* From: Aaron Farb
* Event Details
August 10-11 saw a return to one of the more premier events to the New England Area in a Tough Mudder & Spahtens were there to enjoy all its fun! As has been the case for most of the New England Tough Mudders, Mt Snow in VT hosted and as usual, facilities were excellent. Mount Snow is ‘relatively’ easy to get to, being one of the more southern mountains and a pretty straight shot once off the highway. Parking is refreshing at Mt Snow, as amazingly, a race chooses a venue that has enough on site parking that you don’t need a shuttle bus! The normal $10 parking fee applies and plenty of staff was around to direct cars well. Even better, the parking ticket entitles you to a bogo lift ticket come winter!
Registration was well marked & pretty painless, lots of people in lines, but they moved very quickly. The base area had lots of different vendors – one of the larger vendor displays you get to experience – Advil giving out free samples & bags, Degree deodorant with samples, Under Armour with shoe displays & hosting a challenge – 3 tire flips, 15 box jumps & 3 pull ups for time, winners got UA gift cards I believe, Dos Equis giving out bags as well as the beer sponsor, Wheaties, Clif Bar with some protein bar freebies, Bic with free razors & the Bic Challenge (get your head shaved, mohawk or tattooed and they donate to Wounded Warrior Project) and a few more. The food was provided by Cuzzins grill, the Mt Snow baselodge grill/restaurant as well as some local kettle corn and some smoothies.
Schwag for Tough Mudder is pretty standard – get the Orange Headband, an UnderArmour HeatGear t-shirt, as many Clif protein bars as you can carry and the well earned Dos Equis (and Amber at the finish line – yay!). The finisher T’s are the same for all races, and this year specify 2013 finisher although the back no longer has the TM pledge, instead a running fire guy & assorted obstacle names and such surrounding him.
* Race Details
Tough Mudder is viewed by me as more of a mental challenge than a serious obstacle issue – not that it doesn’t have some challenging or fun ones, but the ability to walk around with no penalty seems to negate the need to dig as deep. That said, very very few people were walking around any of the obstacles, even had a few people admitting to hating heights go off walk the plank – impressive.
Course design was done well in trying to incorporate spectators – many of the signature obstacles along the wide base area of the mountain and offering lift rides (for and extra $10 of course) to those who wanted to get higher & view some of the obstacles up the mountain. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t allow downloading on the lift for some reason, so any spectator who went up had to walk down.
The course was backwards to 2012’s course – upon starting, the course went left to the terrain park areas, and hit the first new obstacle that I’d seen – the Glory Blades (a BIC reference?:), basically a series of inverted walls and onto the climbs until a mile or so later reaching one of the signature obstacles in Electric Eel. For those that have never done TM, think of a normal barb wire crawl in plastic lined pit, but hanging from the barbed wire down to water level are electrified wires. They provide a good pinch, but keep pushing, and its over quickly! Thru walk the plank after more climbs, then onto a great spectator obstacle in Funky Monkey – Monkey bars that are on an angle: up, then down. Great route to allow so many spectators at this obstacle and then onto 2 more new obstacles for 2013 season – Lumberjacked – logs suspended 5-6′ off the ground that you have to get over, but nothing to kick off on. Then Cage Crawl – a water obstacle you must crawl through on
your back, pulling yourself along the chainlink fence just above your face – only a few inches of space between the water and fencing. A bit further along the base area and its into Artic Enema – a cargo container filled with ice & water along with a divider board that has to be passed under, completely submerging the runner in the ice bath. This was also a great spectator event as it was close to the base & easily accessible for most spectators. From there it was onto a bunch that spectators were not visible to, as well as lot of climbing – barb wire crawl, warrior carry, hold your wood and berlin walls, then back to base for a big climb up the front face to Just the Tip – a new variance on a traverse wall. This was well done – built over a water pit and incorporating a part of just finger tip holds, nothing for the feet. Finally, back to the base area for Everest, a 15′ quarter pipe covered in teflon panels and Electroshok therapy to the finish line.
As far as the course itself, it seemed quite well thought out – climbs were spaced a bit apart from each other, as opposed to TM Boston with all the climbs in the last 4 miles, and lots of good spectator access. There were 7 water stations interspersed on the course, frequently after a climb, 2 of them offering bananas and 1 offering as many Clif Bloks as you could carry – obviously they learned from the amount of cramping and hydration issues experienced at TM Boston.
Total distance for this according to GPS unofficially was 9.55 miles, TM has it listed as 10.2
Overall, a very good course, challenging but not brutal and alot of fun – the team in general had lots of smiles and lots of fun seen by people on the course. Look forward to TM again next year!
* From: Kevin Pearson
* Event Details
Tough Mudder New England
Saturday August 10, 2013
Sunday August 11, 2013
Mount Snow, West Dover, VT
Tough Mudder made its return to New England for the second time this summer. I must say, it’s great to be able to live in a region of the country where states aren’t HOURS apart, and we can be so blessed with having CHOICES of OCR’s for almost every weekend of the summer. This summer has been spectacular with new national series popping up, and cannot wait to join the New England Spahtens and RBF Fitness & Nutrition for the 2014 OCR Season. It’s going to be a tough offseason! This was the third yearly installment of Tough Mudder at Mount Snow, which has been slated to be, at one point, the #2 Toughest Tough Mudder Course in the United States (Second only to the Pacific NorthWest Tough Mudder). So we all knew they were going to utilize every square inch of every black, and double black diamond that they could. Some of us still have nightmares of the almost-vertical Cliffhanger obstacle from last year.
For all of your offseason/end of season training, visit Unleashed, New England’s premiere indoor Obstacle Course Racing Training facility. Located in Warwick, RI, this facility brings everything you want to get better at, without the mud and barbed wire. And for those of you looking to challenge yourselves physically, owner Kevin Roy does an Ultra Beast 3-Hour training throughout Cranston and Providence, RI on selective Sundays. For anyone looking to improve their training, agility, stamina and strength prior to the September 20/21 Beast at Killington, he is the go-to person. He is a Spartan Certified trainer and his intensity towards training is second to none. All of the trainers at Unleashed bring a different aspect of the OCR world to the table, which allows the facility the opportunity to offer a plethora of indoor and outdoor house classes. If you live in RI, SouthEastern Massachusetts, or Eastern Connecticut, it is definitely worth the investment. Now…onto the
Parking: Parking entered from two roads, Northern and Southern Access Roads off of the main road, allowing for minimal backup to get parked. The lots that were utilized were the same as last year. If you entered from Southern Access Road, you were directed straight in towards the base area of the mountain. If you entered via Northern Access Road, you were directed to the lower areas of the mountain, but still < ¼ mile walking distance to the Registration/Base area. (Tough to say if there was heavy traffic on Saturday, as we were there Volunteering Saturday and drove in at 6am. There was no traffic on Sunday when we raced). Parking was again $10, which is the going rate, and definitely entices carpooling, especially for a race that is specifically designed to be a Team Race. Grade: A
The Venue: As I mentioned before, this isn’t the first walk in the park for Mount Snow hosting a Tough Mudder, and I was left to wonder what was going to change for this year, as the 2012 courses didn’t vary greatly in appearance. Base camp/Registration was setup at the exact same spot as last year, which is right next to the lodge and one of the main ski lifts up to the top of the mountain. Very little was visible from just walking around the base of the venue. We took a walk around Friday evening and from where we could go, we saw Everest, the Start Chute, Finish/Electroshock Therapy, and if you travelled a little further to the right of the registration area, everyone’s good friend, Arctic Enema. Grade: A
Ease of Registration: As I mentioned, we raced Sunday, so we didn’t have the issues that all Saturday racers had. Tough Mudder has always done by sections of last name, lining the width of the base area, with a separate location to sign Participant/Spectator Waviers and get back in line. What stalled this year’s lines is that each packet has the registrant’s name, age, and start time on the front of the packet. They went through again to double check ID’s AFTER checking ID’s to confirm validity, so that you could get your Free Beer Wristband. Seems futile. And the lack of face marking volunteers and extra markers made Face Marking difficult. By the time Sunday rolled around, the markers were basically dried up, so I never got to mark my forehead. And I’m not that upset about it. In the middle of summer, after you’ve applied Sunscreen, it’s tough to keep the marker number clear without smudging. And it usually doesn’t last after Mile 5 anyways. And th
ey always say “if you see a fellow mudder laying face down”, well, you can’t see their number that way either. And MarathonPhoto uses Bib numbers and not forehead/arm numbers for photo recognition. So the marking seems pointless other than a few cool pictures through the first few miles. Sunday’s setup was the same (with less tables due to less runners), but in the longer lines, people from TMHQ were walking up the lines handing out packets. They never did check my ID to verify it was me, only to see that I was 21. And even then, it didn’t matter because I had my 21+ wristband on from Volunteering Saturday (you get a free beer if you volunteer!), and didn’t need a new one. So I wristbanded up and bib’d up and headed back to my car to put my bag away, as there was a $5 bag check this year (different than Gunstock and Mt Snow last year). Grade: C- (Saturday) B- (Sunday). Makes you wonder how many people missed their waves on Saturday due to this backlog.
Bathrooms/Changing Stations: Porta Potties were stationed at one area of the base camp, surrounded by barricades, as I’m assuming it would help keep the stank out of the rest of the area. The showers and changing stations were exactly where they were last year, on the path between the “concourse” area and the main lodge/hotel. The changing tents were also setup there as well. The weather was EXCEPTIONALLY windy both days, and chilly overnight, so the water, I’m sure, wasn’t as warm as everyone had hoped it would be to cool off. TM seemed to have that problem solved, as, attached to the lodge on the main concourse, they offered hot showers for 3 minutes for $5. They must’ve made a killing on Saturday afternoon and most of Sunday, as it was busy at all times. Grade: A (the hot showers were the deciding factor)
After Party/Food: Dos Equis was present, as they always are, and the Dos Equis stage was setup to provide live music. I’m not sure if there was ever a band there on Saturday, as around 2pm on Saturday before we were deployed back onto the course, they were playing Dispatch albums, which continued on Sunday. There was a bar setup for draft beer on that stage, so it’s possible that yet again, no band ever performed. I could definitely think of a few bands from my area that wouldn’t mind the exposure 16,000 people could bring. New for this year was Tough Mudder allowing food trucks/carts to be brought in. I remember at Gunstock there were maybe 1-2 of them, and then stands that did the normal Chicken, Burgers, Dogs, Fries, etc. Carnival food. There were smoothie vendors, non-alcoholic drink vendors, along with the use of the Lodge’s restaurant and outside bar. Wheaties was present, as well as Schick, the Tough Mudder Merchandise Tent, and Builder’s Bar. Unfortu
nately this year, we weren’t given cases of Builder’s Bars to take home because it was the last day of the race. Under Armour also took over as the “Carnival Of Fun” vendor, where they created a timed course of 6 tire flips, 15 box hops and 5 pullups (Scaled down to a smaller tire, shorter box and shorter pullup bar for the lovely ladies). The fastest time on Saturday was recorded at 35.2 seconds, however, Sunday, before the 11am wave, someone dominated that time with just over 32 seconds. Not sure what the finishing time was for the weekend, but they were promised a bunch of UA gear, which included new shoes, if the time held. There was also a local business who had two massage tables setup for the weekend, offering sore (and clean!) mudders an opportunity at a rub down, for $10. Not bad if you have some kinks that need to be worked out, but can’t get a full body massage.
Overall Grade: A With the registration hiccup behind them, there’s really not much to be able to complain about with an event of this magnitude. They spend 3 months building this course and fine tuning it up until the day before the event, to make sure its participants are safe and have a challenging course. Mount Snow 2013 definitely provided that challenge. The course wasn’t the same as July 2012, and that always leaves people trying to determine what “course time” is acceptable. Gunstock’s 12 miles took our team just around 4 and a half hours to complete, and that was mostly due to the mountain climbs which required walking. A few members of our original team decided to tackle the course on Saturday with some new friends, which is always great to recruit new people into the sport/community. A few friends who finished last year’s course in 3.5 hours turned in almost an identical time this year, with an added mile and more hills. Our 2012 time of 4.5 hours o
ver 10 miles was bested with a 3 hour and 40 minute time (mainly due to zero bottlenecking at obstacles or it’d be a completely different race) at this one. Granted, this isn’t a race about time, but it’s always interesting to see how much and how far you can push your body to overcome these challenges and know where improvements to workout regiments need to be made. The fastest course time on Saturday in the 8am/830am heat was turned in at just under 2.5 hours. There was talks on the course Sunday that someone turned in a 90 minute course on Saturday, which is unimaginable. But that’s the stuff legends are made of.
* Race Details
The Course: Course Map: http://toughmudder.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Tough-Mudder-New-England-Offical-Course-Map.pdf
The course this year had a different start than last year’s July mudder. Instead of starting on the very base of one of the slopes and immediately heading up/down, this one started on the lefthand side (respective to Base/Registration) and darted immediately left, onto level land (here I thought miles 1-3 were going to be relatively flat/less hilly, then miles 4-11 would be destroyers). At the start line was THE Man, Sean Corvelle. How we missed him for pumping us up at Gunstock – I know I could’ve used it. The big story of the weekend was Noah Galloway. He has 1 arm and 1 leg. He also now has six headbands. There are pictures of him from the weekend all over the place. The other big story of the weekend was an Armed Forces member who was signed up to run Saturday. He was KIA three weeks before the race. His teammates showed up to the race and received his bib, and finished the race, wearing their fallen friend’s bib, and presented it to the wife of the soldier, as
a keepsake. The family, instead of paying for services and flowers, etc, made a large donation to the Wounded Warrior Project. All of that really puts into perspective why we’re out there. It’s more than a good time, it’s for a good cause. Sean was great, as always, getting the participants pumped up to take off. One thing of note, which I had wanted to do while Volunteering Saturday. A lot of people go and high five Sean while running through the start. If you stop, and shake his hand, he will look you in the eye and give you a head nod. This man gets why people are here. To challenge themselves and each other. Shaking his hand is really one of the coolest things I’ve done in the OCR community. If the opportunity arises – do so. Onto the course obstacles:
For starters, the map showed 18 obstacles over 11 miles. Some of the more obstacle enthusiasts seemed disappointed (I know personally, I was. I like learning what physical challenges I can overcome/build off of each race). Well that changed when I found out that the whole “25+ obstacles” really meant, “we just replaced 7 of the obstacles with black and double black diamond ascents”. If your legs weren’t screaming before, they sure as hell were going to be at the halfway mark.
Glory Blades – For once, it seems that TM has listened to its feedback emails. In my Boston review, I said it was silly to use a plural, when there was only one wall. Well, they added a second. And it was placed at the first spectator area (same path had Electric Eel amongst other obstacles). A great challenge for those who can conquer 1 inverted wall.
The Gauntlet – Based on what this obstacle was described as for TM Buffalo, it was supposed to be running through storage containers, hitting a U-turn, and running back into a field while tennis balls are being shot at you (American Gladiator’s Assault style) as you’re running and jumping over plastic jersey barriers. Well, if this was up on Saturday, it wasn’t up on Sunday. What the Gauntlet wound up being, was a series of over/under logs that seemed reminiscent of the same area we did them through water last year.
Mud Mile – Series of over mud mounds and through water. This was placed at the bottom of one of the hills, and as soon as you came out, you had to travel right back up the mountain.
Electric Eel – This obstacle was DEFINITELY beefed up this year. The framing itself had the Dos Equis brand all over it, and looked like a more stable structure (reference their Instagram/FB picture). What we have learned from other participants and a few of the TMHQ crew, is that the larger current you attract is based SOLELY on who else is in the pool. If you go through and you’re one of 5 people, the 5 of you are going to get the hell shocked out of you each time you get hit. I talked to a few people on Saturday that said they woke up face down in water in the middle of the obstacle. If you go in with a bunch of people, the current will be diverted and it won’t sting as much. The big thing with this is that I skipped this obstacle at Gunstock. My resting heart rate wasn’t anywhere near safe to receive electrical shock, and after the fact, I was bummed. So I made sure it was under control enough to do this one. When getting into my lane to dive in, there was an
older gentleman to my left, who was sitting there getting coaxed into it by his friends, and the TM staff. He was absolutely petrified. I went over to him and said “listen, I’m gonna get in here, you’re coming in with me. I’m absolutely petrified of this, and I will meet you on the other side. We go on three”. We both got down and dove in. I made my way weaving through it. Only getting hit 4 times. Not bad considering the thickness I carry in my upper body. As soon as I got out, I stood up and I hear “Where’s my buddy?”. I turned around to see the gentleman I had convinced to go through with me, and I went up to him, extended my hand and he gave me a hug. I told him he conquered a fear, and I’d see him at the finish line. So that was pretty cool. Time to run up a hill!
Walk The Plank – For those of you who remember last year’s course, where you approached WTP from the Right hand side, climbed up, jumped in, swam to the left, and came back into the woods: This year was the polar opposite. You approach WTP from the spot you exited last year, and it looked as if the structure hadn’t even moved. The wood at Gunstock was new plywood, etc, and this looked faded and much much older. Almost like they just leave it there. There were plenty of divers in the water and lifeguards/emts present in case anything happened, and two members of TMHQ standing underneath the structure letting the volunteers on top know when it was safe to direct people to jump. Back onto some flat land, and back down the hill we go.
Funky Monkey – The surrounding ground near the obstacle was completely muddy and slippery, as people (myself included) were falling before even approaching the obstacle. This was “part” of the red spectator path (in that people strayed from the path and walked there on their own free will), so there was a decent spectator turnout. No changes to this obstacle, as this one also saw the return of the metal rungs that we saw at Gunstock. It was still rather early in the day at this point, so there was maybe a 3-4 minute wait to step up and get going, a problem that seemed to dissipate after mile 6 when the field started thinning out. Oh look another mountain trek!
Lumberjacked – Once you get to the top of the mountain trail, it was a quick left and then back down the mountain towards the mile 4 marker where you encounter Lumberjacked. This was another obstacle I provided negative feedback towards TM for at Gunstock. I get the team aspect of this obstacle if you can’t pull yourself over the logs (of note; there were only 2 this time, not 3, and they were on an decline so it was easier to traverse). But I still liked the over/under climbing portion of Log Jammin’ because it is a physical challenge. Back down the mountain and past the mile 4 marker, as we’re a little more than 1/3 of the way through.
Cage Crawl – This obstacle took a construction change from Gunstock. There were not chutes down which each participant would travel. Imagine dredging out a Kiss Of Mud pit, filling it up with water, then just putting chain link on top of that. There were two of those. The water was EXTREMELY deep (hip deep if you sit down, until you crawl under the cage – enticing Claustrophobia in a LOT of participants), so you had just enough space below the cage to float your head, hindering your hearing and making breathing challenging. Along portions of the top of the cage there were degree signs places, so that at times staring up went black. Out of the water and up half of a mountain path and we’re headed towards the “halfway” obstacle on the course, which is Boa Constrictor.
Boa Constrictor – This was marked as the “halfway” obstacle because over the top of the decline and incline tubes were mounds of dirt, which turns out, is the path you take coming down the mountain from mile 11 and towards Everest. So that was interesting/new that the course path overlapped.
Arctic Enema – After a small water/banana station coming out of Boa, it was down a quick hill and towards 3 large dumpsters of 35 degree loveliness. There were only 3 setup all weekend, and there were 3 chute lines, so it was 9 people at a time all weekend (for note, Gunstock had 6 dumpsters x3 chute lines), which I’m sure created one hell of a backlog on Saturday. When you jumped in this one, it was just water. However, that all changed once you went under the barrier and up through the other side. The other side was all ice. So as soon as you come under the wall, you just hit a thick barrier. Not sure what that did to the thinner/smaller participants, but you don’t just “float” up through that. Out of the ice bath and up a hill, and then you turn a quick right onto the backside of the mountain. That path went up, but it zig-zagged as the terrain became a combination of field and mountainous rock. Made for some slippery times if you didn’t watch your footing
. Halfway up there was a flat level where we encounter our next obstacle.
Kiss Of Mud – For some reason when I read the map I thought this was obstacle number one, not obstacle number 11. And it seemed that at this stage of the race (mile 5), there should have been at least one prior Kiss of Mud (there were certainly spots for it, and it doesn’t seem like a difficult obstacle to construct). A tip for anyone trying to get through the barbed wire as quick as possible on this: Hug the inside lane closest to where the hose is spraying the mud pit. The further out you go, the more exposed the ground becomes, which makes for a trying time trying to army crawl through. Out of the mud pit, and everyone shutters at what they see in front of them (this would be a good time to reference the map). Straight up the back side of the mountain that we just zig-zagged up. You get to a small clearing, where you think you’re as high as they’re sending you and it’s time for some flat land, but then it’s just a sharp turn and the course heads back all
the way up the mountain. This was certainly the longest climb of the course, and can only be compared to the longest mountain climb at gunstock, where you just keep going up and up and up until you hit the peak of the mountain. All of a sudden you reach a clearing, and here we encounter the next obstacle.
Wounded Warrior Carry – For some reason, there were no volunteers here directing people how to carry their teammates. At Gunstock, we were scolded for the piggy-back method, and ran half the length back to the start to go into a fireman’s carry. This time, it was all piggy-back, and a straight dash past all of the Wheaties plywood signs they had erected. We decided not to stop at the halfway point, as I am the heavier of the team and cannot ask someone to put that type of pressure on their legs, even if it is around a 20 yard scramble. Warrior carry over, and you hit the base of the next hill, continuing your ascent up the mountain. A VERY slow climb on this one, wondering when you’re going to hit the top. People are just laid out on the side of the course either stretching, or completely exhausted. There’s still 4.5 miles to go people! Finally we reach the peak of the backside of the mountain, where we see the Mile 6 marker. I had told myself I would pace myself u
ntil the 6th mile, knowing that I could convince my body that I was 2/3rds of the way home (we were at the last water station on Saturday, and already knew that between mile 9 and freedom was all downhill, which is an easier go than climbing the last two miles), and could start unleashing hell on this course. What a silly train of thought knowing Cliffhanger still stood in my way.
Hold Your Wood – As you began your descent back down the mountain, you were met with Hold Your Wood. The abundance of longer “team” logs was not present, so grab yourself some wood, and head down the mountain. It was a quick horseshoe design back up the same way you came, dropped off your wood, and then hooked back down the mountain to continue cursing that you were coming down the same distance you just went up. The descent was short lived however, as you approached back to back water stations at the base of a hill. You then realize that after the first water station, you look to the right and there is another vertical climb. No zig zags, just…go…up. The Mudders coming down said it was the worst climb of the day. Halfway up this mountain climb you find the mile 7 marker, and think to yourself “Hmph, 6 to 7 wasn’t that bad, maybe it’ll get easier”. Then you realize the insanity you just thought up. Top of the mountain again and around the bend where the s
ki lift was dropping off spectators. Time to head back down the mountain, which was a truck path made entirely of rocky terrain. If your knees weren’t hurting from the downhill descents before, they certainly were this time.
Berlin Walls – Halfway down this descent you encounter 3 Berlin Walls. The 12 foot wall trio had a thick layer of hay on the backside of each wall to reduce the impact of hitting the ground. I had opted to go around them, as my leg muscles were already stretched beyond their breaking point and knees were throbbing. Knowing we still had two descents to go, I took some time to stretch. One day in 2014 I will be able to get over at least 1 of these trios without being in dire pain. New challenge accepted. Continuing down that long path we first arrive at another Burn Zone, which is a 300 yard Bear Crawl. People were only bear crawling through the mud which was maybe 30 yards long, and not the full length of the sign. Again, these are just silly ways of eliminating obstacles. Easily could’ve put some walls, or some mud crawl or Hay Bales here. We finally arrive at the Water Station, which had promised Bananas, but had no source of replenishment (only two of the 8 water sta
tions actually had bananas all day). After a quick water break, it’s time to continue back down the face of the mountain, where Boa Constrictor and Everest come back into view, and you wonder where you’re going next.
Cliffhanger – That thought quickly changes as you hook a hard right and encounter the double black diamond ascent of Cliffhanger. The exact same descent that was used last year, where, for the top heavy people, if you stand up, gravity pulls you backwards. The key to conquering this, if your legs can handle this, is bear crawl diagonally. Bear crawling in a straight line will cause every muscle fiber in your hip flexors, groin and quadriceps at this point to tighten, as I learned the hard way, and collapsed and just had to lay there until the pain went away. Diagonally it will take the strain off of your legs, but will require a little extra time to scale the hill. After you get to the top of that, it’s time to continue a climb up the mountain some more. You hit a quick burn zone which asks you to do 10 pushups, and start to continue up. Halfway up you hit the Mile 9 marker, and this is where you realize, it’s all downhill from here. Mudders need to learn to trust se
rious Mudders when they say “this is the last climb” because no one believed us, even though we laid out EXACTLY what they were going to find at the top of the hill (water station/first aid tent), and the climb back down. Through all of that, we start our final climb down as everyone’s spirits are starting to raise knowing that we’re getting closer and closer to the finish.
Just The Tip – I had made mention in my email from Gunstock that if they were going to rip off a Spartan obstacle, to at least put it over water instead of hay, and well, they listened. This one lay over a dredged out body of murky water, which, oddly enough, most participants were able to stay out of. It was starting to get chilly (whenever the sun disappeared in the clouds, the wind picked up, making it awfully chilly to be on the mountain and wet) so I’m sure the added motivation not to fall was there. Around that obstacle and a dogleg left back towards woody sections which included a slow decline down the mountain. We knew what was in store for us on the other side of the tree line, a quick downhill and over the top of Boa Constrictor towards Glory. Two obstacles remained between a third headband, and another beer.
Everest – On Saturday, TMHQ had one of the volunteers (who just so happened to be my racing teammate for the day on Sunday) stand at the base of Everest with a snowmaking hose, and spray down runners, the chutes and the face of Everest, making for a good period of time where people were barely getting up, if at all, their first attempt. Well, as I had suspected, they hadn’t done that on Sunday, but the downside to that is, if you’re like me and dependant on a little extra help getting up, there are less people on the course on Sundays too. We were dependant on a team in front of us to stay on the top of the wall, as we had caught up to most of the elite Mudders who aren’t interested in hanging out on top of the wall, at least until they have their headband. Legs pumping, leaning forward I get to the top of Everest, and yet again, for the second straight event, someone grabs my hand off of the 2×4 I was using to pull myself up, and starts to pull me up. Always reme
mber however, to make eye contact and point to the 2-3 people you’re running towards, so they’re not only ready for you, but can watch your every move as you approach. Catching someone by surprise is definitely cause for sliding back down. Down the backside of Everest and down the hill towards the one thing that stands before that finish line.
Electroshock Therapy – Met by Clinton Jackson and his patented Fisherman’s Hat, there stands before you a cage of electrical fear. Obviously the key here is to stay on your feet and leg it out. As I’ve come to learn with most paths on this course, if you stay straight, the chance of something bad happening decreases substantially. As soon as you start trying to traverse in and out of the wires is where you wind up on your behind. The huge team of 10 people in front of us were hesitant to start going through, despite Clinton’s desire to see them go arm in arm. Myself and Isaac decided we had been on the course long enough, and were ready to learn our fate. Finish relatively clean, or faceplant like so many we had seen do so on Saturday. We passed the hesitant team and high-kneed it towards glory. We still haven’t figured out if the electrodes are on a randomizer, or there are only certain ones that are live. The mentality that we had for Electric Eel (the more p
eople in, the less it hurts) doesn’t seem to carry over to this. I will tell you, if you approach two wires that are curled around the base together, do NOT try and separate them by hand. I now have an electrical burn on the inside of my left hand from pushing them apart. Of course one of them had to be live, but as soon as those were out of my way, we high fives and went to get crowned.
Obstacles Present in 2012 not present in 2013: Spider’s Web, Dong Dangler, Log Jammin, Devil’s Beard, Twinkle Toes, Trench Warfare.
New for 2013: Glory Blades, Burn Zones, The Gauntlet, Cage Crawl, Wounded Warrior Carry, Just The Tip, Lumberjacked
Overall Course Grade: A+ (Seriously, the hill climbs more than made up for the 7+ missing obstacles)