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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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October 06, 2010

Grokfeast on the Shenandoah River

By Mark Sisson
76 Comments

On September 8th I asked my readers to host picnics and to send me the results. The following is one of 27 amazing submissions, the best of which will win an entire cow, courtesy of US Wellness. Vote for your favorite on October 8.

On September 24th 12 Crossfit Balance members ventured to the country near Shenandoah National Park for the Inaugural Caveman Olympiad and Feast. After a delicious meal of slow-roasted pork butt and butternut squash soup Friday night, the athletes retired to their cabins to rest for the next day’s events. Saturday morning, fueled by several pounds of bacon, scrambled eggs, and fresh fruit, all 12 contestants donned their Paleolithic costumes and readied the field of battle. The 8 men and 4 women broke down into 4 teams of 3, and after the Caveman Torch Lighting and Opening Stampede the games began!

The CMOC (Caveman Olympic Committee) chose 6 events to test the speed, strength, power, agility, endurance, and intelligence of the competitors. Points were based on standings in each event, while bonus points were also awarded for competing barefoot and stealing other teams’ clubs. The opening event was a relay, where each team member had to sprint, drag a small log, and backpedal before passing the baton to the next teammate. Event 2 was a rock toss- each team had to throw 3 rocks of varying sizes as far as possible, and the longest total distance won. Some cavepeople chose to launch the rocks shot putt or discus style, but most athletes opted for the over the head Highlander games technique (?).  Event 3 proved to be the most difficult; in this brutal workout each male had 90 seconds to pick up and carry a cavegirl along a short course, then do as many cavegirl squats as possible in the remaining time. The cavegirls themselves had to carry a small log, then perform as many overhead squats as they could in the remaining time.

After a quick break to rest, rehydrate, and grab some more bacon, the contenders girded their loins for the last few events. Event 4 was “Bringing Home the Bacon,” where each team of 3 had to move 5 sandbags, ranging in weight from 25 to 100 pounds, from one high porch to the other as quickly as possible. Next up was “Catch-a-Mate,” where each team chased down, subdued (with a club strike to the rear), and carried back as many other cavepeople as possible in 3 minutes.  This was another tough event, as there were some hefty cavemen present.  The final event, the “Caveman Medley,” was another relay, where each team member began with walking lunges, sprinted to a pile of firewood, moved it up a hill while bear crawling, then sprinted back to the finish with the firewood. When the dust settled, team Got Meat? barely edged out team Bone Unit for 1st place, with teams Cave Sketch and Bone Clubs n Harmony bringing up the rear.

The exhausted cavepeople took a refreshing dip in the nearby Shenandoah River, then began preparations for The Feast. 3 t-bones, 2 enormous ribeyes, and 2 whole chickens (nearly 15 pounds of meat in all!) had been marinating for 24 hours in the cabin. As some of the cavemen readied 3 grills and an open fire (fueled all weekend by hand-split wood), others began prepping the vegetables. Once the fires were hot enough the food was thrown on the grills, and soon the scent of roasting meat and veggies filled the air. Before long everything was cooked, and The Feast was impressive indeed. Most impressively, everything got devoured! A few people even had room for a dessert of grilled peaches. Bellies full of meat and vegetables, 12 tired, sunburned cavepeople with very sore feet gathered around the roaring bonfire and told stories far into the night.

The Feast & Recipes

We decided to keep it simple and caveman-ish for The Feast, and just cook lots of meat and vegetables over an open fire. The meal was also a group effort, put together on the fly without too many spices, cutting boards, knives, bowls, etc, so there was a lot of improvisation. That being said, this is what we ended up eating:

The main course was a variety of meat (T-bones, ribeyes, and whole chickens), marinated overnight in a homemade blend of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, fresh-cut garlic and leeks, and a variety of spices. We cut up the chicken into more manageable parts, then grilled it and the enormous ribeyes (about 2” thick, 2 pounds each) on a charcoal grill. The T-bones went on a grate directly over the wood-burning fire pit.

For the sides, we cooked 6 red peppers, 4 onions, a dozen or so small potatoes (not technically Paleo, but freshly delivered from a local farm), and a pound of mushrooms. The peppers, mushrooms, and outer 2 layers of onions were marinated in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, oregano, and salt and pepper, then put on bamboo skewers and grilled over charcoal. We got a bit more creative (or primitive) for the remaining vegetables. For the onions, we cut a small cross into the top, wrapped them in tinfoil, and put in some olive oil, butter, and salt before sealing them up in the foil. We individually wrapped the potatoes in tinfoil with no additional ingredients. All of these veggies started off on the grate above the fire, but when we realized how hot the fire was we nestled them into some coals to the side, and cooked them until they were all tender. Finally, for dessert we grilled 3 peaches, halved, pitted, and drizzled with honey and nutmeg. Delicious!

The Tribe

Sarah Burch, Jed Clift, Ash Cope, Cristyn Cram, Rod Crider, Quint Fischer, Michael Hall, Joe Heaton, Graham King, Jenny Krystopowicz, Lauren Twohig, Justin Zubricki

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76 Comments on "Grokfeast on the Shenandoah River"

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Peggy
Peggy
5 years 11 months ago

ok, now THAT was cute, & creative 🙂

Audry
Audry
5 years 11 months ago

there goes my chance at the cow…

Jim
Jim
5 years 11 months ago

hahaha….this is awesome!

Robert
5 years 11 months ago

Geez, I need a crew like this. Where are all you primal folks in WI! Let’s get this on!

Larry
Larry
5 years 11 months ago

In what part of WI are you? I’m moving there next summer.

Robert
5 years 11 months ago

Southern, Madison area. I know there are quite a few of us in the area. I need a workout buddy. Keep me motivated. I would love to get together a Midwest Paleo Olympics! ala the Warrior Dash or Tough Mudder.

Larry
Larry
5 years 11 months ago

I’ll be halfway between Madison and Milwaukee (Watertown? Oconomowoc?)Sign me up for the Midwest Paleo Olympics! :^)

Magness
Magness
5 years 11 months ago
Jose
Jose
5 years 11 months ago

um….this is pretty kick-a$$! Is this Balance Gym in DC? Way to represent the 202 guys!

Anna lindholm
5 years 11 months ago

I can’t view the video because it contains material from sony music Entertainment and they have blocked it in my country!! Not fair!!

Carl
Carl
5 years 11 months ago

WOW that looks like SO…MUCH…FUN

Cindy Hanna
5 years 11 months ago

This looks so creative and fun! What a way to spend a few days!

MeatMe216
MeatMe216
5 years 11 months ago

cute outfits…

Emerson
Emerson
5 years 11 months ago

Great costumes! Great food! Great party!

dream puppy
dream puppy
5 years 11 months ago

This is by far my favorite grokfeast! The games and the outfits were very fun and primal at the same time. The food looked delicious and everyone looked awesome. Enjoy your cow, fellas. Looks like it was a blast!!!!!!!

Maria
Maria
5 years 11 months ago

I love this!! The dogs are a cute touch 🙂

Kris
Kris
5 years 11 months ago

I laughed out loud when they started running with the torch and the dogs brought up the rear. Definitely added that extra wild touch.

Graham King
5 years 11 months ago

Yes – this is Balance Gym/CrossFit Balance. CrossFit Balance is at our new location on 14th Street, NW DC. If any readers want to stop by for a workout, just email or call me.

And, yes, this was an awesome weekend!

-Graham
202-549-3867
graham@balancegym.com

Jenny
Jenny
5 years 11 months ago

Wow, amazing! Looks like loads of fun too. 😀

mayness
5 years 11 months ago

Those costumes were too funny. I also loved the picture from breakfast with a huge pile of bacon. =]

Sarah
Sarah
5 years 11 months ago

This one is awesome and inspiring! I wish I had enough friends around interested in the primal lifestyle to get something like this together 🙂 cheers to you guys!

Adam
Adam
5 years 11 months ago

I absolutely love the outfits. Very nice work.

Ryan
Ryan
5 years 11 months ago

I didn’t know that caveman olympics existed. I must compete next time, heh.

Larry
Larry
5 years 11 months ago

I like how this pack of Groks was accompanied by their “wolves”! Three cheers for symbiosis!

Julie
Julie
5 years 11 months ago

Grok party Crossfit style – nice! Maybe I can get Crossfit Prescott (AZ) to do this some day. Y’all put a lot of work into this, and it looks like it was a ton of fun. Good job!

Fit Under The Collar
Fit Under The Collar
5 years 11 months ago

gotta love it!

anzy
anzy
5 years 11 months ago

Love the outfits and the fun awesome workouts. Way to get into the spirit guys!

Jess
Jess
5 years 11 months ago

Great job! Looks like awesome fun!

Vance Gatlin II
Vance Gatlin II
5 years 11 months ago

Thats dedication right there, right down to the costumes

Lori
Lori
5 years 11 months ago

That was hysterical!! Grab a mate was very funny!!

Mlkrone
5 years 11 months ago

Wow, That’s freakin awesome!! I’m so jealous, that looks like you guys had a blast! Good choice with ‘Cochise’ as well, Chris Cornell rocks!

Jackson
Jackson
5 years 11 months ago

I love the touch of the oversize bone hairpieces.

Kyle
Kyle
5 years 11 months ago

Looked like a blast.

Ryan
Ryan
5 years 11 months ago

Very Cool!

gnataxela
gnataxela
5 years 11 months ago

and the Greeks thought they held the first Olympics. wrong.

Melody
Melody
5 years 11 months ago

Love the outfits.
I cannot BELIEVE how much meat you ate – that’s amazing!

Flint
Flint
5 years 11 months ago

Wow.
The bar has been raised- great job guys!

Mike
Mike
5 years 11 months ago

You guys went all out, awesome.

Nick
Nick
5 years 11 months ago

A true caveman event, enjoy your cow.

Chipdogwa
Chipdogwa
5 years 11 months ago

That looked absolutely amazing. Good work everyone!

Slate
Slate
5 years 11 months ago

I don’t even know how to describe how awesome this looks… words fail me. I will point out that Team “Bone Clubs n Harmony” is just one small element that makes this entry amazing. I vote Shenandoah!

Garth Whelan
Garth Whelan
5 years 11 months ago

This looks so fun! I wish I could be there, and I wish my friends would let me carry them like that(some objection about being a human barbell).

Mark
Mark
5 years 11 months ago

Not sure you can call the girls heavy things but the lifting looks fun.

Cj
Cj
5 years 11 months ago

Loved looking at your weekend…looks like you had a blast. I vote for you to win the cow!

Mr. Flintstone
Mr. Flintstone
5 years 11 months ago

Great job guys! Those cavewoman squats look fun… hopefully I can convince some of my friends to do them with me!

Sharon
Sharon
5 years 11 months ago

This is one strong, hilarious, hungry tribe.

Hey, did I see a loaf of bread at the feast?

Good luck, me thinks you are a strong contender.

carol
carol
5 years 11 months ago

Love the setting and all the costumes.

Chris
Chris
5 years 11 months ago

Wow. Too much fun. Very creative. Way to go guys! DC area represent!

Pyotr
Pyotr
5 years 11 months ago

That looks like blast! You crossfit people are crazy! Good job!!

Funkadelic Flash
Funkadelic Flash
5 years 11 months ago

Hahaha!!! Those outfits are epic WIN!

The Primal Palette
5 years 11 months ago

Talk about diving in 100%, with the costumes, food, events and everything else. This looks like great fun. Extra props to the girl with the giant bone in her hair. Classic!

Michael
5 years 11 months ago

Bonus points for going barefoot? Hard/awesome/primal!

Ben
Ben
5 years 11 months ago

I’m digging the tribal clothing. Looking good!

mike
mike
5 years 11 months ago

my favorite feast! good lookin grokettes too:)

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