Cleans and Crafties in Kalamazoo


After our fantastic day at CrossFit Naptown in Indianapolis, we weren’t sure what to prepare for going forward.  We wondered, both aloud to each other and silently to ourselves, whether or not to expect the same kind of treatment at every affiliate we were planning to visit.  

We didn’t help ourselves any with my late e-mail to CrossFit South Bend.  I usually try to contact potential boxes at least three days ahead of time to give them a heads up that we’re coming but working out in South Bend was a last minute decision.  Seeing the campus at the University of Notre Dame had been on the list of things to do for a while, and our original plan had us making a quick stop in Irishland then continuing on toward Kalamazoo, where we’d stay for the next two nights.  Alas, plans don’t always work out the way they are supposed to (see my previous blog post).

I emailed CrossFit South Bend late Sunday night and they responded within two hours, encouraging us to come in for a Monday afternoon workout. Coach Amy led us through class: a back squat max strength followed by a sprint series combined with ground-to-overheads with a 45-kb. plate.  It wasn’t the first workout I’d ever made the mistake of overlooking and it probably won’t be the last.  I think my post-WOD exchange with Amy went something like this:

“Holy shit,” I said.

With a shrug and a chuckle, she came back with “Don’t forget to put your plate away.”

Amy was a tough, knowledgable coach and an even better person.  We got to spend about twenty minutes after class sharing our story and just like the coaches at Naptown and KW CrossFit before, Amy showed us a ton of love and support.  Lexi and I continued to shoot the breeze with her and some of the other coaches and athletes at CFSB before hitting the road again, this time across our second state line and into Michigan.  The destination was Kalamazoo, a quaint city known for its’ craft beer and colleges.  There we met our friend and next host Kelly at her incredible apartment downtown.  

Two Nights in the ‘Zoo

Kelly’s gym, CrossFit 269, was just a short drive away, so we hit the noon class while Kelly went to work.  It turned out to be a good day as both Lexi and I PR’d our power cleans (160# and 257#, respectively).  It has been humorous in a way; one of our biggest concerns going into this trip was that we could potentially lose the strength numbers we’ve been building up due to the very real “constantly varied” nature of dropping into different boxes every day.  However, five days and four gyms in, we’ve pressed, squatted, cleaned and snatched for strength.  

We met up with Kelly later and she showed us the crown jewel of Kalamazoo brew, Bell’s Brewery.  A special brew-area, a ‘general store’ and a restaurant/bar known as Eccentric Cafe made up the grounds on an unassuming building near some rugged train tracks just outside of the downtown area.  We sipped on a few Bell’s favorites and enjoyed great conversation before we walked back to Kelly’s for the night.  

A “wake-em-up, shake-em-up” strict press max and mile run for time greeted us at 6:00 am back at 269.  We said good-bye to Kelly and thanked her- and her cat Oliver- for being wonderful hosts before committing to a three-and-a-half hour drive to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

The journey was long but well worth it, as I’m finding most road trip drives to be.  Sleeping Bear Dunes was beyond beautiful, so much so that we felt it needed its’ own blog post, which we’ll publish tomorrow.  Get ready for an overload of selfies and nature photos from the two of us.  We had an incredible time and felt no shame about documenting it.  

I now sit sipping on a pretty robust stout beer (read: I can’t handle it but I’m doing my best not to make the Bitter Beer Face every time I take a drink) in downtown Traverse City.  We don’t know where we will head tomorrow but my excitement to enter Canada is multiplying the closer we get.  For now we’ll keep being ambitious with our travels and continue to put the miles behind us.  


One thought on “Cleans and Crafties in Kalamazoo

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