Sunday, October 4, 2015
Savage Race Atlanta - Fall 2015 - Slogging Thru Mud!! - Race Review
Rain...rain...and more rain. That's all it did from the last time I was on the course Thursday evening until I returned. When I left, it was a dry, dusty, practically completed obstacle course. When I arrived back Saturday morning, it was still raining and if there was anything still dry, it was kept well hidden. But there was a Savage Race course waiting to be tested...and I couldn't wait! Let it be known now though...this was going to be a mud run of epic proportions!!
Knowing how the weather was supposed to go, I actually agonized over whether trying to run this race was going to work out well. Not that I was worried about getting wet...I mean, it's a mud run after all...duh! But I was tent camping as usual and I just wasn't sure about the logistics of 'getting wet'. I wasn't sure about being able to keep my dry change of clothes dry until the end of the race. In the back of my mind though, I don't think there was ever really a doubt. I was there to run (and write about!) my first Savage Race...and nothing was going to stop that.
The Savage Race did not disappoint!! I found the 5-1/2 mile rolling terrain and well spaced obstacles to be another perfect course for me. Enough of a challenge to know you'd been pushed, but not so much that you worried about injury or excessive wear and tear. Although again, because of my shoulder injury, I was forced to pass on several of the overhead obstacles, there was still plenty to make sure you worked for that medal. And today, with rain still coming down at the start, this course was the muddiest I'd seen yet and everything...everything...was tougher in that mud. Every climb and every descent became nothing less than a slick mud slip-and-slide.
Of course they had their iconic obstacles, Colossus, Wheel World and Sawtooth...none of which I could do...after all, it was Everest at Tough Mudder that did in my arm just weeks before. And that was disappointing, because I was looking forward to testing myself on those, particularly Sawtooth...although I did climb Colossus to do the slide...I mean, of course! There were also a number of barbed wire crawls...challenging in themselves but again, made even tougher in the boggy mud.
There was also an obstacle I hadn't seen before, the Teeter Tuber...a 20' tube, 24' across and balanced in the middle. You had to crawl through, pulling yourself up with a rope until it tipped over and you slide out. So...so...so much tougher with the inside and rope completely glazed over with mud. Luckily, I had forgotten to put my gloves on for the rope...that was one hard, and fun, obstacle.
Then they had a number of walls to jump, as well as a mud pit with an inverted wall at each end...interesting combo! Their versions of the block drag and 'log' carry. Challenging but not overly brutal. They also threw in an inverted, transverse wall which was another intimidating obstacle...like climbing underneath a rock overhang. Needless to say I would be dead or hanging from the lifeline if that were real!
What did surprise me a bit were the number of obstacles either involving water or where falling into water was the penalty. Davey Jones Locker was the most spectacular, a 15' high jump into the deep pool below. More than a few people were very intimidated on this one. The Nutt Smasher (balance beam), Wheel World, Pipe Dreams and Sawtooth were all attempted over water. Besides the dunk walls, they also had the Savage version of an ice bath...never one of my favorites personally. Possibly the most feared obstacle on the course, believe it or not...if you listened to the comments of racers!
With all those water obstacles, Savage Race clearly made safety a crucial issue and their efforts clearly showed at Davey Jones, the water jump. The obstacle was well manned with safety personnel and it was quite obvious that they the entire crew was trained to properly control and coordinate the racers jumping in. Nice change from some of the more haphazard safety issues that can occur at races.
Another area I was pleasantly surprised at...the photos. Not only were there plenty of photos available, but unlike most other races they were much easier to find. There's nothing quite as frustrating for racers than to wait days for the photos to come out, spend hours weeding through them, just to find out that they somehow missed you at that obstacle. I've said it before, someone is going to make a mint if they come up with a perfect way for racers to find photos! But the Savage Race photo search is the best I've used so far.
I'm not sure when my schedule will allow me to do another Savage Race, but I am already looking forward to it! Maybe next time though, it will be a little drier, so the only mud we have to deal with is where they make it. But then again, getting muddy is just one of the perks...