The day began with the circus dumbbell press. Four dumbells of ascending weight were used (220 - 250lbs. - I think). The good dumbbell pressers made it through 3 dumbbells, the bad dumbell pressers were lucky to get one. The surprise of the day was seeing Nick Best out early and warming up with a light barbell and then the lightest dumbbell in warmups. Everyone thought he was through when he was helped off the platform after the car deadlift a day earlier. Despite a great effort he was unable to press any of the dumbbells.
The Block press is one of the purest tests of pressing power. Of course, Z and Derek get all 4 blocks (240ish - 330lbs) in showman-like fashion. And I've been a lifelong fan of Derek Boyer, so, for me the highlight of the day came when Derek grabbed the mircrophone and said: "I'm the old guy here, and I'm gonna be honest, this is a real crap event for me. So, if I get that first block up, I want you guys to cheer like I just won this thing!" Derek then proceeds to flip the switch and wrestle with the first block for what seemed like a minute, then pressed, rested it on his head and then finished the press. When he got it up the crowd went nuts and he jumped around and yelled. It was great to see.
So let me just summarize by saying that the stones were awesome to watch. To watch these giants do their stone runs live and in person was surreal. I will say this, the stage was constructed over grass and the fifth stone kept getting dropped, so by the time the event was over it was creating a little sink hole in front of the platform. Nothing was really ever done about it, not sure if, at that point, there could have been, but still. It was one of the things that reminded me that the point was to finish shooting for that day, not let the best strongman in the world have a safe stable place to load a 400lb. stone. That was a little discouraging. Fortunately, I don't think it really hindered anyone, but I guess it's the point of the matter.
Day 4 observations:
- I followed all the athletes to the cafeteria, I watched them stand in a lunch line and act normal and just hang around regular folks. I watched Zydrunas make a salad.
- All you hardcore diets folks, let me tell you this, the greatest strongmen in the world don't eat brown rice, sweet potatoes and boiled chicken all the time. The eat anything that looks like meat, cereal, cookies (lots of cookies), they raid the ice-cream freezer, and pretty much stuff their bellies with whatever they want. So take that amateur nutrition experts.
- Terry Hollands isn't scared to get in his underwear in front of folks.
- I felt like I stood next to guys that looked like this most of the day... I can just hear him saying "I can totally do this, bro"
... guys, if you own any article of clothing that resembles even a similar style to the one pictured above, please burn it. You're only embarrassing yourself...
Here is a link to my pictures from Day 3 and 4 of qualifiers