Let’s talk about announcers for a moment. If you follow OCR in the media then I hope you tuned into the live feed from Blue Mountain this past Saturday morning. That’s where the real Spartan Race race took place. Social media was electrified with excitement in the week leading up to what many consider the premier, toughest race on the circuit. Who better to bring us commentary on that than David Magida? He has hosted more races than anyone else. He’s also an elite OCR athlete. He definitely knows his stuff; he knows the racers, and he knows this course. Brakken Kraker joined him for the Palmerton showdown and they both performed brilliantly.
Granted, Washington and Ohno are both gifted professional athletes. They lend plenty of excitement to SUTC. But here’s what’s missing. They don’t know OCR, the athletes, or the course. So I ask myself, is the television viewing audience just hungry for mindless entertainment or, as General Maximus put it in “Gladiator”, “Are you not entertained?” I want the raw, uncensored, live call it as you see its perspective of the guys who live this sport. ‘Nuff said.
Tonight’s episode began the quarter-finals. The first heat teams included Heart of Texas, Commanding Officers, and Showtime. Heat two included Little Giants, Comeback Kids, and Strike a Pose. I’ve got the CO’s in heat one and the CKs and heat 2.
The quarterfinals included all of the standard obstacles including the Barrel Roll and the Slip Wall. Will strategy and focus win the day? HoT took the early lead in pushing the 2000-pound barrel up the hill. They finished first and kept the lead rounding the corner into the Mud Humps. One of the Texans hurt his shoulder and looked questionable coming into the Human Ladder. CO’s nearly took first here but HoT held on.
The 850-pound Timber Drop did not seem to bother Joey Kelly’s shoulder as HoT opened up their lead to the Spear Throw. By the time HoT nailed three spears, CO’s just finished Timber Drop, and Showtime just arrived at Timber Drop. The CO’s had a long way to catch up.
HoT finished the Dunk Wall no problem and eased into the Slip Wall with a large lead. By this point, HoT Joey Kelly’s shoulder had slipped out of joint twice. If they win tonight, can he possibly survive the semi-finals? Their technique on the Slip Wall was flawless and the entire team was off the obstacle by the time the CO’s started.
That leaves the only question. Will the CO’s distant second place time of 18:08, a full minute behind team HoT be enough to keep the wild card slot for the semi’s? Heat two will tell.
I really wanted to see the Little Giants do this but I sensed size and power of the other two teams will reign. SaP came out strong and rolled the barrel to the top very quickly. Hopefully, that adrenaline surge will last. CK Laura Messner struck a very unflattering pose when she stumbled coming off the barrel.
At the Ladder, SaP rolled allowing team CK to catch up. But all three teams appeared close at this point. The small size of the LG’s was an advantage and that put them into second place. But the strength of SaP got them all on the Timber before the Giants could drop theirs. But with their log down, the Giants could have quickly scrambled up to stay in the second slot. Instead of scrambling, they looked tired. Comeback Kids looked even more tired. That gave SaP plenty of time to struggle through the Spear Throws and move on.
CK came back at the Spear Throw to re-take second. By then, SaP was on the Slip Wall with everybody on by the time CK got to the Dunk Wall. That gave them just 2:10 to complete the Slip Wall and slip into the wild card slot held by the CO’s. Strike a Pose grabbed their shield and crossed the finish line to win the second heat. The Comeback Kids had just 30 seconds to complete the Wall. They missed the wild card by just three seconds.
Was the OCRMudmaster entertained?
Well honestly, when my expectations are crushed (where were the Little Giants) along with the expectations of last year’s winners, it was all kind of a letdown. Sure everybody gutted it out. But who left the blood of the vanquished on the course? Who thoroughly defeated every overwhelming enemy? Where is General Maximus? How about a little bumping and grinding between teams like there was with Hunter McIntyre and Ryan Atkins at the 2016 Tahoe nationals? Maybe next week.