Asheville Spartan Super-Southeast Showdown


Spartan-Race-Logo

Southeast Showdown

“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it”
-Moliere

Never fear, ORM is here
In case you missed the NBC Sports and Spartan Live coverage of the Spartan Super in Asheville, North Carolina, I am here to save the day. Below is the good, the bad, and the muddy of what you missed at the Spartan Super in Asheville.

        First off, I was unaware this was a U.S. Championship Series Race when signing away my life… I mean registration. I just saw, “Asheville, North Carolina” and thought, hell yeah, good beer. After doing a tad of research before this event I found out that last year’s event was nothing shy of absolute torture. So, since I’m a sucker for a good craft beer, I thought “better get to work” and laced up my sneakers and hit the pavement.

Mountain_Top_Super_Spartan_Asheville

Time Trials

Spartan Race introduces a new way to spend your Pre-race Friday night by attending the open house and time trials. The time trials will run you about $49 if you chose to compete, or free to spectate. The course is a mile dash through 10 of the most popular obstacles, including Twister, Slip Wall, and the Hercules Hoist. Athletes were sent out in small waves to battle each other to be the top 20. After the top 20 were chosen, one final heat remained in order to award the top three male and female winners.

If you don’t wish to compete, you can still practice on the obstacles to get a feel for the madness. Certified SGX Spartan Coaches are on site to help with any tricks and tips to aid you in conquering the obstacles before race day. As usual, Spartan had its swag for purchase along with light refreshments and water. I was disappointed that there was not a pre-race discount on shop items for time trial competitors and spectators. Maybe next time ! 😉

 

Start_Line_Asheville_Super

The Elites

       Hobie Call, had an astounding time of 1:18:02, just fast enough to beat out Ryan Atkins with his time of 1:18:48. Brian Gowiski and Robert Killian fell just shy of the top two with insane speeds of 1:24:37 and 1:26:48. Obstacle Racing Media spoke with Robert at the time trials and he let us in on a secret of his. Robert is able to keep up his endurance at these races with the added help of Tailwinds nutrition. Robert pre-mixes the electrolyte and hydration fuel in a collapsible bottle to have on hand during longer events. Thank you for the tips Robert! Going to have to give it a try!

As for the females, Lindsey Webster delivered amazing times of 1:34:01 for the race, with Rea Kolbl and Faye Stenning right on her tail with their times of 1:34:30 and 1:34:50. Close finish for these top three females! Lindsey states that she really had to push to come out with the win at this year’s Asheville. “I caught second place with Faye on the log carry and we bombed down the final hill together. So fun to race side by side again with this girl, just like last year!” She adds, “It took me a little while to internalize that I had won!” Congrats Lindsey!

Entrance_Asheville_Spartan

Top athlete, Brakken Kraker and NBC sports host, David Magida state that this year’s Asheville Super was quite “easier” than last year. Although I did not race the course last year, it has been the topic of discussion for some time now how difficult last year was. The last 1.7 miles of straight mountain climb were excluded from this year’s race. I do like to Go Big Or Go Home, but I was ecstatic to hear the deletion of the last mile, (and so were my calves).

The Obstacles

“The moment when you want to quit is the moment when you need to keep pushing”

        Black Mountain without a doubt caused some damage that day. In typical Spartan fashion, the challenging venue just wasn’t enough. Spartan made every obstacle “championship” hard, meaning, heavier, taller, and slipperier. The noted tire flip increased in weight to a total of 400 pounds for the men and 200 pounds for the females! It took three females to get the men’s tire to flip just once! Another, incredibly difficult obstacle was the already dreaded Spartan Bucket Carry. Imagine carrying a full bucket of heavy stones and rocks up the side of a mountain when you’re already 4 miles in and about 2,000 feet in elevation. Talk about murder for this Florida girl.

Tire_Flip_Asheville_Spartan

Spartan Race course designer, Steve Hammond states that the “signature” moment for this race was the water crossing. I would personally agree with Steve on his statement!! The scenery was absolutely breath taking!! The only problem was, at that elevation, I didn’t have enough breath to give! There was even a shark sighting out there! That’s definitely memorable! Haha!

 

Spartan_Super_Bucket_Carry_Asheville
Bucket_Carry_Asheville_Spartan
Sandbag_Asheville_Super

“It is then when your heart takes over and takes the lead.”

Based on the terrain and elevation alone, I would not recommend this particular course for a beginner OCR athlete. I have done many races in my short two year career and THIS one right here made me question myself and my athleticism. I had to push myself past a mental barrier that I have never felt before. The race was designed to make or break athletes and I can say I felt broken up until I actually crossed that finish line. I genuinely cried at how proud of myself I was to have finished the race and that I didn’t quit even though my mind and my body both told me I should.

My heart proved stronger that day and carried me to finish! I rewarded myself with a complimentary Zombie White Ale from Catawba Brewing Co., a North Carolina craft brew. I also scored this sweet Asheville Southeast Showdown dri-fit t-shirt for $30.

Medal_Spartan_Super

 

If you have decided to make this Super a MUST DO on your race schedule for 2018, I suggest these breweries and restaurants to visit when in town!

Asheville Brewing
Hole Doughnuts
Tupelo Honey Cafe
Wicked Weed
Sunny Point Cafe

Thank you to ORM and Spartan Race ! Stay Dirty and Stay Fit 💪🏻😊

Jessika_Poppe_signature

 

Photos by: Myself and Spartan Race

2016 Spartan Race U.S. Championship Series: Ryan Atkins, Lindsay Webster and destiny

This weekend is the fourth race in the Spartan Race U.S. Championship Series – The Southeast Showdown in Asheville, North Carolina. Ryan Atkins and Lindsay Webster have finished in first place in each of the first three races: the Big Sky Sprint in Montana, the Golden State Classic in California, and the Blue Mountain Challenge in Pennsylvania. With a strong showing this weekend in Asheville, they can lock down the wins in the inaugural U.S. Championship Series and claim the titles of 2016 Spartan Race U.S. Champion.

The Spartan U.S. Championship series is a five race series with the points from an athlete’s four best races counting toward their final standings. First place in a race is worth 300 points, second place is worth 299 points, and so on down the line. A “perfect” score with four (or five) first place finishes is worth 1,200 points.

Mens Standings

Ryan Atkins has finished in first place in each of the first three races. If Atkins finishes in third place or better at either of the last two races he will win the 2016 Spartan Race U.S. Championship. If Atkins finishes in 4th place or worse at BOTH the Asheville Super this weekend and the Breckenridge Beast on August 27th, both Robert Killian and Hunter McIntyre will have a chance at catching him.

Womens Standings

Lindsay Webster is in a similar position as Atkins. She has won all three of the Spartan U.S.C.S. Races so far and can secure first place in the series with a win or second place finish this weekend or at the Breckenridge Beast. If Webster finishes in third or worse at both Asheville AND Breckenridge, she will be within reach of Faye Stenning. If Webster finishes in sixth place or worse at BOTH upcoming races, KK Paul and Rose Wetzel will also have a shot at first place.

For all the results as they happen this Saturday, follow ORM on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

Facebook.com/obstaclemediaTwitter.com/obstaclemedia Instagram.com/obstacleracingmediaobstaclemedia1

Five questions for World’s Toughest Mudder 2016

World's Toughest Mudder Black and White

Tough Mudder held its fifth annual “World’s Toughest Mudder” race last month. World’s Toughest Mudder is the final event on the Tough Mudder calendar and is widely known as the most difficult championship race in Obstacle Course Racing. It is a 24 hour race on a five mile looped course with 21 obstacles each lap. This years course was considered to be one of the most difficult Tough Mudder has held.

Following the victories by Chad Trammell, Amelia Boone, and Team Sinergy, and as we look forward to WTM 2016, here are five questions we would love to have answered.

1. Can Junyong Pak win another WTM? Can he FINISH another one?
Junyong Pak Is Cold

Junyong Pak became a bit of a legend in the Tough Mudder community by winning the first two WTM’s ever held and finishing second in year three to a rookie named Ryan Atkins.

However, in 2014, Pak had his first truly disappointing performance at a World’s Toughest Mudder. He finished with “only” 45 miles and his first WTM DNF. Atkins repeated as champion with 95 miles. 

For the 2015 race, Atkins and several other strong racers moved to the team division, leaving the perfect opportunity for Pak to reclaim his throne, but it would not happen this year. Pak had his second WTM DNF in a row, leaving with 50 miles.

We won’t know the answer to this question until November of 2016, but here’s a hint: This past December, Pak raced in the inaugural Viper 2 Four race in Malaysia. Viper 2 Four is the only 24-hour race in Asia. Pak won the race handily, completing 87 miles. The race was held during monsoon season in Malaysia and two hours were lost when they stopped the race because of lightning strikes.

The competition at WTM will be more intense and more skilled than Viper 2 Four, but I would never bet against Junyong Pak.

2. Will Amelia Boone 3-peat?
Amelia Boone Gutting It Out

Amelia Boone has won the past two WTM’s and three of the past four. In 2012, she was nine minutes shy of winning first place overall, narrowly losing to Junyong Pak. She is unquestionably the most dominant WTM racer in the women’s division and maybe overall. Tim Ferriss recently called her “The Michael Jordan of Obstacle Course Racing”. When they sell tickets to World’s Toughest Mudder, they have to pay royalties to Boone because she OWNS this race.

But for how long?

Lindsay Webster, the best female racer not named Amelia Boone, told Matt B. Davis in a recent interview that she’s going to compete for the first time at WTM 2016. Webster had an amazing 2015. She won both the independent OCR World Championship and the Battlefrog Championship. She also placed second in the Spartan Race World Championship, finishing one minute and change ahead of Boone. 

World’s Toughest Mudder 2016 will be a great race.

3. Will Ryan Atkins keep chasing the $100k or go back to the individual category?
Ryan Atkins Leaping Logs

Tough Mudder and Cellucor announced a new prize this year: $100,000 to the winning team, but only if they completed 100 miles. 100 miles has only been reached once, by Ryan Atkins in 2013 when he had three guys on his tail who each finished with 95 miles. After winning the solo championship in 2013 and 2014 Atkins moved to the Team Division for 2015. His team, Sinergy Sports, won with 80 miles. Sinergy finished well ahead of second place but well behind its 100-mile goal.

First place in the solo division comes with a $10,000 prize. First place in the team division comes with a $12,000 prize split (at least) four ways. If you can’t reach 100 miles with a team, it’s much more profitable to go for 100 miles by yourself.

Atkins is recently engaged to Lindsay Webster. You can pay for quite a honeymoon with $100,000. Go for it Ryan!

4. Can the Wolfpack make a comeback?
Spartan Wolfpack on the WTM Podium

The Spartan Wolfpack entered the 2014 WTM unknown and if you asked them, disrespected. They won the WTM Team Division last year with 76 miles. For 2015, they were considered one of the favorites to make a run at the “$100,000 for 100 miles” team prize.

They had a disappointing race this year. One of their team members had an injury and the team was unable to finish the race. Wolfpack chose to disband in the middle of the night. Adding to the disappointment was Team Sinergy Sports’ winning with 80 miles, just above Wolfpack’s total from last year. The anticipated Wolfpack/Sinergy battle would have been great to watch if Wolfpack was at full health.

Wolfpack hasn’t announced their plans for 2016, but everyone loves a good comeback story. Come back fellas!

5. Who will win WTM 2016?
Nobody knows – but I’ll tell you.

First, the dark horse picks.
Men: Trevor Cichosz
Women: April Hartwig
Team: Getting Tough

Cichosz has finished in third and second in the last two WTM’s. 2016 could be his breakthrough year. Hartwig led the women for most of the 24 hours, before Boone passed her for the win, and will only be better next year. Getting Tough won second place last year and did it with six guys. If they trim down to four guys, they’ll be faster and could give Atkins and Sinergy Sports trouble.

My actual picks to win.
Men: Junyong Pak
Women: Amelia Boone
Team: Sinergy Sports

Yes – those are mostly favorites. Yes – Chad Trammell had an impressive win (and Trammell could easily repeat. He’s a stud!), but the way it looks now, these are my picks to win.

Here’s a bonus pick: Amelia Boone and Lindsay Webster are going to push each other hard. Whoever wins the battle between them will also finish in the top three overall.

______________________________________________

Check out 4 years of WTM Archives over here.