2019 will be the third year the CrossFit Games takes place in Madison, WI and for the third year in a row, I’m taking a week of vacation in order to be there to participate in all that “Games Week” has to offer. Below are 10 things I’ve come to call my “must-dos” in Madison:
1. Grab an almond milk latte from Collectivo Coffee. Collectivo is a Wisconson-based specialty coffee roaster with three locations in Madison, and it’s one of my all-time favorites. Take an early morning to sip on a cup in the shop, or grab one to go on your way to the Games venue.
2. Get out on the water. The lakes surrounding Madison are it’s best feature in the summer. Rent a paddleboard or kayak on Lake Wingra, get a group together to take a pontoon boat out on Mendota, or check out the Reebok Fitbarge on Lake Monona.
3. Attend the CrossFit Health Conference. The third annual CrossFit Health Conference is scheduled for Wednesday July 31st, and you don’t want to miss it! This year’s conference will focus on three central themes — the war on cholesterol and fat, the metabolic effects of low-carb diets, and the widespread sacrifice of scientific truth on the altar of the pharmaceutical industry. The conference will feature speakers to the tune of Dr. Zoë Harcombe and Dr. Dominic D’Agostino. If you’re in town, this is the perfect way to spend the day before the competition action starts. It’s also a great way to learn about and join the conversation of CrossFit Health — a major driver of so many of the changes you’ve experienced to the Games season this year.
4. Wine and Dine. Madison is home to tons of great restaurants, and during CrossFit Games week many of them have created special menus featuring the type of food the CrossFit community is known to love. Some of my favorites so far include Graft, Graze, Basset Street Brunch Club, and, if you’re feeling fancy, A Pig in a Fur Coat.
5. Take a bike tour. Madison is a big biking town, and what better way to enjoy your surroundings and get acquainted with the city than on a bike? There are numerous bike rental shops around Madison, or you can pick up a local B-Cycle from one of many stations.
6. Attend the Saturday on the Square Farmer’s Market. Every Saturday in the Summer, the Dane County Farmer’s Market takes over “The Square” in downtown Madison, circling the capitol building. By this point in the week you might be craving a home-cooked meal or at least some fresh fruits and veggies, and exploring the farmer’s market can be a great way to catch a break from all the action happening at the Alliant Energy Center.
7. Soak in the views from the terrace. The Memorial Union Terrace is a historical location located in front of the University of Wisconsin Union with a beautiful view of Lake Mendota. Bring your own drinks and snacks and enjoy the lake views as a great way to begin your day or wind down in the evening.
8. Partake in the Spectator Experience. The Spectator Experience at the CrossFit Games is always a highlight, and this year will be no different. Peruse the latest and greatest products to support your fitness, catch a workout in the Assault Spectator Workout Area, grab a drink in the Beer Garden while your kids run free in the Kid Zone, or sign up to test your own fitness in events such as OUTWOD, Porsche Auto-Cross & 911 Pull, Go-Ruck Hero WOD, FitAid One-Ton Challenge, or a Ragnar Relay.
9. Cool down with an açaí bowl. For the past two years, Sambazon has set up carts around the Alliant Energy Center where they sell some of the best açaí bowls I’ve ever tasted. There’s just nothing better after a long day of spectating in the heat than grabbing a bowl to enjoy as you head into the air-conditioned Colosseum to watch the evening’s events. Get your’s fast, though – they’ve been known to sell out quickly!
10. Cheer on the Fittest. Let’s all remember why we’re here in the first place – to celebrate the fittest athletes from across the globe. This year will be extra-special as we’ll have representation from every single country. Make sure to show them your support and celebrate all the hard work they put in year-round in order to put on an amazing show for us. Even if you won’t be in Madison this year, there are still plenty of ways to watch and show your support.