BattleFrog Dallas was calling and I arrived in Dallas-Fort Worth early Friday afternoon and was greeted by a familiar face as I walked out of the concourse. My race pal, Jason Bailey, was feverishly waving his hands out of the sunroof of a Mini Cooper he had been fortuitously upgraded to earlier in the day. I chuckled to myself and we were off. We headed straight to Jason’s co-workers house in Frisco, Texas. They were nice enough to welcome us in their home and treat us to a BBQ Dinner at Hard-8 the night before the race. The pulled pork was delicious but I could have done without the side of smoke inhalation. Needless to say, the accommodations were far superior to our usual race day comforts (I’m looking at you Super Ocho).
Following the weather all week from my iPhone I a) developed smartphone thumb and b) was somewhat relieved to find a 30% chance of rain throughout the day. Dry rigs are one thing; wet rigs are a whole other ballgame. We arrived at the venue and were directed to a nearby church down the street. Soon after we parked, we were taken to the venue in air-conditioned buses. Not the typical yellow school buses Spa_t_n employs. We breezed through packet pickup, put our bibs on, dropped the bags at bag check and set off for the start line. Coach Pain delivered a signature speech as usual and encouraged us to “handle our business” out on the course. We started in the back of the field and planned on setting out at a moderate pace attempting to spare our upper bodies for the rigors that lied ahead.
The 1st obstacle was your standard Over-Under-Thru followed by a trudge through some knee high water and mud. As we reached the jerry can carry a logjam began as racers had to pull the 2 cans backwards through the mud and underneath wire. The cameraman may have kept a few of those photos for his personal collection #justsayin. After some more swamp and jabby sticks we approached the 6th obstacle Ladder Walls-here they eliminated the step ups making for a sketchy obstacle or essentially a vertical slip-n-slide-especially with muddy ropes and wet racers. Here I only thought I would die once. Ramp walls and the new cylindrical version of 60 degrees next followed the Delta Ladder. The 50-lb Wreck bag carry was a short jog through some trees and pasture. Why not upgrade the Elite Males to 60-70 lbs versions (hint-hint)? Next up was a ring transition into a rope climb followed back by a transition to the ring. Loved this obstacle-it’s almost how I want to get into my bed at night. Six-foot walls followed spinning monkey bars and confidence climb (basically another cylindrical aluminum frame). The wedge wall was slightly different than past versions with climbing holds being applied as opposed to a thin piece of wood. They dunked you in some rolling mud three times just prior to the 1st Platinum Rig. This Rig was comprised of a rope transition into 2 rings-2 nunchuks followed by a tall bar. Some chose to lache from the 2nd ring all the way to the tall bar before transitioning lower to a monkey bar sequence a few feet off the ground. The monkey bars led to a rope followed by 2 poles to the bell. More walls led you to Platinum Rig # 2. This rig was much more playful than the 1st-it started with a horizontal Bar transition into monkey bars/criss-crossed hanging bars into a nunchuk and 2 rings to the bell.
A tall cargo bridge that allowed passerby’s underneath eventually led to the Tip of the Spear. Here the typical 6 ropes were reduced to 4 and the step holds between the gaps were eliminated. The Center piece consisted of 2 pieces of wood in the shape of two upside down V’s, an “M” or winky eyebrows as I like to call them, followed by the final transition a series of 4 ropes well spaced apart to the Finish Line.
Jason Bailey (above) in all his “glory”
Volunteers then greeted you with a water/banana/your BF medal before shuttling you into the festival area. Coach Pain was lively conducting fitness tests when he wasn’t inspiring those at the start line. There was plenty of BBQ and Craft Beer to go around post race. Photo ops were plentiful with military inspired props. Cleanest Port-o-Potty’s in the business!
THINGS I WOULD CHANGE:
Place the Jerry can carry/wire further back in the race as bottlenecks did occur.
Place the 2nd easier rig in front of the 1st more difficult rig allowing racers to get further faster and to help build confidence without risking injury (lache-ing). I did see 2-3 ankle injuries/Face Laceration which did require intervention while at the 1st rig. Luckily no one knew what I did for a living (j/k). The medics were awesome.
Replace a step on the Ladder walls as they are already sketchy AF. If you add mud and a wet rope, you’re a slip away from disaster or becoming a human puddle.
Lastly, why not light the ropes on the Tip of the Spear on fire? It’d make for a hell of a Facebook Profile Pic.
I injured my left hand on my 3rd attempt at the Platinum rig #1 my grip just wasn’t the same after that. I spent nearly 4 hours there stubbornly repeating the Rig to no avail. I reluctantly handed over my band and moved on. They tell you to get your 2 laps in, but I was spent/dejected and didn’t want to risk further injury due to muscle fatigue. I am most curious to see the Elite Field Completion % for this race in particular. I think you’ll find it significantly lower than normal. Race Director Adam Washburn was quite masochistic with his rig configuration on PR # 1. Battlefrog keeps pushing the boundaries of innovation and are upper body destroyers. In fact, I’m using Dragon software right now to transcribe this as I still can’t lift my hands above my elbows. I’ll be back that’s for sure…. #Bandsoverburpees or #Burpeesoverbands I’ll let you decide…#HOOYAH #BattlingisBelieving.
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- BattleFrog Dallas 2016: Race Review - April 19, 2016