So far my 2016 OCR season hasn’t gone as planned. I have been recovering from several injuries for months and only just last weekend did my first real OCR’s of the year. I love the Dead End Race Series obstacles and even more the top of the industry finisher medals they provide, so I didn’t want to miss this race weekend!
• Pre-race MC
One of the things I most look forward to when it comes to the Dead End Race series is MC Anthony Horng. Even though most of what he said was in French, so I don’t understand a word of it, but he brings such a passion and presence to what he is saying that I still get fired up and enjoy what he does all race weekend. The man never stopped all day either Saturday or Sunday.
• The Course
Dead End Race series has a new venue starting 2016 and it’s not on a ski mountain like the previous venue, but rather is a former golf course which I really found to be awesome. I talked to a few friends and as well strangers and the consensus was that the new venue and terrain are awesome.
The course started out going with a short sprint up and then a sprint down, with the first two obstacles being a very high built man-made dirt/sand mounds. The course then came to another man-made natural obstacle that started out with a trail thru less than waist deep water and then came to a section of ravine to traverse thru. I enjoyed that on such a hot and sunny weekend we got wet right away and a chance to cool down. After the ravine section we entered a stream for a very short distance and then we looped back around. A short distance ahead was a second stream section which was not that deep, but still gave another chance to get wet and cool off. Just before exiting the stream, the course came to the Dead End hoist which was a nice and easy rope hoist while standing in the running water.
I am not going to break down a play by play of the entire course, but I will say that most of the signature obstacles I have come to expect at a Dead End Race were on the course. The course was a nice variety of different kinds of obstacles and challenges. The course had a challenging sandbag carry, and a larger tire flip which both were out directly in the sunlight, which added to the challenge at least for me. Some of the obstacles that were on this side of the course/venue where a barbed wire crawl, a ledge obstacle to climb up and then back down, at least one more man-made dirt/sand mount to climb up and back down and a short wall to climb/hurdle over. At this point, the course turned and headed back the way it had started and headed back up. The trail/hike up wasn’t that brutal, but when you add the sun into the mix, it made it even harder.
Once at the top of the hill. The next thing up was a short water slide. I personally could not get going fast on this water slide all weekend, but I saw others going pretty fast and having a blast. Now back near the festival area and starting point the next few obstacles where a combination of some fun and challenging ones, like a heavy ball toss into a tire, a bow and arrow (soft and safe tips) challenge, a high wall traverse, a combination of a monkey bars and then pole traverse, and one of the newer signature obstacles for Dead End Race, a slanted wall traverse that started with a section of two by four wood that racers had to hold on to with nothing down near your feet to assist and cross and the a second slanted wall with hanging chains to traverse across. The walls had a very slick (yellow) paint on them that helped make it hard to traverse across them and made the obstacle even more of a challenge. Also in this section was a long water/mud pit crossing, which I loved because it was another chance to get wet and cool off.
After another obstacle or two, the course turned and went down and towards a wooded area, I liked this section of the course, because it had several obstacles that placed racers in the water and several more chances to cool down, including a slack-line traverse, and an obstacle that had racers climb up and then traverse down a rope, I personally said screw the rope and just jumped off into the water. The water wasn’t that deep, so I wouldn’t recommend that everyone do it that way, unless you are experienced with jumping into shallow water. Another one of the obstacles was also in the water and forced racers to completed submerge under the water to get in a fenced in section and then climb up and back down the obstacle to exit it. Again on this one I opted to now climb down, but splashed into the water! At one point in this section of the course, the course turned and went up a short steep hill and at the top had a slanted wall with a rope to run and traverse up and over. One of the last water obstacles in this section was a series of white water rafts daisy chained together that racers had to cross and several sections were not that close together and required a running start to jump from raft to raft.
After one last trail section that went back up a hill climb, the course came back to the festival area and near the finish line and it was time for the Platinum Rig which was set up in a pretty hard configuration. Just after the rig was a second obstacle that was made by Platinum Rig and was a series of hanging tree like structures to monkey/traverse across. Then came the always challenging Dead End Race warped wall and just after that was a high wall climb! The wall was the last obstacle on Saturday and on Sunday for 6K participants.
• Apocalypse (12K)
On Sunday the course offered two versions, the standard 6K (described above) or the 12K Apocalypse, which was two laps of the course while carrying a large sandbag racers filled themselves. The way the Apocalypse version of the course worked was racers started the course with the sandbags and carried with them until they came to the water slide (see above) they then tossed the sandbags into a large trash container filled with water and completed the rest of the first lap. Once lap one was complete racers started lap # 2 and once they came back to the point/spot they had dropped the sandbags off on lap # 1 they would have to remove a sandbag from the same large trash container that has now been sitting and soaked full of water and carry that sandbag with them the remainder of lap # 2. What was cool, was racers didn’t get the same sandbags they started with so Dead End had each racer write an inspirational quote on a paper and place them in the each bag for racers to read once lap # 2 was complete. It’s amazing to watch how having to carry the sandbags changes the outcome of the race for some of the Elites. It clearly didn’t hurt Jesse Bruce or Marco Bédard who both killed the course on Sunday!
• The Bling
As always, Dead End Race provided a very sexy finisher medal and nice dri-fit type shirt which I have always come to expect from them. I am very happy to add the finisher medals for Saturday and Sunday to my collection!
• Overall Feelings and Event Rating
The staff and volunteers both did an awesome job all race weekend and I can’t go without saying how hard both race owner/director Brian Townsend and his wife Julie Labelle worked the entire weekend. I arrived later in the day Friday and those two didn’t stop from the time I saw them until the time I left Sunday. It’s easy to understand why both his staff and amazing group of volunteers worked so hard with two amazing leaders/examples to follow.
The new venue and course are awesome and I can’t wait to see it only improve as they add more to each and every event. The bling didn’t disappoint and as always was top notch. As mentioned above, MC Anthony Horng was awesome as always. I am rating the event a 5 out of 5 starts mostly because this course had more water obstacle/challenges than you typically see on an obstacle course and I loved it.
Text by : By Walter F Hendrick (OCRSandy)