BattleFrog: Inaugural Louisville Race – 2016 Recap

Being an OCR enthusiast from Kentucky typically means lots of travel to attend events.  BattleFrog (BF) finally visited the Bluegrass State last weekend, and I was as ecstatic as a teenage girl at a Taylor Swift concert.  After a lackluster Chicago event two weeks previous, I was hoping BF was keen to “Shake It Off” and get back to the challenging series we have come to expect.  Having the legendary “Beard” back as race director gave me great confidence this would be the case.

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General Butler State Resort Park nestled in the rolling hills of Carrollton, KY 45 minutes east of Louisville was the event venue.  Not only is the park located a mere 2 miles off I-71, the event parking was directly at the main entrance making for one of the easier morning commutes.  Parking fee was the standard $10 and the festival area was a short 200-meter walk away.  As usual, the registration process was well staffed and participants entered through the merchandise tent to the music-filled festival area.

With the clock striking 7 am and the sun creeping higher in the sky, Elites began crowding into the starting corral.  The “Beard” reviewed the rules, Coach Pain provided the motivation, a few Hooyah’s were chanted, and we were off.  Like thoroughbreds at Churchill Downs, participants charged towards a sharp left turn only 50 meters away causing an early bottleneck.  The course then stretched alongside the highway and provided some rudimentary O.U.T obstacles leading up to the 4-foot wall.

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The straight, wide running path then turned into the dense woods and shrunk to more single track racing.  General Butler State Park has many well-groomed trails and BF succeeded in using none of them.  The next three miles would take us directly through the untamed forest, creeks, and ravines providing extremely technical terrain.  The metaphorical and literal pinnacle of the natural terrain was Mount Battlefrog which towered 200 feet in only 300 meters kicking up to a 35% gradient.  Complimenting the natural obstacles along the way were man-made obstacles such as Ramp Wall, Spider Web, Monkey Bars, and a short Jerry Can Carry.

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After three miles of technical running, the last two miles of the course was an upper body/grip strength assault of 14 obstacles.  These included 60 Degrees, Wreck Bag Carry, Wedge Wall, 8-foot Wall, Platinum Rig, Tip of the Spear, and 12-foot Rope Wall.  The thick morning dew during the Elite heat made this sequence even more challenging (not to mention the second lap).  Athletes attempting to conquer the course later in the day would be facing them in the sweltering 95 degree heat.  The finish line was a welcomed sight after this course.

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Podium finishers for the male Elites were Ian Hosek, Alex Stephens, and Jamie McCart and the female Elites were Laura Hunt, Heather Moss, and Jen Kohlbeck.   Greg Bugher, Glenn Nakamura, and Josh McDaniel took the top spots for the Master’s male Elites while Maria Tornudd was the sole female Master’s Elite finisher.  A few brave souls endured the Kentucky heat all day for BF Xtreme (BFX) with Michael Bell and Jennifer Hawkins taking home the coveted trident.

BattleFrog has established themselves as one of the more challenging OCR series and that was solidified with Louisville’s course.  More importantly, there was fun to be had on this course no matter what skill level you entered the starting corral.  BattleFrog’s tiered obstacle system with novice, intermediate, and elite options provided everyone a chance to feel accomplished.  To paraphrase Stephen Foster’s famous state song, the sun shined bright on my old Kentucky home.

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Photo Credits: BattleFrog Series

BattleFrog Xtreme vs. Triple Digit Heat in Portland

If the devil visited the course on race day, he would have worn shorts. My hometown greeted the BattleFrog crew with a blistering 100+ dose of PNW sun.

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The BattleFrog Extreme (BFX) started with a 7:45 briefing / PT Session from the Beard himself, and then an 8:15 send off from Coach Pain (after a person who missed the 7:45 briefing was publically hazed). Our goal was as many laps of the 8k course as possible, but whatever lap we were on 6.5 hours later would be our last. You could stop at 3 laps for a BFX medal, but an extra gold star for each lap would be waiting at the finish line if you wanted more – and a silver star at lap 5.

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Coach Pain’s send off was great. The guy channels Don King’s lyricism, Leonidas’ inspirational touch and Jack Lalane’s passion for being awesome in all things fitness. And he’s a super nice! After the race I shook his hand and thanked him for the boost at the start. He pointed to my BFX medal and said it meant a lot to him to see me wearing that. Kids need that sort of guy as a role model.

The race course started easy enough going up a hill. A bunch of people ran up it while I did a slow jog, then it leveled out and I started passing. After a nice downhill in the shade we turned back up for the full sun exposure parts of the course. There were a few standards O-U-Ts, walls, and then a pond / horse toilet where the Normandy Jacks supported low wires we had to crawl under.

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After the pond there was a nice trail section again with some shade that didn’t last, and then the Jerry Can carry. These 50 pound containers of water felt easy on the first few laps, but they morphed into instruments of torment as the day got hotter. The unshaded loop we carried them on was long, and had respectable inclines.

BattleFrog Jerry Can Portland

Still, most everything was simple on lap one. The early morning flow helped burn off a lot of the nervous energy. The muddy creek we traversed, mud mounds and the quicksand obstacle were all still fresh – and they all took turns dumping new rocks into our shoes. Later in the day, these became shoe stealing and cramp inducing bogs where the mud didn’t stop until it hit your knees.

What stood out by lap one was the obstacle variety. This was my 12th OCR / endurance event, and I’d developed a bit of “been there, conquered that” cockiness about most OCR things not called an Ultra Beast. Any meathead can push through Spartan obstacles, but the BF stuff is tricky and took some real thought.

On my first lap, I successfully navigated the elite wedge wall. I think the cliffhanger from ANW might be easier. The thing leans backwards, uses rock climbing hand holds that are unevenly distributed and goes on forever. But let’s talk about that platinum rig…  I completed this contraption on 3 of 4 laps, but even after watching my video I still can’t tell you how. Were the course directors downing shots and commiserating over bad breakups when they designed that thing? The rope to Olympic ring transitions were awkward enough, but the varying heights of the rings made that thing exceptionally hard. Battlefrog, I owe you an apology for underestimating your courses…. Those obstacles are about as “easy” as Coach Pain is timid and shy.

Lap 1 ended shortly after I made it up the tall rope climb (above 2 inches of hay?) and through the Tip of the Spear (a really, super fun and semi technical obstacle). At under 1:20, I was feeling good about getting five laps in.

I’d read about the triple digit heat and thought I was ready. Instead of steady pacing the day, I planned to go out a faster and bank as many laps as possible before the heat caught up. I restocked my hydration belt, downed a Gatorade and some Nuun spiked water and took off. About 1:25 minutes later I was back again, with only a minor calve cramp from spacing calories too far apart. Lap 3 took 11 minutes longer, but the body was still showing me love so I took off for #4 feeling cocky.

It had been oppressively hot for a while before lap 4, but I thought I was managing it well. After all, I’d made it through the Platinum Rig three times already – and that thing’s impossible! The medics by the drop area asked if I wanted them to pour cold water on my head before leaving. I tapped the hydration packs on my waist, gave them a cheesy grin and said “no worries, I got this” and took off up the hill.

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Around 1:30 the course felt like Hades. The stinky pond with the Normandy Jacks now felt like an Oasis that I didn’t want to leave. I put all of my body that fit into the water to cool down a bit. After some more trail weaving, those wretched Jerry Cans were back. While lugging that thing uphill my core temp started feeling nuclear, and the heart rate started spiking. I set the can down a few times, but even after rest I felt just as tired as I did before stopping. Then the cramps started. I didn’t realize until afterwards that my final hour on the course was going to be a textbook case of heat exhaustion.

Shortly after posing for my last Jerry Can picture, muscles in my abs started visibly balling up under the skin. Every time a mud obstacle would come, cramps in the legs started firing off like a symphony. And it got progressively worse.

The legs didn’t get all the fun. The 90+ obstacles had taken an upper body toll. My forearms started seizing and locked the affected hand into a claw-like pose. Even flexing for a picture triggered the “claw” cramping. It was pretty grim, but then waves of nausea started and they helped take my mind off the cramping.

After moving like a zombie for a bit, it was round 4 with the rig. This time, I failed. The volunteer told me he wouldn’t make me do the penalty loop. Yeah right, like I’m going to start cheating on lap 4? I insisted. He pointed to a 50-pound wreck bag to carry round the loop. I found out later he was being nice, because he didn’t tell me I was also supposed to grab a Jerry Can. Sorry BF, I tried to honor your rules.

The final trudge to the hilltop cemetery felt appropriately symbolic before turning down to the finish line. After three more obstacles (where it was a constant struggle not to vomit), my 20 mile, 120 obstacle and 2,800 feet of elevation gain journey in the blazing heat was over.

If I were a horse in a 1950’s western, they would have shot me at the finish line. Instead, I was pampered with water and ice, and given a huge medal with 4 stars for my effort. I crossed the finish line 6:39 minutes after I started (too late to go out for another lap) and came in 7th among the men.

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After the race, the medics watched us like hawks. I hadn’t been laying down for more than a couple of minutes before they had ice packs under both of my arms and behind my neck. Battlefrog really took everyone’s safety in that heat seriously. Watching them constantly checking on their volunteers throughout the day to make sure they were doing alright just reinforced this group’s class.

The course was great, the people were amazing, and I really fell in love with the way this crew rolls. Count me as one of the BF converts. Easily one of the better times I’ve ever had on a course.

If you’d like a highlights visual of the course with Tchaikovsky in the background, an 8-minute video of the day is available here .

Photo Credits: “cool random guy at the shower station” and Chosen Technologies via BattleFrog. 

BattleFrog Chicagoland 2016 aka Waterworld

Participating in races in the summer months is always a bit of a gamble if you are not familiar with the race venue: Getting fried in the sun is never fun and for people who are having issues regulating their body temperature it can get outright dangerous. The Saturday of BattleFrog‘s Chicagoland event 2 hours outside of the City of Chicago started very cloudy and overcast with forecasts for rain. However, around 10am the sun came out and the temperatures kept rising. That’s May for you.

The course map showed a few interesting changes compared to BF Los Angeles and BF San Francisco: No monkey bars, no weaver, just a single rig and an obstacle called “Strong Man” which turned out to be similar to an atlas stone carry. The course would later turn out to measure aprox. 4.8 miles distance with about 1000 feet of elevation gain.

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Fortunately, the venue at “The Cliffs Insane Terrain Inc.” had plenty of creeks and woods available and BattleFrog was nice enough to make sure the racers would get plenty of opportunities to cool down, even including a short swim and of course their signature Hooyah water slide obstacle. On top of that, frequently appearing deep mud mounds made sure nobody stayed dry for too long.

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The swimming obstacle was manned with divers, an inflatable boat, and people on land on standby. Additionally, a rope in the water provided safety in emergencies but was not to be touched otherwise. Water safety is always very important at OCRs especially in the heat and it was great to see the significant precautions BattleFrog has taken to address this.

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If you came to BattleFog to get a mud run then you made the right choice! As soon as it came to obstacles like the rope climb, the 12’ wall, confidence climb, and 60 Degrees, all that mud came back to hound the runners: Very slippery ropes made the short rope climb difficult even for elite racers. Obstacles with metal bars became slippery and increased the challenge even further.

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For those not familiar with BattleFrog obstacles, the confidence climb is a series of square metal bars vertically stacked on top of each other and runners have to climb up and over, then climb back down on the other side. 60 Degrees is basically the same thing, but the whole obstacle is tilted to a 60-degree angle facing the runner: Not only do you have to hold on to the slippery bars, you also have to fight gravity – similar to an inverted wall. As the picture shows, deep pools of water and mud mounds right before this obstacle made this especially exciting.IMG_20160528_102913

BattleFrog did a great job with the setup of separate lanes for elite, intermediate, and novice runners which ensured a steady flow at the obstacles and prevented frustration. More boards to step on for the novice lane at the 12′ Rope Wall definitely reduced the fear factor. A lower hanging bell at the rope climb or fewer metal bars to climb or a significantly easier Tip of the Spear made a big difference for everyone who does not have competitive aspirations while still offering the option of going for the more difficult elite lanes.

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However, it unfortunately provided opportunity for some “Elite” competitors to sneak into an easier lane during their second laps. Every race depends immensely on their volunteers and while the majority are upbeat and encouraging – which is the most important thing for 90% of participants – there is still room for improvement when it comes to their knowledge of the rules. For example, Spartan Race hands out laminated sheets with an explanation of the obstacle and the penalty to the volunteers manning the obstacle. This would be a possible way to ensure a more consistent quality in this regard.

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The recent announcement of penalties for BattleFrog Xtreme competitors stirred up a lot of controversy about how this would be handled. In Chicagoland there was only a single penalty loop set up to address the most difficult obstacle: Right behind the Platinum Rig a wreck bag and jerry cans were set up next to a “BFX Penalty Loop” sign. The penalty consisted of carrying a wreck bag plus one jerry can for a tiny loop which was marked by flags. The amount of time required was about equal to a clean pass through the Platinum Rig but less taxing and less time consuming than the usual ten 8 count body builders, the usual penalty for failing to complete an obstacle. This was a bit disappointing to see, especially because nobody was around to inform the BFX combatants about what they were supposed to do. Most carried only the wreck bag or two jerry cans and while integrity is key, nobody would have stopped them from simply walking past the penalty loop either.

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The fact that the Platinum Rig was in a fairly easy configuration – probably due to expected rain which would have made it difficult nevertheless – reduced the impact of this. The Rig and the penalty loop were packed very closely together and right next to the finish line and Elite/BFX transition point. This made it impossible for the volunteers to keep everyone in check and at the end of the day everyone knows if they earned their medal or not.

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Bottom Line: BattleFrog took advantage of the varying terrain at the venue and provided a challenging OCR with interesting twists to keep the race attractive for all that already have done one or more of their events in the past. While raw strength and obstacle technique could make or break someone’s race in the past, the current setup with lanes of different difficulties offers options to athletes of all backgrounds and skill levels.

(All pictures have been taken by the author)

BattleFrog: Chicago 2016

13332725_1245885512096275_6698609014792783944_n The 2016 Chicago BattleFrog was held May 28th at the Dirt Runner in Marseilles, Illinois. Dirt Runner has been the home of the Illinois Spartan race since Spartan brought their series to the Illinois. But this year Spartan left and BattleFrog moved into this permanent OCR course, which in my opinion, is one of the best in the Midwest. The permanent obstacles that Dirt Runner has installed are top notch with plenty of hills, mud, and technical terrain thrown in. Unfortunately, without Chris Accord there to design the course little of the terrain was utilized and none of the Dirt Runner obstacles were used. The one thing that did stand out to me as my family and I entered the event and hit the restrooms was that there were 3 volunteers that constantly cleaned up the porta potties after each use. This was one change I was excited about! No piss and mud all over!

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Upon arrival to the event, volunteers took your 10 bucks and moved you quickly to the grass field where you were guided to park well within walking distance of the festival area. In recent years, Spartan charged you 40 bucks to park in this vast grass field, but for 10 bucks Spartan would bus you in from 2 miles away. So thank you BattleFrog for not pinching us on the parking! Registration went smoothly and heats were running along on time with Coach Pain giving everyone a good pep talk. They had a few more companies with booths set up to buy things and they had two places to get food and drink. The event didn’t seem to be overly well attended and movement through the festival area was fairly painless.  Plenty of bathrooms, changing areas, and showers were provided as well.

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Now on to the actual course. We were started off in the same grass field used to park cars where they ran us around a small loop and onto the 12-foot ladder walls and the inverted wall. Besides the rig at the end this was the only place along the route where family could take photos along the 5.1-mile course. From there we were led through the flat part of the Dirt Runner course where some halfhearted mud mounds were set up. BattleFrog left room on either side for people to skip the mud though, not a typical well planned course like we expect from BattleFrog. Along the flat terrain were tucked a wreck bag carry, jerry can carry {only one can was carry was the rule for open class}, and an obstacle where you picked up a small cement block and walked it about 10 feet to a line and back. The dreaded jerry can and wreck bag carry were just a circle route through the grass and a paved parking lot. Why they chose to not use the hills on the other side of the course was beyond me. The Normandy Jacks were put across a simple mud puddle on the ground with only wire across them. Not barbed wire, this was one of the few photo set up areas used by BattleFrog and we basically had to cross the puddle one at a time in order to not be on top of one another.

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Further along the course we were able to finally get to some hills along with a dash through a very scenic creek, but BattleFrog didn’t use these natural features to install any obstacles. So this part of the course was basically a trail run. They would sneak in a delta ladder and a rope climb {I was able to jump up and ring the bell without climbing} but other than that it was turning out to be a very lame course for a BattleFrog vet. After our brief trail run which ended up with an embarrassing 312 feet of elevation change they circled us back to the festival area. A small swim, maybe 15 yards, and an obstacle where we actually carried wooden pallets in a small circle before stacking them back up and finishing up at the rig before the finish.

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I was greatly disappointed with the design of the course and obstacles offered at this event. It’s almost as if they just threw it together at the last second. Maybe they had to get the pallets back to Wal-Mart. I don’t know, but they failed to use the great terrain to their advantage and failed to use any of the great, permanent obstacles provided by Dirt Runner. This ended being like a longer version of a Warrior Dash. For an OCR vet this was basically a joke, but for a novice I’m sure it was a great experience. Maybe BattleFrog was told their events were too hard and didn’t appeal to the masses. Maybe this is a kinder, more gentle BattleFrog. If this is the new mainstream BattleFrog, I’m not sure it’s right for a competitive racer. Better luck next year.13316983_1245876122097214_1505358033465460675_o

Give Us Our BattleFrog Back!

Elites who travel for the BattleFrog series do it for a number of reasons, a challenge, training for the OCR World Championship, and opportunity to collect the once rare and coveted Elite band. After experiencing an excellent course in Charlotte just two weeks ago, I was longing to feel that BF rush all over again. With an 80% fail rate, epic PVC monkey bars and 2 rigs per lap, it was everything I expected a Regional race to be! I kept my band, and I added it to my pile of hard earned rubber treasures. This was a stark contrast to the vast nothingness that awaited competitors in DC.

Participants of the DC BattleFrog are wondering what happened to the BattleFrog race they know and loved, and what was the trail run that showed up in its place? After each race, BattleFrog poses the question “What was your favorite obstacle?” When the most common answer was “mud”, you’re doing it wrong. 12ft Rope Wall

The race venue was beautiful: gorgeous bike trails with rolling hills and more mud than you can imagine. The Elite wave took off running, we ran, and ran some more. Finally someone said what we were all thinking, “It would be cool if this obstacle course race had obstacles.” Standard to any race, athletes were instructed to keep the flags to the right, however through the main trail there were not many flags as though the path was implied, but there were a number of off-shoot trails with arrows- for bikers- that lead people off course. Everyone I spoke with post-race had a story of confusion, as did the timing tent with sorting out who actually placed among the top of their respective fields.

The biggest issue with this race was the lack of volunteers (most likely due to Savage Race taking place in MD on the same day). All water stations but one was unmanned. Many stations had large water jugs and no cups. One sip of water on a 10-mile course was brutal; the only saving grace was that the weather was cool and the course mostly shaded. An additional obstacle was trying to shower off because the water wasn’t running, leaving some athletes standing there shivering and others wandering away in search of someone who could assist.

For a “mandatory obstacle completion” race to have no volunteers at obstacles brought out the worst in dishonest racers. I personally witnessed men leaving the rig after failure and running away with bands on, diminishing the value of the band, and having zero respect for the sport. The band has to mean something, otherwise, let me throw my spear and do some burpees.  There are too many people who are training extremely hard so that they can keep their band for the FIRST time.  Don’t insult their efforts by lowering the standard or allowing the band to be given freely to anyone who shows up and “tries”. When elites register as elites, they know exactly what they signed up for. Every time they approach that starting line, they wonder, today, will my best be good enough. Often times, it’s not, and THAT’S what keeps the Elites coming back. My band from this weekend won’t get to join the “collection” because this band has no value, despite a first place finish on the women’s podium. The completion rate had to be 90+ percent. I saw only ONE elite band left at the rig, and as far as I’m concerned, that band was the only one of value in DC, the one that wasn’t earned.  That athlete understands what an Elite band means. I am willing to bet that the respectable athlete who left it behind will be back for redemption when the BattleFrog they know and love returns.

Confidence Climb
While BattleFrog is undertaking a huge task of building a brand and working to attract a larger consumer market, they are making the returning racers wonder where this series is headed. Obviously to stay in business they need to increase their attendance numbers. One way to do this is to be consistent. After talking with Elites, first timers looking to become Elites, and open wave runners looking for a good time, there was a common consensus in DC- that race wasn’t what anyone expected it to be. Having an “elite”,”intermediate”, and “novice” lane is a great way to incorporate all levels of racers, but keep the elite field difficult. One jerry can is fine for open wave but believe me when I say all elites can handle two, regardless of course conditions. Most elites would rather shed blood, sweat, and tears on the course even to leave without a band than to be coddled in an “everyone is a winner” environment.Jerry Can CarryA returning elite who participated in BattleFrog Cincinnati last year had talked up the series to his friends about how it had been the most challenging thing he had ever done. His friends all came to DC to accept the challenge and laughed at the simplicity of it. That stops people from promoting the series, when they themselves no longer know what to expect.

I love BattleFrog. I want this series to succeed.  This race series drew me in at their first race ever-a 5k course in Miami 2014. I have attended over a dozen other BF races across the country. The series was what prepared me for OCRWC.  BattleFrog built hybrid athletes; ones who could adapt, grow, evolve, and mentally be strong enough to believe that they could conquer anything put before them.  Long wait times at obstacles were never “bottlenecks” for people making multiple attempts; they were locations where camaraderie was harvested, friendships formed, and OCR competitors were united with common goals. BattleFrog has an amazing pro team of rounded athletes and some of the nicest people you will ever meet, but for how long? If the series is no longer helping to build better athletes by presenting challenging courses, what reason will they have to stay? BattleFrog could do what they tend to do, and throw more money at problems, or they can listen to people in the OCR community and give us back our BattleFrog!

Photo credit: BattleFrog Series Facebook Page

BattleFrog Dallas 2016: Race Review

BattleFrog Dallas was calling and I arrived in Dallas-Fort Worth early Friday afternoon and was greeted by a familiar face as I walked out of the concourse. My race pal, Jason Bailey, was feverishly waving his hands out of the sunroof of a Mini Cooper he had been fortuitously upgraded to earlier in the day. I chuckled to myself and we were off. We headed straight to Jason’s co-workers house in Frisco, Texas. They were nice enough to welcome us in their home and treat us to a BBQ Dinner at Hard-8 the night before the race. The pulled pork was delicious but I could have done without the side of smoke inhalation. Needless to say, the accommodations were far superior to our usual race day comforts (I’m looking at you Super Ocho).

RACE DAY:
Following the weather all week from my iPhone I a) developed smartphone thumb and b) was somewhat relieved to find a 30% chance of rain throughout the day. Dry rigs are one thing; wet rigs are a whole other ballgame. We arrived at the venue and were directed to a nearby church down the street. Soon after we parked, we were taken to the venue in air-conditioned buses. Not the typical yellow school buses Spa_t_n employs. We breezed through packet pickup, put our bibs on, dropped the bags at bag check and set off for the start line. Coach Pain delivered a signature speech as usual and encouraged us to “handle our business” out on the course. We started in the back of the field and planned on setting out at a moderate pace attempting to spare our upper bodies for the rigors that lied ahead.
BattleFrog Dallas Start Line
The 1st obstacle was your standard Over-Under-Thru followed by a trudge through some knee high water and mud. As we reached the jerry can carry a logjam began as racers had to pull the 2 cans backwards through the mud and underneath wire. The cameraman may have kept a few of those photos for his personal collection #justsayin. After some more swamp and jabby sticks we approached the 6th obstacle Ladder Walls-here they eliminated the step ups making for a sketchy obstacle or essentially a vertical slip-n-slide-especially with muddy ropes and wet racers. Here I only thought I would die once. Ramp walls and the new cylindrical version of 60 degrees next followed the Delta Ladder. The 50-lb Wreck bag carry was a short jog through some trees and pasture. Why not upgrade the Elite Males to 60-70 lbs versions (hint-hint)? Next up was a ring transition into a rope climb followed back by a transition to the ring. Loved this obstacle-it’s almost how I want to get into my bed at night. Six-foot walls followed spinning monkey bars and confidence climb (basically another cylindrical aluminum frame). The wedge wall was slightly different than past versions with climbing holds being applied as opposed to a thin piece of wood. They dunked you in some rolling mud three times just prior to the 1st Platinum Rig. This Rig was comprised of a rope transition into 2 rings-2 nunchuks followed by a tall bar. Some chose to lache from the 2nd ring all the way to the tall bar before transitioning lower to a monkey bar sequence a few feet off the ground. The monkey bars led to a rope followed by 2 poles to the bell. More walls led you to Platinum Rig # 2. This rig was much more playful than the 1st-it started with a horizontal Bar transition into monkey bars/criss-crossed hanging bars into a nunchuk and 2 rings to the bell.

BattleFrog Dallas Cargo Climb
A tall cargo bridge that allowed passerby’s underneath eventually led to the Tip of the Spear. Here the typical 6 ropes were reduced to 4 and the step holds between the gaps were eliminated. The Center piece consisted of 2 pieces of wood in the shape of two upside down V’s, an “M” or winky eyebrows as I like to call them, followed by the final transition a series of 4 ropes well spaced apart to the Finish Line.

BattleFrog Dallas Tip of the Spear Jason Bailey
Jason Bailey (above) in all his “glory”

Volunteers then greeted you with a water/banana/your BF medal before shuttling you into the festival area. Coach Pain was lively conducting fitness tests when he wasn’t inspiring those at the start line. There was plenty of BBQ and Craft Beer to go around post race. Photo ops were plentiful with military inspired props. Cleanest Port-o-Potty’s in the business!
BattleFrog Coach Payne

THINGS I WOULD CHANGE:
Place the Jerry can carry/wire further back in the race as bottlenecks did occur.

Place the 2nd easier rig in front of the 1st more difficult rig allowing racers to get further faster and to help build confidence without risking injury (lache-ing). I did see 2-3 ankle injuries/Face Laceration which did require intervention while at the 1st rig. Luckily no one knew what I did for a living (j/k). The medics were awesome.

Replace a step on the Ladder walls as they are already sketchy AF. If you add mud and a wet rope, you’re a slip away from disaster or becoming a human puddle.

Lastly, why not light the ropes on the Tip of the Spear on fire? It’d make for a hell of a Facebook Profile Pic.

MY EXPERIENCE:
I injured my left hand on my 3rd attempt at the Platinum rig #1 my grip just wasn’t the same after that. I spent nearly 4 hours there stubbornly repeating the Rig to no avail. I reluctantly handed over my band and moved on. They tell you to get your 2 laps in, but I was spent/dejected and didn’t want to risk further injury due to muscle fatigue. I am most curious to see the Elite Field Completion % for this race in particular. I think you’ll find it significantly lower than normal. Race Director Adam Washburn was quite masochistic with his rig configuration on PR # 1. Battlefrog keeps pushing the boundaries of innovation and are upper body destroyers. In fact, I’m using Dragon software right now to transcribe this as I still can’t lift my hands above my elbows. I’ll be back that’s for sure…. #Bandsoverburpees or #Burpeesoverbands I’ll let you decide…#HOOYAH #BattlingisBelieving.