King's Domain, Oregonia, Ohio - November 2, 2013
The great folks at King's Domain held their second ever Mud, Guts & Glory event at their location in Oregonia, Ohio on November 2 and they managed to outdo themselves from the incredible first event. They listened to the elites and experts from the first event and made several changes in just 2 short months.
First, they moved the start line to be closer to the finish line and the crowd. One of the really nice things about this was that you didn't have to start running up that first hill. It was only 30 seconds before you got to it, and it was still a tough first hill but it was nice to not start off staring up it.
For the large Monkey Bars, the last event people started going over the top of the bars because they are just so intense. To prevent that from happening this time, they simply put sheets of plastic over the top. It was great to see more people attempting and completing the Monkey Bars. This is one of my favorite obstacles. As I started to climb the tires to the top platform of the Monkey Bars, a little boy came scampering up my left side. Somebody asked him his age and he said "10". With that, he reached out to one of the 20" sections of Monkey Bars and started making his way down, across the bottom and all the way up. This little guy was a beast with his father doing everything he could to keep up behind him. With it being the first weekend in November and not know what the weather would be like, they opted to not fill the pool under the bars with water and filled it with hay for a 'not-so-hard' landing if you fell off the bars. Just after the Monkey Bars in the Gauntlet area, they didn't add any water but it rained all week and the mud in the Over/Under section was so thick it would suck off your shoes. Good stuff!
There were two new obstacles added in the last 2 months and they were thoughtfully placed out on the course in the woods. The first is a set of three menacing walls. The first wall is about 6' tall but then you are immediately hit with a wall that is every bit of ten to eleven feet tall and absolutely no way to 'cheat' over it. I have seen two people scale this wall by themselves and they were able to use the rocks placed at the bottom of the wall to 'spring' off and grab the top. A short 'old' guy like myself has a little difficulty with this and needed to find a tall buddy to give me a boost. Even with a boost, reaching the top was very difficult but I did finally make it. The third wall is between six and seven feet but still quite a challenge. Be careful off the backsides of these walls and make sure you land well.
The second new obstacle is a traverse very similar to the Tyrolean Traverse but there was no body of water to run ropes across so they placed this on the top of a hill and call it the Polish Traverse. They took 4 long 'utility-like' poles, laid them horizontal and elevated them about five feet off the ground. These poles are tapered so one end may have a diameter of eight inches while the other may have a diameter of twelve inches and they are about twenty-five feet long. The goal is to 'mount' the pole on one end, traverse the pole and dismount the other end without touching the ground underneath. The difficulty is that you don't have anything to hold on to, you have to wrap your arms and legs around the pole and traverse while holding on. I found the dismount without touching the ground to be the most difficult part.
Another great change to this event was the addition of physical penalties to certain obstacles. The Elite wave was given 30 burpees upon failure of the Monkey Bars, Walls, Polish Traverse and others.
The course this time was very different from the first in the fact that the first event had super dry weather leading up to it and it was in the summer. This time, it had rained the week leading up to the event and the trails were covered with leaves from the trees. This made the trails very slippery and covered every little stump, root and rock along the way making it very treacherous.
The weather on event day started off chilly but it was sunny and it warmed up nicely. They had a huge bonfire going in the middle of the festival area that everyone congregated around making for a great social atmosphere.
They had an ancillary contest going on in the festival area that was sponsored by the great folks at OCR Gear, a Tug-Of-War. I hesitated on this but then went and signed up myself and another 'oldey' teammate, Dewaynne Tackett. Together we had a combined age of almost 100 at 96. I'm fairly certain the other two-man teams could barely hit 60. I had already changed out of my muddy OCR shoes before we started off our first battle and that was a mistake. I slipped and slipped and we quickly lost. With the contest being double-elimination, and me not being able to accept defeat, I quickly put my Inov8 212's back on and readied for battle again. This time we handled the opposition quickly and continued to advance ourselves back into the ranks. We were 2 rounds out from the top and our opponents were two young muscle-bound guys. We dug in started to pull. Back and forth, back and forth, at one point we were within a foot of winning when Dewaynne started to slip. I had already expended so much energy, I just couldn't hold it any longer and we lost. What a great time this was for a post race activity.