This is the Spartan World Championship race, and more specifically, the World Championship heat, where a couple hundred of the best athletes in our sport are waiting to race for the big money and TV glory. Everyone here has had to earn a spot by obtaining a Spartan coin, given out to the top 5 male and female finishers at the other races throughout the year. All of the other athletes in the corral have stood on a podium or been close enough to taste it.
This weekend marked the return of Spartan Race to Southern California and the debut of a new venue at Pala Raceway. For years, Spartan Races, Tough Mudders, and other OCRs have been held at Vail Lake in Temecula. Love them or hate them, the endless, relentless hills overlooking and surrounding that venue were iconic to obstacle course racing in this part of the country. This year, all that changed, as the new owners of the Vail Lake property decided to rescind access to all of the various races that called Vail Lake home.
This past weekend in Utah was huge for over 2 dozen Colorado Obstacles Racers. We all completed our Spartan Trifecta. For those of you who do not know what that means, it is completing the 3 distances in the Spartan racing series. The Sprint which is usually 4 + miles, the Super 8 + miles and the Beast 10+. By all accounts we completed a marathon of obstacle racing. My races were 27 miles total with over 90 obstacles.
Knowing that we were going to be running up and down mountains, I decided to take a slower pace at the beginning of the race. I didn't want to burn out early. From what I saw, it was pretty much the mass consensus once we reached the first climb. I have to hand it to Dan. He managed to find every single track trail that had a steep grade and long distance to climb. Calves and quads were to be tested this day! After about 2.5 miles of running up and then back down that same mountain on the long trail, we make our first loop back through the festival area for the Rolling Mud and Monkey Net obstacles.