think this is the shortest obstacle race I have ever run. I fucking loved it. Ladies and gentlemen, all the ultra running aside, I may be a sprinter after all.
The OCRWC 2016 Short Course was short (ha!), fast and furious. Very little elevation (see elevation profile below), and obstacle heavy.
Be still, my heart.
I kinda wish the course map spelled out a dirty word or something, but alas. Maybe next year? It’s a smallish almost loop that crosses itself few times. The signage was clear.
Distance & Elevation
My Suunto clocked the race course at 3.34km (2.07 miles), with total elevation of 179m (587 ft). You can see my GPS data here.
Once again, OCRWC did not disappoint. Unlike the standardized not-s0-Happy-Meal obstacle packages we grew accustomed to at the large race series, the short course boasted obstacles that were innovative, creative and fun. I can’t wait to see what the long course has in store for the racers tomorrow. [A short rig??? That shit looks insane. And for once, tall athletes will be at a disadvantage. Darn, long legs!]
The word on the street is that the infamous sternum checker is no more. Instead, you will get to climb up the Irish table – a 2×4 about 6 feet high off the ground. The effective strategy is not unlike that you’d use to climb up a wall – if you can your elbows over the edge, you are half way there.
I wonder what we will be bitching about this year. Oh, wait, I know… the Samurai rig.
The Samurai Rig
Amazing photo by www.harmdommisse.com
There’s always that one obstacle… This baby gave lots of racers trouble today. [And new grey hairs to the race directors]. In fact, this is perhaps, the only place apart from the rig, where some bottlenecks formed.At one point, the completion rate for female racers was (unofficially) reported as only 11%.
Given that the racer numbers will be substantially higher tomorrow, chances are, we will NOT see this one in play.
If you do encounter the Samurai, keep few things in mind.
This obstacle IS doable. It is doable, whether you are male or female, tall or short. Yes, it will require SOME strength. It requires less strength than you think.
The poles and logs are placed WAY closer than they have been in previous races that have used this obstacle. You do not need to reach that far.
Start high. As high as you can. The way the obstacle has been arranged, you tend to lose height as you progress through it – if you start mid-pole, you will slide to the ground before making it to the end. This is the number one reason racers have failed this obstacle.
For the love of all things muddy, you do not need to take off your shoes. Your thigh muscles are plenty strong to hold up your body weight. This is like climbing a tree. Only you don’t have to climb up. Easy peasy.
However… if you are wearing slick athletic gear from head to toes, some skin contact may be helpful – I ended up hiking up my athletic tee around my neck, to create some grip.
The Wreck Bag Carry
Simple – grab a 50lb bag, and up the hill you go. This obstacle is, perhaps, my only beef with the short course. For the length of the course, the carry was disproportionately long. Don’t get me wrong, I can drag heavy shit up mountains for hours. However, for the short and the furious nature of a 3k obstacle-heavy course, an extra long bag carry felt like padding.
It will be even longer tomorrow – as it should be, and it will not only fit into the course design better (given that the race is going to be 5 times longer), but it will space out the racers. Today, it should have been half its length.
No obstacle race would be complete without a rig. The version we encountered today was pretty straight forward – rope transition to shorter rope, and ring, followed by combination of square and round monkey bars, onto hanging pole and more rings.
Urban Sky from Netherlands was one of those fun AND creative obstacles. If you have the sufficient grip strength, it’s not difficult. But you do have to pay attention. Otherwise, shit moves, and you fall. Spend the extra two seconds.
Timing & Results
I was very impressed with J-Chip at this event. The results were available at any time from the timing tent. The highlights of top three results across all categories were scrolling on big screens at all times. And detailed result lookup was available by last name and/or bib number.
You can take a look at the highlights by category here, or full results on J-Chip page here.
And check out day 1 highlights from OCRTUBE!
P.S. Kept my band today. Now to repeat that tomorrow.