Acting Like a Maniac @RuggedManiac Austin 2017

Acting Like a Maniac @RuggedManiac Austin 2017

On Saturday (Nov. 4th), in true Texas-style, a group of us loaded up in a big pick-up truck and headed out to Burnet, TX for the Rugged Maniac obstacle course race. Our group consisted of mostly experienced racers, but along for her first OCR adventure was my girlfriend Georgie. Needless to say, she loved it and she’s planning to attend the next race with me, and others in the future. OCR just seems to have that effect on people.

The weather was amazing — not too hot, not too cold, but just right. When we got there it was probably in the low 70s and by the time we were done mid 80s. Reveille Peak Ranch is nestled out a little ways away from the mainstream, but easy to get to and a nice country drive to get there. The parking was well organized (much better than Spartan, which was also held there). Attendants directed the flow of traffic and assigned parking spots in an orderly manner. We parked close with only a short walk to the entry gates.

The registration tables were conveniently located right at the front as soon as we walked in. There were ample representatives so there were no lines and no wait. With ID in hand, in a matter of a couple of minutes, they verified our registration, provided us with bib numbers, bag check tickets, and put on our all important free beer bands for the after-race celebration. Bag check was quick and best of all “free!” That was a welcomed first. We dropped our bags off and we were ready to race!

Our start time was 10am. We lined up a few minutes early for the usual hype-up pre-talk. Then with a quick countdown from 10, we were off and running. What I loved most about this race was the back-to-back obstacles. I mean, let’s be honest, that’s what we came for. Being that Rugged Maniac is only 3 miles long, they crammed a lot of obstacles into that short run. I enjoyed that aspect very much and hope that concept works its way into other races too.

Right off the bat Rugged got our attention with the quad burners. While these are nothing more than huge dirt piles you have to climb over, with trenches to jump over in between, they are still a wake up call to let you know this ain’t gonna be a walk in the park. Add in the sticker-burs o’plenty (that Georgie and I seemed to be magnets for) and the difficulty level, or more like frustration level, quickly rises.

ocr-over-40_rugged-maniac_fenced-inRugged was definitely not short on mud either. We were crawling or wading through mud on at least 5 or 6 obstacles. Crawling under barbed wire, under chain link fence, and wading through thick sneaker-snatchin’ muckety muck! We were dirty early on and remained that way for the majority of the race. I had rocky sediment in my shoes and my gloves making for a rather aggravating factor, but no complaints here. I love the mud and just wouldn’t be as much fun without it.

There was a long stretch of terrain in between obstacles 15 and 16 that seemed like it was never going to end. Well done Rugged! You had us saying, “Where the hell is the next obstacle?” They get you comfortable with all the back-to-back obstacles and short runs, then totally catch you off guard with that long run. It was a mind game as much as anything, because it was probably only a mile at most, but sure seemed like a lot longer.

All of these obstacle course races are like a fireworks show. The obstacles slowly increase in the level of spectacular, a crescendo building in intensity and getting more amazing with each round until finally reaching the finale… the biggest, toughest, craziest obstacles. Rugged Maniac did not fall short and they definitely kept the best for last with the Warped Wall, Mount Maniac, and Accelerator 3.0.

There were a lot of good obstacles throughout, including: Frog Hop, which was a challenging traversal of floating blocks; The Gauntlet, dodge giant swinging punching bags on a narrow floating path; and The Ringer, Rugged’s take on the classic, but the rings are at different height levels and over water. That’s just a few of the highlights, but all the obstacles were fun and challenging.




ocr-over-40_rugged-maniac_volunteers-helpingBut as mentioned previously, the pinnacle of the obstacles were the last three: the Warped Wall, Mount Maniac, and Accelerator 3.0.

With a short strip for take-off, the Warped Wall stands approximately 12 feet high and is a challenge to run up high enough to grab the ledge and pull yourself up. If you can’t quite make it, there were Rugged volunteers leaning over the top to lend a helping hand and shorten the distance for you. Once in their clutches, they pulled you up the rest of the way. Mount Maniac was relatively easy –just a cargo net — but for anyone afraid of heights and the thought of being in the air over nothing, except the hard ground below, could be a little unnerving.

ocr-over-40_rugged-maniac_accelerator-topThe finale — and well worth the wait — was the Accelerator 3.0. The description on the Rugged Maniac website says 50 feet high, but then the description for 3.0 says it’s almost twice as high the original. I’m guessing around 75 feet. Regardless, this is a blast!! Like being at a water park (sort of), you slide down blazing fast into a swirling pool of murky brown water to properly finish off an awesome OCR experience. I heard several say they were going to do it again because it was so much fun.

ocr-over-40_rugged-maniac_cheersWe rounded up our medals, finisher t-shirts, free snacks, free beer, and walked around for a few checking out all the sponsor’s tables. Watched the 2pm pull-up contest — guy did like 25 pull-ups… impressive. Spent some time in the Rugged Shop picking up a few souvenirs, took a few pictures at random locations and then rounded everyone up for the trip home. What an awesome day!

Thanks Rugged Maniac! We had a blast and we will definitely see you again next year.


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