My second hardest OCR weekend of the year was almost here. I got on the road on Friday morning at about 6:30 AM and drove from New York State to the state of Ohio (over 650 miles).
I arrived in Ohio at about 4:00 PM for registration & packet pick up and also to get a good look at the course. I was able to see some of the obstacles that I would be doing the next day and was very impressed with them; especially the massively long water slide, and the “Crazy Monkey Bars”.
It was suggested racers come the day before to register and pick up the race packets and also to attend a Friday pre-race dinner (which sold out fast) at the Lodge on the event grounds, having racers on site the night before providing me the opportunity to see friends and make new ones.
I was able to walk around and get a good look at a lot of the obstacles and terrain, and then had the opportunity to practice on the “Platinum Rig”, along with other racers in the dark. The energy even on Friday night was amazing and beyond anything I had experienced to date, including both my Vermont Beast's. After a long drive from New York to Ohio, the time spent walking the course, and practicing on the Rig, it was time to get to the hotel and get to sleep for the race the next day.
I had a later race time, so I was able to take my time in the morning and arrived in the parking area around 10:00 AM. We took one of the provided shuttle buses with no delay. In the next hour and half I prepared for the race, and talked to friends I had not been able to see on Friday. Before I knew it, it was almost go time for the race.
It was only a few minutes prior to the start of the race and one of the best pre-race motivators in the OCR business, Coach Pain Dewayne, was doing what he does best motivating the racers. The start of the race was signaled by a loud boom and off us racers went.
My bursitis was throbbing in both legs and I was still recovering from the long drive the night before, so I was definitely not running at one of my best paces. The 8.9 mile course consisted of over fifty five obstacles so I'm only going to highlight some of the obstacles. The course, almost immediately started out with a good hill climb. Between the first ascent and descent of the course we encountered five obstacles and then came to the first set of “Monkey Bars” which I was able to complete with little difficulty. After several more obstacles, I came to the first obstacles provided by one of the OCR World Championships qualifier events/races “ABF” “Inverted Walls” which I was able to climb over with no problem. I then came to the obstacle called “Tired” which looks easier than it can be. I was able to jump and muster enough height which allowed me to get over this obstacle with no problem. After three more obstacles I came to the “Crazy Monkey Bars”, using only my hands, I was able to climb down the downside of the monkey bars while screaming out the Bone Frog Challenge/Battle Frog charge Hooyah! Then, using both my feet and hands, I climbed up the upside of the monkey bars. I can't say that I used the best technique on this, and ended up with a lot of blood rushing to my head, but I was able to complete the obstacle.
I then proceeded through the next few obstacles and came to obstacle “Castle Wall”. Between all the mud from previous racers and the height of “Castle Wall” it was an intimidating looking obstacle, but I was able to complete it with no problem.
After several more obstacles I was now approaching the first “Sternum Checker” obstacle on the course. While approaching this obstacle I saw another female racer fall off the top this obstacle and take what looked like a very nasty fall. I rushed to the obstacle and asked if she was okay and the only response I initially heard was from two of the staff/volunteers who both insisted the racer was fine. The racer appeared to be in a great deal of pain and was complaining about her lower back hurting. I then proceeded to watch, the female volunteer making getting her out of the path of the obstacle the priority instead of the racers safety and physical health. I suggested to the injured racer that she not move. The female volunteer/staff then proceeded to raise her voice and yelled at me that she had everything under control. To my displeasure this volunteer then assisted with pulling the injured racer out of the obstacles path. I again insisted the racer not move until she was positive she was okay, which was not advice the female volunteer/staff was going to listen too, I made the decision that it was smarter for me to rush back to the festival area and bring this to the attention to other race/event staff and request they send up professional medical help to check on the situation. It took me less than a minute to get back to the festival area and next obstacle the “Platinum Rig” and I promptly informed someone who appeared to be a more official staff member of the injury at the previous obstacle. Unfortunately, I was never able to find out the status of this injured racer before leaving for South Carolina but I asked around and no one seemed to recall someone being taken off the course due to a back injury, so I hope she was able to eventually get up and complete the course. Regardless of how bad the injury turned out to be, the actions taken by the above mentioned female volunteer/staff where inappropriate in my opinion.
I attempted to do the “Platinum Rig” several times, but unfortunately I was unable to complete it and had to forfeit my opportunity to place on the podium (I didn't expect to place to begin with). Up next was the obstacle “Tyorolean Traverse” and I was able to complete both sections and continue on.
I was able to also cross the “Polish Traverse” with no difficulty by wrapping my legs around the large pole and traversing across. I crossed the next obstacle “Tension” as both wires had good tension which made it very manageable. A short time later I came to the “Rope Climb” obstacle and was able to climb the rope with no difficulty at all. At this point, I saw a female racer that was clearly very frustrated that she hadn't been able to get up the rope and ring the bell. She explained that she had tried well over a dozen times and that she refused to give up her wrist band and she was going to continue trying until she either completed the obstacle or quit the course. She asked me to help assist her to climb up the rope and I proceeded to spend the next 15-20 minutes helping her until she finally got to the top of the rope and rang the bell with assistance provided my me and another male racer. It should be noted, I learned later, that this racer was severely dehydrated and suffering from low blood sugar and required medical assistance after finishing the course.
The next few miles of the course really used the terrain and included several wall climb obstacles to take its toll on the racers. It didn't take me long on this course, for every downhill climb would be an equally or much difficult uphill climb. I then came to the “Bucket Carry” which I enjoyed, because the buckets were sealed, so I didn’t have to worry about the bucket spilling. Up next came two sets of the obstacle “Under Tire”, which made me crawl under tires that made me feel as if I was being flattened by the them. Then came one of the most challenging obstacles of this course, “Weaver”, which was covered with wet mud. I was able to conquer “Weaver”. I have to give a shout out, to Rob Butler, owner of Shale Hill Adventures in Vermont, only one week earlier, he spent time teaching me how to complete this very same obstacle at his Vermont course. Rob's teachings helped me be able to successfully complete this obstacle at the OCR World Championships.
I came to the “Tire Carry” obstacle, and decided to use a technique, I call the “Michelin Man”. I took both tires and put them around my body like hula hoops. This had the volunteers/staff laughing and they said I was the only racer to use this technique the entire day. I climbed up the initial part of the obstacle and proceeded to climb about halfway down the back side of the obstacle. At this point, I figured, what the heck, and wanted to give both the volunteers and other racers a good laugh. I proceeded to lie on the ground and allowed the tires to roll me like a vehicle down the remainder of the hill. The volunteers got a great laugh out of this.
The next two obstacles were a very difficult descent down a hill with a rope and a steep climb up a hill with ropes. The hills proved to be no problem for my Icebug Acceleritas4 sneakers. I now came to the massive “Water Slide” obstacle. I asked the volunteers/staff, which side was faster and was told the left, so with a running start I jumped and went face first, on my stomach down this long water slide, crashing/splashing into the water. Unfortunately I lost my waterproof iPod (silly me) but the obstacle rocked.
After climbing out of the water I was able to complete the “Ice bug” obstacle. I then quickly crawled through the “Bone Frog Challenge” obstacle, “Normandy”. Shortly after I came to the second “Wreck Bag Carry” obstacle on the course and proceeded to carry and crawl two fifty pound bags through this obstacle.
Up next came the “BattleFrog” “Tip of the Spear” obstacle. I have completed this obstacle several times successfully in the past, however, this time they replaced the ropes with chains, which made the obstacle even more difficult. I was still able to successfully complete the obstacle.
I had no problem completing the last two obstacles on my own, a second “Sternum Checker” and “The Wall” and then completed the course. Unfortunately, when I crossed the finish line, the announcer was no longer announcing the full names names of the racers as “OCR World Championship Finishers” which was very disappointing to me and made my accomplishments feel less than those that I heard their names announced.
I was also unable to get the finisher shirt as they had run out of men's medium and large shirts. They did take my name and said they will mail me one, but I was still disappointed as I planned to rock that shirt and finisher medal the next day at my Spartan Super in South Carolina, and maybe even get my picture taken with Joe.
The Schwag was great as the finisher medal is one of the nicest I have received at any event.
The atmosphere, course and overall event were amazing. The energy was bigger and better than at any OCR event. Everyone clearly knew they were part of something very special. Other than the one above mentioned staff/volunteer incident, the staff/volunteers were all amazing and did a great job from start to finish. King's Domain (Mud Guts and Glory) has an amazing course and were amazing hosts the entire time, and I wish I could have taken the course back to New York state with me!
I'm rating the event a 4.5 out of 5 stars based on the several things noted above which are very correctable for next year. I look forward to qualifying and participating in next years, OCR Wold Championships.
—–Walter F Hendrick (Sandy)—–
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