34 obstacles in 5.2 miles this year made comparison with last year's time more difficult. We also found ourselves helping out other teams more often, but that is what this event is all about, team work. Some highlights include me completing the Arm Walk on the first try this year. I also made it through the Weaver again without falling off, although it left its mark. My left arm and the back of my left leg are scraped up (along with about 50% of my body). Now, the new problem obstacle is called Tarzan and Jane. It consists of a series of about 5 ropes equally spread apart over a pit. The bottom of the rope is about 8 feet from the bottom of the water pit below. The two problems with this obstacle are the ropes are small diameter and they are very far apart. You can only reach the next rope on a full swing from the previous rope. I got a good swing off the bank on the first rope, grabbed the second one with my left and then my right hand, only to suddenly feel as if my hands caught fire. The rain, mud and small diameter of the rope combined resulting in a full slide to the bottom of the rope. This messed up my hands pretty good and really pissed me off. I didn't see anyone complete this obstacle and I'd really like to get some strategy for it. If I had some pine pitch, or a way to clean my hands off I think I could have made it. None of our team managed to complete or saw anyone complete it for that matter (I don't think I saw anyone make it onto the second rope successfully even). Good thing is, this year, they were enforcing time penalties. Although it was on the honor system, they had DI's at each obstacle to PT your team for the duration of the time penalty or for however long they felt like it.
|The Arm Walk with multiple transitions to higher and lower bars make it a real killer (stock photo)|
|The Weaver doesn't look so bad, until you realize it's 8 ft off the ground and you have to transition over and under logs sideways (stock photo)|
Another obstacle I don't remember from last year was the creek walk. This was VERY long and full of stumps, tree limbs, and sink holes below the water's surface. I think we all managed to twist an ankle or bang up a knee on this one. The only way to go fast was to run along the bank barely in the water, which some teams did. The run didn't mess up my contacts as bad this year as I would use the aid station water cups as an eye wash.
Now probably the biggest obstacle was our drive back. I'm not sure how we did it, but it seems we were driving on the edge of the "super cell" storms that came through the area. At times the dust from the fields along 95 was so bad you couldn't see the car in front of you. About the time we arrived in Raleigh (from Gaston, SC) the storm caught up to us, as power and traffic lights were going out as we drove through the Crossroads area after dropping off two members of our team. Somehow the storms completely missed my home in Durham. I'll update with some event photos as soon as they are posted. Hope everyone made it through the storm safely.