Saturday, August 30, 2014

Inferno Race - Obstacle Course Race Report

Phew, once again I am impressed with another obstacle course race event.  Out of the 8 OCR events that I have competed in, I have only had 1 experience where I was left wondering; Did I just do a race, or did I just pay money to run around in some mud with a few backyard obstacles mixed in?

Today I competed in the Inferno Race and won the 6-mile option with a time of 1:28.  Not a very fast time by any means, but don't let that fool you, the course was no joke.   The race claims to never use mud in their event, and according to their website, "mud is not an obstacle".  I could go either way on that debate, but I like their philosophy. Ironically, today they didn't have to make a mud pit of any kind, Mother Nature took care of that for them. With the temps in the 60's and rain the entire race, several sections throughout the course were in heavy forested areas, and mud was flinging.

last obstacle - not sure what to call these, but difficult

The event was held in a remote area west of Salem surrounded by many vineyards.  The landscape was amazing and of course their were plenty of rolling hills.  Now in it's 2nd year, they have two options to choose from, a 13.1 mile route with 30 obstacles, or a new for this year 6 mile option with 20 obstacles.  I chose the shorter version since my upcoming priority races will be between 3.5 - 8 miles and I am trying to figure out the most efficient pace for myself.

rope wall climb

I started at 8:30am along with about 10 other people.  The total number of participants was still relatively low (compared to Spartan Race or Tough Mudder), but I am hoping that more people will spread the good word about the race and bring more competitors in.  It was obvious that  the course designer designed the course to make you suffer.  The obstacles were challenging and the terrain (rough pasture land and steep hills) made it difficult to get into a groove.  Oh, and to help make them stand out from all others, a 200m swim was thrown in at mile 3 of the 6-mile course.  I am not a swimmer, so this added an extra challenging element for me.

               monkey bars

The course was a good mix of off-camber pasture land that made me focus on each placement of each foot. There were several times where I thought I was going to roll my ankle.  I even saw a few people that had their ankles taped or wrapped so I'm guessing they did the race last year and knew the chances of rolling an ankle would be high.  The trail sections through the forest areas was epic.  Lots of off-camber rooty, (and today muddy) singletrack.  Their was one very steep climb that was difficult to run the whole way up, and another steep climb that was manageable to run but kicked the crap out of me.  The downhill running was also very steep at times so it was a good mix of everything.

sandbag carry thru tires

The most challenging obstacle (of the 20 or so in my race) was the tire drag.  Normally dragging a tire is not a difficult obstacle for me, but this took it to a whole new level.  I'm not exactly sure of the distance, but I overheard someone say it was a 400m drag.  The tire was probably 60-70lbs and dragging it over rough terrain completely sucked all the energy from my legs.  And it just happened to be placed right after a 1/2 mile tire carry up and over a pretty steep hill, and 1 mile from the finish.
collecting the goods

The "bang for the buck" rating on this race is very high.   Very little expense compared to the big 3 but right up their and maybe even better than 2 of them in terms of their obstacles.  If you are looking for a race for 2015 I recommend you put the Inferno Race on your calendar.

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