2016 got off to a rocky start OCR-wise. After proving to myself in 2015 that I could do these races, I was determined to make 2016 a year in which I would “do them better.” My first planned race was the Blizzard Blast at the end of January. I missed it because most of my family was sick and I had to take care of them. By all accounts I missed a fun race. For most of February I was suffering from strep and then bronchitis, so my training essentially came to a halt. Most of the people I knew would not be attending this race, and although I know several New England Spahtens, none that I knew would be going to this particular race.
So it was with some trepidation and lack of enthusiasm that I went to the BoldrDash Winterdash in Exeter, RI. The venue was a 200-acre camp next to a pond, mostly flat but with a few hills. The weather was chilly but not windy, and tolerable in the sun. There was definitely a “small event” feel, with only a concession truck selling coffee, a tent selling BoldrDash gear, and some games to play. There was a small cabin for registration, which was thankfully heated. Inside the cabin it was somewhat chaotic, but the registration line moved quickly. As part of the biggest team, we got a good quality team-specific T-shirt which is pretty cool.
I got ready, stretched, and was off to the finish line with the rest of Spahtens. Looking around, there was no one I knew, so I just was determined to run with the crowd. After a humorous snafu at the starting line (with one race director counting down from 10 until start, and the other immediately telling us “Go!”), we got started.
The first obstacle was a carrying a rock across a field and back twice--the rock wasn’t big, but it was frozen to the ground so when I picked it up, I had to rip a chunk of frozen earth with it. Next was a slalom while carrying a 2-man wreck bag, and then into the woods to do a horizontal traverse across a cargo net. I didn’t feel especially winded, but checking my watch, my heart rate had spiked beyond my max, which is a testament to how out of shape I am.
Next was some parallel bars that turned out to be easier than I expected. Then a tire toss--you got three tries to throw a tire over a post. I missed all three (the third try just barely) and had to do the penalty. Next was a crawl pipe, but with the added complication of it being mounted on a see-saw. The pipes were slippery on the inside and people were having trouble getting up them, but I managed it with some effort.
Throughout the running portions of the race, my lingering bronchitis was making itself known, as I had some coughing fits, and my nose was running for most it. Back into the woods, and the next obstacle was wire crawl up and then down. Next was a suspended tire that you had to climb through, and then the Monkey Bars. The Monkey Bars when a suspended ladder. The rungs were not too far apart, and it wasn’t too long, but my shoulders were sore after completing it.
Next was a “spider web” to crawl through, following by a pulley hoist--I chose a relatively light weight, but it was still rough on my hands--again, I’m reminded that I need to work on my grip strength. Then was a set of balance beams with a twist at the end--a set of inclined platforms that you had to jump back and forth between. I managed three of the four platforms but stumbled on the fourth--this was a cool obstacle.
|Glacier (me), and the trio that kept me on pace: Ron, Gingah Ninjah, and Fire Moxie|
More marching through the woods, and it was clear that it was getting near the end. I crossed a wooden bridge over part of the reservoir, and then was a Tire hurdle obstacle--you had to climb over a wooden frame with several tires on it that were free to move, making it slightly more difficult. I was able to get over them ok, and pressed on. Next was a rope climb, which wasn’t that high at all, so I was able to ring the bell without too much difficulty. Right after that was a rope swing, and then more woods--part of it a zig-zag path on a causeway over the reservoir.
By now the course took me parallel to the road which lead to the starting area, so I knew that I was on the home stretch. The next obstacle was a walk over a seesaw while carrying a slosh pipe, which was pretty easy, and then a jog most of the way to the finish line. The last obstacle was a Slack-line Traverse--you had to balance on one rope while holding onto a second rope over your head, which I managed just fine. From there it was a just a few steps to the finish line.
I finished the race in 1:15:46, with a distance of 3.89 miles. Much faster than I did the Epic Fifth Challenge, but then, it was far, far less hilly, with less difficult obstacles, and no backups. Still, I’m glad I did as well as I did, and it’s a good start to the season.