Elite #6 Dalen Randa
Updated: Apr 21
Dalen Randa My longest tenured training partner. For over 10 years Dalen trained at and competed for Diablo Barbell. I remember Dalen joining the club after doing a few USAPL meets and wasn't happy with the experience. If I recall his total was around 1500 with a 500ish squat and deadlift and I think high 400 bench. A perfect fit for the culture of Diablo he quickly made huge strides in his lifts. In his first meet with the team he pushed his squat over 700, bench over 500 and deadlift to 600. I remember when he came down and trained the first time with us I told him if he did everything I told him to do he would squat 800 within his first year. True to my prediction, 11 months later, he squatted 804. Much more was to come.
In telling Dalen's story, I could talk about numbers and training all day long. But that would only be a small part of it. He was a lifter who spanned all three eras of the club and was always on the inside. Always part of the inner circle and a key contributor. For many years my right hand man. And, frankly, when it comes to Dalen and I many (most?) of the stories can't be told.
When I formed the "experimental group" (known as Team 5) it was Dalen, Charlie Telesco and Dayan Neely. How we approached training has already been chronicled in Charlie's bio. After Dayan and Charlie both left those spots were filled over the years with Andreas Gallagher, Gairett Pirkig, Steve Bartlett and Jeff Miller. Other than myself Dalen was the only constant. I don't think Dalen always enjoyed training with me but he stuck it out for a very long stretch. Ultimately earning a 903 squat, 722 bench and 683 deadlift. At one point he held the distinction of holding the all time highest total in the state of CA as a 242 lb competitor. This was significant as he was already a masters lifter. In fact Dalen made his first elite and pro qualifying total as a master.
In 2017 Dalen had enough. Now over 50, his shoulders had been a big problem for years and he had fought that battle longer than most, attempting a 755 bench in his last contest. I knew the last day he came in what our meeting was gong to be about. If you have been doing this long enough you always know how to recognize that day. Although totally amicable that conversation wasn't easy for either of us. In the sport of powerlifting you ultimately have to face your own mortality as a competitor or high level lifter. Paraphrasing Dave Tate, "the hardest moment for a powerlifter isn't taking their heaviest lift. It's realizing they have already taken their heaviest lift." When Dalen and I had that conversation I think he was saying it for both of us. I sincerely hope that Dalen's life after powerlifting is as successful and historic as his time in the sport.