The first OCR that I ever did was Tough Mudder in Lake Tahoe, California back in 2011. Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to do many more all over the country (and Canada!!). While each is special in its own way, I always look forward to returning to Lake Tahoe each June.
Well, a funny thing happened in California this past winter. It rained. Like, a lot. Then it kept raining. Then it continued to rain. Record amounts of rain hit the state. As that rain hit the Sierra Nevada mountains, it became incredible amounts of snow. So much snow fell during the winter of 2016/17. That the NorthStar resort had to tell Tough Mudder, “Sorry, we can’t host you this year”.
The good folks at TMHQ did their best to find an alternative location in the Tahoe area, but all of them were also buried in snow.
Enter…. SACRAMENTO!!! For those who don’t know, the city of Sacramento is the Capital of California….and that’s about it. If political corruption and a crappy NBA team is your jam…you’d love this place!
It’s pretty much the anti-Tahoe. It is flat, it is hot, and…. well yeah, it’s the Capital of California.
As you may be able to tell, I was less than enthused by the choice of location for this event. But…if you set up an OCR event within 2 hrs of my house, chances are I’m going to show up. So, I did. And as an added bonus, I convinced my teenage son to run with me (and my daughter to spectate).
The event was held at the Gibson Ranch County Park, which was a surprisingly pretty 30+ acre parcel scattered with green grass, a large lake, and some adorable farm animals (more on them later).
Parking was well managed, and check in was a breeze. Tough Mudder has really streamlined the check in process over the years thanks to those handy barcode scanners.
I avoided the $10 bag check fee by strapping a backpack to my daughter, and reminding her of all those Disneyland trips that I’ve taken her on over the years.
The start corral for this event was wedged awkwardly into a pocket of trees, which would end up being the most shade that we would experience for quite a while.
Start line MC extraordinaire Sean Corvelle got our 8am wave all primed and pumped, and sent us on our way right on time.
As for the course itself, here’s a mile by mile break down with highlights and low lights:
Mile 1: Literally nothing. There were zero obstacles within the 1st mile. The only highlight was watching my son take off like a bat out of Hades. He kept looking back for me and smiling, giving me that “Catch up, old man!” kinda look. Tortoise and the hare, son. Tortoise and the hare.
Mile 2 & 3: Three obstacles during this span. The Berlin walls, a climb over some hay bales, and Skidmarked (an inverted wall, whose title made my teenage son giggle like a school girl). The highlight of this portion was my son wanting to stop for a moment because he “got something in his shoe”. Welcome to OCR, son.
Mile 4 & 5: Eight obstacles were packed into these two miles, making it one of the best parts of the course. My son managed to scale Everest 2.0 on his own, something I’ve never done. So that was equal parts exciting…and annoying. Also in this grouping of obstacles was Mud Mile 2.0. I give Tough Mudder credit for their version of this mud run staple. The trenches are dug so deep, that this baby is virtually impossible to navigate without some help from a fellow Mudder. The water was over waist deep, and the walls of the trenches were slick and crumbly.
Remember those farm animals I mentioned earlier? Well we didn’t see any, but the irrigation ditch that we had to slog through as part of Kiss of Mud was a not so gentle reminder that there were some around. Kiss of Mud? Possibly. Kiss of Feces? Most likely. This was also the part of the course where my son developed a blister on the bottom of his foot. Must have been from that blazing start he had. Welcome back to the pack, son.
Mile 6 & 7: The highlight of this stretch, which had four obstacles, was Funky Monkey the Revolution. The 2017 version of this obstacle is very fun and challenging. Easily one of my favorites on the course, and something I’m finally able to complete consistently. My son failed this obstacle, missing the transition from the 2nd ring to the straight bar at the end. HA HA HA HA HA! I mean, good try son. Dad still loves you.
The final three miles had eight obstacles scattered across them. Arctic Enema: The Rebirth was one of the first we faced. Much like Funky Monkey, I LOVE the 2017 version of this obstacle. The initial slide down sends you under the freezing water, as it did last year. For 2017 they’ve added a short Cage Crawl element to the 2nd half of it, which also requires you to get under a dunk wall. The combo of these two elements has you spending more time under water than you ever had before in this obstacle. My son genuinely hates the cold, so this was easily his biggest challenge of the day. It took lots of patience and encouragement, but he managed to get through it. I was genuinely proud to see him overcome a fear of his. Well done, son.
The last mile or so was a very pleasant trail through a nice wooded portion of the property. We then got routed down into another irrigation ditch for something called Swamp Stomp. Swamp Stomp + farm animals = Well, you get the idea.
As is always the case with any Tough Mudder, the course ended with the infamous Electroshock Therapy. I originally told my son that I would go through this with him. However, as the day progressed, I remembered how much I utterly hate this obstacle. Fortunately, my lad was a trooper and barged through it solo…only getting two or three shocks along the way.
We crossed the finish line together, and then had the following conversation:
“Did you have fun, son?”
“Great! Would you do another one with me sometime?”
Great job, son.
Carlo is one half of the not yet world famous YouTube duo known as "The Pis-N-Cox Show".