Epic Series LA

Epic Series OCR made their way back to Los Angeles, California on May 6 for their second event at the Los Angeles Police Academy. For those of you not familiar with Epic Series let me give you a little background.

Epic is a Southern California based race series that’s focused primarily on functional movements with a few OCR type obstacles thrown in. They currently don’t venture outside of the SoCal area very often due to the high cost of transporting all their heavy equipment, so you may not have yet heard about them but listen up!

The formula for Epic’s success is pretty simple, but highly addictive. They pack as many obstacles as they can inside a course about the size of a standard 400-meter track. No miles upon miles of endless running here as most of their events have a total distance of between a mile to a mile and a half. The use of the track format breaks up the lines of functional exercises located inside of the track area and allows Epic to put on their events at venues with limited space quite well.

The Epic race format breaks down like this. Run a lap, usually with something awkward and heavy, then perform a series of functional movements with a few OCR type obstacles thrown in before running another lap. There are three different levels of difficulty at most of these stations throughout the race. Competitive men, competitive women, and open with weights and reps adjusted accordingly. I’ll break down the race in a lap by lap format, so it’ll be easy to follow.

Lap 1. All athletes start out the race by running their first lap carrying an Epic Series flag. Epic appropriately calls this the “flag lap” and once the lap is completed flags are dropped off at the starting line and its then time to get physical with the first series of functional movements starting off with the overhead squat for reps.

Athletes are required to pick up a weighted bar for touch and go squats while standing over a bucket. Volunteers are located at every station giving instructions, directions and occasionally calling out athletes for improper form or to repeat a rep. After completing the overhead squats Epic lined up their ladder wall and tri-wall, which each need to be traversed before continuing.

Lap 2. Athletes now were required picked up a medicine ball to carry around the track for their second lap leading up to the Atlas Stones. Atlas Stones of varying weights needed to be picked up and dropped over the shoulder onto a mat. Miss the mat and the rep doesn’t count so be precise! This took a lot of energy leaving athletes very winded, which made the next balance obstacle even harder.

The Epic balance beam was next in line and is truly unique as it’s built with pegs attached to a series of 4×4 boards suspended above the ground. This thing wobbles all over and usually causes me to fall at least once per event.

Lap 3. This is where the going starts to get tough as athletes are required to run this lap with a tough to balance slosh pipe. Immediately upon completion of this lap, it’s time for another Epic Series favorite, the squat wall. Pick a spot on the wall and assume the wall sit position while holding an hourglass with your arms straight out in front of you while you beg for the sand to fall faster! This obstacle is made even more fun as a volunteer constantly yells at you to keep your arms straight or they’ll make you start over.

Now normally this is where Epic sets up their lumberjack station which requires athletes to pick up a metal post on a hinge and flip it to the other side, but because this obstacle rips up the grass in a major way Epic had to substitute an inflatable bouncy house type thing as a replacement. Not nearly as much fun, but still a cardio crusher nonetheless.

The rope climb with a bell tap at the top was the next up in this long line of obstacles followed by the plank station. Another hourglass was used here as you sat in the plank position and watched those small grains of sand moving ever so slowly down. Continuing the fun on this lap was a keg hoist for reps followed by another crossing over a ladder wall.

Burpee box jumps for reps followed with an inverted wall immediately after leading to the last obstacle on this lap, the archer. Bow and arrows tipped with a rubber stopper were shot at a tiny target set up on a net and if you have never done this before it could take you forever. Luckily for me, I am a former bow hunter, so I nailed that sucker on the first try!

Lap 4. The carries started getting harder here as athletes now grabbed two jerry cans for the farmers carry lap testing out that grip strength to the max. After setting the jugs down it was time to get low for a cargo net crawl followed up by another tri-wall traverse. The band challenge was the last obstacle on this lap and it required athletes to put a thick rubber band around their ankles and hop for a set distance.

Lap 5. For the next lap Epic kept it simple, just sprint as fast as you can. Finishing up led you to another inverted wall to traverse before climbing up and over Barnaby’s Beast. This was a vertical rock wall where the hand holds became more spaced out the more with the higher difficulty level that you signed up for.

All of this led up to one final lap which proved to be a make or break lap for most people. The final lap required carrying a keg around the course! Now, these were filled to different levels depending on if you ran competitive or open, but I swear mine was filled with lead!

Now, if you ran Open your day was done. Collect your medal and bad ass Clinch Gear shirt and enjoy a Body Armour drink. But if you ran in the Competitive class you could sign up for the Epic Elite short course.

For a few dollars, more men and women could choose from either the Strength or Endurance challenge course for a chance to win even more bling! This course was a great mixture of obstacles, Crossfit, and strength and drew some great crowds to watch the athletes grunt and throw heavy shit around. The list of exercises was the same for both classes with only the weight and reps changing, plus the Endurance class had an added 5 burpees between each station.

  1. Truck pull for distance
  2. Deadlift for reps
  3. Clean and Press for reps.
  4. Atlas Stone up and over a wall for reps
  5. Atlas Stone shrugs for reps
  6. Farmer Carry
  7. Kettlebell step ups
  8. Weighted Lunge
  9. Tire flip for reps
  10. Sprint to the finish.

 

 

Now there were a few obstacles that happened to be missing from this event that are normally present at every Epic Series due to lack of space on the Police Academy grounds.

The Russian twists and the over under a suspended piece of tubing for a million reps each were gone but not missed by me personally! I found Epic to be an excellent test of one’s overall fitness and that the event offered something for everyone from a fitness newbie to a king of CrossFit.

A kid’s race was also located on-site making this a family-friendly event. Parking and photos were free as was the awesome Southern California scenery. I personally love this series and try to make it out West whenever I can, so maybe it’s time for you to do the same? It’ll be worth the trip I guarantee it and with future events in August in Huntington Beach and a September event in San Diego you still have time to test out how fit you are!

 

Epic Series Fresno/Clovis

On March 31st, 2018 Sierra Meadows Park in Clovis, California played host to the latest event put on by Epic Series OCR. The hybrid OCR/Functional Fitness competition is gaining a reputation for having the perfect blend of obstacles combined with functional fitness movements that make this my personal favorite race series. Epic’s motto of “more fun, less run” means your name doesn’t necessarily have to be Magnus to win, but a strong strength base will certainly help you complete the course.

With several events held each year in the Southern California area, Epic has gained almost a cult following in the ever-expanding world of OCR for athletes who are tired of running the endless miles associated with typical OCR events. Epic’s main course offers 25 obstacles all located in the space of a football field with a total distance of around a mile and a half. The course offers the same obstacles scaled into 3 different categories including competitive male/female and open class. Male and female competitive obstacles must be finished completely while open class is a pretty much a free for all. While volunteers are stationed at each obstacle along the way, task completion in the competitive heats relies mostly on the honor system.

Imagine looking down at a regulation 400-meter track. Epic basically puts their entire event into this small space! The breakdown of their system generally includes running a lap carrying something awkward, then completing a row of obstacles inside of the track area before running another lap. Computer timing is provided on a manual basis and has caused issues from time to time, but they always seem to iron everything out in the end. Awards are given out to the top 3 male and female in the competitive class along with competitive masters. As an added bonus athletes competing in the competitive class have the option to take on either the elite strength or endurance competition following the event. Think of this as more of a Crossfit competition with separate top 3 winners.

Now onto the main course! Epic always starts off their race with athletes sprinting around the first lap while carrying a brightly colored Epic Series flag. After depositing the flag back at the start line the fun begins with a ladder wall traverse immediately followed by the atlas stone over the shoulder flip for reps.

Another lap around the event was now required, this time carrying a medicine ball. Butt to bucket overhead squats for reps with a weighted pipe was the next obstacle in line along with some box jump burpees before taking on the most unique balance beam in OCR. This nightmare of a balance test consists of 4X4 pegs mounted along beams suspended above the ground. The wobble factor here is at a maximum and it usually gets me at least once each event.  After a sprint lap around the track, a set of banded bunny hops got those quads burning before moving on to a 20-rep set of Russian twists with a medicine ball.

 A keg hoist started off the grip killing section of the course. Right after one more ladder wall traverse athletes picked up a set of jerry cans for a grip killing lap which led right into the rope climb. What a nasty way to completely trash your grip strength! From here athletes moved quickly onto a timed wall sit followed by more box jump burpees.

An inverted wall climb followed leading to another lap with a hard to balance slosh pipe. The ever-popular timed plank and lumberjacks made of 4×4 metal tubing required athletes to start digging ever deeper into their energy reserves. An over and under for reps using plastic tubing started off the last series of obstacles followed up with a bow and arrow shot into a target. If you’ve ever dreamed that you were Robin Hood this was your chance to live out your dream! One last climb over a wall with rock climbing holds led you to one final lap, this time with a keg on your shoulder! Drop the keg at the finish and collect your medal and your breath.

Now if you entered the open class race your day was over. But if you entered the competitive class you had the option, for a small additional price, to compete in either the Strength or Endurance Elite course. This was a scaled event for men and women with the strength course having heavier weights and lower reps than the endurance course, but both courses followed the same WOD in the same format. Top 3 awards were also presented to the winners here with a WWE style belt given to the champ in each division!

  1. Pull a police SUV for distance
  2. 5 burpees
  3. Clean and press for reps
  4. 5 burpees
  5. Deadlifts for reps
  6. 5 burpees
  7. Farmers carry for distance
  8. 5 burpees
  9. Sandbag lunge for distance
  10. 5 burpees
  11. Atlas stone up and over for reps
  12. 5 burpees
  13. Atlas stone over the shoulder for reps
  14. 5 burpees
  15. Dual kettlebell step-ups for reps
  16. 5 burpees
  17. Tractor tire flips for reps
  18. Sprint to finish

 

A small kids race focusing more on the fun was provided for a small fee and was packed with happy faces all day. Parking was free as were the “Epic” photos of the event. If your OCR roots started with a love of the gym, then this is your race. No one body type is perfect for this event as the great blend of obstacles really evens out the playing field. This event truly looks to find the fittest athlete and makes it my personal favorite. So if you’re tired of all the endless running and seek an event tests your overall fitness give Epic Series a try!

Check out our other Epic reviews!

Epic Series Orange County

Epic Series Los Angeles