Tri-State NY #2 Spartan Sprint 2016 – June 19, 2016
By Walter F Hendrick (OCRSandy)
This was only my third OCR of 2016, and first OCR on back to back days. It also was my first Spartan race of the year. I have been dealing with a boatload of injuries in 2016 that have prevented me from training at the level I have become accustom to over the previous two years and am just not in that great of shape yet. At the same time I am also still dealing with a lower back injury and two painful shoulders. To make things even worse, I have recently been struggling with a form a vertigo that comes on when I am crawling, climbing, or make sudden movements, so this was going to a challenging and interesting race for me. This was my first ever OCR two years ago, so it was important to me to do it again this year.
- Pre-race MC:
This was my first time hearing the new Spartan Race MC, he wasn’t bad and has his own style. I have to admit I much more enjoyed Bishop’s MC skills, but prefer this new MC to Dustin for sure.
- The Course:
The course was 5.2 miles with 21 obstacles and four water stations. I am personally a fan of shorter distance with more obstacles, so this course wasn’t one of my favorite as it had some long trail sections between obstacles. Of the 21 obstacles I don’t think any were new for 2016, which I have to say was a little disappointed with. In the past, Spartan has taken a lot of pride when it comes to this Tri-State race and have put together one of the better Sprint courses I have done each of the previous two race seasons, but this year I just didn’t feel that way about the course.
The first obstacle I have to mention was the barbed wire crawl, I have always considered the barbed wire crawl at this venue to be one of the hardest at any Spartan venue and this year was no different. The previous two year’s Spartan staff/volunteers would be spraying water via a fire hose on the crawl to help keep it at least a little muddy, but this year they sprayed no water and the crawl was on bone dry dirt and rocks for what made for a brutal crawl. Having to deal with vertigo while doing the crawl only made for a far harder crawl for me.
I was concerned about the bucket brigade due to my lower back being still under the weather, but it wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be, but I did have to stop and rest way more than I typically would. The same concerns and need for more rest than normal was also needed when it came to the sandbag carry. I found myself slipping more than normal and stopped for rest way more than I normally have in the past.
Two obstacles that have always been two of my better ones at least still remained that way. I was able to nail the spear throw dead center, which on a day I struggled both physically and mentally it brought a smile to my face. The same applied to the Herc Hoist, which I was able to pull right up to the top easy and fast while everyone around me was struggling. This was a great ego boost for even if only for a short time.
Next worth mentioning is the rope climb, for the first time at this venue, Spartan didn’t have the rope climb suspended over waste deep water, which does make for an easier and faster moving obstacle with less potential for lines backing up and delays.
Find your next Spartan Race.
I was very happy that the course included the Rolling Mud with Dunk Walls as it was a hot day with a lot of the course directly in the sunlight and this was the one chance on the course to cool down. It was kind of funny to see other racers freaking out about entering the dirty water, while I embraced it and submerged my entire body to cool down.
The course also included a lot of the other standard Spartan obstacles, like the Inverted Wall, Monkey Bars, Fire Jump (should this be included in the obstacle course totals?), Stairway to Sparta, several high walls, and the always fun O-U-T that was actually Under-Over-Thru on this course.
The course utilized the mountain to its fullest potential and snaked up and down it multiple times with almost an equal amount of time spent in both the direct sunlight and wooded trail sections which was nice on a hot and sunny day.
- The Bling:
Both the finisher medal’s and finisher shirts have a new look/design and I have to say I am a big fan of both.
- Overall Feelings and Event Rating:
By this time last year, I had already completed something like fifty ORC’s so this race was quite a humbling and I have to admit depressing experience for me. As far as the course, as mentioned above, my personal preference is for a shorter distance with more obstacles, but that is just my opinion and I am sure many others will have the exact opposite feeling. As a result I was disappointed with the course only having 21 obstacles and several very long trail sections with no obstacles. I also was expecting more obstacles for 2016, so I was disappointed about that as well.
The new bling is awesome and sexy and I am happy to add them to my collection. The volunteers and staff were all awesome the entire day and helped make for a good time. I am going to rate this event/course a 4.6 out of 5 stars and look forward to next year’s Tuxedo race.