Arden Cogar Jr. is hungry for the world title, even if it means going a little hungry at times.
The U.S. Champion of the STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® Series presented by Ram Trucks is chomping at the bit for this week’s STIHL World Championships in Lillehammer, Norway. Fresh off the title with several personal-best performances, Cogar has added a twist to his training this year.
“I sit on my butt for a good 50 to 60 hours a week, but I always get two hours of physical activity per day – either weight/strength training or actual event training,” the civil defense trial attorney said.
He found that despite his best efforts, that formula led to him losing strength during the season while also putting on a few pounds.
“I’ve always written it off to getting older and just being part of life,” said the 42-year-old.
Enter Al Shaw of PerfectBody Consulting, under whose watchful eye Cogar has sort of agreed to take great care with his diet “at least 90 to 95 percent of the time.” Cogar has found the results eye opening.
“For some unknown reason, and I can’t explain it, I’m setting personal records in the gym and I’m able to event train, in season, more frequently,” he said. “I’m guessing it has to do with the quality of food I’m consuming. But I’m a good 20 pounds lighter than I was last year and I’m stronger; which should not be the case all things being considered.”
With a big plate of assistance from Shaw and his diet, Cogar was a force in the June 1-3 U.S. Championships, setting season-best times in five of the six disciplines.
“I am very encouraged after my performance. I chopped magnificently and I placed second in the single buck and stock saw,” he said. “Had it not been for me flooding Lottie, my hot saw, I would have had an unprecedented performance for me. But I am very happy and feel blessed to have competed as well as I did. My hope is that it carries over to Lillehammer.”
Cogar knows there will be stiff competition at Hakons Hall in Olympic Park, where more than 100 lumberjacks from 24 countries will compete Sept. 7-8. With first-time countries Samoa and Turkey, there will be a record number of athletes for the eighth annual international event that is expected to draw 10,000 spectators.
“The competition in Europe is improving each year,” Cogar said. “Jason Wynyard (New Zealand), reigning champion, is always on his game; Laurence O’Toole, the Australian representative, is a formidable axemen; Martin Komarek, the Czech Republic representative, has been on the podium each of the past three years; Christoff Geislier, the Swiss representative gave Jason Wynyard a very tough go during 2011; Robert Ebner, the German representative, is cutting extremely well this year. It’s anyone’s ball game.”
And Cogar is included in that mix, but he said handicapping the World Championship is difficult at best. While he’s there to win, Cogar said there are too many variables to know what will happen.
“All I can truly say is that I will give it my best effort. My goal is to set personal records in the six events,” Cogar said. “If I do my best or close to my best in all these events, I will finish well. Where I will finish, I have no idea.”
At the U.S. Championship in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., Cogar finished the springboard in 52 seconds, three ticks better than his best at the Worlds. His other top performances at Worlds include 11.7 seconds in the stock saw, 17 seconds in the standing block (he went 14 flat in Pigeon Forge), 12.8 seconds in the single buck and 8.5 seconds in the hot saw.
“I do not foresee me besting my personal best I set at the 2011 World Championships in the underhand – 16.5 seconds – but stranger things have happened,” he said.
Competing most every weekend for the past two months also could help Cogar. He finds that actual competitions under race settings breed results. He’s let off the gas this past weekend to concentrate on two events in which he hopes to improve, the springboard and single buck.
“Those events are by no means bad, but I am seeing things with my performances at competitions that I want to correct going into the WC,” he said. “Therefore, I will spend that last weekend before the WC training the finer points of those events – to get the best performance I can possibly get.”