Race weekends are always full of excitement & unlimited sources of adrenaline. However, a new race, a taste of something slightly further outside your comfort zone, offers even more exhilaration. BattleFrog Series made its debut on the West Coast, and it came with a foreign mystique of rough & tough from the eastern states.
As the sun rose above the rolling hills & lit the blades of windmills with rainbows of color, the vibe was strong!
The start line filled with eager elites: men & women I’ve seen during the past 5 years at various OCR events. Everyone was hyped to take this new toy out for a spin.
The course was fairly compact, not too difficult for spectators to hustle around & catch the action. Having what many might view as a short course, seemed to work well for the open heats & the second lap certainly thinned the herd on the elite level. As Ryan Atkins mentioned, “I want the course to be doable, not just a competition to see who can complete the most difficult obstacles, but something that still allows you to race.”
The course was well groomed, fairly well marked, & all the obstacles had knowledgeable volunteers who explained the rules & verified your ability to do the penalty, cut your band, & monitored the safety of each racer who passed through.
There was a tube slide obstacle that dropped you under the surface & into a 25 yd. swim – a pretty refreshing take on “dunking” all participants. The slime mud crawl was gooey and incited laughter over the sucking noises your hands & knees made while moving.
Having two platinum rigs with various difficulty set ups was a wonderful departure from the standard rope climbs, or bar to ring to rope set ups in other races. Traversing across ropes to foot rings & transitioning to overhead rings & monkey bars was a tricky, yet fun challenge.
The second rig was set up with alternating ropes/poles & nunchuck/U-bar grips to push your grip limitations even further.
The vertical climb obstacles were fun & very well constructed. There was a nice take on “balancing” by incorporating a slack line station. There is an added level of difficulty for anyone just jumping off the couch & attempting this event. Overall, the obstacles were all a very refreshing departure from the stale selection of other series.
There was a pleasant twist to traversing walls, the Tip of the Spear certainly tested your ability to adapt to multiple challenges on one obstacle. There seemed to be a technique, but I wasn’t able to keep my shoes from slipping off the wall.
From the parking lot to the impeccably clean restrooms, this race had things dialed in tight order. The volunteers were all super positive, the camera crew was lively, & the staff was very friendly.
The time, effort, & materials invested in the obstacle designs were very well received compared to other big box OCR races. The obstacles weren’t particularly out of the realm of completion, but the second lap is where the elites were truly tested. Factoring in the weather, fatigue & the simple caveat that this series tests your grip strength in a manner most weren’t prepared for, it is a “MUST DO” series.
Latest posts by Meg Ramirez (see all)
- BattleFrog – The New “Must Do”: San Diego January 2016 - January 27, 2016
Battlefrog San Diego. Where do I start? I arrived at area 212 at 0500 on the first bus. Really chilly, but I wanted to get a sense for this trial by fire from giddyup to end, so I tuffed the high 30’s low 40’s temp windy mesa for the next 150 minutes.
Area 212 is a dirt bike trail with fine, powdery like sand/dirt that was soft on the body and forgiving on the knees. At 4,000 ft elevation breathing was a little more challenging than normal for this over 40 dude.
Said event was very very organized logistically. I mean perfect. Bag check in. Dressing area. Plenty of clean port o’ potties with toilet paper.Plenty of staff around to answer questions.
Now I’m at the start spot for the Elite/Masters Wave. A wiry Navy Seal looking, senior staff member guy talked about the basics of Battlefrog ideology. Obstacle Course world champion and all around fitness bad-ass Ryan Atkins, updated us on changes of the course.
Mr. bad-ass amused and motivated us with his matter of fact mind set. I quote from Ryan “don’t cut your hands or you will be sad today so be careful”. Thanks champ.
DeWayne Paine, the Battlesfrog units spiritual leader, sent us off with a rousing motivational pep talk and we were off. The crowed thinned quickly. Everything was peaceful, the sun was shinning and the birds were chirping.
All obstacles were being crushed by most, then the Platniumrig. Oh shit! The “rig” fucked over many a dreams in an instant, as Elite wrist bands were being collected back from whence they came. After that things got interesting. After being “disqualified” a good amount of steam left many, but a good number did complete it.
The “rig”, in my opinion, throws the whole event into a tiny bit of controlled chaos, but not much, because it really leaves no reason to attempt other obstacles after you are stripped of your pride. I think the “rigs” would be more practical at the end of the race, but perhaps, to be fair, I am being a tad subjective. Stop it! O.K., let us continue.
Also, it is tough for competitors to measure prowess when people are passing you or you them. You don’t know if they skipped obstacles or did obstacles you did not do. Any who, having the “rigs” appear so early in the event is questionable in my opinion.
These minor concerns should not bother the average competitor not in the industry and will not detract from the fact that the Battlefrog series is a great event and a day well spent.
All in all the Battlefrog for me was a fun day, and a challenging 3+ hours on 3 laps. My kids enjoyed the atmosphere, which is super kid friendly and exciting for them. Good family fun indeed. Good for fitness couples ( I met one couple on their first date), elite athletes and beginners.
Thank you Ryan Atkins, DeWayne Paine, Navy Seal looking dude and Battlefrog Series in general! See you in September.
Jerry B. Funkhouser Jr.
President, SunTemple Running Association
(I do not work with/ for, have any affiliation or connection with the Battlefrog folks)
Jerry you were spot on on your synopsis of the event. I too raced in the Masters division and felt like I was “crushing it” until the PlatinumRig. I spent over :35 (according to my Fit Bit splits) trying over and over to complete that particular obstacle to no avail. All of a sudden I felt like I was doing American Ninja Warrior it was so technical and the thought of quitting and giving up my coveted band was almost too much t take. I should preface that I WAS a Navy SEAL (Wiry and all) and “I shalt not quit !” is locked in my mindset. That being said I soon realized that my arms were so spent I would never achieve that obstacle that day and wanting to experience the entire course I gave up my band. Looking at the results today I am surprised so many guys and gals did make it– not once but twice through the Platinum Rigs only adding salt to my wounds of defeat. Indeed a DNF really sucks and the pittance of 10 Elite points placing me tied with the guy who simply quit and decided to just go home at the mud pond did little for my self esteem. I agree the obstacle completion requirement should be morphed into being able to do 8 Counts instead and maintaining the band. Perhaps 20 X 8 Counts is a more reasonable “punishment” that would deter one from simply skipping every tough obstacle and turning the event into a run with multiple 8 Counts! I do know I want to do more of these things and will have to study the videos and practice my ropes and rings more. Whether I do the elite wave or opt for the Extreme Category is another question all together. You did 3 loops? I thought we were only required to do 2!
Mark, big-ups on being a seal sir, respect has to be acknowledged to a man that can thrive in cold water! Mark you are spot on as well. Being from the U.S. Army Special Operations community, and having spent years doing Ft.Bragg Q courses and such, it didn’t boost my moral any to hand in that band over the rig failure, though it pains me to say.
To been honest as well, many did defeat the rig, which proves it is do-able. Yes, I agree that their should be some way to make amends for the rig bolo that still keeps you competitive. The take away is that I have to train up even harder for the Battlefrog. I rehearsed, researched, watched film, read everything I could to be ready for this event and started 3 months out with the train up, only to be defeated by the vaunted “rig”.
You gotta love it though, I know I do. Ya, the three laps. I ran with the young guys, I know the Masters and women were supposed to start 15 minutes later, but I just didn’t feel like waiting, so I went in the first wave. If you look at the picture of the start, I’m the black guy in the middle with the green shirt on. I think I’m the first brotha to ever show up early for something…lol.
Any way, after the rig bolo, I didn’t feel like coming off the course ( I have never been lost), so I went for three laps, but did just a little under three probably, of which I paid dearly for. I couldn’t move for a few days, but I’m better now. Your words are still rigging in my ears though, some folks did the rig “not once, but twice”. I think those words are going to be my motivation.
I appreciate your AAR of “Operation San Diego Battlefrog”…lol. If you train in the San Diego area please contact me. “Jfunkhous@suntemplera.org” . Cheers.
Jerry B. Funkhouser Jr.
President, SunTemple Running Association
LOVE the detailed discussion about the obstacles and also the honest emotional struggle. You are all machines!
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