force the weight up. Go watch the video – this lift is sick.
AC rode his high into the warm-up room and was feeling good. In retrospect I think we took one too many warm-ups, but he opened with a pretty standard 247.5kg (546lbs). I wanted to lower the opener so it wouldn’t be so stressful, and the ruling says you’re allowed to if it’s at least five minutes or five attempts out. Well, I was seven or eight attempts out and I was denied permission to lower the attempt (I’ll have to check the rule book on this one). Ace hit his opener a little slower than I would have liked, and I brought down the next attempt a little. It turns out I didn’t bring it down enough, and the combination of the extra warm-up, the slightly high opener, and the jump to 262.5kg (578lbs) was a bit much. His previous max was 567, so we were wanting the ten pound PR. It proved to be too much for AC because he let the bar drift forward about two inches. Nobody is going to be hitting any PR’s with the bar out in front of the middle of their foot. As he approached the bar, I told him “mid-foot”, and I debated cuing him to keep the bar back. I should have told him to pull it back off the floor and I believe that he would have had a shot had I done so. I take the blame for this miss because of the warm-ups, the opener, the jump, and then the lack of a timely cue that I think would have gotten him the lift.
At the end of the day, AC went 5 for 8 with lifts of 242.5/172.5/247.5, a total of 662.5kg/1458lbs total, and 2nd overall in the 100kg/220lbs Open category. In his last two meets he hasn’t lifted to his potential, but it was good enough to win first place in a big meet and second place at nationals. We’ll learn from this and continue improving. Nice job, best friend.