BoldrDash – Yawgoo Valley 2014

10559833_840905215922291_8589046348723719207_nName: Michael Carr

Event details (parking, facilities, vendors, schwag etc)

Parking: There were three options for parking, depending on what time you got there. 1) $10 VIP parking, right at the base lodge, 30 second walk to Start-Finish. 2) $5 satellite lot with shuttle (2 miles from event site). 3) free but limited parking along some of the side streets off of Yawgoo Valley Rd. (no parking allowed on Yawgoo Valley Rd. itself)

Facilities: ample porta-potties (never a long wait), changing tents, first-aid station, cold-water temporary showers fed by a water tanker truck,

Vendors: several local/regional health industry vendors (massage, PT, etc.), Unleashed Fitness, National Guard Recruiting, Wreck Bag, several others, BoldrDash merchandise tent, several games including human foosball!

Schwag: Race specific cotton t-shirt, finisher medal, free water & fruit, free after-race beer

Timing: ankle bracelet (big improvement over bib timing, since bibs are easily lost on course)

Race details (course, obstacles, difficulty etc)

True story: while charging up one of the grassy slopes for like the eleventieth time, Lynn Hall (BoldrDash race director) passed by on her ATV, recognized me, and stopped for a muddy hug. I told her “Awesome job Lynn. The course is fantastic, really well laid out, super challenging. This is the best BoldrDash to date.” She said, “Michael, you realize that you say that every time. And that is a good thing.” She’s right. One of the reasons I choose to only #racelocal these days, is because the directors of these races want to get to know their racers, listen to them, and incorporate their feedback. They honestly try to improve year after year, race after race. Most local race directors have regular day jobs — these races are not about the money. They are about the racer experience, and often donating significant chunks of the proceeds to local charities.

This was the 4th year for this race, held at Yawgoo Valley Ski Area, a small “mountain” in Exeter RI, with a vertical elevation change of 240′. While not the capable of hosting the long death marches associated with some of the events at bigger mountains, the course team made exceptional use of all available terrain. Racers were rarely were going along flat terrain for very long — they were either ascending or descending the majority of the time. Sometimes when races have to weave the course in and out, up and down like this, course markings can get confusing, but that was not the case here. Course direction was clear at every point along the way, with the possible exception of the long jaunt through the backwoods. Here, orange spray paint dots and arrows on rocks and trees were used to guide racers. If you only looked down at the 3 feet directly in front of you, and you were moving along at a pretty good clip early in the day before hundreds of other racers wore a path, it was possible to get off course before you knew it. Ask me how I know. But getting back on course was simple by looking up and surveying the trees. Once back on course, it was important to look up every once in a while to site the path. Racers were taken through an ankle-to-knee deep stream for several hundreds of feet, and then again later through less deep but muddier water. At about the 3-mile mark was an obstacle rich field at the bottom of a very wide Green-level slope. Racers ran (?) up and down this slope a total of 4 times, with obstacles at the top and bottom. Half were “work obstacles” designed to challenge your strength and stamina, such as a long sandbag carry, chain drag, and tire drag. The other half were very challenging man-made climbing obstacles and walls. The neat thing about this area was that it was very spectator friendly. Spectators could gather around the roped-off section at the bottom and see the entire field where most racers spent 10-20 minutes lumbering through. Previous years, the course was roughly 5k in length, and followed roughly the same layout. This year they added one mile, and completely changed the course design and obstacle placement. This was really nice to see for us veteran BoldrDashers. It truly seemed like a completely different race.

This year, many of the obstacles made a return appearance from previous BoldrDash races (including some from the Spring Beach race). Props — very green! There were also a few new obstacles we haven’t seen to date (possibly inspired by the popular American Ninja Warrior TV show?), and some reengineered/rebuilt versions of obstacles from previous years, such as the monkey bars. I won’t go into detail about any of the obstacles, because it is my humble opinion that what makes a race the most fun is the surprise factor. But I will say this: one section of the course had 4 pairs of over-under walls. This counted as ONE obstacle, not eight. So when they tout 30+ obstacles, they are really talking about many more than that. And one reason that this is my favorite race of the year, is because wherever there is a REALLY hard obstacle (e.g., 10′ wall with one cleat at 8′ high), there is an easier version and a medium version right next to it. So an elite racer can run right alongside with less experienced people, and everyone gets to challenge themselves at their personal best level and feel the same level of exceitment and accomplishment. There are many obstacles that will absolutely challenge your upper body strength, grip strength, and “racer wisdom” (knowing the best/easiest/fastest way to tackle a certain obstacle), and yet this race truly appeals to ALL levels of racer. There are many obstacles I have never seen on any other course, including the big box race series.

Difficulty: On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate the course an 8, and the obstacles between 8 and 9. Having said that, like mentioned earlier, wherever there was a really hard obstacle, there was an easier version right next to it, so even though racers could make this a 9, less willing racers could have a much easier experience.

Rating: excellent

14 thoughts on “BoldrDash – Yawgoo Valley 2014

  1. Unless there is unlimited unicorn rides being offered, kids under 3 should be free……

  2. First time and cant wait for next one!

  3. I volunteered and ran and this was my first OCR, loved every minute of it! Thank u for a amazing experience

  4. I was a volunteer last year and didn't run the course this year I was a volunteer and team captain and ran the course as well on Sunday. I have to say it was awesome i was worried that I wouldn't be able to do it being our of shape and all but thanks to Christine Marie Elizabeth Dion I made it through the course if I fell behind she waited for me. Now it's time for me to start working out for the next event….

  5. I would agree with OCR Dude. Obstacles were good and plentiful for a short race. However post race atmosphere was weak. “Hype guy” and start even weaker. I miss the National Guard guys from last year pumping us up at the obstacles. Big groups should be in separate heats. My wife and I had 3 huge groups in our heat. Fees are WAY too high!! My sister brought my 3 kids and was charged $25 to be spectators!!! Even the 2 year old??!! Shirt should be quick dry material. See u next year. ~adam

    1. The shirt was also very cheap but IMO that only hurts the race, If it were a better quality shirt I would wear it more often. I will never wear this shirt out of the house.

    2. Adam, entrance fees are charged due to insurance fees charged to hold the event. So sorry to hear that your family paid the entrance fees and were not able to take advantage of all the activities inside the festival area that were included in those fees.

      As you can see in this review from MOM Generations there was tons to do at no extra cost.

      In addition to what she listed there was also a BRD Human Foosball game, a green screen with free photos at the REI Tents (which should be available for download in a couple of days by all), and a video playing on an 6’x6′(ish) screen of an area the course not accessible by spectators under the food tent for viewing by all.

  6. I was going to right a review myself but this hits on many of the good points already.
    Unfortunately there were things that need improvement.

    The race began with an MC on a microphone trying to hype up the elite crowd with “Be Bold” but it was lacking. The race then began with “OK GO” no count down just “OK GO” I think many of the racers thought it was a joke and didn’t even move.

    While on the course it seemed like the volunteer count was pretty soft and many obstacles were unattended. Some really needed an attendant, ie. tire wall. If somebody were to fall there nobody was around.

    Noticeably Missing was a DJ. When I would sell this event to all my friends I would always hype the party and the atmosphere.To me this was very disappointing and because of that I probably would not recommend this race to my non racing friends. There was also no bottled water and no bananas?? I guess it sounds like I’m being picky but I’ve never been to a race of any kind that didn’t have bananas or bottled water.

    To me it was obvious that this was not a part time job for Lynn but here only source of income. It seemed like anywhere a corner could be cut or a fee could be charged it was.

    It was also pretty sad that the director could not spend 5 minutes at the end of day to post the race results link. I understand she was busy but there were probably 1000 people that were waiting on them.

    1. As far as the tire wall not having volunteers that is false. There were 2 people there most of the time. One always.

      1. Not False, At least not for the first heat, There was also nobody at the bear crawl under the net.

        1. I do agree that a DJ with music would help pump people up at the start line. There was water at the finish line and I’m sorry you prefer bananas to apples. We would love to have you come and volunteer next year!
          I sometimes wonder if people have any idea how much time and money goes in to putting on an event like this. I do volunteer for this event and I personally know that corners are not cut. Great consideration is taken to ensure that the obstacles are safe and achievable by all. Since Yawgoo is a small ski area there is also a lot of effort made to make the coarse challenging and different each year.

        2. I do agree that music would help to pump up the start line. There was water at the finish line and I’m sorry you prefer bananas to apples. We would love to have you come and volunteer next year!!
          I sometimes wonder if people have any idea how much time and money goes in to putting on an event like this. I do volunteer at this event and I know personally that corners are not cut. There is great consideration taken to ensure that obstacles are safe and achievable by all. Since Yawgoo is a small ski area there is also great effort made to make the coarse challenging and different each year.

    2. There were attendants at all the harder/more dangerous obstacles when I went through.

      There were water stations, and water and apples at the end of the race. And at the end, there was a free beer for the over 21 finishers.

      I ran the Super Spartan last week and boldrdash surpassed in number of obstacles and quality of the course. There was also music on with speakers playing throughout the course, so I’m a little confused about there not being a DJ. Maybe because you ran the early heat, they were able to blast music due to noise ordinances. This is smack dab in the middle of a neighborhood, the towns in south county can be pretty ridged with their laws and ordinances.

      I give Lynn to hearty thumbs up! Thanks again for putting on a great event!

    3. I thought it was an awesome and inspiring race, and I think it is really sad when people wil just find anything to complain about. Try puting an event like this together and then let us know how you do. I think every one involved worked so hard, and for some people there will always be something to complain about. Nothing is ever perfect.

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