OCR Sandy continues his 2014 OCR journey with another double race weekend. I could tell right away, the day was going to be much sunnier and hotter than the previous day in Ohio at OCR World Championships and I knew hydration would be a key for this race. I opted to wear my CamelBak hydration backpack and carried extra GU gels with me. I started the last wave of the day.
Schlachter, commonly referred to as "the most connected person in the sport of OCR" or "center of the OCR universe" takes on the role of Supreme Editor-in-Chief of Mud Run Guide (mudrunguide.com) on top of her duties as host & producer of Obstacle and Adventure Weekly, co-host on OCR Warrior, founder of Dirt in Your Skirt, subject matter expert & columnist for obstacleracing.About.com, and writer for Mud & Obstacle Magazine.
Spartan started with the obstacles right from the get go on this race. After the initial climb, you had a ridiculously long barbed wire crawl through mud and water. It felt like a quarter mile, but the water felt great with the heat. My arms and knees were torn up after this one. The next obstacle was the monkey bars. I gave them a shot, but I couldn't hold on, since the “bars” were more like pipes, and I have tiny hands. So on to the burpees for me.
Ever since signing up for Wintergreen back around May of this year I have heard little jabs about how tough the course was last year. “Only wish it on your worst enemy,” and things of that nature. No amount of witty banter or raised eyebrows or widened eyes with dropped jaws could have ever prepared or accurately described just how intense this race is. There are those whispers within this community about Spartans being a different breed of OCR and this race turns those whispers into screams.
The use of Trekking Poles has been increasing in the hiking world over the past few years, and is recently becoming more prevalent in Extreme Fitness Racing (Death Races, Catamount Games, etc,), Rucking, and now Obstacle Course Racing. Of course, a “normal” OCR doesn't give much opportunity for Trekking Poles to be of much assistance when you’re mostly running. But in this past weekend’s Virginia Spartan Super held at the Wintergreen Ski Resort, it was recommended that I use a pair to assist in my stability and exertion that would be required with the incredibly steep uphill and downhill grades I’d be facing, and I could expect very little running to actually be possible. Other Obstacle Course Races with hellacious grades to negotiate (like Vermont) might be good opportunities to have Trekking Poles provide assistance.
As you descended the first mountain face the view was breathtaking and the base camp kept you motivated to continue towards your next obstacle. Over a 9’ wall we went and then down a slippery mountainside to repeat the climb 3-4 more times, each one adding elevation and difficulty to the challenge. Some of the standard Spartan obstacles were present, cargo nets, crawls, barbed wire and fire; they also added some new ones like the rotating monkey bar grab and others that await you in secrecy.
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.
This was my very first venture into the land of longer distances. I am going for my Trifecta with Spartan this year. I am doing it while I can, and while I still feel capable. I have done 7 Spartan Sprints with 2 more on tap for this year. What do I think about the Super versus the Sprint?