Patrick Vellner Talks Winning Wodapalooza and His Future Competition Plans

The back-to-back winner speaks to BarBend.

Patrick Vellner is arguably having his best CrossFit season to date (and it’s still very early on). He’s coming off of his first career Open worldwide victory and emerged victorious at Wodapalooza in a nail-biting competition with Cole Sager. The former Games runner-up has to be considered a top contender to Mat Fraser and the rest of the men’s field in Madison, Wisconsin this summer.

Coming off his latest Sanctional victory, Vellner spoke with BarBend about the energy and competition in Miami and what he has planned later this year.

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The work is only just beginning! This weekend was an interesting experience for me. With so many competitions on my schedule this year we’ve had to make some decisions about where and when to focus energy and my training priorities and fitness level reflect that. As a competitor It’s unsettling for me. It feels like not studying for a test. I had some bright moments this last week, but I made a lot of mistakes. Many of which were a result of ego. Being unwilling to accept where my current level was at and attacking some workouts based on where I thought I should be, instead of where I was. In this new season structure this is something I’m going to have to learn to balance and adjust my attitude around. I definitely have a lot of homework to do after @wodapalooza this year. It was a much bumpier ride than last time, but it was a riot all the same! I’m proud of the way I attacked many of the workouts. I’m proud of my tenacity and that on Sunday, when the chips were down, I executed perfectly. Thanks to all the other amazing athletes who help to push me to new heights. I’m a student of this sport and even after 7 years I’m still learning. The best is yet to come. Here are some nice photos from the weekend where i show off my one look. 📷 @trainingdaymedia @hsmithphoto @romwod @wodapalooza #alwayslearning #worktodo #reflections #competition #crossfit #improve #wodapalooza #reebok #foodspring #tydaxfitness #romwod #beelevated #trainingdaymedia #dekacomp

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BarBend: Patrick, congratulations on getting the victory in Miami. How long does it take to recover from a competition of that magnitude and what do you do to get back on track?

Vellner: It definitely takes a little bit of time to reset both physically and mentally after an event like Wodapalooza. I usually try to get home pretty shortly after the event is finished and just reset and try to get things as back to normal as I can. I’ll be back at work within a couple of days and back in the gym doing some light training. The house always falls into a bit of disarray with all the unpacking and laundry, etc. It usually takes me about a week to feel like I’m really, really, “back”.

BarBend: This is two straight wins for you in Miami. Wodapalooza seems to be a favorite competition for several athletes. What is it about this Sanctional that appeals to you the most?

I think there’s a few things that are really attractive about Wodapalooza. The festival atmosphere there is second to none and the depth of field it attracts makes it a great test and a good opportunity to measure where I’m. Mix in some warm weather and you’ve got a winning combination that’s hard to turn down. Besides, after winning last year I had to come defend the title.

BarBend: Nine Lives B was the workout you had the lowest placing in (19th). What was it about that workout that you feel affected you the most?

I think it was a combination of things. Being already qualified for the Games, my training is in a different place than it normally would be going into a competition. I haven’t done as many interval style or repeatable high heart rate CrossFit workouts lately so those events were going to be very challenging for me. Of the two back to back events, the second one was a better one for me on paper so I decided to focus a lot of my energy on the Nine Lives A and really attack there and I assumed I’d be able to recover well enough in time to start Nine Lives B and I’d be able to hold on. Unfortunately I was making a plan based on a level of fitness I didn’t currently have and I stepped a little too far over the line in part A and had a lot of trouble executing in part B. A bit of a tactical error and some poor execution. Those workouts HURT!

BarBend: You and Cole Sager were pretty close going into that final workout. Was that on your mind at all or do you focus solely on doing the best you can on the challenge in front of you?

In that case I knew what the point spread was and that in the case of a tie, I would win. Mathematically the only way to ensure that I won the competition was to win the last event. I’ve competed against Cole many times and I pay pretty close attention. I knew that it was a good workout for him and he’d likely finish top 3 but that the first 3 movements of the workout would be his best and for me the last 2 movements were my best. I made a plan to stay close enough to Cole so that I could push at the end during my strong movements and go for the win, and fortunately I executed perfectly. Obviously I knew that I needed to beat Cole to win, but in the end you need to know yourself. If I push too hard at the wrong time or get frantic in the pursuit, then I lose. It was definitely a game of control and trust for me in the last event and it made for a very exciting finish.

BarBend: Did you learn anything new about your performance, improvements, and what you need to work on?

Of course there are lots of little details over the course of the weekend. I’ll do a full debrief with my coach, but for the most part I think it was important for me to have a couple of bad events and feel where my capacity is at right now. I definitely made some improvements in crucial areas that I was proud of, but I struggled a bit with not meeting my expectations in others. Those things happen and I think it was important for me to feel that and move past it. In the end it’s also nice to know I still remember how to mount a good comeback and that with my back against the wall I can get the job done.

BarBend: Now that Wodapalooza is behind you, do you have a plan for the rest of the season as to what other competitions you may enter or are you taking it one step at a time?

The loose plan for now is to go compete at the West Coast Classic and the Rogue Invitational. I’ll also be hanging out at the CanWest Games in June, but other than that I’ll just be home working and training for the Games!

Patrick Fellner FAQs

Who is Patrick Vellner?

Patrick Vellner is a multi-time CrossFit Games competitor from Canada. At the CrossFit Games, he finished 3rd in 2016, 3rd in 2017, and 2nd in 2018. He has also won the Wodapalooza Sanctional competition in both 2019 and 2020.

Featured Image: Instagram/pvellner by Training Day Media.

Roger Lockridge

Roger Lockridge

Roger "Rock" Lockridge has been writing professionally for 10 years and has been training for 20. His work in the fitness industry has been seen in numerous outlets and has been a part of coverage for several events including the Mr. Olympia, Arnold Classic, the CrossFit Games, and the Olympics. He's also shared his own personal success story in several interviews and articles. Lockridge lives in West Virginia with his wife and son.

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