Sunday November 3rd:
We got to the airport and met Luis who obviously forgot his Passport… great start to the trip. He ran home and just made our flight which was delayed 40 minutes due to some sick jetstreams that would get us to Amsterdam earlier than expected.
I am not the biggest fan of flying… I dont avoid it but its definitely not my favorite activity. With that said we had a great flight and we were about to land in Amsterdam. We are circling around for about 30 minutes and I knew something was up. Our captain let us know the winds are too strong and we are going to run out of fuel, so we are going to head to Brussels, Belgium to refuel. CLASSIC. We land there and I am pissed. We refuel but dont get landing clearance for Amsterdam for about 4 hours. So were stuck on the plane, hot and dehydrated ad I was PISSED. Nevertheless we got to Amsterdam and still hit our original connection to Stavanger since it was delayed 6 hours. We arrive in Stavanger on Monday evening with our bags (A miracle). We had dinner in the hotel and went to bed.
Tuesday November 5th:
We head to the breakfast buffet promptly at 6 am since our sleep schedules were so messed up. The buffet got us going though. It was full of smoked salmon, other fishes and meats, tons of cheese, any fresh fruit you could think of, american foods like oats, eggs, bacon, sausage and potatoes and TONS of other stuff. It was open from 6-10 every morning so I got in the habit of hitting it twice per morning. After that Charlie, Luis and I headed to the venue to train. I hit some lights triples of all three lifts to get loose and get the blood flowing again after a long trip. We all showered then and headed into Stavanger city center to check out the sights and city. It was awesome and we met some interesting people.
Wednesday November 6th:
This was a pretty dead day since Luis and Charlie were putting their game faces on as they lifted the next day. I honestly just remember eating alot of Lamb Stew and stretching at the venue. I recall not eating dinner because I fell asleep so early. That was okay though because I had two breakfasts and 2 servings of lamb stew and lots of gatorade and synergy.
Thursday November 7th:
Charlie and Luis lifted this day. I woke up to eat with Luis while Charlie slept. They lifted in the afternoon so that was solid. I headed out early to do some light training again. Squats with 220 and benches with the bar. I sat front and center and videoed all their attempts. Luis was 8/9 and finished 12th, charlie was 7/9 and finished 10th with a silver medal bench of 280 kg. I was asked to be in that promo video for the SHW flight that night, but I ditched it because my mom and sister flew in and we had 8:30 reservations for dinner in Stavanger at Marcus Samuelson’s restaurant (My mom loves food network). The video came out pretty cool but I don’t mind that I missed it for a huge meat plate.
Friday November 8th:
Eating was at an all time high… I was weighing in pretty heavy so things were going well. Most of the US team headed out to a boat cruise on the Fjords. This was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life… made the whole trip worth it in my mind and took the pressure of lifting off. I knew I would leave Norway with a positive life experience no matter what. We got back to the hotel and I believe we took a nap. I watched Liane Dominate on my Ipad from bed… I wasn’t feeling like walking up to the venue to watch. We went up to dinner at about 9pm only to find out that the hotel ran out of food. I handed my beautiful girlfriend Danielle all the Norwegian Kroners I had and she volunteered to go back into the City Center by Cab to procure me something better than a Pizza to eat. She came back with a Steak, Potato and a full pasta dish. I devoured these and went to sleep. Without her I would have been a nervous wreck.
Saturday November 9th:
I didn’t sleep that much but I felt well rested so I didnt worry about that. I ate breakfast twice but didnt go overboard because my stomach is always turning the day of a meet. I went to gear check early and then I weighed in at 363.5. Danielle braided my hair and I was ready to go. I watched some of Steve Mann’s lifts then headed to the back to warmup.
Warmups went well and we opened squat a 859 after a week long debate over 5 kilos. I didnt really care either way and I smoked it. As Luis was wrapping me for my second something went wrong. The lifter in front of me dumped his retake at the end of the 1st round, and then passed his second attempt at the beginning of the round. Thats all fine, but what went wrong was that on his second attempt he was given 3 minutes when he should have only been given 1, and then he timed out on his minute. We were wrapped early during his dump than had to wait an extra 6 or 7 minutes to get out. I tried taking out 899 but couldnt get my feet set. Luckily I was awarded another attempt and smoked it at the end of the round.
I only had a few minutes to get ready for my third. Head coach Rob Keller put in 920, but I missed it because I was just too gassed.
The team and coaches were worried about me because I probably looked like hell after doing 5 walkouts in a 20 minute window. They were feeding me bread, gatorade, candy bars… whatever. I started to feel better after some shitty looking bench warmups and was able to go 3 for 3 in my INZER BOLT, finished with 733.
Deadlift warmups were great and the vibe was really positive that I would finish in 4th place, which was our goal going in. I hit my stupid light opener of 711, hit an easy PR of 755 on my second and then we debated a bit on the third. I told Robert to go 355, he wanted 350. We decided on 352.5 to make Hans Magne Bartvedt of Norway have to pull a PR to pass me. I smoked mine, he missed his. I was really happy to finish in fourth… crazy isn’t it? But IPF worlds is the top level of competition so I felt a sense of achievement with that placing. I also totaled 1092.5/2409 lbs which was a huge PR and the second largest American total of all time.
The rest of the trip:
The banquet was awesome. Top notch stuff over in Norway. I took a bunch of pictures with people including the BADASSES from Egypt. Ahmed from Egypt is going to squat the world record pretty soon, certified BAF. We didnt really sleep since we had to leave the hotel at 4am to catch our flight out. Thats all she wrote.
If you’ve read this far down this post you are probably one of these people. I have a ton of people to thank in no particular order. The biggest ones would be John Inzer at IAD… Im pretty sure I was one of the first people to wear a BOLT bench shirt in IPF competition, and it was awesome! Thank you. Sherman Ledford and Brooks Conway at Quest Nutrition. These guys provided me with supplements and coaching, not only for this meet but from the last 18 months. I am so Proud to be a part of Team Quest. Everything I do is with Quest in mind. The legacy of the team is of utmost importance to me.
I also want to thank my training partners Luis, Peach, Ben, Tony and King. Big shoutout to peach for wrapping me all training cycle, and of course Luis for being the best knee wrapper and handler there is, was, and ever will be. Of course I need to thank Mark S. at Baystate Athletic Club for letting me train in the best gym in the Northeast.
The coaches… Rob, James and Mike. Mike has always been there for me so thanks again titty. James helped me with programming and technique the whole time… guy is Quest at the core so I trusted him and we got results, thanks man. Robert was great the whole time, and called great attempts at meet day. Rob saw us train while he was in Boston so it was a pretty easy time choosing attempts with him. I’ve heard alot of talk about the US coaches being too conservative or making too many mistakes blah blah blah. In my opinion these guys did a great job, and they arent conservative. They just call the right attempts. I think if you put your ego aside and let these guys do whats best for Team USA, you will realize its whats best for you too. Robert, Mike and James did a great job all week and we did not have a bombout, or many missed attempts.
Last but not least I want to thank Danielle, my mom, Stacey, my sister and Alex for coming on this trip with me. I know they had a great time travelling to Norway but Thanks for supporting me.