For Savage Race Georgia, we are once again going to provide you with two reviews. One from an OCRelite and one from an OCRacer. For definitions on what the difference is, see our previous blog posts.
Here is the recap from our OCRacer J.D. Allen.
In promotional materials and on their website, Savage Race promises the “biggest and best obstacles in the game,” and from my experience at Savage Race Georgia 2013, they deliver just that.
Savage Race took the best obstacles from other race series, put a twist on some and threw in a few great ideas of their own to produce a fun, competitive, challenging Obstacle Course race.
The race took place in Dallas, Georgia, in western metro Atlanta, at the Moonlight Stables Equestrian Center. The equestrian center provided a hilly course on single and double track trails through the woods and across rolling pastures.
I pulled into the venue at about 8:30 am. With the sun coming up over the hills, rustic barns, and horses in corrals it was
very picturesque. Parking was relatively easy. I paid my $10 parking fee and had to wait in a short line of cars.
Parking was a very manageable walk from the event entrance. Packet pickup was a breeze. There were no lines longer than a few people and there were plenty of volunteers at each line. Throughout the day, volunteers and event staff were plentiful, knowledgeable, and helpful – signs of a well-run, well-organized event.
The first heat of the day was designated as the competitive heat. At Savage Race, only racers registered for this heat are eligible for top finisher awards. The winning male and female each received an engraved axe, in keeping with the logo and imagery of the race series. The top three times in each age division for males and females in the competitive heat won beer steins. Nice prizes for sure, but not the big cash payouts that attract the stars of OC Racing.
But even without the big names, there were some blistering performances in Dallas that day. Yuri Force (wow, what a great sounding name) from Newnan, GA, turned in an incredible time of 38:17. Yuri forced us to question the actual distance of the course, which was announced as 7 plus miles before the race. Racers using GPS, however, measued the course between 4.8 and 5.5 miles.
Savage Race packed at least 21 mostly high-quality, challenging, and fun obstacles in this distance. The running course was challenging but reasonable with rolling hills, some long and steep enough to make many participants walk, but none that required climbing on hands and knees.
Savage Race featured familiar but renamed obstacles, including:
- Several variations of crawling through mud, under barbed wire, and jumping / climbing over walls.
- Shriveled Richard – An ice water bath. Just because it’s familiar doesn’t make it easier. The water is still painfully cold. You still have to remind yourself to keep breathing and moving forward.
- Lumberjack Lane – A log carry. The kid volunteering at the lumber pile for this obstacle announced, “The bosses are carrying two logs.” And because I wanted to run Savage Race like a boss, I picked up and ran with two logs too.
- Hay Stacks – A climb up and down a twenty-foot tall pyramid of hay bales.
- Nut Smasher – A flimsy, undulating balance beam over freezing cold water.
- Davey Jones Locker – I know that Tough Mudder didn’t invent jumping off of a platform into water, but this obstacle is identical to Mudder’s Walk the Plank – a long drop into water. The water at Savage Race Georgia was not unbearably cold, however. Making this a pleasant variation of the obstacle.
For other obstacles Savage Race added a twist and maybe a little HGH. The Sawtooth Bars, for example, are Monkey Bars, and like the Funky Monkey at Tough Mudder the bars ascend and then descend as you make your way across. But the Sawtooth Bars ascend and descend a couple more times along the way — increasing your chances of falling into the cold water below.
Again, Tough Mudder didn’t invent electric shocks, but they made electricity into signature obstacles. Savage Race takes this idea, calls it Tazed and adds simple twists to increase the psychological difficulty. The obstacle sits low. Wires dangle in rows almost to the ground. Some wires carry an electrical charge and some don’t. In Georgia, people took a running start and dove headfirst under the wires like Pete Rose sliding into a base. Most still got shocked. But you got through and the finish line wasn’t far away, a couple of fun obstacles left and you were finished…. But then you rounded the corner and another Tazed obstacle was waiting for you. This second Tazed made a difference psychologically. After the relief of conquering the electric shock, you had to do it again… and for myself, getting psyched again took some effort and time.
Savage Race’s signature obstacle is a two-part behemoth called Colossus – the tallest obstacle constructed in the State of Georgia (or so we were repeatedly told).
The first part of Colossus is a 20-foot tall quarter pipe You had to run up the quarter pipe and grab one of several ropes thathung down from the top and use the rope to climb up the rest of the pipe’s 90 degree angled wall. Volunteers on top of the obstacle assisted racers up by hoisting the ropes up and doing everything possible to get participants up the wall,
including dragging some who just held on to the rope for dear life. This was an incredibly entertaining obstacle for spectators and large crowds gathered around to watch throughout the day.
Unfortunately, later in the morning, racers also began crowding up at this obstacle waiting to take their turn attempting to climb Colossus. As the day went on, waits times to get through the obstacle were easily 15 minutes and possibly as long as a half hour. To avoid the possibility of getting delayed at any obstacle, make sure you start in an early heat. I started in the second heat and there were no lines and no waiting at any obstacle.
After making it to the top of Colossus, you get to slide back down on a gigantic water slide. I remember this being fun, but I look terrified in my race photos.
At the finish line, racers got a good looking medal, one of the best designed t-shirts in the game, and bottled water. There was no food handed out – no recovery drinks, no bananas, no protein bars. There were plenty of open air hoses set up to shower off with and separate changing tents for men and women.
The venue and the atmosphere of the event were family friendly, but the lack of a kids race was a big draw-back for me personally.
Overall, Savage Race Georgia was among my favorite races and I look forward to future Savage events.
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