Spartan Race World Championships Lake Tahoe

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First, I’d like to thank Squaw Valley for hosting the Spartan Race World Championships. It’s always great to come back here; it’s been quite a while since I’ve been here, and also the first time when there wasn’t snow everywhere.

Second, I’d like to throw out a big #EFFNORM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Norm Koch is a course designer for Spartan Race known to design the hardest courses to challenge anyone… He promised this would be the hardest Beast ever built and BOY did he deliver.

8AM barely anyone there, parking empty. 30 minutes later, the parking lot was full(er) glad I got there when I did.


We started the day (I was there at 8am) with a ~35F weather. It was so bad, you needed to stay in the beam of sunlight or you were freezing! MOST of the racers were in their teeny tight spandex leggings and shirts. There I stood with my Nike run “Fall” jacket feeling a little overdressed. But I sure am glad I did! You’ll find out later.

Right off the bat, at around .6 of a mile, were the Rolling Mud obstacles. Basically three small hills with ice-cold water at the base of the hills. I know my wife probably would have quit right there and then. Luckily, after the quick knee/thigh-high dunks (…waist for me…) it warmed up nicely within an hour or so. By mile 5 I took my Nike jacket off… just in time for my first Log Carry. Your average obstacle, just as difficult as any average sandbag carry/bucket brigade. Up on the right, down on the left.

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Let’s fast forward to Mile 9, the swim obstacle. Yes, SWIM obstacle. No, it wasn’t snowing; so, it could have been much, much worse. However, I think it was bad enough. There was a burpee option to skip the obstacle, you’d have to do 60 burpees instead of the regular 30. It IS the world championships after all. Thanks for the vid, Peach!

For some stupid reason I grabbed the life vest (non-elites are required) and got into the water. I don’t know how long exactly, but according to MapMyRun it was about .07mi (or 123.2 yards, or 369.6 feet) and took me THREE minutes. I’ll tell you this, it was the coldest, longest three minutes of my life. I was struggling mentally, physically, spiritually, and whatever “-ally” to swim to the other end of the water. It didn’t help that the life vest was thick and choking me. I could swim faster forward but because of the vest at my neck, every so often I had to switch to my back. At the end of the swim, a wooden stepladder allowed Spartans to get out of the icy water. But when I got to the stepladder there were some people with cramps and such sitting on the wood prohibiting me from getting on the wood and out of the freezing water. Finally out of the water I RAN to my jacket and Camelbak to get my body warmed up again.

Up a hill, shivering non-stop I got to the next set of obstacles, the barbed wire crawl from hell. Not only was it a barbed wire crawl (everyone was using the rolling method), but the longest one I’ve ever seen. But to make it worse, the entire obstacle consisted of a wire crawl, wall hurdle, wire crawl, turn around and wire crawl the opposite direction, wall hurdle, wall DUNK in water similar cold temperature as the swim, slip wall (diagonal steep wall with rope to help you up), BACK the other direction under yet another barbed wire crawl, wall hurdle, and another barbed wire crawl. I think I got that right.


It was cold, windy and, overcast so there was NO help from the sun. At that point hypothermia hit me hard. I was shivering so much, even worse than after the swim obstacle. I couldn’t huddle in a ball because every time I tried I cramped up in my legs. I went to Tahoe solo so I didn’t huddle with anyone /sadface. Not a Weeple in sight. I took my time and finally pulled myself together, but didn’t need to go far because I was leaning against the next obstacle to warm up and shield myself from the cold wind. Sadly, it was my favorite obstacle, the rope climb. I got my composure and pulled myself up the rope climb in my usual fashion, all upper body strength. But after ringing the bell at the top, my body said “Um, no.” I used my legs to get down. There’s no shame in that.

I’ll make this quick because of how pissed off I am about this, even right now. I failed the damned spear throw again… I’m now 1-6. Just as I was about to release the spear, my calf cramped up and it was off my fingers and in the air, WIDE. Burpees… F U SPEAR.

Let me say this, I will never complain about Bucket Brigade ever again. Instead of rocks, we filled buckets with dirt and rocks making it even heavier. Add that to a VERY long loop. I’m not sure exactly how long but it was at least twice as long as most I’ve been on. Though not as steep as, say, Temecula, the added weight, distance, and placement on the course was sheer terror. Oh, did I mention there was no burpee option? You had to do the buckets. If the bucket is not above the drilled holes when you reached the bottom, you do a second loop. They were very strict and checked every bucket. Brutal.


I'll just tell people, "My wife beats me."

From the Bucket Brigade. I’ll just tell people, “My wife beats me.”

The last and final obstacle was the Clif Multi-Rig. For those that do not know what a Multi Rig is, it’s a series of rings, long bar, and ropes (differs per race) and you must swing from each to the other side to hit the hanging bell at the end. I reached the last possible hanging rope and grip strength gave out. I should have just kicked the bell with my feet, but I always try to use my hands. No more, I will kick that bell next time. Everyone was watching I was the only one on the Multi-Rig at the time. Mega embarrassing. AND the finish line was maybe 100 feet away from that last obstacle, laughing at me.

I finished the burpee penalty, and ran as fast as I could to the finish line. DONE. Frozen Hell complete. Nega-Temecula over. Worst, longest beast I’ve ever done. I vowed I will never do another cold swim ever again… At least not without a thermal blanket or other SMART things to have on hand.

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One response to “Spartan Race World Championships Lake Tahoe

  1. Looked very tough. Nicely done!!

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