Where do I start! Well lets see, the Tire Guys; Jeff and Bruce Foster, these guys are insane. I looked it up because the word insane is used so much in our daily life. Here’s the wiki about insane: Insanity, craziness or madness is a spectrum of behaviors characterized by certain abnormal mental or behavioral patterns. Ok so we have the right word for this blog. We will touch on this more.
First Jeff and Bruce are located in Lincoln Rhode Island. A charming hamlet I have had the wonderful opportunity to enjoy only by the light of the moon. This lunacy it seems is part of the training. Of course I wouldn’t want to traipse around my town in broad day light the way we do during the Death Race camps. However I’m quite sure the Tire Guys don’t care.
The Tire Guys provide these camps based out of their home and are supported by friends, family and the occasional on looker. Death race camp number 3 also had the Fire Department and a Rhode Island State Trooper. This brings us to the next wiki: Insanity may manifest as violations of societal norms. “FIRE!” It is a natural and human constant that as mammals we have an aversion to fire. We have a conceptual understanding of its raw and destructive power, and although we reap many benefits from it we know there is no controlling it. So would setting over 50 pallets in a ring on fire be a “violation of societal norms”? How about building a 50 foot long cinderblock and metal tunnel with a bunch of pallets on top set ablaze? What if the tunnel was in the ring of fire and you had to crawl under it? Insanity established.
This fire ring/tunnel was merely a small part of a larger obstacle course the Tire Guys had set up around their property. Suffice to say I have paid significantly more money for a less challenging OCR. Without going into great detail there were, in no specific order, things to go under, over, up and through. All with a pack and of course a log. Their under was lower than any wire I’ve gone under at a race. Conveniently built in a bog, so it actually got lower, muddier and wetter as the night progressed. There was 25 feet of scaffolding that you, your pack, your log and a very large tire had to scale and come down. No dropping anything. There was drain pipe to crawl through, tires to flip, sand bags to move and 127 tires of various sizes to step through. The real bitch. The calisthenic station. Two words about that: The WORST! I haven’t covered everything because its not important. What is important is that you will use every single muscle to its point of exhaustion. This is the warm up, it last usually about 5 hours. If you only did this portion of the training you would get your moneys worth, you might leave satisfied but you would never see the real fun stuff. Trust me this stuff is fun and it gets better.
The trick is to not where a watch. Let someone else wear the watch and if you really need to know ask them. Not having a watch means you don’t have a mental crutch. Focus on the task at hand, break it into manageable pieces. Our next task grab 2 tires. I grabbed to moderate tires. In hindsight tires with a larger side wall would have worked a lot better. We jogged a half a mile with them, and then put them down on a ball field. End to end we moved the tires across 300 yards and back, by standing on one, moving the trailing tire and then stepping onto it. If you fell off 10 push ups. The Tire Guys had me on my knees early this time, but I found a system and it worked. I don’t know how long this took but I never want to do it again. Once done back to the house we went.
At this point, I was pretty spent and the next task did not look like anything I wanted to do. There were 5 gallon buckets filled with water and sealed with a lid and a rubber raft. Because I am slow, I got to use the buckets. My more fit counter parts got to carry the inflatable white water raft. It really didn’t matter because for the next 12 hours or so we would be swapping out. This is were being on the good side of insane comes in handy. I have this exact set up at my house. So I know carrying buckets sucks. And of course this just dropped me even further behind. But you have to be crazy like a fox. I have carabiners and slings, I just attached those suckers to my pack and took the strain off my arms. I wasn’t a whole lot faster but I didn’t need to stop either.
This phase goes on for hours and miles. Stop when you need to. Sometimes its a forced stop so we all get back together, other times you just need a break. Task at hand. Don’t worry about the things you can’t control. Thankfully being on a street I could use light poles. All I needed to do was make it to the next pole, or intersection, or what ever. Sometimes I had a buddy some times not.
We arrived at out next “rally” point and the wonderful Sheri Foster was there. We finally could drop our packs. So we could go on a run! Run! Are you F***ing kidding me. Well no pack is good, so off I went. I made it one quarter mile maybe half who knows, who cares. I figured I would either see them on their way back or eventually meet up with them. And I did. Mental challenge time. Record the construction of children’s building discs, run back and reassemble it. Ok I got this no problem but I wasn’t running anywhere. So Captain Turtle finally got back in time to see the group leaving on the next task. Modern Art assembled and I to was off with my cinderblocks, up a hill. This sucked. But task at hand. Done.
Back to my pack, and where is everyone going? Well they’re rested. Because every time I’m slow they rest. So what’s the deal now. Oh buckets again. And where too? Same path to the Modern Art. These buckets were almost the death of me. But the sun was coming up so that meant I only had about 12 more hours of this left.
At this point I will glass over the details for the sake of brevity. There were some opportunities to buy coffee donuts with the pennies we were required to bring. I didn’t I chose to rest. There was another long walk with buckets and boat. Then we arrived at the State Park.
Ever wonder why these guys are called the Tire Guys? They were crazy enough to push, pull, drag, lift, carry and toss a huge tire up and down Mt Killington at the Spartan Beast. How do you train for something like that? Well you go to a very scenic, very hilly State Park, you look at all the wonderful trails that go around objects and stay on gentle sloping grades and you completely ignore them! You push that tire up nasty grades and over rocky outcroppings. You go up trails designed for mountain bikes to down, not up. And if you think going up is hard try controlling these suckers going down. My trick, partner up with the biggest guy who just loves this stuff and says this helps his back. Also If you have the heaviest tire to begin with, and another team leaves there tire in the middle of the trail so they can go change clothes, take their tire.
With that accomplished it was back to buckets and the boat. I was done with both by now and I really had lost a lot of my niceness. Being aware of this and not wanting to become a “just add exhaustion a-hole” I took the heavy-ass, block of wood; strapped it on my back and lit out. This guy was tired of being last. With one minor detour photo op, it was into our bathing suits and into the pond. The frozen pond! Simple task at hand; take a cinder block with a rope attached, go in waist deep and untie the knots. HOLY CRAP! Yes it was beyond cold. Yes I did have to get out once, your block stays in. Yes I did it!
For the round up we did change into fresh clothes, a mandatory carry item, and then we stood with out partner back to back where we were Velcro’d together with our packs on our chests. I can’t begin to describe how awful this was, or how far we actually went. Maybe a mile and a half. Keys: Task at hand, unbelievably good communication skills with your partner, patience. This bought us to the final road march. Simple directions and we would be back at the Tire Guy compound, and done.
Not even close. Once there we were tasked to break down all the equipment we used for the obstacle course. Not really a bad task there were 10 of us and we were all so jacked about being done, and how awesome the Tire Guys are we were all happy to do it, have those Guinness’s we bought and toast our success. Compound cleaned up and we were done… Not!
Out come the eggs. Ok guys 5 mile run with an egg. Don’t finish the run and you get a DNF. Break the egg and you get a DNF. Did he say run? Did he say 5k? No he said 5 miles! WTF! Oh and the egg totally forgot about that. Did I finish? Hell yeah! Was I last? Nope, second to last. Would I have run another 10 miles. Nope but I would have walked it.
During all of this there is time to rest, eat, hydrate, adjust equipment and all that goes with it. Jeff and Bruce have this set up so you can succeed, unlike the real Death Race which is designed for you to fail. Peak Racing will do everything in their power to help you cripple yourself. The Tire Guys Death Race Camps are designed to strengthen your resolve. You on your own can strengthen your body, but your mind will quit long before your body. That’s what these camps are about.
The last wiki: In English, the word “sane” derives from the Latin adjective sanus meaning “healthy”. The phrase “mens sana in corpore sano” is often translated to mean a “healthy mind in a healthy body”. From this perspective, insanity can be considered as poor health of the mind, not necessarily of the brain as an organ (although that can affect mental health), but rather refers to defective function of mental processes such as reasoning. A Latin phrase for “sane” is “compos mentis” (lit. “of composed mind”), and a euphemistic term for insanity is “non compos mentis”. Thats the long way of saying, you make bad decisions. Of course this is completely subjective to the norms of the society in which we exist. Are Death Race Camps insane? To the uninitiated probably yes. To those that enjoy the wonderful gifts of a strong mind and a strong body “mens sana in corpore sano” isn’t it insane not to use both to their maximum potential.