Some of you might remember the time Dave ‘The Duke’ Newcombe was spotted at the end of a team WOD carrying not only his own 45-pound plate, his partner’s 45-pound plate, but also his actual partner. There was the Duke lumbering down 4th avenue lugging 90 extra pounds in one arm and Kermit slapped over the shoulder of the other. Sounds like quite a challenge. But perhaps it’s the kind of challenge anyone would take on if he had the title of First Paying CrossFit Client in Canada. That’s right - Duke’s seen this joint grow from its humble beginnings more than six years ago. The Duke was here when nobody knew what they were doing, when the coaches let him get away with clean and jerks that looked like close-grip snatches – and ugly ones at best. The 38-year-old Duke still remembers his first CrossFit workout. “Kits community gym. It was some mix of pull-ups – only one station, and nobody knew how to kip back then – rowing, and some weights in there somewhere. No only did you have to move stations in between sets and go to another room, you’d have people asking you what’s going on, or telling you what you were doing wrong,” said the Duke. “That was probably seven years ago,” he said. At the time, the Duke, who is originally from England, was still fairly new to Canada. He met Patty when they became roommates. “I was T-Bear’s replacement in the house,” he said. Back then, both Patty and Bear were still working as engineers, T-Bear in Seattle. Together, they started following the .com WODs. “Soon, I realized it does work, and we started to see improvements as a group,” remembered the Duke. Seven years later, the improvements haven’t stopped. First of all, the Duke’s 30 pounds lighter than he was when he began, and even at the age of 38 he’s still getting personal bests. “I find it strange that I am still improving times. For instance, that rowing regatta [in May] was my fastest 2 km row ever, and my last Grace was my fastest, my last Murph, fastest again,” said the Duke. The improvements the Duke has witnessed have gone far behind his own personal ones. He says it’s been very rewarding watching all the CrossFit Vancouver coaches gain more and more knowledge over the years. “Then there’s always entertainment watching Andy and the new techniques and contraptions he always wants to build,” added the Duke. Although it seems like the Duke has seen all the CrossFit world has to offer, he says it’s easy to stay motivated as part of the CrossFit Vancouver crew. “Simply, where else would I go? What’s the nearest alternative method of training?” he asked. “Also, I can hear the poetry coming out of Patty’s mouth if I did leave.” That, and the Duke still has CrossFit goals he wants to achieve. “Still no muscle up, and I want to get a handstand push-up without a mat...And fuckin double unders. I thought we were removing them from the syllabus, but before we do I want to figure them out,” he said. Even if the Duke never figures out double unders, maybe his daughters, Sam and Sara, have a chance. “Sara already goes to gymnastics and runs around in circles around the other kids when it comes to that level of skills...They are both going to grow up thinking CrossFit is the norm, so we’ll see,” he said.