Mac’s Muddy Mailbag #4

Mac's Muddy Mailbag

We’ve found ourselves in that odd pre-NBC race lull where not much is occurring on the course. But that doesn’t mean that nothing meaningful happened in the OCR community these past two weeks.  Same-sex marriage was legalized, prompting supportive responses from Tough Mudder and Spartan.  Hobie Call also decided to use his substantial industry clout to share his views on the subject. There are more than a handful of critics that claim that the both the companies and the athletes should have stayed neutral on this subject. It’s no secret that OCR, with its colorful, alternative crowd, has as large a makeup of any sport, and they were very vocal with their support on the topics.

I’m not here to talk politics. That being said, the following should always be kept in mind when these situations occur and people go crazy:

1. Confronting hateful attitudes with hate has never accomplished anything.

2. Whatever your views may be, you’re essentially a salesman for your beliefs. Imagine if a street vendor belittled or mocked as you walked by. You’d never buy their product, right? In fact, you’d probably respond in an angry fashion. So why would anyone believe this confrontational style would work for converting others to their personal belief systems?

3. Since mankind’s inception, there has been one constant: progress is a train that cannot be stopped. Is it worth it to you to be on those tracks knowing what the end result will be?

4. This is less about the aforementioned topic and more about the internet in general.This is the digital age. Angry, ignorant, emotionally-compromised comments don’t just disappear.

We’re constantly evolving people, thoughts and all. The OCR community has a tendency to be emotional posters. What happens when time goes by and you’re no longer the same person? Your views will change, but those comments the old you you made will never be forgotten. Case in point 😉 and second case in point.

Alright, enough of the pulpit- my neck is sore from shaking my head disapprovingly at all of you. It’s mailbag time!

1. What products DO you like? -Steve S., Co

Here’s my current top 3 (none of which I’m sponsored by)

1. Despite his sometimes blundering attempted public persona and awkwardly titled book,
 (I imagine the conversation with his editor going, “All of these taglines are so clever! But I can’t pick one. So why don’t we just include them all?”) Nick Symmonds has become one of my favorite athletes. He’s also doing a great job of building his brand.

Right now I’m a big fan of his RUNGUM. It’s a simple, rather ingenious product: gum with caffeine in it. I could see this product taking off with the athlete that struggles with digestion before exercise but still needs a pick-me-up to get out the door. Throw in the adderall addicted all-nighter student crowd and soldiers going through hell-week, and you have a product poised to take off.

2. Compression gear is a necessity for OCR. Unfortunately, courses are set up to almost guarantee rips in your expensive new gear.

Eastbay compression gear is really good. It’s almost a carbon-copy of Nike’s Pro. The difference? It will only run you $15.  This should serve as a relief the next time you catch your spandex on barbed wire.

3. The Roll Recovery roller is one of the coolest massage related products we’ve seen in a long time. It’s unique clamp-shaped design allows you to hit multiple areas at a time, and best of all, it never loses its resistance/tension.

2. How do you balance strength and speed? Joey, Fl

I spent my winter getting strong. I swam, rowed or biked, and lifted everyday. That baseline of strength ensures that I won’t struggle with obstacles come fall. Now the focus shifts to becoming a fast, efficient runner, the idea being that the strength will stay with minimal maintenance work. We’re beginning to focus on quality interval sessions as well as placing an added emphasis on bi-weekly mountain efforts stressing maximal time on feet. My body has adapted accordingly, with my weight dropping from 175 to 162 over the past 6 weeks of running.

The best runners win in this sport.  If you’re serious about making significant gains on the course, it’s time to train like like one! (Insert shameless plug about becoming a part of our #apexprojecttraining coaching here)

So I guess, to answer your question- it’s all about blocks.

3. Own up to it already, Savage Race is the best race! -Randy, Ca

That’s not a question, Randy.

4. I’m looking at buying a new car, and it got me to thinking, what is the ultimate OCR vehicle? Carlos, Mexico City

The 1993 Toyota Previa wasn’t the prettiest car ever made. In fact, in was pretty dang ugly. With its sloped front end the van had a egg-like space-ship vibe to it. But look past the odd appearance and you’ll see a ground-breaking vehicle in almost every aspect. The van averaged 22 mpg, unheard of for a van at that time. It also had rear-wheel drive. Combine that with the optional supercharger and 80/20 weight ratio, and you have the recipe for possibly the most unassumingly fun driving experience of all time. I drove this car back in high school, and with any moisture at all on the ground donuts became a breeze. A light dusting of snow and I was able to pull out my favorite trick: While driving at 15 mph, pull a perfect 360 and continue driving down the road. Unfortunately, after only a year with the van, I lost driving privileges when during a routine tire rotation the mechanic showed my parents wear that signaled “extremely aggressive driving.”

So in conclusion- Weird, but ahead of its time. That’s OCR for ya.

Other honorable mentions: Pontiac Aztec, Chevrolet Avalanche, Toyota FJ Cruiser (the new one)


Only 4 questions this week? Come on OCR nation, get your act together!

 

 

What are you curious about in regards to OCR? Do you need gear or training advice? Maybe you just need to rant. Email your questions (or thoughts) to us at mac@obstacleracingmedia.com and McCauley will attempt to answer them

 

Mac’s Muddy Mailbag #3

Mac's Muddy Mailbag

1. Any advice for skin protection while at these races? Robyn, Toronto

Between warming up, racing, and hanging around in the festival area, I’d bet that the average racer spends around 5 hours outside on race day. That’s 5 hours that often occurs during the hottest part of the day, and with minimal clothing to protect the body from the sun’s damaging rays. I’d recommend a hat and sunblock, specifically one that works with wet skin.

2. What fitness fads should we be avoiding? -John H., Milwaukee

Good question. This could really be its own article. Hmm…I’d entitle it something along the lines of:

“How Dumb Do We Think We Are? Fitness Fads and What They Say About Us”

By nature humans are lazy. Well, “efficient” might be a kinder way to put it. If someone is willing to promise us something for less work than it would otherwise take us, we’ll jump at it. We’re so invested in the idea of perfection, whether it be money, or familial, or body, that we’re willing to suspend our disbelief in lieu of quick results.

My old boss at Kirby (go to hell, Scott) was fond of telling me that “…there’s a sucker born every minute.” This is the wrong lens with which to view desire. Our nature is to hope for the best. We want to succeed. And we hold others to our standards, even if that means putting blinders on.

Today’s Ubermensch is aware of this, and he capitalizes on it. They Photoshop unattainable body types into our fitness magazines, six-packed charlatans accompanied by oozing sexy words like “Fat-burning,” “Ripped Right now,” “Simple Six-Pack Abs,” and “Instant Results!”

We throw money their way, become dissatisfied with the product, and move on to the next product. The circle continues.


Since most of us are OCR people, let’s look specifically at post-race festival areas. While passing by a tent at OCRWC I was roped into listening to a sales pitch on the wonders of Ionized Water.  Not only would I not cramp, but I’d recover faster, and even run better. These results were guaranteed.

These companies are entrenched in fitness communities.

How are these frauds allowed on the race grounds? Almost any business misrepresenting their products seems to be taken down quite quickly. But not products in this industry. All it takes is 5 minutes of research on google to uncover the truth on these fads. And yet, magnets, super-powered water, etc flourish in our community. What does this say about our gullibility as consumers? The worst part for me is that the people pushing they products are often current or former athletes. They know athletes inside and out and are willing to take advantage of their insecurities for a quick buck.


 

To be fit, healthy and strong; to look good naked- these are powerful urges. So powerful in fact, that we’re willing to dish out substantial amounts of money for re-packaged 70’s fads with no scientific backing.

slide_38414_318337_large

Vibrating body buffers were all the rage 40 years ago. Then they were dismissed as a fad and went the route of multi-colored leg warmers.

But fear not- thanks to technological advances that I can only assume come courtesy of captured Transformers, the world’s foremost “scientists” have harnessed various technological breakthroughs to come out with the 20th century version of the fat burning body buffer.

It's actually kind of cute

It’s actually kind of cute

From the BelleCore website:

“The bodybuffers are effective, powerful muscle massagers for athletes such as runners, dancers, cyclists, Pilates and yoga enthusiasts, whose demands of daily routines and training invariably lead to intra-muscular build up of metabolic waste such as lactic acid, resulting in prolonged muscle soreness. When this waste is removed, recovery is accelerated and performance goes up.”

So THAT’s how you get rid of lactic acid (which apparently causes soreness!). We’re learning so much today.

The website goes on to hint at fat reduction in every which way without actually coming forward and saying so. Very sneaky, BelleCore. You must have good lawyers.

You might think that I’m being overly pessimistic. You’re wrong.  I believe Bellecore will have success. In fact, I think the bodybuffers will be a huge hit.

Just not in the fitness field. No, I see it being successful in a “Honey, go look at shoes in Finish Line for a few minutes while I duck into Brookstone to scope out their ‘personal massager’ section” kind of way.

bodybuffing_bigpicture

I mean, the implied imagery isn’t exactly subtle

So this is my main issue with the fitness industry. The buddy buffer is most likely not a bad product. It may help to exfoliate skin, and it probably does a good job of massaging muscles. But the marketing team wasn’t content with just that. Knowing how product launches work, they were probably pressured to make this product as attractive as possible. That meant throwing buzzwords out there that target the diet and pill, quick-change-seeking audience.

**As always, I’m willing to change my mind on this subject. Anyone representing Bellecore who believes this product is the real deal, send one my way. I’ll test the bad boy out and post a full, un-biased review.  

3. Will BattleFrog make it?– Ron L., La 

We’ve already talked a bit about this during the conversation about Atlas’ impending demise, but I really don’t know. The amount of 40% discount codes floating around right now scares me. They have big backers, but their current format doesn’t attract your casual hobby runner in the market for a fun new challenge. At the same time, many of the top racers for one reason or another avoid Battlefrog. So I’m not sure what exactly their target audience is. I wish them the best, but come next spring, we may find ourselves bemoaning the death of  yet another exciting race.

Just recently I was talking to a family friend who knows his way around the business world (think ceo) and during our conversation he mentioned that today’s biggest obstacle race companies (Warrior, TM, Spartan) wouldn’t be leading the industry three years from now. In fact, some of them might not even be around at all. He said, and I quote, “Trust me, this is just how industries develop.”

I’m curious as to the validity of this statement. It’s hard to imagine Tough Mudder or Spartan going under. In fact, I don’t see that happening at all. But Warrior Dash’s popularity, while still up there with the other big dogs, has dropped substantially from its peak popularity in 2009. They’re having trouble gaining repeat customers due to their course’s perceived lack of challenges and rewards. (My 2 cents- If a race isn’t challenging, you aren’t running hard enough).

Where will this industry be 2, 3 even 5 years from now?

4. What’s your go-to racing gear? – Alex, Dallas

-Stay away from cotton. You don’t want to be that person on the course in later heats drowning in their shirt and holding their pants up while they slide their way through mud.

-A thin layer of compression on top will save your back from barbed wire.

-In regards to shoes, don’t worry about drainage. It’s really a rather pointless feature (think of drainage holes as two-way streets). Rather, choose a shoe with the least amount of water retention. Cross country flats are going to be the cheapest. Inov-8s (particularly the 190s) will cost you more, but IMO are the best obstacle racing shoes on the planet.

-Don’t wear trail shoes in a stadium sprint. You’ll end up regretting the protruding lugs and lack of traction. Running shoes, specifically road racing flats, work well in these races. My brother and I both race in the Nike Lunaracers.

– Don’t fall victim to the zero-drop, toe-shoe, “Born to Run” mentality on race day. When your form falls apart midway through a race, these shoes will magnify any issues that you’re having. The traction in minimalist shoes often lacks as well.

Arm sleeves work to reduce cuts and scrapes. Do they actually have any performance effects? That’s debatable. I avoid them, seeing as they extenuate any arm or shoulder fatigue I’m feeling, but I know many who swear by them.

Geiger Rig makes some of the best hydration systems on the market. Being able to squirt water into your mouth on the fly rather than sucking allows you to conserve your breathe while racing.

5. What’s going on in this picture? -Brian, Ca

The picture in question

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Ahh yes, my first Beast. The elevation and climbing was brutal, and I cramped just about everywhere a person can.

More importantly, where did you find that, Brian? I thought I’d un-tagged and deleted all copies of it, ya big creep. But I guess the internet never forgets, as Queen B learned the hard way.

What are you curious about in regards to OCR? Do you need gear or training advice? Maybe you just need to rant. Email your questions (or thoughts) to us at mac@obstacleracingmedia.com and McCauley will attempt to answer them.

 

Mac’s Muddy Mailbag #2

Mac's Muddy Mailbag

What are you curious about in regards to OCR? Do you need gear or training advice? Maybe you just need to rant. Email your questions (or thoughts) to us at mac@obstacleracingmedia.com and McCauley will attempt to answer them.

1. Where’s the love for Tough Mudder? All you talk about is the less successful little brother, Spartan Race. Shady J, Ontario

Maybe because I can relate 😉 . That’s also the weirdest looking emoticon I’ve seen.

As much as I like to speculate on things, in this case I’d rather not. It ticks me off when people clearly unfamiliar with a topic do it disservice by attempting to write about it. And I haven’t raced, let alone attended a Tough Mudder.

That being said, I think World’s Toughest will feature some exciting new faces this year….

2. Who is the best racer for the men and women right now? -Richard, Iowa

I love talking theoretical rankings.

Ryan Atkins has won everything this year. And I don’t see him losing a BattleFrog as long as the jerry can carry is around. No one in the world can match him on that obstacle and therefore that course. But how has he done on other OCR courses? Let’s take a look.

Australia Spartan Stadium Sprint-3rd
Spartan Cruise- 3rd
New Jersey Tri-State Spartan Beast- 1st
Montreal Spartan(don’t know the distance)- 1st

Ryan was oh-so-close to a world championship last year. This might be the year that he ends up on top of the podium.

Ryan was two spear throws from the title in 2014. Can this be his year?

Ryan was two spear throws from the title in 2014. Can this be his year?

Then again, maybe Max King shows up a bit stronger than last year (where he did 180 burpees in the last mile) and shocks the field. Or perhaps Yatsko puts his Deadliest Catch dreams on hold in order to make up for his “disappointing finish” last year. (His words, not mine.) Don’t forget Cody Moat, who wouldn’t surprise anyone if he won another world title. What if another Brit shows up and shocks the field? After my 2014 championships preview, I had people telling me that Conor Hancock would win it all. Hopefully we see him come fall. Then there’s Glenn, Chad, Ryan, Brakken, Isaiah, Hunter, Appleton, Novakovich….

With that being said, I don’t mean to discount Jon Albon’s claim to being the best on the planet, which he clearly is.

The Best on Planet Earth

The best obstacle racer on this planet

And an apology is due to the OCR fans over the pond. You’re quite a ways ahead of us in advancing the sport, but your races and athletes receive little to no coverage stateside. We really need to get over there and experience your races.

Right now I think Rose is the hottest woman in OCR. Oops, my bad Mr. Sinnett, I meant the “top” woman in OCR. But I also like the new crop moving their way up. Kate Kramer, Corrina Coffin, Lindsay Webster, and Becca Clifford, among others, have bright futures.

As is usual but definitely not cool with most up-and-coming extreme sports, the women’s side has lagged behind the men’s in terms of competition and depth. This year that’s finally changing. But what won’t change is who will be on top of the podium come fall.

Amelia Boone has had a year to ponder what could have been in 2014. There’s no way she allows her podium spot to be occupied by someone else for a second year. It’s Boone or bust for me, with Claude and Corrina rounding out the top 3.  I’m more than happy to accept wagers from anyone who disagrees. Speaking of which, when will Vegas begin putting odds on this sport?

The reigning champ

The reigning champ

This is going to be an incredible championship season. Excuse me, I meant championships season. Spartan, OCRW, and Warrior Dash will each be crowning championships within a three-week span in October. Tahoe will be an experience the likes of which we’ve never seen before. Warrior Dash will continue to attract Olympic caliber runners and make a strong claim for the most exciting championship in OCR. (Yes, I heard the collective scoff from the community right there.)  Finally, “The People’s Champ” aka the OCRW Championships will look to improve upon a successful debut. Who will attempt to race all three? Will we see a triple crown, or even a quadruple if we count World’s Toughest?

I can’t wait.

 

3. Which athlete is making the most from the sport?  Jeff Wiley, Richardson

My money’s on Yancy Culp. He still races (podiuming twice in recent weeks) so he counts for this example, right? Yancy has become the go-to coach in the OCR community. BeetElite is also one of the more popular nutritional supplements around.

A few Beet Eliters

Some of the top “BeetEliters”

Throw in the newly launched “YancyCamp” training site and I’m guessing things are going quite well. There are a ridiculous amount of people out there willing to pay $360 a year to see the training their favorite racer is doing.

Speaking of which, I’ll let you look at it if you want. Not that, you sicko. My training. For free, courtesy of Obstacle Racing Media. Here you go- my personal training log. (password is ORM)

As far as top racers go, Ryan Atkins will end up winning 11 BattleFrog Races (and the points series), numerous Spartan Races, multiple TV races (bigger payouts for these), and placing high or winning at multiple championships. He’ll take home a minimum of 40 grand in race winnings this year before counting sponsors or podium bonuses.

To these numbers some might say, “Compared to other sports that amount of money is nothing!” Well, this isn’t other sports. And that’s some nice change for doing something you love.

4. What is your mentality while racing? For example, what thoughts are going through your head? Is it just technical strategies, like what your pace is, what place you’re in, etc? Or do you have mind games you play to keep yourself focused/motivated/distracted?  Beni G., Texas

Beni my man! As I’m sure you’re aware, OCR is different from many other sports in that overall place trumps all else. Therefore, time and pace are essentially meaningless. So I don’t worry about them all that much.

The truth is, I’m probably not the right person to be giving advice here. Like many middle-distance runners, I’ve been something of a mental midget in regards to distance running. Back in high school cross-country I’d run 16:30’s for 5k at the low-key races and then 18 minutes at the bigger meets. And I struggled badly with my transition back to competition this past year after years away from running. I actually found out that OCR brought out my nerves worse than track or XC ever did.

I couldn’t sleep before races. Then I’d be too nervous to warm up. Once the race began, I’d spend most of it thinking about how painful it was, how much I hated OCR, how maybe I just didn’t have the talent that my brother did, etc. These were stupid places to be in.

But as my fitness came along I came to realize that only one thing mattered, and that was finding that pace just below red-line and just maintaining it. The mental battles will always be there, but fitness breeds confidence, and confidence allows you to somewhat stifle those voices in the back of your head.

That being said, you can’t wait for your fitness to be perfect before attempting to race. This goes for everything in life- if you wait for conditions to be perfect, you’re probably going to miss out on a lot in the meantime. Be proactive, take a chance, and get yourself out there. I’m grateful that my brother pushed me to race last summer. If I had waited for my fitness and health to be 100% before jumping in a stadium sprint, someone else would be be running for Spartan right now.

5. Who is faster, you or your brother? -Elliot, Ill

We’ll find out at the Dallas AT&T Stadium Sprint in 3 weeks!

Mac’s Muddy Mailbag

mccauley-mail

 

What are you curious about in regards to OCR? Do you need gear or training advice? Maybe you just need to rant. Email your questions (or thoughts) to us at mac@obstacleracingmedia.com and McCauley will attempt to answer them.


1. What are your thoughts on mandatory obstacle completion? -Jeff, Alabama

I love it, but not for the reasons you might think. We’re currently witnessing a new trend of race series willing to think outside of the box. They’re doing their own thing, as opposed to the old way of mimicking the established races obstacle for obstacle, rule for rule, DJ yelling inspirational phrases about battle for DJ yelling inspirational phrases about battle… you get the point. These races seemed indistinguishable aside from the name on the banner.

Mandatory obstacles also make for more difficult races. We’ve seen top racer after top racer fail out of races this year. How do athletes who are used to the podium handle failure? It’s been fascinating to watch.

I can’t wait to try out some of these freshly structured races this year, especially the BattleFrog and Savage Series, even if it means failing out.

That being said, I think mandatory obstacle completion makes for boring races.

Spartan Race finishes have been incredible this year. Why? IMO, it’s the failable obstacles. They lend an other-wise lacking mental obstacle to the sport. In doing so they even out the playing field. Look at the last NBC race. Six racers in contention with minutes to go. And the cruise, when Isaiah pulled the upset of the year over studs like Albon, Atkins, Kent, Brakken, Mcintyre, and Yatsko when eight of the top ten failed their spear throws. There’s an exciting air of uncertainty to finishing order in these races.

bazu-4671787

Upsets are great for the sport. And I don’t see them happening all that often with the mandatory obstacle format.

Failable obstacles ensure the convergence of different types of athletes, game plans, and types of training. Which is more integral, speed or strength? Do you worry about strength over speed and try to be efficient and outlast the good runners? Or do you focus on the opposite and hope that you can outrun your competitors despite possibly doing more burpees?

I’m trying to remember why the whole mandatory obstacle movement started, and I honestly can’t recall. Oh yea, because Anti-Spartan yadda yadda.

But seriously, I do like the thought processes that resulted in this change. Keep thinking outside of the box, race organizers. All it takes is one unique idea to change the industry!

2. What are your thoughts on the new ranking system?  Dave, Milwauke

It’s a great idea. It’s also a great promotional tool for the sport. Want to be on the list? Race every weekend.

The system definitely has a way to go, but the rankings are a necessary step forward. Now we just need a weekly AP style poll. I don’t know why. But we need one.

3. Will Atlas Race make it? -Dwight F., Indianapolis

No. Many called this after seeing attendance #’s for their first race. Solid financial backing is meaningless if numbers aren’t there, “Dwight F. from Indianapolis.” It’s really too bad. The competition was great for the sport and helped spread sponsorships and prizes out for the top racers. I have yet to race one so I can’t comment on the obstacles or format, but my brother had nothing but good things to say after the Texas race. In fact, I’ve never heard anything negative in reference to Atlas Race.

*Editor’s Note – Since Mac wrote this, the Atlas NorCal race has been cancelled, and the future of the Medford, Oregon race is uncertain.

Also, what does this mean for one of the cooler, more unique races out there, Brett Stewart’s OCR Warrior? I really hope it survives. There have been a few other races similar to OCR Warrior, including the Extreme Nation and Ultimate Athlete Games, but OCR Warrior is the first to feature fast running and bang-bang obstacles. This is the key to making this experience viewer friendly.

The potential is there. It’s easy to visualize an exciting future for this format. I’m picturing short 1-2 minute 6 person heats, each beginning with a Tyrolean Traverse. The traverses would narrow directly into a single lane hole shot. This could be followed by tight lanes and sharp contact-inducing turns, with wipe-out producing obstacles in between. Go watch a snowboard-cross heat. No one outside of a small dedicated group really cares about the sport, right? But when it’s on TV you can’t help but be drawn in.

The course can be run indoors (as part of conventions) or outside, and would work really well in, let’s say, the BattleFrog or Spartan festival areas. Or better yet, as an exhibition in the X-Games.

Of course, this is part of the problem of being a young sport without a concrete destination for the future. Every casual fan evidently has a masters in business and knows whats really best for each race series.

BUT Atlas’ demise might lead to some really good matchups. If the Atlas racers want contracts they’ll have to start racing other series. For a couple of years now the fans have wanted to see what an in-shape Hobie can do against the top guys in a Spartan Race. We may now get to see that. (And yes, I know how outspoken he is against certain races, but $ talks) My uneducated guess? You’ll see Hobie competing in a singlet featuring a certain amphibious creature sometime soon.

4. You haven’t been shy about pointing out what’s wrong with the sport, whether that be race organizations or individual athletes that you disagree with. Have you received any flack from elites? What about from Spartan Race, since you run for them? -Joe, MA

Didn’t we ban that word?

Anyway, I was surprised at the overwhelming positivity with which the community responded. I mean, I know I’m awesome, but I wasn’t entirely sure that you guys knew I was. It also helps that satire is such a wonderful avenue for delivering critique.

The main critique I do receive is accusations of bias due to my Pro Team status. Evidently those people haven’t read my blogs. Come on people, I’m a consistent top 10 in People Magazine’s annual “Least Biased People on Planet Earth” poll!

At the end of the day, this isn’t a Perez Hilton-like grasp for publicity or views. If I call attention to cheating, poorly marked courses, or anything else, it’s for the good of the sport. There’s no vendetta. The hope is that the public shaming will induce change.

The intended result of this critique is probably impossible given the emotionally invested nature of our community, but in a perfect world people would approach these issues without allowing emotion or bias to skew the lens they view said problem through. So don’t get upset at critique. Or do, but realize that there’s truth to what was said, and work on changing said problem.

5. How much does vanity play a part in OCRs vs., say a marathon? I’m not sure how to phrase this, but would OCR have nearly the same presence if people couldn’t post pix of themselves rolling beneath barbed wire? That is to ask, is a lot of the price of admission the opportunity to post macho selfies? –Tod S, Santa Rosa

Excellent question. To which I’ll do the politically correct thing and respond with my own. Would OCR even be around today if social media was non-existent, or existed but on a smaller scale? This sport’s number one draw seems to be the selfie-obsessed individual, that of the “Look how wild and awesome my life appears to be on Facebook!” persona. The constant grumbling coming from those discontented with the photo system support this theory.

I’m unaffected by these problems, luckily. I was born with a terrible affliction called expressionless dumb face, and therefore don’t mind when photo systems crash. In fact, I spend weeks after each race dreading notifications of tagged race photos. Also, and you probably won’t believe this, but humans have this crazy section of their brain called the hippocampus. Essentially, it allows them to recall long-term memories episodically. We don’t need to look at a photo to say, “Oh that’s right, I did race last weekend. I had totallly forgotten how uncomfortable I was!” That’s what our brains are for.

Rant time– Skip to question 6 to avoid the following nonsense.

Then we have the online vanity. For those of you involved in OCR Facebook groups

(Which are a dangerous road to go down! You start with one group and then in time grow comfortable. Bored even. Curiosity gets the best of you and you join a few more that were recommended on your sidebar. After all, what’s the harm?  There’s no such thing as a “gate-way” group, that’s just more government propaganda, and duh, jet fuel doesn’t melt steel!
But Obstacle Racers Worldwide leads to Spartan Racers Worldwide, then Corn-Fed Spartans, then the World’s Toughest Mudder Community, Obstacle Racing Professionals, (550 professional racers? How?!?) Fitness Freaks, 1000 burpees for the Military… Umm, what the hell, you might as well join Aspiring Male Models while you’re at it, because you never know right? Soon you’re pushing double digits.

Before you know it you’ve become trapped in the online world; a real life Kevin Flynn. (The sequel is better, deal with it!) Notifications from your virtual community ding from your phone ceaselessly, keeping you and your family up at night. Your kids are always tired at school and their grades begin to drop. Forget your job. You spend all day in a dark room tracking conspiracies, pictures of  industry insiders like Joe De Sena and Ryan Atkins pinned up on walls and connected by tangled messes of red yarn. You’ll get down to the bottom of the latest controversy even if it costs you everything. If you’re the one to blow this “#Shirtstom” controversy wide open, why, that could be worth 45 likes and maybe even a meme with your picture on it! Online approval has become your rare candy. Sure, it makes you weaker, but you’re going to keep looking for it anyways.)

That was a Pokemon reference. 

(cntd) you’re witness everyday to attention seeking behavior.

And trolling? I believe trolling lies somewhere between lighthearted banter and legit personality disorders. Trolling is something like this…Your friends think it’s hilarious when you grow out your creeper mustache, but random passer-by on the street don’t get the joke and assume you aren’t allowed within 150 feet of local middle-schools.

Trolling and negativity online could be a rant on its own. Sure, it might not seem like a big deal to you, but hear me out.

Rumors spread like wildfire in this community, especially among those not as knowledgeable as you regular online posters. So while much of what is posted on those boards may appear quite black and white to the initiated, inside jokes and whatnot, there’s at minimum a 1000-strong impressionable audience of lurkers reading some of this stuff. When we see comments, we qualify the statements by comparing them against our prior understanding of who posted them. We learn who not to take seriously, who not to flat out ignore, etc.

But someone unfamiliar with the boards doesn’t understand this. They can pop in for a look and easily have their opinion swayed or be unsettled by this trolling.

Even regular posters are affected.

If you’re a regular on the boards, you’ve probably been insulted or had your integrity called into play one time or another. So the logical next step at this point is to spend the rest of the night stewing, angrily running over potential arguments in your head etc…

Some people actually seem to enjoy this constant negativity. What masochists! Do they not understand the damage they impart upon the average human with this type of online behavior? They’re literally making me die a little inside each time they post something antagonizing. *Let it be known that the word literal by definition no longer actually means literal, but instead reflects a more hyperbolic tone, so this use of “literal” was technically correct, both literally and figuratively.

And finally, our last question of the week:

6. Who is doping? You like to insinuate things, but what I really want is cold hard proof!  –Michael B., La Crosse

Remember how Skyler and Walt conned their way into owning the car wash in Breaking Bad?

Well, I have a similar doping-related scheme that I’ve admittedly spent far too much time daydreaming about.

Here’s how it would go down:

1. Hire actor

2. Give them lab coat, metal suitcase, and medical credentials.

2. Have them show up at racer’s houses.

3. Recite script:

“Hi there, (blank)! As I’m sure you’re now aware, last year Joe De Sena and Adrian Bijanada came together in concurrence with WADA to develop the first multi-series OCR drug testing policy. The implementation of said policy came into effect starting with the two World Championships in 2014.

As was highlighted in your signed race waiver, you as a competitor in these series are now responsible for mandatory participation in testing, both in and out of competition, at minimum 2x per year. This week we’ve finally begun to implement our testing.

So if you could go ahead and drop those drawers that would be wonderful.”

4. Watch people panic.

Or not. Perhaps I’m wrong and drugs aren’t a problem.

Is it a bad sign that I considered withholding this idea since it would mean people would know it was my idea, and therefore it couldn’t actually be done? I don’t know, nor do I know how strong my grasp on reality is anymore.

Naww, let’s be real here- drugs are a problem. Every sport we draw from has crippling drug problems. We’re not immune to human nature. And as money increases, so will usage rates.

Speaking of which, can we all agree that with his most recent performance, Justin Gatlin is once again the dirtiest sprinter in the game?

"Yikes, I should probably slow down a bit!"

If he isn’t implicated or busted within two years I’ll admit that I know nothing about anything, quit running and become a full-time Power Magnet Band spokesman.

After all, those magnets work hella good! But I can tell you’re a smart one, a real shrewd costumer, so I guess I should prove it to you, shouldn’t I. Would you mind if I showed you their potency with a quick balance test?

The 7-Step Plan to Financial Success in OCR

You know, sometimes it seems like everyone in this industry is or wants to be sponsored. And I don’t blame them. I’ve said it before, but there are racers who have made thousands just by showing up for races, and thousands more for podium performances. All it takes is a bit of hard work and a willingness to think outside of the lines.

Lets pretend that tomorrow I were to wake up with only one thing on my mind: to maximize my 2015 OCR earning potential, image be damned.

My Goal? To make $45,000 this year. Yes, that number might seem very high. But read on and you might end up being surprised at how attainable it actually is. Take out the sections pertaining to podium finishes, and this is a plan that anyone of any talent level can follow.

Check your moral code at the door. Down the rabbit’s hole we go…

Step 1: Find representation
Remember that buddy from school, Ricky? Sure, he was a pothead slacker, but he graduated top of his class with a business degree, didn’t he? Well Ricky’s probably utilizing that degree in the sporting goods section of your local Target. Or maybe he’s selling Kirbys to lonely senior citizens. No one likes selling Kirbys.

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You know what would go nicely with this ‘vette? A Kirby

 Call him up and tell him you have an incredible opportunity for him.

You won’t be paying him, but if he works hard and things go well he’ll have the opportunity to become the “go-to” agent in a hot new fitness industry currently ripe for exploiting.

Tell Ricky to get a new Gmail account. Have Ricky make a fancy signature on the bottom of his emails, something along the lines of “Ricky Flynn, Professional Athlete Representative.”

Type out your resume. Include a letter discussing your social media draw, your clout in the industry, and your numerous top 8% left-handed, blue-eyed, born in May of ’89 age group finishes. Anticipate and attempt to answer the company’s questions for them.

What do you bring to the table? What makes you unique? What is your current social media reach? What will we receive in return?

Step 2: Get active on social media

1. Post smart, humorous statuses daily. Engage people on their walls and they’ll follow suit on yours. Try to get in touch with 20 new people per day, even if it’s just a “like” on an Instagram photo. Friend request EVERYONE on Facebook. Shoot them a personal message when they accept, saying “Hello, I remember you from this race, ARoo, yada yada.” Follow thousands of people on Instagram. Get involved with every obstacle related Facebook group. Post overly dramatic stories about how you’ve changed thanks to this sport. Make every day a Transformation Tuesday.

Purchase Instagram followers from buyinstagramfollowers.biz or buzzoid.

Buzzoid   Buy Instagram Followers from  2.9667 onlyBuzzoid’s new packages make deceiving your sponsors easier than ever!

Only $70 for 10,000 unique followers. That’s insane. People will see those numbers and think that you must be special and worth following. After all, 10,000 people can’t be wrong. With just a click of the mouse you’ve made yourself a hot commodity in the OCR community.

Wade into the internet cesspools; places you’ll leave feeling like you need to take a scalding-hot shower to remove the filth from you. Places like “Spartan Singles.” Zinger! Post selfie after shameless selfie.

Become a smart, unbiased, well-liked poster in all groups.

2. Create fake profiles. Then repeat step 2, part 1.

Step 3: Find sponsors

Make a list of 100 potential sponsors. Include but don’t limit yourself to OCR brands. Everyone in the community has a product, and they could all use some limelight. Think about products with low initial cost and high markups.

These companies should in theory be able to dedicate more of their budget to their athletes. This means more product, and potentially more $ in your pocket.

Don’t forget your local companies. Shoe companies, lumber stores, casinos, adult entertainment stores, etc (remember we threw integrity to the wind long ago.)

If motivated, start your own product line. Give everyone you know discount and affiliate codes.

Have Ricky send out the aforementioned resume and cover letter to all 100 companies on your list. Many won’t respond. Show up at their doorstep if possible. It’s harder to say no in person, after all. Remember, Ricky used to trick people into buying $3,000 vacuum cleaners. He’s shameless. He’ll have no problem here. Keep sending emails.

Step 3: Negotiate Terms With Sponsors

Your goals are twofold, but both involve cash:

1. Appearance fees
2. Podium bonuses

Don’t be afraid to think small. Even a $50 podium fee from a company can earn you big money if 15 sponsors are on board.

Gear is good too. Who cares if you don’t like the company? Throw the goods up on eBay as soon as you receive them.

Same goes for race gear. Medals, finisher t-shirts, wood blocks, etc. Sell it all!

Step 4: Spread goodwill

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Pretending to be receptive while some schmucks on the spartan cruise talk my ears off (courtesy of whereandwander.com)

Show up to races early and stay late. Always be visible. Walk the course and help people out. Have your sponsors in sight on your hat, your shorts, your sweatshirt, your backpack. Hand out free samples to anyone and everyone. Become an expert photo bomber. This may be tiring, but remember, the end goal is worth it.

Step 5: Race Often

Race every weekend so that you can collect those appearance fees. Cherry pick races that you can win.  Attempt to make 200/week from race fees. This is a very low number, and not at all important. Some weeks you won’t make any money. Other weeks you’ll earn a big purse. These will even out over time.

The real money comes from sponsor bonuses. Your goal is to make at minimum double your race winnings in bonuses. Once again, this is easily doable. In fact, it has been done. All of this has been done.

Step 6: Train Others

“You’re really fast. That must mean that you know more than me. Please tell me about your training plan.”

Never mind the fact that some top racers could compete off of nothing but an hour a day of shake weight work and still podium.

  

Start responding to Facebook messages from racers in need of training advice. Take them on as clients.

Do a weekly workout in a park. Make it free of charge. Make it impressively difficult. These are all potential clients. Begin to train them on the side. Push your sponsors on them.

Step 7: Step Back and Count Your Money

Alright, lets take a look at what we just accomplished.

Race winnings – 200/week
$10,000

Appearance fees and podium bonuses – 500/week
$25,000

Online coaching, local training – 150/week
$7500

Selling Sponsor and race gear online –
$1,500

Affiliate sponsor programs –
$1,000

Total: 45 grand. Boom.

Ricky? Word of mouth has spread and he’s currently the hottest agent on the block. He’s now taking a substantial cut from each of his athletes. He’ll never forget what you did for him, and always have your back.
Wallet Status? Engorged
Integrity? ……………. Silence, that’s weird. You were probably too busy counting your money and visiting cool places to remember to respond to that question.