Conquer the King II Review

With OCR season officially off to a start, Conquer the King II was a great local Georgia race to test your skills. Conquer the King II was held at the OCR King Compound in Dallas, Georgia. The OCR King Compound is a “backyard” obstacle training center with trails and plenty of obstacles to play on, and they also offer bootcamps and training classes for those that want it.

When arriving for the event, parking was held down the street at the Silver comet trail parking, and people were shuttled to the race site. The shuttle made trips throughout the whole day, with a sweet smiling driver making rounds. The shuttle dropped you off in front of house, with several large obstacles to the left. At first glance, it was very deceiving because you can only see a few obstacles and not much else. After the course/event rules were explained it was clear that this event was not going to be easy.

Pro and Open wave rules

1 lap of the course is an awesome loop that starts out in a driveway of King Compound. Before you know it, however, you are behind the house, into the woods and running along some great technical terrain. The complete out and back is 1 mile. There’s even a bonus obstacle of a large cinder block carry while you are out there.

There were plenty of obstacles to choose from, and no penalties to worry about. Obstacles included : a rope climb, a rope traverse, monkey bars, 8ft wall, inverted wall, hercules hoist, tire pull, Z-wall, the weaver, a sternum checker, and King Compound’s pièce de ré·sis·tance. A 50 foot long monster, appropriately called RigZilla.  Lots of obstacles to choose to fulfill every OCR racers desire…or nightmare!

King Compound Trails

 

After each trail lap is completed, you were required to do 3 obstacles that are laid out over a stretch of “side yard”. For the pro laps, the obstacles were assigned. For instance, the first lap you were given a red band, so after you did a 1 mile trail run, you complete three obstacles marked with a red sign. After you finished that lap, you would go to the event tent and get a new color band and run another 1 mile trail loop again.  This continued for a 3 hour time period.

 

The open waves were at 12pm, 1pm and 2pm. Racers completing the open wave would do the trail run, choose any 3 of the obstacles that they wanted to do, then turn in lap completion. Goal was to complete as many laps possible within 1 hour.

Overall, this was a great race that I highly recommend checking out. The volunteers were amazing and helpful. Every obstacle I went to complete, there was someone to spot me, or just cheer me on. The trails were clearly marked. Obstacles were difficult, yet sturdy and well made. Justin Rose, Cody King, and Chrissy O’Neal- The OCR King Compound founders – did an amazing job at organizing and putting on this race. It’s called the toughest mile in OCR for a reason. This little race, with a big heart, is a great OCR to add to any level of athletes schedule.

OCR King Compound Co-founders with Male and Female first place winners Chris Acuff and Rachel Watters

Editor’s Note – When the King Compound put on its first race last year, they had only laid out 1/4 mile of running track around the house, and RigZilla had yet to be built. It was still well reviewed. That first race is reviewed here.

Spartan Agoge: What you should know

Agoge 000

When the Death Race and Spartan separated ways, Spartan Race gave birth to a new endurance event called the Agoge (pronounced Uh-go-gee). They have had only one Agoge event, held in the Fall of 2015, as sort of an experimental event. That class was composed of 7 civilians and 15 West Point military cadets.

With only one Agoge event in the books for Spartan Race, there isn’t a whole lot of information about what to expect at this event. Is the Agoge just a gentler, kinder Death Race? Or is it going to be more difficult than past Death Races?

Since I’m on a journey to obtain my Spartan Delta, I wanted to find out what to expect and how I should train for the Spartan Agoge. So I tracked down 3 Spartan Agoge class 000 finishers to get more information. I was able to speak with Andi Hardy, Alexander Ouellet, and Scott Gregor about their Agoge experiences. I asked each of them the same questions and was able to get some great information, without breaking their codes of silence. Hopefully, this will help anyone who chooses to do a future Spartan Agoge event.

Spartan Agoge Class 000

WHAT MAKES THE AGOGE SPARTAN RACE DIFFERENT FROM A DEATH RACE?

HARDY: It’s more team oriented. Think of it as “Death Race meets Hurricane Heat” It’s the best components of both events put together.

OUELLET: “A Death race is about breaking people. Agoge is about building better people.”

GREGOR: Death race had unknown distance, tasks, and duration. Knowing the duration makes this event more bearable. “Agoge”s tasks have a purpose…the tasks are meant to reinforce the principles outlined in the Spartan X training. Unlike the Death race, staff wants people to finish.”

ON THE REGISTRATION PAGE, IT RECOMMENDS BRINGING 1 WEEK OF FOOD.  WHAT DID YOU BRING?

HARDY: They took all my food away. I had no control over my food.

OUELLET: I didn’t have food because it was taken. But, MRE’s are a good idea.

GREGOR: “Class 000 was a beta test class and slightly different than how future Agoge events will be held.” There was a strict gear list, and food was not on the list, so it was confiscated at the beginning. Food was provided at staff’s discretion.

60 HOURS IS A LONG TIME. DID YOU GET ANY SLEEP DURING THE EVENT?

HARDY: Our Agoge was 48 hours. Not much, random 5-10 minute naps.

OUELLET: “We were able to steal a very minor amount of sleep, maybe an hour total.”

GREGOR: There was a small sleep break towards the end of the event, don’t count on this…you may not get one.

DID YOU CARRY EVERYTHING WITH YOU EVERYWHERE, OR DID YU DROP YOUR RUCKS OFF SOMEWHERE TO DO CHALLENGES?

HARDY: Only bring what you need. You pretty much carry all your stuff, all the time.

OUELLET: Get used to carrying heavy stuff everywhere.

GREGOR: “I can only recall one task where we didn’t have our gear on our backs.” We carried our gear everywhere.

Agoge Log CarryCAN YOU DESCRIBE ANY OF THE TASKS THAT YOU HAD TO DO INDIVIDUALLY OR AS A TEAM?

HARDY: A lot of manual labor, some fun stuff, and some stuff where you had to trust others with your life. But, I can’t really say specific tasks we did.

OUELLET: “Sometimes you were evaluated on your own performance, sometimes it’s a team task and your team is evaluated on your collective performance.”

GREGOR: Almost all the tasks were team oriented; we stayed together most of the time.

HOW WOULD YOU RECOMMEND SOMEONE PREPARE FOR AN AGOGE EVENT?

HARDY: Get used to time on your feet and doing “sucky things.” Train in the dark or at night. Train long and lots of hill training to prepare your legs and ankles.

OUELLET: “Sandbag workouts are your friend.” Work on your strength; then work on speed.

GREGOR: “Mostly just a hike with a heavy pack while getting creative with some extra PT or carrying other heavy stuff during the hike. This training session could be a 12-hour Hurricane Heat.” Being a well-rounded athlete is crucial to the Agoge.

WHEN YOU FINISHED, HOW DID YOU FEEL ABOUT THE AGOGE?

HARDY: I was happy, sad, confused…mixed emotions about it. “The experience kept on post-event” because it was life changing.

OUELLET: “I learned a ton and think it’s fully worth doing.” I will be doing Agoge 001 in February and 002 in June as well.

GREGOR: “I was happy to finish since I could now get some food and sleep. I was sad that the event was over since I would soon leave me endurance event friends.”

DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER COMPLETED AN AGOGE OR DEATH RACE BEFORE?

HARDY: Plan for the weekend to suck, it’s not a vacation. Tell yourself, “Monday will come” and “I’m going to get through this weekend.”

OUELLET: Focus on the given task, not what the next task will be. It’s only temporary.

GREGOR: “Live in the moment.” Don’t worry about how hard the next task will be, that will overwhelm you. For equipment, trekking poles are helpful and gloved are great for cold weather events.

GIVEN YOUR EXPERIENCE, WOULD YOU DO IT AGAIN?

HARDY: Yes, it was a great experience. There are a lot of races on my 2016 schedule, so maybe in the summer or next year.

OUELLET: Yes. “I’m doing 001 and 002”

GREGOR: “Yes, I would do it again. I don’t feel as if I completed the whole thing since class 000 was 48 hours long and there is a 60-hour option.”

I hope the questions I asked these 3 previous Agoge class 000 finishers help you all. Without knowing what exactly to expect at the event, I do expect the weekend to suck and to come away with life a changing experience. Surviving the suckfest of the Spartan Agoge will probably be my biggest achievement and I can’t wait. I am going to train hard not only physically, but mentally as well in order to prepare for the Spartan Agoge class 002 this summer. I hope to see you there!