Allow me to lead with my conclusion: Savage Race will return to Georgia in the fall of 2014 and I can’t wait.
Once again, Savage Race put on a fun, challenging, well supported, well organized, memorable event on the grounds of the scenic Moonlight Stables in Dallas, Georgia – just about 40 minutes northwest of downtown Atlanta.
This is the third time Savage Race has ventured to Georgia. It was a well-executed product when it first came in the Spring of 2013, and with each return (fall of 2013 and now Spring of 2014) it has continued to grow, mature, and improve.
Savage Race boasts “The world’s best obstacles. Period.” This race featured 25 obstacles over a seven-mile (or so) course. Are they the “World’s Best”? What do they mean by “best”? Most unique? Most innovative? Most challenging? Best constructed? Safest? Regardless – Savage Race’s obstacles are really good. In Georgia, they offered many industry standards, riffs on greatest hits, and a sampling of originals including the headliner: Colossus.
Colossus is a quarter-pipe with an over-active pituitary. Savagerace.com reports that it is over 40-feet tall “ground to flag pole.” However, you don’t have to get over the flagpole, so you “only” have to worry about getting up and over 25 feet worth of quarter-pipe. This is more challenging than Tough Mudder’s “Everest” quarter-pipe obstacle and Colossus includes ropes to help participants climb up. Most participants can’t scale Colossus without assistance, but that’s okay. Your fellow participants will help pull you up. You take a running start, run up the face of the quarter-pipe, and try to grab one of the dangling ropes. Using the rope, you climb up as high as you can. Then fellow participants on top of the wall pull up the rope as you hold on. When they can reach you they grab on to your arms, elbow, shoulders, legs, feet, booty – whatever they can get hold of — and do whatever it takes to hoist you up to the platform.
Elite heat obstacle racers Ashley Martin and Enrique Tomas lend a foot, er hand to other racers.
From the top of Colossus you take a fun, fast, 40-foot water slide down to the finish line — ending the race with a smile on your face.
Savage Race offers other innovative takes on familiar obstacles, including:
• Saw-Tooth — multi-level monkey bars over a cold water pit. Savage rules state that you can’t use your feet on the bars – so much for that strategy.
• Missionary Impossible — a cargo net stretched parallel over the ground on a grassy hill. Laying under the net, your back on a wet Slip’N Slide-like tarpaulin, you use your arms and legs to pull yourself up the hill, sliding along the tarpaulin on your back.
• Pipe Dreams – set up similar to a monkey bars obstacle, but with a single pole extended parallel over the water pit.
Pipe dreams, some made it, some didn’t – All appreciate a new challenging obstacle.
The terrain may have been the most challenging obstacle. The course’s trails wound up and down hills, in and out of the woods. The preceding day of heavy rains (and sporadic light showers throughout the morning) left the trails a slippery mess of red George mud. Racers slipped, slid, and fell all over the course. Hills were that much harder to climb with unsure footing and many down hills were better descended by sledding down on your butt.
Savage gets high marks for the attentive rescue personnel at all water obstacles – especially the Davey Jones Locker platform jump.
Savage’s first wave is for competitive racers. Only those who enter this wave (and pay additional fees) are eligible for awards. Ashley Martin — the Pride of Temple, GA — brought home the massive battle-axe trophy as the overall women’s winner. Yuri Force of Newnan, GA, did the same for the men.
There were some glitches with this event. Racers were confused about if and when they had to do penalty burpees for skipping or failing obstacles. I still don’t know – I did burpees for skipping the electric shocks of Tazed and falling off the Kiss My Walls traverse wall, but not for falling off Sawtooth. The volunteers (and any race personnel) on hand couldn’t tell me what to do. I still enjoyed the race – especially since I wasn’t planning on winning.
There was a fun junior Savage Race for kids and, because the race fell on the Saturday before Easter, a surprise egg hunt. (A glitch with kids race, they only had size 14/16 youth t-shirts. Not good for a race that invites – and charges $30 for — kids 12 and under.)
Overall the Georgia Savage Race is an excellent event, which leads me to recommend it at all six of its locations.
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