Okay folks let’s talk Rugged Maniac Portland! This is a race that I decided 3 years ago was my favorite fun race of the year. I look forward to attending this venue, Portland International Raceway, and trying the new obstacles. I will just jump right into it.
We couldn’t have asked for better weather with sunny skies, 75 degrees, and a slight breeze. The check-in volunteers were quick, friendly, and even a bit funny. This was my first year of not volunteering but I am super jealous of their Super Volunteer shirts and they definitely lived up to the title. After checking in I wandered the venue a bit the selection of vendors was pretty much the same as every year but the music was loud and everyone was having a good time. I love the shade in the spectator/vendor area it is a nice place to cool off after the race.
Let’s hop into the start line. The announcer was witty and full of energy which is always great to have especially for the new racers, and there were a ton in my heat time. The race is flat and mostly off road. That being said I still recommend wearing trail shoes for the race, we will get into that a little later. The obstacles were fairly simple but always fun a few that were on the course early on were things like Slippery Slope, a simple A-frame style hurdle and a fun hurdle type obstacle that we had to jump to get up to the first rung due to a small wall at the bottom. Shortly after those we had a fire jump and that is always a crowd favorite. A photographer at the fire jumps would have been great but there were still some great photo ops later in the race. Some of the more difficult obstacles were Hell and High Water, a lily pad jump with hanging bags you had to avoid so you didn’t get knocked off into the water, the obstacle called Off the Rails where you had to tarzan swing on a rope that slid up a rail and then drop into the water. My problem with this obstacle is by the time I got there the line took over 10 minutes of a wait time. For anyone running for time, it was a complete killer. Another choke area is the mud hills with barbed wire crawl , Head Scratcher. This area was extremely slick and smooth so when you finally got to the top, many were sliding all the way back down and had to start over. This is what i meant when I said above that I recommend wearing trail shoes. There were plenty of people that were helping each other out by creating human ladders and assisting with a planted foot or hand boost it was still a snail’s pace trying to move along that stretch. My Brooks Cascadias have this nifty grip on the toe so I dug my toes into the hill and bear crawled straight up with ease. Shoes make a massive difference in the OCR world. Please remember folks, your skater shoes and basic flat walking shoes are NOT the attire to wear to a mud run or obstacle course race, it just hinders your experience and slows the world down.
Now for my favorite obstacle of the day. My top favorite is one of the new obstacles, Barzan, where you had to work your way up a pole that was dangling from chains to essentially floating monkey bars that tilted when you grabbed them, you then had to transition to a bar that was perpendicular to the monkey bar style that also tilted the second you touched it and then work your way down the final bar. This was not only a new obstacle but it was my favorite by far! The difficulty of the obstacle was heightened by the wet bars and the fear of falling into the water. There were very few people making it to the other side of the obstacle and it was empowering to those that made it all the way across and everyone shouted with excitement when anyone dropped on to the other side.
A personal accomplishment that I achieved this race is, after 3 years of doing this race I finally made it up the warped wall completely alone and it felt amazing; but for those that can’t make it there are a few options for you; there is a ladder on the far right side of the obstacle just to make sure you get the excitement of being able to go down the huge inflatable slide and get that final photo of the race or there is always a plethora of people at the top of the wall ready to lend a hand to those that just need that extra boost which is always a great way to show camaraderie and friendship in the OCR community.
This race is always amazing. The venue is easy to get to, parking was quick with nearly no line, the race itself is always fun and fairly simple, and I love that Rugged is upping their difficulty on their new obstacles but not making them impossible. This is by far the race I recommend for first timers because it brings a fun atmosphere with a bit of a challenge, you feel accomplished at the end and they always have good beer. Be sure to get your tickets early to get the best heat time and the biggest discounts. Bring your friends and have a blast!
Beasts OCR Ambassador 2019