Sunday, October 26, 2014

OCR World Championships

What an honor to be a part of this race.  Hands down one of the most difficult and rewarding obstacle course races I have done.  I say rewarding because that's how it felt completing some of these insanely challenging obstacles.  Most I have never even seen before, but its what I would expect for a World Championship event.  Finished with a time of 2:16 but wasn't able to complete two obstacles so was slapped with 8 min of time penalties.  I believe I finished 42nd in the elite male category, but because of the time penalties was not ranked in the final standings.  Only those who completed all obstacles were listed in the final results.  The winning time was an amazing 1:21 by Jon Albon of England.

Finishers medal, "bling"!

Many athletes from many different countries were on hand to determine who really is the  #1 obstacle course racer.  Some of the pre-race favorites were from Jon Albon (England), Ryan Atkins (Canada) and Hobie Call (USA).

The race was held in Oregonia, OH, in between Cincinnati and Columbus.  It was located at the Kings Domain park (site of the Mud Guts and Glory obstacle course race series) which was pretty damn cool.  They designed the course so that it was very spectator friendly for the beginning and end of the race.  A large grassy area that included about 15 of the 50+ obstacles was on display for spectators to watch and cheer on athletes.  Made it feel almost like an arena.

Starting area.  Lots of obstacles were located to the left

My dad flew out from Arizona to join me, and this was his first obstacle course race experience.  We drove out to the course on Friday morning to check out some of the obstacles.  I don't think my dad had any idea what to expect and after checking out the first couple obstacles he was pretty impressed that I would be doing this.  With my best "poker face", I said "I got this", but to myself I was saying "holy shit this is gonna hurt".

Inverted Monkey Bars...brutal

Friday night they held a dinner ceremony for Hobie Call, arguably the most feared and humble obstacle course racer.  Still remember a few years ago Spartan Race puttin' out a bounty on him as they offered $10,000 to anyone who could beat him; he had won every race in their series.  I don't believe anyone beat him the next race, but he did eventually get beat.  Well the dude is still fast as hell and he finished 3rd overall today.

Unique to this race only, instead of having us do burpees or any other exercise for not being able to complete an obstacle, a time penalty was incurred instead.  Most time penalties were to be 4 min. and the weaver obstacle (google it) held a 6 min penalty.  Also, if you were unable to complete an obstacle you had your wristband (given to us at the start) cut and you would not be eligible for the cash prizes.  You could, however, try several times to complete one, if needed.  I struggled a few times and was slapped with three 4 min penalties.  The first was the Platinum Rig (google it - 80% of elite field failed it), the second was two rope traverses.  This was the most frustrating because I attempted it twice and fell short about 3-4 feet both times.  Both times my grip completely gave out and couldn't hold.on to the rope.  This was another obstacle I have not done, so maybe my technique could have been better.  The other obstacle was near the finish and it was two walls that you had to traverse laterally.  The first wall had hanging chains that you had to grasp and move laterally.  I wasn't able to get any grip on the wall with my shoes and my grip strength was toast as well, so I had to swallow another 4 min. penalty.

Platinum Rig

The obstacle I feared most was the inverted monkey bar obstacle.  First you had to climb up tires (that were all attached an didn't move), then descend 10 monkey bars and then immediately ascend 10 more monkey bars.  I got about 1/2 way up on the ascend part and felt my grip going.  Fortunately, I was able to loo my leg around the bars to take some of the weight off my arms.  The final 5 bars seemed to take forever.

video compliments of Obstacle Racing Media
The course terrain was very difficult due to the constant steep up and downs and off-camber sections.  The course was dry yet there were still many creek bed runs (flooded with rocks and wet leaves).  Some of the steep up hills even had ropes  that were attached at the top that were needed to help get up.

One of the more relaxing obstacles was the 200 ft waterslide.  These are starting to become more popular in obstacle races as it is very spectator friendly and of course gets you completely soaked. But who doesn't like a fast waterslide?

Very impressed with the venue, and how well organized everything was.  This is only the atart of something very special.

Didn't stick around for the Team Race on Sunday, which consisted of team of 4; either all men, all women, or coed.  Two people from each team had to complete a full lap of the course, the the other two members headed out to complete their lap.  The fastest total combined time declared the winner.  Sounds like it would have been fun, but I'm not sure I would have been able to move the next day.

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