As the dust (read: mud) settles after OCRWC 2017 weekend – a grand finale of obstacle racing season for many, we are speculating wildly, complaining loudly, counting the bruises, and reminiscing in every other way we can think of.
Here’s an up close and personal on the short course and long course from the weekend (to be followed, of course, by the post-mortem analysis and critical commentary).
The map and obstacle list for Friday and Saturday races were as follows:
We missed a couple of obstacles due to weather, and last minute logistical changes – yoke carry, and Pipe Dreams come to mind, yet this is to be expected with any event.
OCRWC2017 3K Short Course
Distance: 3.34km (2.07mi)
Elevation (gain): 163m (535ft)
The short course took place on Friday. I clocked 3.34km (2.07mi) as total distance. Another racer’s estimate came in at 3.4km (2.11mi), suggesting my watch was fairly accurate.
The course featured three major climbs with 163m (535ft) of elevation gain, 161m (528ft) of elevation loss, for a total of 324m (1,063ft)of elevation change. [You can read more about the difference between elevation gain and elevation change here.]
This is very similar to last year’s course – both in distance and elevation. You can find GPS data here.
The 3k results are here.
OCRWC2017 15K Long Course
Distance: 15.45km (9.6mi)
Elevation (gain): 1,064m (3,468ft)
The long course took place on Saturday, and measured 15.45km (9.6mi). Another estimate arrived at 15.16km (9.42mi). Compare this with last year’s course at 16.09km (9.99mi).
The long course had four major climbs, and one smaller climb with heavy carry, with 1,064m (3,491ft) of elevation gain, 1,057m (3,468ft) of elevation loss, for a total of 2,121m (6,959ft) of elevation change.
You can find the GPS data here, and 15k results here.
*If anyone has complete GPS data and/or maps for the Sunday races, let me know, and I will be happy to include them here.
La Gaffe. This elegant contraption is one of the signature obstacles at the new Canadian race series Northman, and I’d argue this was the most innovative obstacle of the weekend. Self-regulating elements that snap back into place after a racer goes through, the combination of grip, and body control required to get across, AND an awesome story behind the obstacle design? Yes, please.
Stairway To Heaven made a return appearance, and claimed many wristbands. This year, racers were instructed to start at the bottom plank. The wood planks had relatively good grip throughout Friday and Saturday (especially compared to slick metal poles in La Gaffe), however, female racers struggled with this one especially.
Urban Sky was made up of three parts this year with planks to rest on between each of the parts. None of the individual components was particularly difficult, but if you failed one of the parts, you had to go back all the way to the beginning.
Barbed Wire Crawl. I am including this oldie, but goodie here, because it was remarkably well executed. All the crawls were well positioned throughout the course, so as to avoid bottlenecks, a few were inclined upwards to make them harder, yet located over a grassy surface, rather than sharp rocks or gravel. The barbed wire had enough tension not to drag on the ground, yet was low enough to make the crawls challenging. Well done.
Dragon’s Back was significantly longer this year- I counted five jumps. The organizers tightened the rules, so racers were also not allowed to stand at the top, gathering courage. This resulted in a much faster transition times through this particular obstacle. If you struggled with this one, however, you were not alone.
Low Rig was all rope, and threw some racers for a loop. I found that the start of that obstacle was not well communicated. Were you supposed to start with… your hand in the first loop? Your foot in the second? I received no explicit instructions from staff here, and made my way across, by watching fellow racers, and making sure I was not touching the ground at any point.
Rig-Rig-Skull Valley-Skyline-Floating Walls combo killed most. If you had any grip remaining, this sequence would take care of it. You’ll have to wait for the full post-mortem write-up, as I have quite a bit to say here.
The Knot. The last wall to overcome before the finish line was slick, and only had small pieces of rope for assistance. Last year this obstacle cost a Russian racer second place, after he lost grip, and came in fourth after multiple attempts. This year, another battle at the wall kept spectators on the edge of their seats, as Ryan Woods’ grip gave out at the wall, and Hunter caught up with him just enough to have a real shot at podium. Yet, this was not an obstacle you could rip through with abandon – it took just enough muscle and careful positioning. After few very long seconds, Ryan made it over the wall just moments before Hunter, and the third place was locked in.
Next up, post-mortem of the race weekend, and critical commentary.
As you wait by the phone by your computer, consider what went well this weekend? What did not go so well? What would you have differently as a racer? What would you have done differently as an organizer? What obstacles stood out?
Here’s my write up of the 2015 event for reference, as well as some observations from the 2016 short course.