* From: Andrew Quinto
* Event: Spartan Chicago Super 2015
* Date: 2015-08-15
* Event Details
Parking: Terrible. Parking was an offsite lot/s, standard for most OCR’s in small towns. However, I don’t think it could have been worse. I drove past the entrance to the venue and where the VIP parking was and followed signs for general parking. The first lot I came upon had people working it who were flagging the cars headed North to keep going, essentially they wouldn’t let you turn left into the lot, for what reason, I’m not sure as there was no oncoming traffic. Followed some more signs to the next lot and sat in a line of cars for about 30 minutes waiting to park. I never got close enough to the lot, but it looked like they may been 1 guy taking payment and showing people where to park. A very slow process. After 30+ minutes they started turning us around to head back to another lot. When I rolled down my window and asked where we are going the response was “I don’t know, follow the cars”. Needless to say, that’s what I did. We ended up in a third lot with no at
tendants. Parked and hopped on a bus that happened to drive by and stop. As soon as we got on the bus, some guy pulled up and started yelling about how the lot wasn’t free and we had to pay. The bus then drove away, so I assumed we would pay when we got back. About a 20 minute bus ride in traffic we finally arrived. Drop off was close to registration, which was the one plus. Getting on the bus after the race was fine, you just had to wait until they pulled up to your lot, which we were the third one. Lot was still unattended, so we didn’t get charged, but I would of gladly paid $10 for a much better ran and less time consuming parking. Overall, it took an hour from when I first drove past the venue, until I arrived at registration. Terrible.
Festival Area: Terrible. Camp was in the middle with woods surrounding the entire area. The only obstacles within view were the fire jump and slip wall. A horrible set up for spectators who are being charged $25 to be there. The biggest team tent was for the Cornfeed Spartans who showed up in numbers. Their tent wasn’t even in the festival area. It was on the other side of the woods near registration and the toilets. Talk about a shitty location…
Vendors: Average. Didn’t really eat as I had to get going and didn’t know what the bus ride back entailed, however looked like they had a local food tent as standard.
Schwag: Average: it’s Spartan, we all know what we get.
* Race Details
Below Average. The race was held at The Cliffs Insane Terrain 4×4/motorcross course. With a name like Insane Terrain I was expecting a lot harder terrain, but I need to keep reminding myself this is in the Midwest, so with that in mind the terrain was fair. It stormed heavy the night before which made for some nice sticky mud. I saw people with trail shoes like Solomon slipping and it was hard for me to keep traction in some places with my Inov-8s.
In my opinion, this course and race felt more like a trail run than an OCR. Right out the gate there was some running to a 6ft wall, after this there was what felt like 2 miles of running before the next obstacle. I am using the term “running” loose here. One of my major issues with this course was that most of the paths were single file between hills through thick mud which created huge backups and ruined the pace. This wasn’t just one spot on the course, this was 65% of the course. Haven’t that much of a course where it is nearly impossible to pass is a nightmare.
I am not a quick runner, or an elite by any stretch of the imagination, but there were many times I had to come to a “crawl” behind some slower runners which destroyed my pace. I don’t run for time, but the starting and stopping in a race really ruins it for me. A lot of racers including myself either scaled hills off course or did other creative things to beat the long non obstacle lines of people. Another issue for me was the amount of switchbacks. It appeared they needed to get their mileage in and just sent you down a path and back up a path. A lot of them weren’t even up and down hills, just one way, take a sharp turn and head back the same way.
Next was the sandbag carry which was extremely short. I’m terrible at distances, but I would guess ¼ of mile or shorter. Some more running then Inverted Wall and the standard Rope Climb. The climb was the earliest in a race I’ve seen which made it nice and easy. Then another long back up through a muddy trail with nowhere to go but in a slow line which took 15+ minutes to go a ¼ mile.
Atlas Carry, Spear Throw and Plate Drag all lined up back to back. A little further was Vertical Cargo and as always created a slight backup. (Good lord people, always keep 3 points of contact, saw a girl fall off the top. Luckily she landed on hay and somebody else and they were both fine!)
The standard Super Memory Test fake out. Then the Barb wire crawl which was extremely high, I basically just ducked under the wire.
The Hercules hoist was by far the heaviest I’ve ever experienced. I couldn’t even move the bag higher than 5 feet off the ground, and normally I don’t struggle with this obstacle. They were letting people team up to do it and it was still difficult. While I was there I didn’t see a single person do the hoist alone. Whoever filled those bags were in an evil mood.
Immediately following the hoist was the Z walls and the Multi-Bars (The Rig) and a log carry for another short distance. Carrying for less than 5 minutes. Monkey Bars, Slip wall and Fire jumped rounded the course out.
The Cliffs actually have what look like their own permanent obstacles, one of which was a rope traverse, which would been nice to do. There were other permanent obstacles throughout the course which were roped off. The bucket carry, a Spartan staple, was missing. No OUT, which they could have been thrown in to break up some running, other obstacles that could have been implemented somewhere.
Maybe I’m bias, maybe Shale Hill ruined other races for me with their heavy obstacles, but all in all I was extremely underwhelmed with this Super.