The End of Pavement Parking is Nigh

We’ve all been tempted to park part on the pavement to create a little more room on the road so cars can make easy progress, not to mention so they won’t clip your car. Door mirrors aren’t cheap but are required by law, so don’t want to lose them. 

You have seen it just as well as I have, where some inconsiderate little jerk-off decides to park too close to a corner, or double park on a road thats too narrow or generally just get in the way. Even worse there seems to be a range of white-van-men, couriers and taxi’s who decide to mount and drive along the pavement to make progress or pull up wherever they feel like. Many use this method to pull on to the curb at say building number 49 and drive along the curb to number 180 without queueing in traffic or to make it around traffic to turn a corner some way up the road. Others have a habit of parking as close to possible to the school / pub / shops creating a serious hazard just to save a little time at the expense of others.

Cats Claws

Inventor Yannick Read, 47 from Bristol a member of the Environmental Transport Association (ETA) has drafted an idea for a gadget he calls “Catclaws”, and has so far in the last year had a pretty good response to it. I would speculate that this is being fuelled by fact 43 people was killed as a result of drivers mounting the curb and driving on them last year. Not to mention the terrorist attacks using cars which have mounted the curb, which would be greatly reduced had their tyres all been shredded by speed. 

Catclaw Solar Reflective Surrounds

Catclaw Solar Reflective Surrounds

The gadget works like Cats Eyes, you know the little reflective studs on the motorway, only these are situated on pavements (away from the curb stone), so when a car drives over them in either direction, they burst the cars tyres in a brutal way. The devices have what appears to be a loaded spring which can detect the difference between a bike, a pram, or anything under a certain weight.

Its interesting that the inventor says the device is cheap to make, it uses only 4 commonlu available parts put to gether in such a way which makes the invention. Its also possible to add a solar powered illumination so they are lit up and easy to see at night, which I think would be essential, along with reflectors perhaps a Cats-Eye-Claw is the answer. 

Expensive Lesson

There is also a downside, sometimes you are pressured or obliged to mount a curb, such as when a liveried police vehicle instructs you to, or when other emergency services are trying to pass you. What about when your making a tight turn or parking and you need to roll over the curb, or accidentally mount it. Its an expensive lesson to learn, that device looks like it would destroy the inner tube which is £20 and the tyre on my car that’s £167 on black circles, so call it £200 per corner, if it takes out both tyres on 1 side, thats a £400 lesson. 

Now thats not even allowing for damage to the alloy wheel / rim during rapid de-pressurisation, will certainly crunch the edge of the rim on initial impact and grind upon turning, I’d guess your looking £300 per corner including a lathe finish on the alloy.

Lidl Shocking Customer Service

I recently realised during the “Beast from the East”, no not Eddie Hall, he’s the “Beast from the East Midlands” that the final day to spend the old paper style £10 Bank Note was the 1st of March 2018, and I had 1 left in my emergency cash stash. I had no plans to go anywhere but did want something in the “Middle Aisle of Lidl” so rather than go to one of the 2 nearer Aldi’s, the nearer Asda and Sainsburys I made the special trip to Lidl which is 3-4 miles away in Siberian weather.

Lidl Logo

Lidl Logo

Upon arriving I looked around, while not specifically looking for them I did not notice any signs telling me they wasn’t accepting the old style paper £10 notes or any indication they wasn’t following the Bank of England’s official line. The official requirement was you accepted them until 23:59:59 on the 1st March 2018. I proceeded to pick up the items I went down for and some other shopping coming to a total of over £31 and headed to the till to pay. At this point I still noticed no signs saying Lidl had stopped accepting them early or anything else. Part way into tilling my goods I checked if I could pay part by cash and part by card as I wanted to use some cash and I was told yes. The chap on check-out noticed it was an old £10 note and said he’s not sure if he can accept them any more and checked with the other check out person who confirmed the same.

I clarified the Bank of England says Midnight 1st March 2018, the newspapers and TV was all quite clear the 1st March was the final day. Both open tills had half a dozen or more people at each queueing several of which agree’d and confirmed today was the final day. The checkout person tells me his manager told him not to accept them, so he’s unable to accept them, sorry. 

I asked to speak to the manager and ask the managers name, which I’m told is Bob (fake name to protect the guilty), but Bob doesn’t have a surname. Because the checkout person hasn’t been there very long so doesn’t know his surname. When Bob arrives I asked his surname as I intended to complain, he declined to give it to me. I asked him who told him not to accept the paper style £10 notes he told me is his Boss; I asked for his bosses name, which he wouldn’t give me. I asked for the store managers name, I needed a name to put to this, which he told it wasn’t the store manager who told him not to accept them so wouldn’t give me the store managers name either.

5 Wheelbarrows full of Pennies

5 Wheelbarrows full of Pennies

I asked to clarify did his actual boss tell him not to accept the £10 note, at which point it changed to head office told him not to accept them. I tried to clarify who exactly at head office told him not to accept them at which point he tells me a piece of paper in the back office with no name on it, and he’s not exactly sure who put the paper there. I pushed further and tells me its a bit of paper which says “sales” on it that’s it. I wonder if I put a piece of paper there which says everything in the store is £1 today, if they would follow that blindly too ?

I explained the BoE situation and that it was still legal tender and it was potentially against the law to refuse the £10 Note, aside from the fact I was a regular customer and I had risked driving in the snow and ice in to a badly gritted car park, wasted my time walking around buying the shopping, queueing when they should have opened more tills, and legally he should accept my payment in lieu of the debt I owe.

For clarity, if I had been told on entry we don’t accept £10 notes, like many shops have signs which say we don’t accept £50 or £20 notes, a shop can refuse to serve you, and thus doesn’t have to take your notes I wouldn’t have bought anything as my only reason for going out was to spend the £10 note. However this doesn’t apply when you owe a debt. In theory, because my goods was tilled through, I owed a debt and this was my angle. I’ll admit its murky ground and not clear cut. On assumption my position holds, I could have paid them with 11 x £1 coins, 20 x 50p coins, 50 x 10p coins, 100 x 5p coins, 10 x 2p coins, 16 x 1p coins which would have been legal tender or any other legal tender including the £10 note.

I learned this from a news story some years ago about a man settling a fine with pennies. The Americans don’t have any such coinage act as referred to in the above story, so you can pay any bill with any amount, such as the man who paid his bill with 300,000 pennies delivered in 5 wheel barrows weighing in at over 750kg.

My issue is, it would have taken less than a minute to clarify the BoE position and accept the £10 as a gesture of good will, instead the store management decided humiliating a regular customer in front of at least a dozen or more other customers was the best course of action.

I visit that store multiple times per week and spend hundreds per month, and the customer loyalty is repaid this way, by cutting off old paper notes in the middle of the biggest cold snap in 30 yrs without any warning, humiliating a loyal customer with no chain or command to supersede. 

Interestingly, Aldi said they was accepting the notes no problem, and they expected they would accept them a little longer than the 1st March 2018 as they have with other money. Sainsburys also confirmed they was accepting the notes but wasn’t sure if they would accept it any longer. 

UPDATE: Since I wrote this, Aldi, Morrisons and some others have officially confirmed they will be accepting the notes beyond the 1st March Cut Off. 

 

Top 5 Silly MOT Test Failures

March is a big time in the annual vehicle cycle, lots of Marques release their new versions Models and Revisions to Existing models be it a slightly altered body, new lighting array, or just a collection of tweaks and improvements. I believe this march Honda are releasing their new diesel engine too for example. This is partly fuelled by the the new Number Plate revision which will be AA18 Range. With these new models and new financial tax year means lots of new cars are bought and sold around this time which makes this MOT Season, now is the time to prepare.

There very many reasons for a vehicle to fail its Annual MOT, I’m obviously not talking about serious safety or dangerous issues here. I’m talking about some of the very easily avoidable failures; of which there are nearly 75,000 each year. Many of these are often down one of three things (1), simple ignorance, (2), lack of basic maintenance/upkeep and of course (3), blatant stupidity. Many of these common problems can be fixed or least checked in mere minutes and take no time at all for the vehicle owner to rectify. Other problems cost a few pounds and a little time to solve in advance but could cost much more on the spot. Especially if you leave your MOT to the last minute and don’t have the time to shop around or could require a second day off work to re-test. 

Maintenance Trinity

I have bundled these together has the top trinity of common failures which aren’t really within my silly list but are easy and basic tests and shouldn’t be so common. (1), Tyre Tread Below 1.6mm, (2), Headlamps Poorly Aimed (usually too high) and (3), Brake Pads Below 1.5mm. At least 2 of these should be routinely checked, and easy to do within seconds at home. 

Tyre Wear Indicators by Bridgestone

Most tyres have Tyre Wear Indicators (TWI) in the tread which you can easily see and/or feel, I recommend this Tyre Wear Guide by Birdgestone. It shows you wear patterns, and how to find the TWI. Bottom line, if you can feel a good lip on your TWI, your legal, if its a slight/smooth lump your in advisory town, and if its level and smooth, its fail city.

Hella.com Guide

If your headlamps are illuminating the entire car in front of you, and certainly if they are illuminating the drivers cabin in front or lighting up the cars on the other side of the road, you either have High-Beam on, or they are aimed too high for your load. Your headlights should illuminate part of the curb side, and half way up the average car in front and not shine into the cabin of the car in front and not shine across into on-coming traffic. This simple guide will help you avoid a failure which could be avoided by simply turning them down using the height adjuster.

Alternatively this FREE PDF Guide to Headline Alignment may help if you want to check your alignment yourself more than height.

Brakes, well unless you know what your looking for this can be tricky, but you can often see some of your pads and feel if they are thin. If you have a quality pad they often have special metal rod inserts which once worn down to near the legal limit they start to make a squealing / screaching noise to alert you and the noise gets louder and louder the more of the inserts are exposed. A good rule off thumb If its been a lot of miles since your last pad change, its worth asking them to do a quick check before hand. 

Number 1 – Poor Hygiene and Filthy Vehicles

Almost 2,500 people was refused an MOT, because the test centre refused to even enter the vehicle. This could because of mud and dirt specially on off road vehicles, but other cases its been due to fungus and mould growth in the vehicle. Masses of fast food containers, left overs and other general rubbish. 

Spend Ten Minutes giving your car a quick clean up, doesn’t need to be Kim and Aggy but does need to be reasonable or the test centre can refuse to do it. 

Number 2 – Screen Washers and Wipers

Almost 1,700 people failed because they had no screen wash fluid in the vehicle. This is a routine maintenance task and would take a few minutes, but it will require a retest and booking more time off work. While checking your screen wash, check how effective your windscreen wiper blades are, perished, ineffective or damaged wiper blades can all lead to a failure which several thousand also failed for poor wipers. A few squirts and cleans and you’ll easily see if you need replacements, if the window isn’t clear after the wipes, replace them. 

Number 3 – Registration Plate Issues

Over 1,500 people failed due to various number plate related issues. The vast majority was dirty number plates, too dirty to easily read, so give them a quick wipe if they look cruddy. Other common issues was incorrect colour plates used (Yellow/White or Black), Illegal Fonts and Spacing.

Over 125 people turned up with a missing or no number plates at all on their vehicle, part of me thinks these people was thinking road worthy test rather than MOT but still, check your number plate is in good condition and actually there.  

Number 4 – Obstructions to Drivers View

Almost 1,000 people failed because of various things obstructing the drivers view. This can be things hanging from the rear view mirror, satnav / mobile phone suckers, stickers on the windscreen. 

When you checked your windscreen wipers, a quick look whether anything is obstructing the path where your wipers clear should indicate if its a potential problem. Its worth removing it to be sure, or asking if you are unsure. 

Number 5 – Accessibility

If your boot is full to the brim with sporting goods, shopping, rubbish or you have child seats fitted or anything else which obstructs free access to the vehicle, you could end up with an MOT Failure. 

Child Seats can be removed (to allow seat best tests) and put into the boot, most test centres are fine with this, but other stuff, leave it at home. 

Bonus Round – Lights

A quick check of your indicators, side lights, main beam, high beam, reverse lights can save you some hassle, time and money. When it comes to checking your reverse lights, your engine does NOT need to be running, so you can get in, put the car in reverse and climb out and take a look. Checking your Break Lights I tend to wait until its dark, turn off my normal lights then look how much of whatever behind me is illuminated

Its worth being a good driver and letting people you see in carparks know if you spot their lights out, you never know they may save you time and money, so return the favour. 

Any Dashboard warning lights will need sorting out before a test, you have little or no hope of passing, so don’t waste your time. 

Time and Money

While re-tests are generally free, if you have left it to the last minute, you maybe left with no car to drive as no cert = no drive. You also have to consider the time off work and the hassle of a re-test so 10 minutes of your time before hand can save you serious time and money. 

I was told 2 of my tyres was close to the legal limit, based on my driving mileage we estimated I had a few months wear. The dealership would have wanted approx £140 per corner to replace, balance and fit. A local independent or black circles or similar, would be about £170 for the pair, so considerable saving.

You can always ask the garage if they offer pre-MOT tests, which are usually a 10-15 check of the most common failure points, all of these reasons I listed here would be covered by this quick check which is often free with your MOT or Service or costs a few pounds. You can then shop around and handle some of the repairs/replacements yourself. 

Beetle Image by Gratisography

New Year, New You, New Resolutions, New Blah

Lots of people have done a year in review but this year has been kinda dull and really slow, it has been eventful so I’m not so much going to do a year in review as I am going to point a few highlights out from 2017. 

L Plate

L Plate

Late last year my shoulder surgery was delayed for one reason or another so to fill the gap I booked a dozen or so driving lessons over the 4 weeks gap between cancelled surgery, after passing my driving theory test first time a few months before. In the theory test I scored pretty close to a perfect score. Only 1 question wrong in multiple choice which still haunts me as I know exactly which question it was. I was also a little slow on one or two hazard perceptions videos but still nearly perfect is good enough. I started my driving lessons towards the end of January. This meant I had driving lessons in the frost, in the fog, in the snow, in the rain and ice and all that’s in between giving me really good all around experience. The worst was stuck in rush hour traffic on a 1/4 mile hill, which moved a few cars at a time, and meant non-stop constant hill starts, which was about my 4th driving lesson so yeah that wasn’t fun. When I passed my test about 4-5 weeks later I had 3 minor faults so my Driving Instructor John Swan did a pretty good job, in a very short space of time and literally just a few days before my surgery. 

Shoulder Surgery

AC Joint Grades I to VI

AC Joint Grades I to VI

My shoulder surgery turned out considerably more complex than planned, originally it was a Rotator Cuff Repair, and AC Joint Repair, it changed something much more once my shoulder was opened. My shoulder healed record fast, I was discharged from physio in just over 2 months, out of a planned 5-6 months. The surgeon wanted to discharge my left shoulder at 4 months, as fully healed and fine, out of an expected 9-12 months. All in all the healing process, very quick for the amount of work I had no one expected it to be so quick.

My return to the gym hasn’t been so quick, the many areas bone was cut away, or ground down was raw and exposed and then left soft and gooey, waiting for the scar tissue and hardening has been a long slow process. It was expected to be 18-24 months before fully healed. I could put some moderate weights on it at 6-7 months, by some I mean about 40% my maximum, where as a month before surgery I could manage about 20% of my maximum. For example bench-press, my max as been around 115-120kg (including the bar), a month before my surgery I could barely move 30kg with bad form, now I can move 50kg for 8, so definite improvement but still long way to go. 

I have done my first actual shoulder work out, including farmers walks, waiter walks, shoulder press, shrugs and upright rows, my grip is screwed, not sure I’ll get that back due to a torn tendon in my forearm and damage to my hand, so maybe stuck using straps and hooks. It has however 100% improved from pre-surgery, however under load when the bones appear to be touching, OUCH!

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to squat again, the work on my glenohumeral has almost certainly left me with impingements meaning I can’t get my arms into position. Maybe some yoga or pilates will help, but I don’t know. 

Rich Piana Died

Rich Piana at Body Power 2017

Rich Piana at Body Power 2017

For all the controversy, hassle, and fanfare over the Rich Piana crazy train, the man was a decent guy and a powerful inspiration to many. I don’t agree with his Synthol or PMMA or whatever the hell he was injecting to get his crazy size but he loved his fans and had a lot of respect for them. Way way more respect then almost anyone I have ever seen I’ll never forget him apologising to fans waiting while he did press photo ops, or for the long wait to see him, or even when he took his lunch/drinks breaks. 

Not ONCE, did I notice him rush a fan, cut one short, he spoke to them for as long as they wanted, and had a laugh, happy posing with fans, by all accounts he was a rock solid guy. 

The only other person who was equally popular who was a chatterbox was Kai Greene, he was being told off all the time his people for taking too long with fans. 

 

My Year 

Most of my year has been waiting, recovering and planning. Now I’m I’d say 85-88% recovered and able to put some power down on the left shoulder, and I’m not sure I want the right shoulder done. 

I started training again between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, so that gives me 9 months out. I’ve lost about 1okg of muscle mass (rough estimate based on my monthly bio-impedance),  and gained about 6-7kg total weight, which is pretty diabolic. About 2 months of that was pretty no gym and comfort eating a lot. I’m getting back on the ball slowly now. 

Diet is horrific to reign back in to boring stuff again, I may need to just go for a crash and go meat, veg, sweet potato, and try reset it. 

Worlds Strongest Man 2017 Break Down

I had a few emails and twitter DM’s over the Worlds Strongest Man 2017 post I made, unlike my WSM 2016 I didn’t include the break down of times on the events, I am going to include that below. There seems to be some controversy over the Georgian Bull Konstantine Janashia‘s Traps / Shoulders. 

Konstantine Janashia Traps

Konstantine Janashia Traps

Firstly, Lets talk about the Georgian Bull aka Konstantine Janashias Traps / Rhoms / Delts / Neck / Shoulders, while having traps and /or an upper back that developed isn’t especially unusual for a strongman. All those shrugs, dead lifts, farmers walks, and more all with huge weights will have them explode in size. Having a more pronounced set of muscles isn’t anything especially out there when your body mass and body fat isn’t exact huge comparatively speaking to say Eddie Hall or Zydrunas Savickas. In one of the heats Colin Bryce commented on Zydrunas Savickas power-shelf or power-belly saying its (his stomach) is actually quite bizarre, his stomach looks like its fat but its actually rippling muscles under there. 

Arnold Schwarzenegger Peak-Biceps

Arnold Schwarzenegger Peaks

Its entirely possible his traps are just pronounced due to a lower body fat, I would speculate there are some sort injury at play, almost like callous on your hands. All the squats have caused his spine and shoulders to protect themselves. I had this happen on my shoulder, I had a swelling around my AC Joint, which looked a little like a tennis ball cut in half. Its fluid an tissue swelling to protect the bone edges. I would speculate there are a collection of issues all converging in one place for this to occur. Firstly I think much like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “peaky” biceps (Left), or Dexter Jacksons ear warming traps, Janashia just had oddly shaped traps. Secondly his lower than average strongman body fat makes them show up much more, Thirdly all the squats and axles and such have aggravated his spine and shoulders.

This trinity of effects or issues has resulted in the unusual and pronounced shape of Konstantine’s traps.

WSM 2017 Event Breakdown

And secondly here is the break down for each event. 

Event 1 (Debut)
Tire Flip 500kg (6 Flips)
Name Result Points
Brian Shaw 27.28 10
Hafthor J Bjornsson 28.83 9
JF Caron 31.56 8
Mateusz Kieliszkowski 34.52 7
Eddie Hall 35.12 6
Laurence Shahlaei 39.87 5
Martins Licis 39.93 4
Konstantine Janashia 5 Flips 3
Nick Best 3 Flips 1.5
Zydrunas Savickas 3 Flips 1.5
Event 2
Squat Lift 320kg
Name Result Points
Eddie Hall 15 Reps 16 Pts
JF Caron 13 15.5
Martins Licis 13 11.5
Zydrunas Savickas 13 9
Brian Shaw 13 17.5
Hafthor J Bjornsson 12 13.5
Laurence Shahlaei 12 13.5
Nick Best 6 4.5
Mateusz Kieliszkowski 3 9
Konstantine Janashia 2 4.0
Event 3
Viking Press 160kg
Name Result Points
Eddie Hall 15 26
Hafthor J Bjornsson 15 22.5
Brian Shaw 12 25.5
JF Caron 8 21.5
Konstantine Janashia 8 10
Martins Licis 8 17.5
Mateusz Kieliszkowski 7 12.5
Laurence Shahlaei 7 12.5
Nick Best 3 6.5
Zydrunas Savickas 2 10
Event 4
Commercial
Plane Pull
Name Result Points
Mateusz Kieliszkowski 40.07 22.5
Hafthor J Bjornsson 41.10 31.5
Eddie Hall 42.92 34
Laurence Shahlaei 44.12 20
Brian Shaw 47.60 31.5
Zydrunas Savickas 46.73 15
Martins Licis 49.30 21.5
Konstantine Janashia 50.25 13
JF Caron 29.81m 23.5
Nick Best 21.38m 7.5
Event 5
Deadlift for Max Weight
Name Result Points
Eddie Hall 472.5kg 44
Hafthor J Bjornsson 460 40
Brian Shaw 460 40
JF Caron 440 29.5
Konstantine Janashia 440 19
Martins Licis 440 27.5
Zydrunas Savickas 400 18.5
Laurence Shahlaei 400 23.5
Mateusz Kieliszkowski 380 24
Nick Best 380 9
Event 6 (Final)
Atlas Stones 150kg – 210kg (900kg total)
Name Result Points
Eddie Hall 58.74 (5) 51
Hafthor J Bjornsson 28.99 (5) 50
Brian Shaw 40.49 (5) 48
Martins Licis 33.24 (5) 36.5
Mateusz Kieliszkowski 33.01 (5) 30.5
JF Caron 29.41 (4) 35.5
Konstantine Janashia 35.35 (4) 23
Laurence Shahlaei 45.66 (3) 25
Zydrunas Savickas 19.76 (3) 21
Nick Best 26.68 (2) 23

Worlds Strongest Man 2017 TV

This is the 40th Anniversary of Worlds Strongest Man, we already know the outcome of Worlds Strongest Man 2017, it spread like wildfire across Britain when Eddie Hall brought it home after 24 yrs away, even if there was a little controversy. We can finally watch for ourselves and see what the fuss was about. I’m not entirely sure if Hafthor had been allowed that extra rep, if it would have been a win for him. 

Eddie Hall at Body Power 2015

Eddie Hall at Body Power 2015

What has been clear through the qualifiers and heats has how the sport is changing, looking at the incoming talent is slowing leaner, more explosive and almost as powerful athletes. More interestingly has been those monster power houses of old who have lost a heap of weight and look amazing all lean and trim. At first it appears the price of this lean figure is their raw-power, we all know Mass-Moves-Mass. Lean isn’t really what you think about when you think Strongman, I still find it hard to imagine Eddie Hall was an Olympic level swimmer, but you certainly don’t think CrossFit would go hand in hand with a current Strongman legend. When I heard about such a thing, it wasn’t clear who it was, but I discovered it was Britain’s own, the one and only Mark Felix. I spoke to Mark Felix a few years ago when I heard this rumour, thinking someone was playing a joke on me. Yeah Yeah Usain Bolt is powerlifting too, it just did not make sense. However the British Legend was happy to have a little chat with me at an event and I pondered would his strength and raw power was the price. Initially this did seem the case, but sadly he retired from WSM after ripping the bicep head clean off the bone. Heartbreakingly his year won’t be the year he breaks his own world record 9 appearances in the WSM Grand Final. He was one of many many who this year was taken out with injuries but he seemed to be going well and regaining his lost strength, but we didn’t see his full potential.

Changing Landscape

Kate Errington BodyPower

Kate Errington BodyPower

Another such person is another of Britain’s Legends, Terry Hollands who has lost a heap of weight resulting in an impressive transformation complete with a 6 pack. A huge part of this seems to be from the amazing Kate Errington (Left) kicking him up a gear. Watching the WSM TV coverage of the qualifiers and it was looking a little like that 6 pack may have taken the powder keg of explosives out of him. This trend doesn’t carry over to the actual heats where he’s putting in a killer performance. One of the most memorable was his part in the final event of the qualifiers. Terry recently posted to say he’s getting back the strength he lost and getting stronger all the time. Watching the changes from Qualifiers to Heats, you can see this power coming back for sure, over just a few months.

If you remember Mariusz Pudzianowski was quite lean, so its possible with his new physique he pack a heap of muscle on and come back way more powerful. Speaking of Kate, she won at the Arnolds USA this year, and finally got her long overdue (in my opinion) IFBB Pro Card. Both Terry and Kate are sponsored by Alpha, so certainly worth checking out their products. I’m certainly going to be keeping an eye on that, and should you want to follow in Terry’s footsteps, Kate is available for training/meal plans/etc and is genuinely one of the nicest people I have met. Plus she can breath fire 😉

Raw Power Isn’t Enough

The changing landscape of Strongman is starting to make the mammoth guys a little outmoded, Felix and Hollands could well be ahead of the curve. The advent of Last Man Standing this year saw Matjaz Belsak and Terry Hollands put in some stand up performances, both stuck in my mind. This changing landscape will certainly favour the fitter guys like Britain’s Terry Hollands, Russia’s Mikhail Shivlyakov, USA’s Martins Licis and Poland’s Mateusz Kieliszkowski. The latter three along with the raging Georgian bull Konstantine Janashia are very clearly the next generation of Big Z, Shaw and Hafthor, and Iron Biby maybe the next OD Wilson, certainly the same crazed power. 

Last Man Standing

This new final event of the heats, is basically a 160kg Atlas Stone, which is usually the middle ball of 5, has to be lifted up 4ft 6in and passed over the bar. Each man then has 10 seconds to pick it up, and pass it back. The 10 seconds both starts and ends the moment the stone hits the floor on each side. There is a good sportsmanship rule about about dropping the ball inside the centre square to give the other man a better chance but some didn’t observe this. If the ball rolls around the ring, precious time and energy are wasted stopping it and returning it to the square to lift.  

This new event seemed a little unfair, some of the underdogs really pulled out something special and powered on with a display of impressive performance of raw grit and determination. I would hope this event gets a little more tweaking next year as at least 1 or 2 people who clearly weren’t the strongest survived this, and some who should have won didn’t. As Colin Bryce said all so often, this event gives everyone a fighting chance. I can see some people training almost exclusively for this and saving energy during the main events so take the win here. We saw something like this from Big Z and Hollands, only the latter performed well.

Injury Time Galore

Zydrunas Savickas and Bill Kaz Kazmaier

Zydrunas Savickas and Bill Kaz Kazmaier

This year there seemed to be way way more injuries than normal. One of the heats nearly ended with a 2 man last man sanding, they are supposed to be 2+1+1+1, but one only has 3 people left by the end. Was Mark Felix who ripped a bicep off the bone, another guy did his hamstring, another his tricep. 

Zydrunas Savisckas appears to be really suffering with the spinal/neck injuries and surgery, but appeared to sustain no new injuries in his possibly poorest show to date. 

I can’t remember who it was now, but one guy dropped like 300kg on his shoulder and just shrugged it off. I think we are reaching the limits of the current generation of strongmen. In the past Bill Kazmeier held the World Record for Deadlift in the 300kg range, then Z in the 400s now Eddie in the 500, maybe time for the the new guys in their 20s to take it up a step and pushing to the 600s.

Here’s To The Future

I said it last year Martins Licis (USA), Mateusz Kieliszkowski (Poland), Mikhail Shivlyakov (Russia), Konstantine Janashia (Georgia) and new man Iron Biby are very bright stars. You can see huge improvements in the former 2, and Konstantine hugely improved especially with the Atlas Stones, experience last year clear gave him the same leg up that Eddie’s taste of the podium did for him. The Russian Marine is impressive, if he carries on and packs some mass on it, he’s going to be a terrifying force in WSM.

I was so hoping Big Z would hit 5x but all those injuries he has came back from, once its your spine or neck, it doesn’t look good. Geoff Capes has spoken many times about the issues he’s faced, the potential is catastrophic. If anyone in the current top tier can make it to 5x WSM, its going to be Brian Shaw. If Z doesn’t perform a miracle, Hafthor maybe getting his shot in 2019 or 2020, no Z, no Eddie, leaves a power vacuum with some impressive new blood waiting to fill it.