FYI - All stage photos in this post are courtesy of official BCABBA photographer (and kickass dude) David Aboody!
I’ve had a couple weeks now to process my first ever competition experience, and it’s finally time to put pen to paper. Or fingertips to keys…. Whateverrrrrrrrr.
I was set to compete on May 7 2016 in Kelowna British Columbia, in the newly formed Classic Physique division, at the BCABBA Kelowna Classic.
First off, I have a ton of people to thank for getting me that far. It took an army, really.
- My wife Mandy, who also happens to be a provincially qualified figure competitor. I could *NOT* have done this without her support. She put up with me when I was being a whiny bitch (that happened a lot during the last 4 weeks especially), dealt with me being in a carb-fog and forgetting EVERYTHING (I really shouldn’t have been allowed out in public unescorted), always made sure I had my shit together, dealt with my last minute food malfunctions in Kelowna, coated me with 7 or 8 layers of stage tan, helped choreograph my posing routine…. Honestly, she pretty much did everything except wipe my ass.
- My coach, Tamara Knight from T-Zone Fitness, who rode my ass every f’n day (and still does). There is no better coach in this territory. And while I’m thanking Tamara, I need to give a shout out to the entire T-Zone Fitness team. Some of the coolest people around, and definitely the most supportive. Solid f’n crew all around.
- One of the best DJs around, Jon Hamlin, for mixing me a kickass tune for my posing routine. Had to entertain the crowd, right?
- My Father-In-law Mike, for making sure we had a microwave in Kelowna. Disaster averted!
- All my friends and family who spent their time and money to come support me on this crazy adventure - Chris, Lesley, Terry, Daniel, Patty, and Tracy. (And Mandy and Mike again!)
- Greg Cleaver, David Aboody, and Mandy for the KILLER photographs.
I already wrote about WHY I decided to embark upon this journey. (Click HERE to read the blog post). So instead, here’s a bit of a play by play of how things went down…..
The show coincided perfectly with Mandy’s birthday (both were on May 7), so as a birthday present, Mandy’s Dad splurged on a room at the Delta Grand Okanagan for a couple nights. Wicked nice waterfront hotel that is RIGHT across from the venue. That’s convenience!
We headed up on Thursday afternoon, as I had a photo shoot with Greg Cleaver booked for 9:00 that night. We were there quite a bit early, so we messed around at the mall for a little while. Mandy bought some makeup, I bought some TenTree shirts, and it was all good. But, if we were SMART, we would have hit a grocery store and stocked up on ground turkey and yam. I thought we would have time after the shoot to hit a grocery store, but I was wrong. So very wrong. Apparently, Kelowna closes early on Thursday nights! And we were headed to Beaverdell that evening, and I’m pretty sure they haven’t heard of ground turkey out that far (unless you shoot your own). But I should have enough food to last the night and a couple meals the next day…. I think.
Anyway, here are a few photos from Mr. Greg Cleaver of Greg Cleaver Photography!
We drove the hour or so from Kelowna to Beaverdell, and were finally in bed by around 1:00 in the morning or so. A MUCH longer day than I was anticipating, but c’est la vie, right?
Woke up early the next day to get a couple coats of tanner. What a pain in the ass this was, for both me AND Mandy! I’d be standing in the bathroom on a towel, buckass naked, while Mandy applied stage tan to me using a car towel. Each application took about twenty minutes, then I’d have to air dry for half an hour. Thank God for Candy Crush! But I was definitely turning into a nice Spicy Dorito shade…. Which also made me crave Spicy Doritos, but that’s neither here nor there.
By this time, it was apparent that I did not have enough food. I didn’t think it was a huge deal though, because in my zombie state of being in a carb-fog, I thought our hotel in Kelowna had a kitchenette. HOW WRONG WAS I. We didn’t even have a microwave! But thankfully, Mike was able to get us a microwave for the room. The sad reality set in though – I’d be buying packages of ground turkey, and eating them straight out of the microwave. And I wasn’t allowed to have flavorings or spices at this point. Shit. Shit shit shit! Oh well. It’s only for a day, so suck it up, princess.
After a quick stop at the Rutland Save-On Foods for ground turkey and yam, we hit the Best Western to meet up with my coach. She had to have a look at me in order to give me my final food instructions. We were in and out of there, then off to our hotel at the other end of town to run our stuff up to the room. And after that, off to the Holiday Inn for 5:00, as that’s where the athlete’s meeting and registration was. What a hectic few hours, I legitimately strolled in at 4:59. Cut that one a little too close….!
The point of the athlete’s meeting is to get oriented with the competition, the rules and regulations, etc etc. They made good and sure that we all knew we were at a tested show, and we had to make sure our suits passed inspection, get weighed in, get our number, buy professional stage photos, etc etc. I had my height measured at 5’9 (totally thought I was taller??????) and weighed in at 172. That would be in the “B” category of classic physique. Classic physique B. Got it. #23!
Drove back to the Delta Grand, and choked down some microwaved ground turkey. Yum yum, or something. I didn’t feel like sitting around in the hotel all night, so I wanted to wander Kelowna for a little while. But what the hell am I supposed to do if I can’t eat or drink? Well, wander on foot and check out the city’s Craft Beer selection! (For future reference, of course) Mike decided he wanted a little walk to, so we decided to cut through the casino and head to the street that way. Except, upon entering the casino, I got ID’d! Bahahahahaha. I’m legit twice the legal Canadian gambling age. Thank you for a solid ego boost, Mr. Doorman.
Kelowna’s Craft Beer selection needs some help, FYI.
Ok, the morning of the show. LET’S F’N DO THIS!!!!!!!!!!
Oh crap… first, let’s microwave ground sirloin and ground turkey. YUM.
I had two meals by 8:30 or so, and then it was off to morning pre-judging! Found my way into the change room, then just had to wait to be called down to the pump-up room. I had a pretty clear food schedule for when I arrived. Two rice cakes with almond butter and no sugar added jam, then approx. half an hour before I went on stage, I was supposed to have a chocolate bar. A delicious, delicious chocolate bar. And check out the one that I brought for the occasion! What, you didn’t think I was going to settle for a peasant Oh Henry bar, did you?
Something felt kind of off though. The show seemed to be moving too fast. So at around 9:15 (instead of 9:30), I figured I should have my rice cakes. So I did. Then at some point before 9:30 (I don’t recall exactly), we were called to the pump up room. SHIT!!!!!! That’ll only give me about 10 minutes for my chocolate bar, not half an hour!! So I ripped it open and destroyed about half of it on the way down to the pump up room. Damnit, I didn’t even get to savor it!!! (But the more major problem was that the sugar rush could hit me at a VERY bad time)
Something odd happened in the staging area. I didn't get called with the rest of the Classic Physique B squad. I got called with the C squad. Keep in mind, it goes according to height. So now that I'm in the C squad, I'm in the land of giants. WTF? I'm 5'9, going against guys well over 6'? Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeit. Oh well, it is what it is, so let's f'n DO IT!
I strut onstage, all smiles. And why not, I'm going to have a great f'n time onstage, and enjoy the moment! The judges run us through our quarter turns, and then it's time to hit my mandatory poses. So far so good! The judge calls for a front double bicep, which is the first mandatory pose. That's the exact moment that the sugar from the chocolate bar hits me. Oh shit, this isn't good. It definitely had me a bit shakier than I was anticipating, but that's alright. We ran through the other mandatory poses. Side chest.
Rear double bicep.
Front ab and thigh.
Favorite classic pose.
And just like that, I was done. Holy shit, I did it! No f'n clue how I did, but it didn't matter by that point. It was done! Nothing else to do after that, so I just grabbed my gear and joined Mandy and the rest of my family out in the audience to watch the Figure girls.
I had to head out in very short order though. Keep in mind, we were still in a food crisis, so I had to run up to the Safeway to grab a bunch more turkey and yam. I was quite the sight strolling through downtown Kelowna, mind you. I guess normal citizens aren't used to seeing people that orange! I definitely attracted some stares and chuckles, but whatever. I'm jacked and you're soft. Suck it, normies. Take a f'n picture, it'll last longer!
Made it to Safeway and then back to the room, where I was becoming best friends with the microwave. Microwaved a bunch more turkey and yam, and choked them down. I then proceeded down to the hotel gym to meet up with Mandy and her parents.
Sidenote: One of the things we loved about the Delta Grand was their gym. The hotel is under major renovations, and one of the things they renovated was the gym. IT SUCKS SHIT NOW. Seriously, Delta Grand, why did you make your gym worse?? You took out all the good equipment (cables, leg press, etc) and replace them with generic cardio machines? COME ON!!!!!!!
Pumped out a few sets of upper body anyway, because, why the hell not?
Afterwards, more turkey and yam, and another coating of tan. Coach Tamara said I was still too light! F'n crazy! Chris and Lesley stopped by the room for a bit, but in short order, it was back to the venue for the 6:00 night show!
Remember how in the morning, we got called to the pump-up room with virtually no notice? Yeah, not quite the same thing in the evening show. We were called down at almost exactly 6:00. Knowing that posing routines would be happening in the classes before us, we figured we wouldn't be up for at least an hour and a half. This made no sense to us, and royally pissed off my coach because she couldn't give me last minute instructions. Oh well, right?
We stood in a staging area for about 45 minutes, with figure girls next to us. Figure girls are up already too? WTF?? I immediately stopped complaining to myself, because I knew it could be worse.......... I could be spending all this extra pointless time wearing high heels. Ugh. I felt pretty bad for a lot of the girls, who I imagine weren't used to wearing heels. Then we had another 45 minutes or so in the pump up room. I lifted a lot, got a decent pump, got glazed, then it was time to head out. Let's DO THIS one more time, baby!!!!
I felt a lot more confident on my quarter turns and mandatory poses this time around. I didn't have the sugar shakes! Then it was time for the fun part - the posing routine.
Mandy and I very loosely choreographed the routine. On the whole, I find watching routines to be tremendously boring. Nobody seems to put any effort in whatsoever, and I knew I definitely wanted to do something a little different. For the first half, I wanted to hit every posing routine stereotype there was. Intense, dramatic music. Start on my knees, and slowly rise from the ashes like a phoenix. Hit some dramatic poses. It took me awhile to find the dramatic music that I wanted, but I eventually decided that Chris Masters' WWE theme song would fit the bill perfectly. Then I wanted to go into something entertaining that the crowd would enjoy, and not see coming. How about Watch Me by Silento? F*ck yeah! I'll whip and nay nay like a f'n boss. Jon Hamlin, one of the coolest DJs around, put the track together for me, and it was perfect. I got exactly the reaction I wanted from the crowd! I also discovered that I dance whiter than I ever though possible.......................
Ooooooh, and then a posedown between me and the four giants! Ha! I hit some Hulk Hogan's and showed off my calves a lot. Just winged it and had some fun!
Awards time now! I scoped out the other four guys, and honestly expected that I would place fifth out of five. And that would be just fine with me, because my goal was to just make it to the stage and look like I belonged there. And in fifth place..... Me! Was I disappointed that I got fifth out of five? Nope, not even a little bit. I had a huge smile, and I meant every bit of it. Goal accomplished, and it was now over. And hey, I then became a provincially qualified classic physique competitor.
That took a few moments to sink in. It was over.
Completely relaxed, I headed upstairs, got dressed, grabbed my gear, sent a quick text to Mandy and Tamara, and headed outside for some air. Still had a huge smile on my face. I stopped by the BCABBA backdrop, hung out for a few minutes, and just relaxed and enjoyed the cool air on my sweaty and orange body. I pulled out a small bag of Dinosours from my bag, and slowly walked around to the front of the building. I couldn't remember ever feeling so relaxed.
At the front of the building, I had some chocolate covered ju-jubes to snack on. I just stayed at chilled. I ran into the T-Zone Fitness bikini team, and we shot the shit for a few minutes before heading back inside. We had to get some team photos done!
Shortly afterwards, it was time to head across the street to Cactus Club! Mandy's mom Terry popped over there earlier in the evening to reserve a booth for everybody. What a f'n genius move! Oh man, I was about to eat real food. Real TASTY food. With flavor. AND BEER!!!!!!
I tell you, the second that Epic IPA first touched my lips..... Well, you know in the documentary Pumping Iron, how Arnold describes "The Pump"? THAT EXACT FEELING.
I had a chicken appy to start, then creole steak for the entree. So f'n good. And remember, it's Mandy's birthday, so she got a little birthday dessert! But....... The poor girl is in prep, so she couldn't eat it! I couldn't exactly let it go to waste....................................
I showered up back at the hotel, and tried to get as much of the tan off of me as I could. I passed out rather quickly after that, as I had to be up bright and early to photograph fellow T-Zone athlete Katy the next morning! (Those photos will be up soon, and I promise you, they're stunning!)
We bummed around Kelowna for a little while after that. Mother's Day Brunch at Chances Casino (I could put milk in my coffee!!!!!!!!!!!!), and then we headed back to the mall, where we ran into Rey Rey (one of the coolest dude's on the planet, btw) and talked about an upcoming Vegas adventure. Because we deserve one, damnit!
And then back to Beaverdell, and the Sweaty Beaver gym! (Had to get back up on the wagon pretty quick, ya know) I don't remember a whole lot of what we did that afternoon, aside from me eating Doritos and drinking Deschutes River Ale. I had been saving that beer since February!
Did another photo shoot the following day. Mandy took some pretty killer photos of me at the Beaverdell property!
It was especially important to me to have a photo in front of a Ponderosa Pine tree. I have a deep connection with this tree, as strange as that may sound. But so much so, that I actually have a Ponderosa Pine forest tattoo'd on my forearm. It's my favorite forest to hike through, and it always reminds me of a high, mountainous desert environment. It's my happy place. I love the vanilla scent of the bark, and the promise that I know I'm going to see some killer scenery when I'm in that land. <3
So what's next? Provincials next year, that's what's next.
LET THE GAINS BEGIN!!!