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IPA PA States - 2015: Hotel and Venue Pictures

By Gary F. Zeolla

I competed in IPA PA States on Saturday, February 28, 2015. I stayed at an Econo Lodge just 2.8 miles from the contest site of York Barbell Company, which is also the home of the Powerlifting Hall of Fame. For a contest report of my performance, see IPA Pennsylvania State Powerlifting Championships - 2015. On this page, I present pictures and details on the hotel and contest venue. Click any picture for a larger image. The address for the Econo Lodge is 222 Arsenal Road, York, PA, US, 17402, (717) 843-9970. York Barbell is located at: 3300 Board Rd., York, PA 17406.

The Hotel

I drove out Thursday afternoon, weighed-in Friday morning, then spent the rest of that day rehydrating, eating, and resting, then competed on Saturday, and drive home on Sunday. Thus I stayed four days and three nights at the Econo Lodge. My main concerns when it comes to a hotel is that it is quiet, clean, and doesn't smell. The latter is because of my multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS). I have had difficulties at some hotels I have stayed at due to that problem. I stayed here as this Econo Lodge was much less expensive than the hotel indicated on the contest entry form.

Here are a couple of pics of the main entrance. These were actually taken after I had checked out, and yes, it is snowing, just in time for my trip home. But on my way in, it really smelled in the lobby when I checked in. That had me worried, but the smell was what I usually notice when being in public, one of perfume and make-up. Most people wouldn't even notice it, but I do, and it causes me problems.

This is the entrance I used to get to my room. My room was on second floor, the first room of the balcony to the left. It it hadn't been in single digits, the balcony might have been nice. I wanted the second floor so as not to have anyone walking on my ceiling. The noise from that has caused me problems in hotels and apartments in the past, so I always request a room on the top floor. But here, there was no elevator, so that meant carrying all of my stuff up a split staircase. And I had a lot of stuff, with my contest gear and all. But I didn't want to risk leaving it in my car and have someone steal it, as I heard happened recently to another lifter.  Plus, it was going down to single digits, so that gear would have been very cold to put on the morning of the contest after being in the cold for two nights. But one problem with the stairway is it also smelled. This was more of a chemical cleaner smell than a perfume smell, but it still had me worried.

I also requested a room on the parking lot side of the hotel. That is because on the other side is a highway, and I was afraid the street noise would keep me awake. But as it turned out, the hotel sits up on a hill a bit of a way from the highway, so it might not have been a problem on the highway side. And on this side, I got woken up by trucks pulling in or out. I assume it was the big rig cabs that I saw parked outside, to the right of this pic. But it only happened a couple of times and only before midnight, so that wasn't too big of a problem. And other than that, I did not hear any noise from the other guests, so the room was very quiet, except for a problem I will discuss shortly.

My hotel room, taken from the door. It is messy now, after I threw down all of my stuff, but it was a very clean room. It smelled a little, but not too bad. And once I took a shower, I didn't notice any problems due to my MCS, so I was happy with that. One thing though, as soon as I entered the room, I heard the toilet running, so I had to lift up the lid and straighten out the plug. I had to do so again the first couple of times I flushed. But I then fiddled with it and somehow fixed it, so it wasn't a problem after that.

Note also in this picture how I have already taken the blankets off of one of the beds and put them on the other. That is why I always reserve a room with two beds even though it is just me staying, as the bedding on one bed is never enough. Hotel beds usually have just a sheet, a blanket, and a spread. But in this case, the blanket was only moderately heavy, and the spread was very light, more like a colored sheet than a bed spread. Even with the doubled bedding, it was not enough and proved to be a problem later.

The room, taken from between the beds. Given the smells in the lobby and stairway, I thought it best to not have maid service. I was afraid the maid would bring smells in with her or create them by spraying chemical cleaners like I had smelled in the stairway. Also, once I moved the blankets around, I wanted them to stay that way and not have to redo it, but I've had maids make the beds, despite my telling the front desk and leaving a note for the maid not to. The latter I was told was because most of the maids cannot speak English! I never even thought of that since that hotel was also in eastern PA, not southern CA. In any case, since it was just me, I didn't get the room that dirty anyway, except to leave a pile of garbage in one corner. But even then, I had it all bagged up. I would have thrown it out myself if I knew where their dumpster was.

The dresser, mirror, and TV. It was an HDTV, but not very big, about 30". But the cable was apparently not HD, so all the stations were in a letterbox, which made for a rather small screen compared to my 50" screen at home. The only premium stations were two Showtime channels, but I never saw anything worthwhile on them, so I mostly watch Fox News and its reporting of CPAC and the death of Leonard Nimoy (a.k.a. Mr. Spock of Star Trek).

Related to this, the room had free Wi-Fi, but I could not get it to work on my Samsung Galaxy S5 smart phone. I called the desk about it, and they said they'd reset the Wi-Fi, but that did not help, so I burned up some of my 4G data, but not very much of it (just 0.16 out of my allotted 1.0 GB), so it wasn't a major problem. But still, if you advertise free Wi-Fi, it should work. Also, I could have sworn Econo Lodge's website said there was an in-room safe, but there wasn't.

The compact fridge and microwave. I was really glad my room had these. That way, I was able to take all of my own food with me to save the expense of eating out and to be sure I’d be eating just what I wanted after weigh-ins. They were somewhat small compared to the ones I have in my home. The microwave was just large enough to put the 12" plate I had brought in it, and the fridge was just large enough to hold all of the food I had brought, so they still worked out as I planned.

There was a small problem with the compact fridge. It had a small freezer compartment, but it apparently had not been defrosted in months. But I cannot fault the hotel too much for that, as I used to have such a fridge. The freezer compartment would frost over so quickly that it needed defrosted every month or two. And it was worthless; the only thing it actually froze was water. That is why I got rid of it and got a compact fridge without a freezer compartment. Hotels should the same if they're not going to defrost them.

Here you can see the problem the frost caused. The door on the freezer compartment did not come close to closing. The water I had in the door thus froze.

But the biggest problem with the room is something I did not take a picture of: the heater. There is no temperature gauge; just a dial with no numbers. As such, it is a guessing game as to where to set it. This is usually the case in hotels, so I learned a long time ago to take a room thermometer with me, so I can have some idea how warm it is getting. But worse is the heater snapped really loud, as electric heaters often do. That is part of the reason I did not sleep the first two nights. I finally got fed up with it and turned the heater off and put on my Steelers sweat suit to sleep in that I had planned on wearing to the contest. That would have worked as the sweat suit is very warm, it if hadn't gone down to one degree. But as it was, I then couldn't sleep due to being too cold. This is where the bedding being so thin caused me problems. If it had been heavier, I might not have been so cold and have gotten more sleep.

Despite these problems, I will probably stay at this hotel again if I compete in York again. It was a lot cheaper than other hotels I looked at, and with staying three nights, that was a significant savings. Just remember the saying: you get what you pay for. It is an okay but not great hotel. But next time, I will remember to bring a sweat suit to sleep in and to turn off the heater at night and to pray it doesn't get so cold.

Contest Venue/ York Barbell


The contest was held in the auditorium at York Barbell. This is a view of it from the main entrance.

This is the auditorium from where chairs were later set up for the lifters to sit on while preparing for their lifts. In the back of the auditorium are five rows of ten folding, cushioned seats. On each side are then five rows of bleachers, so it probably holds about 150 spectators. And it was mostly full for the contest. A good site to see, and the crowd helps in getting psyched up for a lift.

The contest stage. It was a raised platform like a normal stage. The whole setup was really nice and enabled the audience to have a good view of the lifters.

Another view of the stage, showing how it is elevated.

The only problem with the elevated stage is it required walking up the ramp to the left. This might not look like a problem, but with knees wrapped very tightly for squats, it is was bit tricky, but I managed without any problems.

A better view of the ramp.

The monolift for the squats. For those who have not seen this before, the idea is the racks are swung away after the lifter takes the bar off of them, so it is not necessary to walk the weight out. But I did, as that is what I am used to in training. And I was not alone; most in my flight walked it out.

Another view of the monolift.

A side view of the monolift, now with chains attached. These go under the bar and catch it if the lifter dumps the weight. Fortunately, that did not happen at this contest, but I've seen it happen at others. That is another value of a monolift over regular squat stands.

The contest bench off to the right of the stage. The monolift would be moved back and the bench onto the stage for benches. I should have taken this opportunity to lie on the bench and check it out. If I had, I would have found out the bench was too high for me. As it was, I didn’t know this until my first attempt. My feet could barely touch the floor, so I had to bring them in more than normal to get them flat on the floor as I prefer. I probably should have put plates on the floor as some of the women in my flight were doing, but I hadn’t planned on it. But no matter, as it didn’t adversely affect my attempts, and I went 3/3. But still, it will be best to train benches with my feet pulled in more.

The awards to be handed out after the contest.

The Gym/ Warm-up Room

The gym at York Barbell was used for the warm-up room. It was an incredibly well-equipped. Here you see the two monolifts in the gym. That made it easy for everyone to get onto one for their warm-ups.

A view of the six deadlift platforms in the gym. Most gyms don't even have one!

A long range view of the gym. It was the size of a basketball court and packed with equipment.

The far end of the gym. I must say, it was probably the nicest gym for powerlifting purposes I have ever seen. If there was such a gym in my area, I might not have had to set up a home gym.

The Powerlifting Hall of Fame.

York Barbell is home of the Powerlifting Hall of Fame. This is the main entrance to it.

A sign explaining the basics of powerlifting.

Pictures of some of the inductees in the hall.

More inductees.

Another inductee.

I wanted to take a close up pic of the top center picture, but I couldn't figure out how to use the zoom on my S5's camera. The pic is of Ricky Dale Crain. I knew him from my college lifting days. He went on to win ten national championships and five world championships. He then started his own powerlifting gear company, from which I get most of the gear I use. See

The wall of champions.

Close up of part of the wall.

More of the wall.

There was a room dedicated to Bob Hoffman, considered by many to the the father of competitive weightlifting.

The Retail Store

Since this is York Barbell Company, there is a retail store. On this end are clothes with the York Barbell logo and smaller weightlifting equipment.

The other end of the store with the larger weightlifting equipment.

I didn't need anything for my home gym, and I didn't see any clothes I wanted, but I wanted to get something with the York Barbell logo, so I got these cups that were on a close-out sale. They're very nice.

With the very large auditorium built just for powerlifting and weightlifting contests, the large gym/ warm-up area, and even a retail store, this was definitely the nicest contest venue I had ever competed in. I look forward to doing so again!

For my first workouts after this contest, see Full Workout Logs: Starting 3/6/2015 – Two by Two Plan (Variation A); Routine A, Weeks 1-6 of 12.

The above pictures were posted on this site March 4, 2015.

Powerlifting and Strength Training
Powerlifting and Strength Training: Contest Reports

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