Friday, June 28, 2013

Tough Mudder at the Whistler Olympic Park

Tough Mudder came to Whistler, BC this past weekend (June 22-23), with both Dave and his visiting brother, Robert, participating in the challenge on Sunday.

The guys have been signed up for this for months, and Rob flew all the way from Tampa, FL to participate in what was his third Tough Mudder. 

If you're not familiar with Tough Mudder, it's a challenging military-style obstacle course that's broken up by running. The Mudders held at Whistler were on a 12-mile course at the Whistler Olympic Park and were comprised of 20 separate obstacles. The obstacles are pretty bonkers - they ranged from swimming through a dumpster full of ice, to jumping over fire, to climbing up and over walls, to getting zapped with electricity. The price of participating in the event as an athlete can range anywhere from about $100 to $180, depending upon when you sign up. Definitely a chunk of change. Also worth bitching about noting is that the cost of being a SPECTATOR is $20 in advance or $40 the day of. This I do not support. 

The Saturday Mudder was pretty overcast, as I understand, but Sunday ended up being quite sunny so there was plenty of sweat to go along with all of the mud. The boys got their registration packets and their race numbers to pin onto their shirts, in addition to getting their race numbers scrawled onto their foreheads with black marker:

.  she had some trouble with dave's forehead so she ended up marking up his arms instead  .

The guys made their way to the start line with the other athletes in their 10:20AM heat, and I set off with the other spectators.  Spectators were relegated to 3 different marked routes throughout the day, and each route allowed us to view particular obstacles. For example, the Green Spectator Route might take you to obstacles 2, 3 and 15, while the Purple Spectator Route might allow you to see obstacles 17-18. 

Thus, spectators could only actually see about 5 or 6 of the 20 total obstacles. This was done I suppose mostly for timing purposes: If spectators were to try watching every single obstacle, they couldn't make it to the next obstacle in time to see their athlete (who is running to the next obstacle) complete it. While our spectator routes were helpful bee-lines between some of the obstacles, they were completely out in the open to the sun - no shade whatsoever. Certainly not in the woods, as the course maps would lead you to believe.

At the second obstacle, where the athletes were to swim across a dumpster full of ice cubes, Rob dislocated his shoulder while pulling himself out of the dumpster. Luckily there was a medical tent quite nearby, but the poor guy had to wait in excruciating pain for several minutes before getting his arm rammed back into its socket by a doctor. Eesh. He was unable to complete many of the obstacles thereafter because he was wearing a sling and was unable to lift his arm over his head, but he was a trooper and ran along the whole rest of the way with David and completed what he could. 

Dave did really well at the obstacles that I could see, though he swears he thought he was going to die in the ice dumpster. Here he is in red shirt in the foreground, immediately after he'd come out of the dumpster. His brother is in the red shirt on top of the dumpster - he has literally JUST dislocated his shoulder in this pic:

In addition to the ice dumpster, I also saw David jump off a plank into a water pit 15 feet below in one obstacle, and make his way up a huge quarter pipe like it tweren't no thang in another obstacle. Here's a short video compilation of those three events (you can see Dave in the red shirt in the 2nd and 3rd clips):

And I watched him "slip 'n slide" through a bunch of dangling electric zappers:

And dominate some crazy monkey bars (the picture I took of this obstacle was awful but you can see the Funky Monkey obstacle here). 

He also climbed up and over a bunch of these walls with little fanfare:

Here are some other non-David shots of the course:

.  olympic ski jumps  .
.  tough mudders are tiny runners in the upper right  .

To conclude it all, they had to run through a chute of long, dangling wires that were zapping them with electricity. People did notttt seem to enjoy this part:

.  you can't see it, but he is gritting his teeth quite hard here  .

Overall it looked like a pretty exhilarating thing to participate in - everyone there was simultaneously psyched and devastated. Also, muddy. I was so proud of David for how strong 'n tough he is. I wish I'd been able to see all 20 of his obstacles!

And what a freaking day for it all. My goodness. Here's one of my favorite pics from the day - and yesss I have adjusted the exposure and saturation just for the fun of it:

The downside of the day was that I was pretty much dying in the sun all day long. We were out there for about 5 hours - the athletes needed to arrive an hour before their race time, and then the course itself takes them anywhere from 3-4.5 hours to complete.

For the $40 I was charged just to watch the race, I apparently couldn't afford a spot of shade anywhere. No tents for spectators at all. The one place along the entire course that provided any shade - more accurately, the ONLY shade - was at Obstacle 11, a part of the course which happened to go past the enormous tent that had been used earlier in the day for the athletes' registration process. This tent was huge enough to fit a very large wedding beneath it. Aside from about 15 feet of its length that was being used as a "bag drop" area for athletes, the rest of the massive tent was empty. Empty. 

.  effing empty  .

I was kicked out of this tent and told that no one was allowed in there. No amount of my very rational and calm pleading with the race volunteer about the size of the massive empty tent and the lack of shade anywhere else on the entire spectator route made a difference. She simply kept repeating that no one was allowed there. I wanted to just die. On her. And make her deal with my rotting, sun-beaten corpse. Oy.

But other than the heat and overexposure problem, the day could not have been more beautiful. I am willing to bet that the Whistler Tough Mudder course had some of the most stunning scenery of all the Mudders this year.

.  sexy sons of bitches  .

Whistler Olympic Park is certainly lovely in the sunny summertime. I'm sure it's even better in the snow, with all the mountains surrounding it and the bright green trees.

Have you ever done a Tough Mudder or been a spectator at one? If so, I'd love to know what you thought of the whole thing!

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