Sunday, November 29, 2015

RACE REPORT: Battlefrog Atlanta II 8K

SO… the flight delay from Toronto had me stuck in Atlanta overnight, which meant that I would not get home in time to drive back to Atlanta for the race.  My plan was to land at midnight, and start driving at 2 am back towards Atlanta.  The delay would make this impossible. . But… if I could figure out a way to race with the stuff I happened to have with me, I could get a later flight, rent a car for the day, and stick around in Atlanta, which is what I did.  Hey – it saved me about 5 hours of driving, which was pretty awesome.  The part of my race kit that I’d miss the most was my OCR shoes (Reebok Spartan Super All-Terrains), but I’d do my best in my Saucony Kinvara 4’s, which are not low-to-the-ground and don’t have a lot of tread.  With clothes, I wouldn’t have my arm protectors, but I’d manage.  Fortunately, I always have plenty of exercise clothes with me.  Spartans are resourceful!  It would be a crazy adventure trying to wing this race.  I would’ve hated to miss the volunteering opportunity that I had that morning, as much as I’d miss the race. 

I had a voucher from the airline to stay at a hotel, but with a 1 hr drive to the race venue and a 5am volunteer start time, I’d only have a couple of hours, anyway, and taking transit back and forth to/from the hotel would be an unpredictable time sink, and I’d be getting a couple hours of sleep, at most.  Better just to drive to the venue and catch a couple of hours in the back seat of my car.  It was raining during the drive there… glad I didn’t have to do this drive with the day’s racing traffic.  Because the original parking spots were supposed to be in the fields, and the rain made driving on the fields a mud pit of impossibility, the race organizers found offsite parking locations and arranged shuttle buses.  I applaud their quick thinking. 

I took the bus to a shelter, where they signed in the volunteers and gave out positions.  I was a course marshall for the “balance beam” logs on the wreck bag loop.  During BFX earlier this year, the 50-lb wreck bags were the most challenging obstacle for me, by far, and I had to do it 4x!  I couldn’t imagine getting up on the log, then maintaining a stable position while crossing the log with that thing on my back.  With all of the rain overnight and through the first part of the morning, the area that I was manning was a muddy mess.  My toes would be soaked in my shoes all day. 

The elite racers started, and they should’ve arranged for more than 3 logs, since a huge backlog (ha – log) developed, since this was within the first half-mile or so of the race.  Some were understandably frustrated.  This kind of repeated with each wave through the morning.  It’s always fun to volunteer at these races, though.  You see racers bravely push themselves, and the ones who have to struggle through it are the most inspiring.

 (That's me in the background, in the orange vest)

At about noon, the shift was over, and it was time for me to race.  I got geared up, then went to the start.  I had officially registered (vs. volunteer wave) for the 12:30 race, but there was no official 12:30 starting sendoff!  It was odd.  I guess not enough people signed up for it.  A couple others were in the same boat, and rather than waiting for the 1pm volunteer heat start (assuming there was a real start), we decided to go ahead.  I was especially eager to go ahead, to 1) maximize the time I had to get back to the airport to fly home, and 2) to minimize traffic jams on the obstacles.  I struggled over the pre-start wall (but made it J ), and our little band was off.

The wreck bags were first… tolerable this time, compared to at BFX.  I wonder if I’m stronger, or if it’s the fact that I was only doing 1 lap, instead of 4.  The balance beam was manageable.  The wall was also doable, after some of the usual struggling to get it back on me.  I had cheered some racers on, on the return trip to the wreck bag drop-off previously, saying “almost there”.  Being ¾ of the way myself, I could see how I was not “almost there”, and with the second half having the bags get harder to carry, it was like someone saying “almost there” to someone at the 20 mile point of the marathon, haha.  Well, at least we had the end to look forward to.

Next,  12’ ladder wall, jerry can (crushed it), 8’ wall fail, rope climb easy, spider web kind of a joke, ramp wall fail especially because it was at the top of an uphill slope, high knee cargo net, Normandy jacks, inverted wall, delta ladder, cargo bridge, platinum rig (got 37% of the way through – tons of fun, even though I failed), swim, tip fo the spear, over/under, mounds of grounds, 12’ rope wall fail, river crossing, mud trench, 60 degree inverted ladder, platinum rig #2 (maybe 40% of the way through, with the coaching of a nice French-speaking volunteer who I struggled to speak French with), ramp wall.  I love the Battlefrog 
obstacles (other than the sternum checker)!  


There was a media guy from the OCR community who was there filming, and he caught me at the 60 degree ladder and the finish.  He was really nice, and has great videos.  I appear towards the end.


Showered off as best as I could, changed, then there was a bit of time left for Geocaching!  I was about 5 miles from the Alabama border (I can’t imaging driving myself here all the way from SC – I’m thankful for the flight delay!), so I found a quick cache there, just to get the virtual souvenir for Alabama.  I also found another cache, in Georgia, that had lots of signature cards… like trading cards, where Geocachers have stats about their geocaching adventures, with their picture.  Pretty cool.  Drove back to the airport, then flew home.  A wild trip.

The official results, and only some of the pictures have been posted so far, but it took me about 2 hours to finish the 5 miles.

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