Wow… just wow! That is all that can be said for this race and venue. I will do my best to put this experience to words. First I want to congratulate every person that finished the beast and a bigger congratulations to every person that completed the Ultra Beast at this venue with what may of been the highest DNF rate for an Ultra to date!
We were able to get to the venue early enough Friday night and if you have the opportunity I would suggest it as it’s a great opportunity to practice on some of the obstacles that Spartan has around the festival area. This is also a great chance to meet other athletes and talk strategy which we were able to do with our friends and fellow Delawareans Shane (perpetual.success) and Bryann Fair (_brymarie) before Shane embarked on the Ultra Beast. Being able to talk strategy across the obstacle you see above is what led to my success on race day!
After open house my team and I were able to go back and have a delicious home cooked meal compliments of my lovely wife and were able to chat more about pre-race and during race nutrition both of which are important for success! I am thankful that I had the opportunity to complete the Spartan SGX program as it has shed much more light on race week preparation from both a exercise and nutrition stand point.
Now for the good stuff! Into the starting corral both myself and Anthony (antotypr11) as we prepare for what we knew coming in would be one of the toughest races to date. After a fantastic National Anthem we were off! Immediately uphill which would with no doubt be the theme for the day. As usual a few starting obstacles to the tune of Hurdles, Hay wall, and 7″ wall just to start breaking up the crowd a bit. As we approached the Monkey bars which are normally not an obstacle that offers much trouble to most of the elite field we were seeing guys going down as the morning dew was still sitting on the metal bars luckily I was able to keep focused and get my first bell of the day (for those that do not know a cowbell is at the end of most grip based obstacles as to signify completion of the obstacle). Though the climb was not to steep we were immediately thrown to a downhill sprint with slip wall, z-wall, and everyone’s favorite the tire flip. Tire flip has offered trouble to even the most seasoned athletes as the men’s tire weighs in between 395lb-420lbs. I was able to complete both flips with little trouble and now for the exciting swim/tarzan swing obstacle. This is a staple at Killington and was what we discussed the night before. After securing your PFD we were allowed into the water!
I was able to complete the obstacle though forgot about the falling into the water portion so was immediately met with water rushing up my nose as I dropped into the lake. Once I got myself together was able to swim back to shore and back onto the course. Following the swim we were met with a few obstacles but for the most part more trail running and multiple encounters with Ultra Beast competitors that were pacing themselves on their first lap. I was at the rolling mud/dunk wall that the first female elite racer (Rea Kolbl) had passed me. *If you are a male elite or really anyone on the course you need to be aware that when the females come through you get out of the way*. Now for the first true climb of the day into the woods and across the face of some of the ski slopes. This is where we were merged with the Ultras that were on their additional loop as they need to complete a couple additional miles to be considered an Ultra. This is the moment I was very glad I did not take on the task of an Ultra once again as these racers looked as if their soul was taken from them on this loop. From here was three miles of trails with Bender (vertical monkey bars), a cargo climb, Stairway to sparta (exaggerated wall climb), and our first sandbag carry!
Next was the reason people come to this race… After a short reprieve of doing twister we took a short run in the woods to turn the corner and there is was… the Death March. My only folly of the day was looking up at the top and seeing the tiny dots moving knowing there was only one direction to go. For those that have not done this race or really any race with this style of straight climb I suggest two things. Don’t look up and keep moving forward as the moment you stop momentum it is a lot longer journey from there on. I was able to complete this 1.1 mile/1500ft ascent in about 30 minutes. Once to the top I was greeted by the lovely Lori Silva cheering me on! Was able to take in the cool, clean air for a minute or two before being thrown back down the mountain in a quick descent and our race for the finish.
Spartan really gave us the gauntlet when it came to the obstacles being grouped as we came down to the herc hoist and with rain earlier in the week these bags were easily weighing in at over 100 lbs for the men’s bags. As we made our approach to the bottom of the mountain and that sweet sound of music from the festival playing I knew it was almost the finish but in true spartan fashion it was to lull you into a false sense of security! As soon as we got to the bottom of that final descent the mother of all Bucket Brigades was staring you in the face. This may not have been the longest or the most difficult bucket carry but after everything we had been through I was only able to muster up one phrase “Jesus” to which the volunteer said “yeah that’s been the reaction all day”. After what felt like forever and thanks to a girl who was cheering her dad on as well as other racers I was done with this stupid bucket and knew I was home free… minus one final obstacle gauntlet!
I was happy to turn the final corner and see Multi rig as again in our Friday evening prep session went over a plan of attack and I stuck with it! Immediately after into spear throw and then olympus before crossing the finish line and one of the coolest experiences ever being given my medal as well as a handshake from a member of the US Air Force! When people ask about how the race went all I can say is it went well. This race was one of the hardest races I have done to date and again knowing this going in it still managed to break me down on the course. Thank you to my sponsors for supporting me and delivering a product that I can stand by and continues to fuel my performance.
As usual enjoy this album that my wife put together as she spent 10 hours running around taking pictures and carrying all of our things around! Also check the link for this months charity and as always Stay hydrated!