This was OCR # 2 on the weekend, after doing three laps at the Toronto BattleFrog Xtreme (BFX) on Saturday, and then driving over a hundred miles to the Spartan venue and sleeping in the parking lot. I was nervous about how my body would do at this event after doing three laps the day before as I am still recovering from several injuries. I love racing in Canada and didn’t want to miss this Spartan race, so I am glad it worked out and I was able to race the Super.
Registration and Festival
This is not the first time and probably won’t be the last time I rave about how awesome the registration process is with Spartan Canada and Trumin. The process is awesome from the start, as you check in via the Trumin website and take care of all the paperwork and just hit print. In less than three minutes you can check in for a Trumin timed race and have the printed waiver in your hand that only requires your signature and date. Unlike Spartan USA, you don’t have to go look up your bib number and then get in a specific line. You can get on any registration line you like and just hand the waiver to the staff/volunteer and they scan it and hand you a race packet which takes less than thirty seconds. The Spartan Canada registration is mega smooth and fast and requires fewer resources on race day. I am still dumbfounded that Spartan USA has not switched to this same system. Joe please contact me and explain why not!
The festival area was pretty much setup almost the exact same way it was last year, which is a good thing because it was a great set up with good times being have by everyone. Pre-Race MC Tony Fletcher does some much more than just hype racers up prior the start of each wave and can be heard over the sound system all day as he makes his way around the festival and takes pictures with all.
As noted above, pre-race MC Tony Fletcher is awesome, he has his own style and it’s nothing like any of the others OCR MC’s I have heard and seen around the world. He is tall and his Spartan warrior armor is awesome so he stands out and can’t be missed or forgotten. I would love to see him used at the Spartan World Championships.
The course was not much different than last year’s Super at the same venue. What I enjoyed most about this Super is it’s one of the shorter ones, but still has a lot of obstacles. I know others will read that and say they wanted the Super to be longer, but that is a matter of opinion and I think the obstacles are way more important than the distance.
Brimacombe ski mountain is one of the smaller ski mountains used for OCR in Canada, but that just means you go up and then back down more times. The course started out going straight up the ski mountain and the first obstacle on the course was a four foot wall to hop/jump over. The course continued up the mountain a short distance and then turned and went back down. The course made its way to the bottom of the mountain and then turned and went back up to the top of the ski mountain and came to the next obstacle over-under-Thru. I remember thinking okay this is the second time up the mountain, we should only have to go back up it three or four more times!
The course turned and had a nice sprint down the mountain and back into the festival area, where the next two obstacles were right next to each other. First up was the Hercules Hoist and then up next was the rope climb. The course made its way all the way back up the mountain (fun times) and at the top was the following three obstacles close together: first was the traverse walls, which has been updated for 2016 to have window frames cut out sections so that racers could see each other and potentiality touch/interfere each other while completing the obstacle. A very short distance ahead was the next obstacle Monkey bars, which is designed different than the American version and requires a different technique to complete. Up next a very short distance ahead was the balance beam / slack-line obstacle which sometimes can ever be a game changer for the elite heats.
The course turned and went back all the way down the mountain and then all the way back up the mountain and came to the obstacle Dip walk, which also has been changed/updated for 2016 to be a harder challenge, the dip bars now have a zig-zag/up-down crossing. Back down the mountain we went and near the bottom were the 8 foot walls. The course continued down for a short distance and then turned and went all the way back up. At the top of the mountain was the very challenging obstacle Irish table, which was a wooden ledge high up that racers had to climb over.
The course again made its way back down the mountain and the next four obstacles were Tire Flip, Log Carry, Sloshy Pipes, and Jerry Cans and then it came time to go back up the mountain yet again (lol), but this was the last march up the mountain on the course, so I was pretty happy. At the top of the mountain was the next obstacle Inverted Ladder, which has become a more popular obstacle as of late and one I always enjoy. Climbing up an inverted angled ladder type obstacle is not only a good physical challenge, but also a mental challenge for many. The next obstacle was a nice an easy Tire Carry, most racers carried two tires around the short loop.
The course made its way back down the mountain on a nice, not so aggressive terrain and up next was the Ammo tins/cans carry. The course continued up a short hill (not the mountain) to the next obstacle which was a tire drag, which was a smaller tire with a chain attached and racers had to pull/drag them. I like this obstacle because it’s easy for me, my only complaint was they didn’t have that many and lines developed. The course than went into the tree covered woods and came to a mud crawl. The course stayed in the woods for a while and then came to what looked to be a man-made lake and looped around the outside of it. The next two obstacles were the Inverted Wall and another Mud Crawl. I have to mention the above mud crawls, because they were brutal and this late in the course many racers struggled to get through them. The next obstacle a short distance ahead was Atlas Stones, which were way heavier than they visually appeared! Then came the Spear Toss, which I always hate to do on a second day because the targets have been hit many times and require a harder hit to stick without falling out, I was happy to nail it.
The course turned to the final stretch and a small gauntlet of obstacles, up first was Rolling Mud (yes another mud crawl from hell), a barbed wire crawl (this one wasn’t so bad), the Platinum Rig (covered head to toe in mud), the Slip Ramp, and last but not least the Fire Jump!
Both the finisher medal’s and finisher shirts have a new look/design and I have to say I am a big fan of both. The medals in Canada do have one change from their American counterpart; they do not include the year on the front of them. My only disappointment was that the finisher shirts are no longer a dry-fit type shirt, but that really isn’t a big deal.
Overall Feelings and Event Rating
The course was almost exactly the same as last year, with maybe a handful of new or updated obstacles. I personally would like more new obstacles, but to be fair, most OCR’s seem to be still using the same obstacles as last year also so it’s not just Spartan. As noted above, MC Tony Fletcher killed it, the registration and festival were awesome, the bling kicks ass, and the volunteers and staff as always did an amazing job. I am going to rate the course/event a 4.7 out of 5 stars.
I loved racing in Canada last year and so far I am loving it this year. The courses are better and the community is a family and I look forward to always seeing my friends.
Text by : Walter F Hendrick (OCRSandy)