OCEAN CITY – A local man will be put to the test this weekend as he is in California competing to be named the fittest of the fit.
Erick Bruder is in Los Angeles this weekend, July 13-15, competing in the 2012 CrossFit Games in the Master’s age group of 50-54. Bruder ranked sixth in the world in his age group during the CrossFit Open, which is a five-week process that kicked off on Feb. 22. There were 667 men who competed in the Master’s age bracket, 45 and up.
The Dispatch caught up with Bruder after his plane landed in California and was waiting to check into his hotel room.
“I tried hard and got lucky I guess,” Bruder said humbly. “It’s exciting but I’m anxious now that I’m out here because it was a long time frame between the time we had to qualify and the Games … but now that I’m here it seems like a lot of pressure.”
This year was the second year in a row that Bruder attempted to place in the games. Last year he wasn’t so “lucky” when he placed 26th out of the 20 qualifying athletes that applied. Last year was also a different story since Bruder was qualifying for a different age group, 45-50.
“I was the old man in the age group last year but now I am a young man again in this age group,” Bruder joked. “It is one of those things when you go out for qualifications, you just do your best and see where you land, and this year my times were in my favor.”
Bruder has been active his entire life from participating in gymnastics as a child to wrestling through college and has become involved with the local level of the program, CrossFit Ocean City, as a student, trainer and coach.
“I was always in the gym and then one day four years ago CrossFit came along and I never looked back,” he said. “I went to one class and it literally brought me to my knees and that is all I needed, I couldn’t wait to go back. I just love the challenge, I love challenging myself, I love pushing myself to the limit and beyond, I have always been that way. I just love any physical or mental challenge. So that’s what got me into CrossFit and I just grabbed it and ran with it, and loved it, and it became a part of my life.”
CrossFit Ocean City owner Kelley Rakow explained her operation offers a strength conditioning program and there are over 4,000 affiliates worldwide. CrossFit Ocean City opened in 2006 and is one of the earliest affiliates, not a franchise, but has the right to use the name and the programming. All CrossFit locations are independent entities.
“We are a group of people dedicated to an ongoing effort improving our health and fitness with the CrossFit methodology providing coaching services in a class-based atmosphere,” Rakow said.
Rakow furthered CrossFit is centered on the idea of ongoing improvement. All workouts are repeatable and measure progress over time and the CrossFit Games put the best against the best.
“He is a well-rounded athlete and coach,” Rakow said of Bruder. “He is very patient, and even though he is an amazing athlete himself, he is incredibly humble and loves sharing with anybody he knows is interested. It is quite a gift that he has.”
Rakow said Bruder has an intense weekend ahead and is expected to complete two workouts a day. The scores are compiled from event to event and by Saturday afternoon only a portion of the athletes will advance to the finals on Sunday afternoon.
The CrossFit Games grows immensely each year, having 26,000 athletes apply last year to 75,000 athletes this year. Forbes has referred to the event as “one of the fastest growing sports in America.”
In the beginning, there were no age groups but as the event has grown the Master’s was added in 2010 and this is the first year the round will be televised live via ESPN3.
“Put it this way if you’re over 30 you don’t have a chance in the open … they got the masters division involved and it just bloomed and went off the richter scale,” Bruder said. “It is great because it makes the competiveness that much higher, and the challenge that much greater and the excitement and everything that comes with it.”
Readers can follow Bruder throughout the competition by visiting http://games.crossfit.com/masters-stream.
“I trained hard, here I am, and I will give 110 percent and push beyond my limits and we will just see where everything falls,” Bruder said. “With some support from all of my friends that are coming out here and from my family and lots of luck, we will see what happens.”
According to CrossFit, the Games were created to fill a void because no other true test of fitness existed. The CrossFit Games is composed of a broad range of functional movements to move large loads through long distances quickly, which is also the basis of the exercise program.