The initiation of Operation Phoenix in March 2008 marked the end of the legendary CrossFit HQ, Greg and Lauren Glassman’s gym in Santa Cruz. With all the gear donated to the Marines and the lease up, it seemed as though the writing was on the wall.
And what was going to happen to the culture of CrossFit now that the founders had moved?
What happened was an explosion of growth. What may have looked like a curse—the loss of the chief—quickly turned into a blessing. Three Santa Cruz gyms immediately rose from the ashes of HQ, all located within 10 miles of each other. The question remained: could all of them survive?
Skip forward to September 2009, and we now have five affiliates in Santa Cruz, each with its own base of clients and trainers, and two within 800m of each other. What started as a small gym in Santa Cruz has turned into a large, vibrant community of athletes. The original HQ was a modest 1,200 square-foot facility in a small research park. CrossFit Santa Cruz now resides in a 3,500 square-foot facility, and the four other gyms make even more real estate available for CrossFit.
Getting all the gyms together at CrossFit Santa Cruz Central on Sept. 12, 2009 was an exciting and inspiring event. The members of each affiliate seemed to be quick friends and were often cheering for their competition. It was a lot like the athletes’ warm-up area at the 2009 Games. Competitors were socializing and assisting each other during the breaks. Coaches were assisting rival athletes before a competition. At the end of the event, everyone couldn't stop talking about the next one.
CrossFit in Santa Cruz is alive and well.
Additional reading: The Garage Gym II: The Revolution by Greg Glassman, originally published July 1, 2005.