This is my third back to back to back race weekend since coming back from injury and I am still just a shell of the racer I was last year, but it was very important to me to do both BattleFrog East coast Canada events this year, so I wasn’t going to miss it unless I couldn’t race at all. I wasn’t fast, but did get a total of three BFX laps completed.
• Registration and Festival
Registration was done different than the other BattleFrog races I have done, but because it was early and registrations were low, it was still nice and fast. Typically, with BattleFrog, racers can go to any registration line and register, but this time it was done like Spartan USA and racers had to locate their bib numbers on a list and select the correct registration line.
The festival area was setup a little odd, with some sections far apart from one another, which considering the amount of racers and spectators that showed, it could have been set up much together. All this wasn’t really a big deal and my only complaint is about the shirt section, they packed up pretty early and I know of myself and at least three other BFX racers that didn’t get the special Canada finisher shirts.
• Pre-race MC
Coach Dewayne Paine was awesome as always and had a very specific pre-race speech just for Canada and killed it as always.
• The Course
The venue is a nice property that had no major hills to climb, but did have several nice trail running sections. The course started out with a short run and up first was the Over-Under-Thru and then after a short trail run turned and came to a series of four foot walls to jump/hop over. Just ahead came the next obstacle which was a nylon net crawl. I hate these net crawl obstacles as my hydration back pack always gets stuck during the crawls! The next obstacle was just up ahead and it was the inverted wall.
At this point the course had a trail run before coming to the next obstacle. The course pretty much included obstacles I have seen before at my other BattleFrog races and including “60 Degrees” which did have one minor modification from last year, it now has square bar sections replacing the round ones. I have always been a big fan of this inverted bars obstacle and was happy to see it still in the obstacle arsenal. Other obstacles included “Confident Climb” which is a high cargo climb much like the obstacle of the same name used by several US special forces training courses. Platinum Rig # 1 and Platinum Rig # 2 were both on the course and played a major role in deciding both the male and female podiums.
Some of the other staple BattleFrog obstacles that were part of the course included “Ramp Walls”, “8’ walls”, “12’ Ladder Walls”, “Normandy Jacks, “6’ Walls”, and the always challenging “Wedge Walls” that is a very challenging angled wall to traverse across. Also on the course was the “Rope Climb” and the always challenging and intimidating “12’ Rope Walls Climb” this is an obstacle that requires both skill and confidence in being high up which I personally think is a great obstacle for racers to conquer.
Three of the “get really muddy obstacles” included a mud/dirty water (at most waist deep) crossing that was followed up by a wet and deep mud crossing that then came to a mud crawl under a rope type net, I figured out on my last lap that the easy (but maybe dirtiest) way to cross the obstacle was to lay on my back and pull myself across with the ropes, this got a laugh from the volunteer a staff member because I think I was the only one he saw do it that way all day. Note to self and other racers, look back and pay attention to when the obstacle comes to an end, because I didn’t and up smashing the top and back of my head really hard (ouch). The other obstacle that had got racers muddy was a series of muddy water pits and hills to climb in and out of.
The course included the always popular and staple BattleFrog lift obstacles with the “Jerry Can Carry” and “Wreck Bag Carry” which were both pretty brutal for the Elite options of the course. The other two obstacles I cannot go without mentioning were the “Tip of the Spear” (as far as I know, this is only the second OCR series to use this obstacle in Canada) and the “Monkey Bars” which was the last obstacle on the course.
• The Bling
The bling has had a semi change for 2016, the finisher medals for the 8K and Elite are new, but the medal for the BFX is the same, which is okay, because it is still sexy and awesome. The shirt has a new color, logo, and simpler design for 2016 which is nice, but I personally miss the original shirt design with the BattleFrog on them. For the Canadian events BattleFrog has a special shirt, special BFX bracelet with the Canadian Red Maple leaf on them and for BFX racers that completed five laps they received a Maple Leaf in the place of the silver star.
• Overall Feelings and Event Rating
Anyone that reads my re-caps knows I am a big fan of courses that include lots of obstacles and less trail running, after all the sport is called “Obstacle Course Racing”, not trails with obstacles. So I was disappointed the course only included around twenty-two or twenty-three obstacles, but I wanted to be fair and talked to a lot of other racers (both friends and strangers) and the general consensus was the course was a lot of fun and well designed, so I am going to take that into consideration with my overall rating.
The things I liked, the venue and terrain, the staff and although a small amount of volunteers all did a great job (other than the shirt guy). As always, the obstacles are all well-built and top quality and for the most part very safe. As noted above the bling, and last but not least, I loved the Canadian racers that showed up both elite and not elites.
I also really like the new way all the obstacles are set up with three versions: novice, intermediate, and elite which I have been pushing to be the norm for over a year so that is a very smart business and sport decision for the company and sport’s future. They also have added a penalty loop for some of the more difficult obstacles for BFX runners which was similar to what World’s Toughest Mudder does and it worked well and makes sense.
What could have been better, I am not going to mention other Canada OCR’s by name, but as good as a course that BattleFrog built, it just wasn’t up to the standards I have come to expect with other Canada races. I think it’s important that BattleFrog consider this for future Canada races to be able to compete with the top OCR players.
I am rating the event based on both mine and taking others opinions into consideration and giving it a 4.7 out of 5 stars.
I want to close by pointing out next weekend’s BattleFrog in the Montreal are was designed by ORC Elite Marco Bédard and will have sixty obstacles and is at one of my favorite permanent obstacle courses in the country (Rushwood) and I would suggest if you have no plans this weekend come to this race, because I have a feeling it may be one of the best BattleFrog events to date.
Text by : By Walter F Hendrick (OCRSandy)