I would say I just had the ideal Friday night for a guy like me! Besides the long drive, my visit to CrossFit Petaluma left me feeling like I had just engaged in an awesome party. But rather than a bar, or buddy’s house, it was in a warehouse gym, with crazy unconventional equipment, and a ton of smiling, out of breathe, stronger-than-before people!
Another “classic” CrossFit box, CrossFit Petaluma is located just off the 101, just north of, in my opinion, one of the coolest towns in America. You pull off right at a massive (and I mean MASSIVE) globo-gym, with restaurants and shops all around it. Then just down the street, in typical CrossFit fashion, you’ll see a little sign leading you around a row of warehouses. That’s where you’ll see the only roll-up door up, music blaring out, and equipment spilling into the drive.
The set up is a little different than most though. The pull up rig is directly in front of the roll up doors, leaving the rest of the space completely open. My visit however, saw the pommel horse and huge tumbling mat taking up most of the center space. This was going to be a fun night, I could tell! I got there a little early and chatted with Dan, the owner, for a bit before people started to swarm in. For a Friday night at 6pm, I was surprised at how many people actually showed up! And, as we got into our active warm up, I could tell people were as excited as me to get a great workout in.
An obstacle course!
100 meter row
Hurdle 3 plyo boxes with a sand bag
5 push ups
10ish meter DB bear crawl
5 jumping ring dips
Scale a wall with rope
Navigate the hanging cargo net
Drop to the ground using the bar
Lift keg overhead
Hurdle the pommel house
Shoot a 20# ball into a tire (if you miss you must attempt both the 12# and 10# balls)
Load a bar to 95# and do 5 push presses
Two hammer strikes (with a crazy heavy hammer)
5 wall balls
10ish meter handstand wall lateral walk
10ish meter sled pull
Oh man this was so much fun! We had people going every minute or so and we each got two attempts. And while people were going, everyone else was moving around the room, replacing the equipment to their starting positions and cheering on the athletes. The gym was buzzing with incredible energy as everyone gave it their all with a max burst. I ended up going almost last because I was running around getting cool angle video shots of everyone. Honestly, I was having so much fun just running around cheering people on that I almost forgot that I had to give it a try! I got rolling at a good pace and didn’t slow down at all until I got to the cargo net. There I took a second to make sure I didn’t lose a foot through one of the holes. Then I chose to back hand the bar and do a summersault over it to get down, I think that was the most efficient way to go about it. The rest of the course was just a test of staying smooth and under control. I got the first attempt in 1:55, then was able to get a hair smoother the second round for a 1:53 finish. I felt pretty gassed by the end of each attempt, but in the end I know it was about two things: body coordination and having fun.
Dan and I talked a bunch about the benefits of training with obstacle courses, and I think it’s something that is neglected quite a bit in adult training. CrossFit Kids advocates it a ton, and I completely understand the benefits. But, adults can share in the same gains by doing this sort of thing! I recalled the crazy fun I put my athletes through in the woods in Maryland last summer; scaling bridges and creeks, manipulating sandbags and chopping wood. These guys were mostly high school athletes and 9-5ers, but all of them benefited so much from getting out of their element and struggling through a massive collection of challenges. I have to give huge props to Dan and CrossFit Petaluma for utilizing this sort of thing on a regular basis.
As I mentioned above, Petaluma is a classic CrossFit affiliate. This means it’s a decent sized warehouse, filed with all the essential equipment, coached by a down to earth, welcoming, good coach, and attended by energetic, friendly, passionate athletes. Everyone met everyone, everyone supported each other, everyone worked their tails off, and everyone clearly respected and looked up to their coach in a “you’re the boss, but we still feel like peers” way. As I mentioned with my visit to Palo Alto, and similarly to Moxie and so many other affiliates I’ve been to, CrossFitters like this is what will keep CrossFit going strong.
I was supposed to check out Dan’s other affiliate (CrossFit Sonoma County) today, but scheduling got a little messed up and I was not able to make it. If I can make it back out to check out his “bigger” space, I sure will. I will assume it’s much the same though. If he’s in charge, I can see nothing but good things happening there!
Back into it full swing on Tuesday!
Never Stop, GET FIT.