Rugged Maniac – Tretsch Review Atlanta 2015

Rugged Maniac – Atlanta 2015


7:15AM – 20 Eastbound – A huge fireball in the sky and no sunglasses

7:38AM – Conyers – There is a great convening of Grey Berets and friends at the Waffle House. The Dark Waffle is strong with this crew.

8:25AM- Conyers –  QT how I love thee

8:50AM – Georgia International Horsepark – You walk and you walk some more. Then you walk some more. The parking is far from the festival area. But I’m about to do an OCR, so who the fuck cares.

9:45AM – Festival area – Climb into the starting corral over a chest high wall. This year it’s immediately adjacent to the finish line and Mount Maniac. The emcee paints a horrid picture in my mind of Easter baskets, snakes and lip stick. I dig this guy!

9:55AM- Festival Area – It’s so fucking humid. The kind of humidity where “moist” is the only appropriate word. No one likes this word. You can chew on this word, it’s so…..mealy sounding. But seeing as I’m already wiping waterfalls of sweat out of my eyes, it’s the word of the day.

Observations on the run:

  1. There is an immediate 90 degree right turn through/under the Mount Maniac obstacle; a cargo net spanning overhead so low I can touch it. Luckily the turn is close enough that you can’t get to “busting ass speed”, and then a straight shot through the festival field and it’s on.
  2. Barricades is far enough out that I can hit it at speed without bunching up with anyone.
  3. Oh look that’s where the Spartan Sprint monkey bars were! When it was 28 fucking degrees out.
  4. Cruise up to Jacob’s Ladder, a portion of which was obscured by tree limbs (really builders?), ready to try the rollover technique at the top. It works, and none of my man parts get inconvenienced. A good start to the day so far.
  5. I hit Tipping Point a bit slow and I start to slip on the way up the seesaw. Rookie move! I have to do a semi crawl to the fulcrum before I can stand up and ride the plank back down to the ground. RM Tipping Point
  6. Ninja Escape is disappointing this year. Unlike last year’s four alternating A frames ala America Nina Warrior, I run up to single 8 foot long A frames set in parallel. 3 short hops and I’m out. Less Michael Dudikoff more Chris Farley.
  7. I get a second shot at Tipping Point after ninja escape. Running up the seesaw at full speed proves to be the right move.
  8. Oh shit! That’s where the Battlefrog jerry can carry was! My sphincter clenches involuntarily.
  9. With a step board at 24” and another 24” from the top, the 8 foot Napoleon Complex is an easy climb. But, I’m still too scared to do the roll and jump technique on the dismount. I just imagine my knees exploding in a phantasmagoric shower of mud, blood, and cartilage.
  10. Fuck it’s hot!
  11. I recognize this gravel skid trail! Oh crap it’s “that” hill! The hill of wreck bag and buckets of gravel carries.
  12. A substantial pile of gravel being consumed by weeds proves me right.
  13. I think it’s time for a new venue. Next thing you know I’ll be recognizing….oh look! There’s the root I tripped over at Spartan!
  14. I power walk up King of the Mountain. At least I’m not carrying anything.
  15. It’s fucking hot!
  16. I have a bubble butt, and when crawling it tends to rise like fake boobies in a hot tub. This does not serve me well when going through 24” culvert pipes or slithering under barbed wire. Both of which exist at Pipe Dream.RM pipe dream
  17. Pack Mule continues to be the world’s shortest, flattest carry. However, it does give a good primer to OCR carries to a newbie.
  18. “If you think it’s so easy Tretsch why aren’t you sprinting this carry?” Damn voices in my head……
  19. Where Balance or Bust was last year now looks like the workings of a lunatic gravedigger. His medium – dirt, his brush – track hoe. The Trenches are deep dry gashes in the earth to leap over. They are of various widths and at schizophrenic distances apart. Jump hop jump hop jump hop jump hop jump hop, what the fuck?! Looks like the “artist” got fast and loose with his brush; the last trench is significantly wider than the first five. If not for a firm dirt ledge a couple of inches down from the opposite edge, I’d still be trying get out of that hole.
  20. I love this part of GIHP; tight trails zigging and zagging through the woods. This must be what they are calling Haunted Forest. Yeah I’m haunted alright. Haunted by the fact my teammate is now ahead of me.
  21. BAM! A deer bounds across our path. The beauty, the grace; I’m sure this is a good omen and I’ll become one with nature, find my chi, my inner peace and……..FUCK! I can’t believe Frosty is in front of me.
  22. It’s fucking humid.
  23. Sweet mama Speed trap comes into view! It doesn’t matter knowing the mud pit will have a drop in it, it always gets with a surprise. I’m refreshed in a glorious coating of Georgia mud.
  24. I love vertical ladder walls. I always try to see what board I can get my foot on with the initial jump. I’m sure there is a mathematical equation in there somewhere [Height Achieved (Ht) = Miles Ran (mi)/the fucking heat index! (Fk)]. Beam Me Up delivers some lofty heights.
  25. I’m fully proficient on the Flip&Crab ™ technique on Let’s Cargo. The steep hill right afterwards? Well that just blows.
  26. Fuck! It’s seriously hot! If I wasn’t running I’d have a bad case of batwing (the struggle is real. #manproblems).
  27. The bubble butt rises again! I catch my drawers on the snaggletooth extravaganza that is Commando Crawl. Shit! I’m at least 30-40 seconds behind my teammate. I don’t have time for barbed wire pleasantries. I back that ass up and become FREE AT LAST!
  28. Quad Burners aren’t exactly the most welcome steep piles of dirt at this point in the race, but at least I’m not carrying a coffin filled with fucking sand bags!
  29. AGAIN! The Leap of Faith is more of a step of sanguinity. But oh lawdy!! That water feels fine!
  30. I love Antigravity! This is in my top 5 of all obstacles. How can you not love trampoline bouncing to cargo net A-frames?! The face plants of yore are replaced by mad ninja like grace in the now. Unfortunately it is tucked away behind the trees far from the festival area. This is where Gameface media needs to set up next year.Rugged Maniac Obstacle Antigravity
  31. Crap! I’m now a full minute behind my teammate.
  32. The Gauntlet is a one trick pony. If you’ve ever done RM you know those menacing looking heavy bags are actually giant pill shaped capsules of air. If time wasn’t an issue I’d rather take a dunk in the water.
  33. Jesus! It’s moist out!
  34. I run straight for the Frog Hop until a racer in 6th or 7th position stops me short coming the opposite way from Frog Hop, and lets me know I’m going the wrong way. Fuck! This is the third time this year I’ve gone off the reservation.
  35. I can now walk across a beam over water. Finally! It’s all about getting that breathing under control. I worry about the cross bracing between beams. These could really screw someone up if they slip off the beam. Rugged needs to redesign Balance or Bust.
  36. As I cruise towards Frog Hop I mentally replay the BattleFrog College Championships in my head. The things I learned: Speed (I think I have some left), land in the center of each float, and do not stop.
  37. The floats are in nice tight, neat rows. The runner ahead of me is a young kid and probably weighs less than my last poop, so the water is calm and the floats barely moving. I pick a lane on approach…and giddy up! The execution is surprisingly flawless given my well documented predilection for bungled bounding. RM Frog Hop
  38. I do three halfhearted hops at Pryomaniac before doing the final jump in an epic Gameface Media worthy leap. I had some small flames and plenty of heat, but I am once again denied the righteous flames of OCR badassery.
  39. I need more practice on suspended gymnastic rings. I’m no Bart Conner, but I still make it across The Ringer.
  40. I finally leave a couple of racers behind who had been nipping at my heels for the latter portion of the race. Obstacles can make ya’ or break ya’!
  41. With improved fitness over last year comes the ability to approach the next obstacle without stopping: The Warped Wall to Mount Maniac to Accelerator. Or as Rugged lists them; three separate obstacles. I call it one awesome mountain of fun.
  42. Warped Wall is one of the shorter ¼ pipes out there, and coupled with first wave dryness getting my chest above the rim is a groovy feeling.Rugged Maniac Warp wall
  43. I stumble on the cargo net that spans and climbs the gap between Warped Wall and Mount Maniac. My foot goes through the webbing and I’m all of sudden nuts deep on the net. If there had been a wave starting at that point I would have kicked someone in the head. Rugged you need to make it taller if you are going to have the starting waves go under.
  44. The bar across the top of Accelerator is a big bummer; I can’t do my typical jump up into the air for maximum speed, maximum fun.
  45. The pool at the bottom is shallow enough not to cause a problem trying to crawl out. Two quick steps and it’s over the finish line I go. My heart pounding like a jackhammer.
  46. I LOVE this race! They call it a 5k and it is (actually came in at 3.5 miles on my watch, but in the OCR world that’s dead to nuts spot on). The obstacles are a gas and the terrain, though hauntingly familiar, was just right. It’s a good race for the newbie and the seasoned veteran alike. I hope as Rugged continues to improve they break the age groups down into more of the usual ranges, to provide opportunities for more Bling.
  47. Tretsch says DO IT!


A second lap is done, and maximum fun and muddiness is achieved. There was a siting of Sasquatch in and around the Speed Trap. We hang around at the top of the warped wall helping scores of people up and over. There is much grabbing (of legs, arms, ass) heaving, and lifting. The thank yous are very satisfying.

There is much merriment and beer drinking with my fellow Grey Berets and GORMRS. The festival area is abuzz with people enjoying the hot summer day, the vendor tents, and the jamming tunes.


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Robert A. Tretsch, III, aka “Tretsch”, is a gentleman architect and founder of the Grey Berets who revels in the pursuit of mud, obstacles and the occasional podium step.
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