Savage Race – Georgia Fall 2015


6:03 AM – 75N – the truck I’m passing seems oddly familiar but it’s raining and still dark

6:03:30 AM-75N- The truck pulls tight up beyond me and flashes its headlights. I’ll be damned that is Mr. Pink, Patriarch and Angel.

6:04 AM – 75N – Even in the gloom of pre sunrise and rain, the lily white ass sticking out the passenger window of the truck as it passes me is startlingly bright.

6:15 AM – Acworth – Fuel up with coffee and breakfast at the unofficial conference room for the Grey Berets; Waffle House.

7:30 AM ­– Acworth – Racetrac must buy the same bathroom tile as my beloved QT.

7:50 AM ­– Dallas – Sam Abbitt must be the horse whisperer. For my third race in a row, there are sleek beautiful horses standing there albeit indifferent to our arrival at the Moonlight Stables.

8:00 AM  – Festival Area – It’s a muddy fucking mess. But Colossus still looks glorious looming over the festival area. I see all the important things: food trucks, beer tent, schwag tent, and port-a-johns. Not necessarily in that order of importance.

8:30 AM – Festival Area –glad we have tents as it has started raining. Ladies are looking cute in their stylish wellies.

Observations on the run:

  1. It is pouring rain (Garfield must have the red phone to the Theoi Meteori), but the Savage MC is getting everyone in the SavagePro wave into a fine lather, so Mother Nature’s tears of Savage joy are ignored. I am jacked up! I LOVE this weather. Just like in the spring. And we’re off!Savage Race Start
  2. No blue smoke from the anus of hell. My lungs and taste buds thank you Sam.
  3. A smokin’ hot start plus some hills and I’m at Backscratcher weezing like the Marlboro Man.
  4. As I crawl under the “under” my hand almost becomes one with a giant pile of horseshit. In this field it ain’t surprising, but damn! I’m not ready for that kind of race patina……yet.
  5. I wonder, running through the field, if the tread pattern on my shoe is good at shedding shit.
  6. Enter the woods and settle in for an extended stretch of wet muddy trail running.
  7. Fuck these hills!
  8. I cruise through Sawhorses without my characteristic flopping form.
  9. Block Party is a welcome warmup for the arms and shoulders for the upcoming upper body obstacles, but fuck am I slow pulling that concrete filled cinder block turd up the hill. I run it back downhill with extreme caution; I do not want to end up like a charging rabid dog on a short leash.Savage Race block party
  10. And like in the spring, the hilly grassy running fucking sucks! BUT, at least it’s not mud.
  11. One of these days I’m going to do a back flip off of Davy Jones’ Locker. But today I just try to jump as far as I can to shorten the swim. The deep water cleans off the 10 pounds of goopy mud from Mud-n-guts.
  12. Annnnd there’s more heavy grass and more hills.
  13. Kiss-my-walls is a climber’s dream. They’ve added 10 degrees overhang on it, but the holds are positive, so it’s easy going. The rain does demand the need for measured, slow movement so the feet do not slip.
  14. Log-a-rhythm, with it’s over/under cadence in a mud pit just before Sawtooth, would be cruel to the grip on a dry day, but today it’s not about just having wet hands, it’s about being soaked to the soul. So just keep bringing the water obstacles, ‘cuz I can’t possibly get any fucker wetter.
  15. As I crest the hill I see Blazed and I almost shed a tear. After 24 races I FINALLY get my fucking righteous flames of OCR badassery! The flames are tall and bright orange against the gloom. I let the two dudes next to me go ahead as I want this moment all to myself and the Gameface media cameraman (even in race mode always play to camera baby!). As they clear the flames with no style whatsoever (where is your soie de vivre?!) – Amateurs! – I start running. I can feel the flames from a surprising distance. I launch into The Flash™ and…..completely fuck it up. My own damn move, with roaring flames, and I still manage to screw it up.
  16. Shriveled Richard was, as always, fucking cold. I’ve gotten used to the cold dunks by now. The key is to jump in as far across the dumpster as you can, keep your breathing slow and controlled and get the fuck out as fast as possible. Hmmm? The middle board seems to go much deeper in the water than I remember. Today I was concerned though with what effect it would have on my hands and arms having Wheel World the next obstacle. (Yes, I study the course maps prior to a race. They’re so pretty and full of promise)Savage Race Shriveled Richard
  17. Other than my population paste pump becoming a worthless little nub, after a few hundred yards of yet more slippery and hilly trail running, my hands, arms and the rest of my body warmed right back up.
  18. I came out of the trees in the shadow (I know it was raining. Work with me here!) of Colossus and finally see the obstacle I have been waiting months for: Wheel World. A thing of sublimely wicked beauty plucked from the playground of Satan’s Spawn. Five rotating and fiendishly askew steel pipe pentagons of evil. The pipes are slippery from the constant rain, but the boys from ORM are here! With cameras in my face and words of encouragement being shouted out, I pull myself up into go mode. I straight line it, monkey bar style, through the first pipe-a-gon to the opposite side of the second pentapipe. The third one suddenly fucking turns on me, placing my back to the 4th It’s all awkward stretching and kicking on the reach. My past daydreams of cruising through this obstacle in a fucking glorious aerial ballet of pirouettes was being crushed by the sheer terror of not slipping off those pipes! With a last heave I was done and out. Primal scream ensued. I was amped!Savage Race wheel world
  19. The euphoria of a successful, albeit ungainly, run through wheel world settles nicely into my bones as I run through the verdant.. fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck! Flying through the air, ground plane dropping away from me! The universe has a good sense humor, or balance if you will. The grace I lacked at wheel world comes to me at this very moment as I drop my shoulder, keep my legs in tight, roll (downhill) two times, and pop up on my feet facing uphill. What the hell did I just trip on?! I have now fallen on my face at every Savage I have done. I can already feel the scratches on my shoulders.
  1. Time for another stretch of running. Damn these wet muddy trails!
  2. Annnnnd, my feet go out from under me on a cross slope turn. Fuck! That twinged the knee a bit!
  3. I do not remember the pipe diameter at Pipe Dreams being so….girthy. Oh behave! And I don’t remember the two sections being that far apart. A GORMR/Mud Addict is there with encouraging words.
  4. Back in to the woods. Thor’s Grundle shows up in the middle of the woods after a particularly STEEP and sketchy downhill. This must have been a carnival slide by the third wave. Me So Thorny has its mojo back and is zig zagging once again.
  5. I’m cruising along the Yellow River, I can feel a bit of a second wind coming on when I hear someone coming up fast behind me. He then passes me like I’m standing still. It’s little Chris Acuff. Like Yuri and several other speed freaks, I usually only see him for about 50 yards after the starting line. “Ho HO!” I think to myself, “An obstacle must have really tripped that youngster up to be passing me after the 4th I ain’t gonna lie, it felt pretty good. I doubt it will happen again.
  6. Covered in mud and wincing from a view choice encounters with some fucking rocks in full on cloaking mode at Prairie Dog, I approached the Teeter Tubers. I was doing alright of a pace, feeling a little gassed, but knew I was getting near the end (again, it’s all about studying the map). Hmmmm…..? Seems to be a few people stacked up there for such an “easy” obstacle. I step up close and see guys sliding out of the tubes back to the entrance. “Oh that ain’t fucking good!” I hear a lot of words that would normally warm the cockles of my heart; words appreciated and savored by a guy who says fuck a lot. But these words portend ominous things to come. I pick a tube with no rhyme or reason and enter the shaft. I barely have my scrunched up body fully in the tube and I immediately slide backwards and out. Fuck! Spat out! It’s slicker than two slugs fucking on an ice covered marble floor! I try again, pressing harder with my back and hands. And again; the shoes have been shed and thrown into the tube. And fucking again; my socks now in the pocket of my board shorts! More people are stacked up. I start to see people I passed long ago. I see people I’ve been ahead of since the start! “You have GOT to be fucking kidding me!?” Of all places to be stuck, stonewalled, and stymied!

With only 75 yards to go and only one obstacle left to the finish, I gave up my band much too easily at BattleFrog Carolinas back in the spring. I promised myself I would not do that again without one hell of a fight. So with that in mind coupled with the onset of desperation, my brain goes all fucking mushy and decides stupid shit is actually logical and plausible.

Before we delve into that, let’s take another aside and examine the Teeter Tubers. The “Teets” are a classic example of a class 1 lever. The lever is one of the six simple machines those madcap Renaissance scientists identified when they weren’t busy dreaming up more complex machines like the Iron Maiden or the Judas Cradle. In this case we have a 24” diameter, 20 foot long plastic corrugated culvert pipe as our beam pivoted at a fulcrum. Now, since the racer is in effect the “effort” and there in no resistance, you’re basically climbing a ramp (another simple machine by the by) who’s interior is smoother than a fresh jar of Skippy (Julio! Get the stretch!) UNTIL you can get your exhausted, mud covered body past the fucking fulcrum, thus becoming the output.

So, back to the mushy desperate brain devising a plan that only Beavis & Butthead themselves would consider genius.

Here I am, not smart enough to try another tube (They’re all the same right?) and everything seems to be getting greasier with every attempt. I mean, my fucking shoes and socks are off for pete’s sake. This is a first for me and when the mud at the mouth of the tube squishes through my toes, I don’t get that “my toes are gonna be all fucking prehensile now!” feeling.

So, somehow I get the tube to balance; suspended horizontally in space. Wait for it…..don’t get ahead of me! I check behind me to see if it is clear, take a few steps back, mud and grass covering my bare feet, and launch into a full run forward. Channeling Vitaly, the feline star of Circus Zaragoza, I dive through the air aiming for the center of circle, willing my body to be as small as possible. I enter the pipe like Kelley Slater, gravity does what gravity does, and my body weight impacts the bottom of the pipe. At this point I remember I was never any fucking good at physics in high school. The Law of the Lever sends me crashing to the ground, and I take a direct hit in the hip with the lip of the pipe. The volunteer who had been yelling sweet nothings to us, insisting she did NOT want to take our bands, didn’t even bat an eyelash. She looked at me and deadpanned “that was a good idea”. “NO! That was the most moronic, ill-informed, half-baked, fucking stupid idea of all fucking stupid ideas”, I thought to myself.

I tried to crawl up yet again. My back, hands, and feet could find no purchase in this giant bucatini from hell. I slid backwards yet again. Doubt and fear starting creeping in. I did not want to give my band up at the Teets! I went to the adjacent stand of trees for the third time to wipe my hands on the leaves of some small trees. And then it happened; a fucking laser beam of light shot out from the light bulb above my head (forgive the incongruity of the technologies) and lit up the pine trees branches inches from my face. The needles! The fucking beautiful glorious needles! YES! I started tearing off small branches that were heavy with needles. The volunteer surely thinking I had gone mad.  I reengaged Satan’s bunghole, placed the pine needles, branch and all under my hands and pushed/pulled. I moved upwards! I finally moved fucking upwards! I repeated the move, the pine needles giving me just enough friction to overcome Satan’s anal leakage. Again. 6 inches. Again. Another 6”! And again. Painfully small but upward movements. And then without warning the sweet sexy sensation of the tube tipping! I had passed the fulcrum and had become the output! The tube walls echoed from my shouts of triumph. I was shat out, tired, muddy, and smelling like fucking Pinesol. (writer’s note – about 10 minutes after I got the fuck out of there, they started allowing assistance. A few minutes more after that, they added ropes to the tubes)Savage Race teeter tubers

  1. After all that exertion The Great Wall was the last blue wall I wanted to see.
  2. As I run up to Venus Guy Trap I see a friend at the top of the inverted wall (and this is not meant to sound douchey) who I never see during the races because of our different paces. The expression on his face when he sees me and realizes he has been ahead of me was fucking priceless. And this, in a nutshell, is the beauty of mandatory obstacle completion (MOC). I know that I had the exact same expression during Battlefrog Carolinas when I came up on people, stuck at an obstacle, who never see me after the start of a race. It’s a great fucking feeling. Today it was my turn to be on the struggling end of MOC. (writer’s note – My struggles at Teets cost  me 22 places)
  3. As I labor up to NuttSmasher at the top of a short but fucking steep hill, I remember that I fell in the spring and it took me 3 tries to cross. But the last few races I have done well on balance obstacles, so I approached brimming with confidence but tired as fuck. Then I saw all the beams had been replaced. Gone were the old beams with more curves than Marilyn Monroe and more warped than Star Trek. Oh it was on!Savage Race nuttsmasher
  4. I’m looking to make some ground up at Lumberjack Lane until I see the timbers we have to carry. Holy Shit! In the spring it was a 5-6 foot long southern yellow pine 4×4, dry and light. Now I’m staring at a pile of 5 foot long pressure treated 4x6s that look like they’ve been at the bottom of lake for a century and the volunteer cheerfully says “take two”.So with images of Shute carrying that huge fucking log up the bleacher stairs, I man handle the two timbers onto my shoulders. It’s all awkward and ungainly as I try to get them across my shoulders. I can’t get the slick sticks to keep from spinning against each other, so I abandon my vision quest and stack them on one shoulder. These beasts are heavy and awkward, so running is not really an option. It’s hella muddy! A power walk gets me to the turn. I switch to my left shoulder and with the slight downhill I am able start up a light jog. It’s tretscherous footing and a Grey Beret in front of me goes down hard. Somehow he keeps both timbers on his shoulders. Nicely done Mr. Clean. I finally approach the drop pile and yell for the volunteers to watch their toes; “I’m coming in hot!” I dump Satan’s chopsticks and jog/shuffle to the final obstacle. I’m so fucking tired.Savage Race lumberjack lane
  1. I reach Colussus, decide on the furthest left lane and go. I want to pass a couple of people and there’s no time to admire Big Blue. I don’t want to chance a slip or cramp on an overly planted foot, so I run with just enough speed to reach the bottom of the rope. The rope and wall are wet and muddy but climbable. A somewhat ungainly top out and it’s quickly to the ladder to reach the apex; the top of the slide. When a slide is at the end of a race, there is ONLY one way to drop in; you have to jump straight up to get down. This saves precision time versus sitting down on the lip and pushing off. Besides you get big air and warp fucking speed when you slide. (DO NOT jump out! You do not want to land in the transition. Ouch!)I still have no idea how to solve the problem of exiting the Colossus splash pit without looking like a complete drunkard. It is the most awkward water pit to get out of in the entire OCR world.Savage Race colussus
  1. 10 feet from the water is the finish line. Not the most dramatic finish (no photo finish footrace possibilities here (only people thrashing about trying to climb a slope of fucking wet plastic) but I’m done! This race was so fucking awesome!!!!! Tretsch says DO IT!


I have just enough time for some goofery and a beer before my sweet Lil’ B and her BFF get there for SavageJr. 3 laps these little buggers did; dragging my tired ass each and every time. I finally had to stop them using the awards ceremony as an excuse.

After the awards the family had departed and I had to clean off. Luckily Wheel World was right there with its deep pool of water.

The rain and cold made it an unpleasant day for hanging out, but I still managed to dig deep and have another beer and shove a cheesesteak into my face hole. DFQ.

It was a grand day!

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Robert A. Tretsch, III, aka “Tretsch”, is a gentleman architect and founder of the Grey Berets who revels in the pursuit of mud, obstacles and the occasional podium step.
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