There are not many races going on in the winter, but luckily I live close to the permanent Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) site, KC Timber Challenge. With snow and ice still on the trail and those post-holiday pounds still on, I pulled on my MudGear socks, threw on a pair of BleggMits and headed to the course.
The course runs on a primarily single track trail. Prior to the start, I debated what shoes to wear and even considered Yak Trax (special rubber overshoes designed for ice running). However, I went with a normal pair of trail shoes and soon realized it was the right decision. They have enough terrain and trail to have around five miles of OCR but for the Yeti, they dropped it down to 5km (~3.1 miles).
I talked about KC Timber in my last review and how they made such huge improvements in obstacles in the last couple of years (read about that here). The statements still hold true, however, due to the winter weather, the course was less grip intensive that their Extreme Timber Challenge Course. Clearly a necessity since falling from monkey bars or from the zip line onto ice would be a bad day. Instead, it was cool to see some adjustments that they made especially for winter including a downhill slide ride, a team building “snowshoe walk” and an obstacle that involved shooting tennis balls at a target.
They still had several obstacles that tested your physical strength and grip strength though including a tire flip (with different sized tires), several walls, incline walls, a tire drag/log carry that included multiple over/under obstacles, a rig with all rings, a version of floating walls and a hanging tire traverse. The total obstacle count was around 28, which is dense for a course that is only 5k.
For me, the most memorable moment of the race was the final obstacle which involved a sledgehammer and a car. Before you cross the finish you get to hit a car with a sledgehammer. Although there are no podium prizes, if you get to the finish first you get a pristine car to break. I was going to go for the front windshield until I remembered front windows are designed to spiderweb and not shatter, so I went for a side window. The complete shatter of the window was very satisfying and a good reason to run hard in the first wave.
The festival wasn’t as lively as previous KC Timber Challenge events due to morning temperatures in the 20s, but it was still good and included free ice cream and coffee, cupcakes for sale, a couple of vendors, merchandise tent and a tent from the local KCOCR group.
KC Timber Challenge is the perfect course to bring new OCR athletes into the sport. If you want this sport to grow, start locally. The event is practically in Kansas City making it an easy trip for me and others in the area KC metro area. As a competitive athlete, I didn’t mind the lack of timed wave but found it awesome to shake off some dust in the off-season and get some multi-lap training in. Events like this keep me motivated in the off-season and provide some obstacle specific training for later in the year. Their next event is the KC Timber Challenge on April 14th. Hope to see some of you there.