The GPS track of the 5.6km race course
On Saturday April 16th Throttle and I, as well as 130 other brave souls, got our asses kicked by a Navy Seal. I am speaking of the 2011 Navy Seal Extreme Off-Road Challenge presented by Smoky Mountain Endeavors in Cosby TN. Dan Schreder (President) has been running this race for about 3 years now and it is quickly growing into a must do event for southeastern US adventure racers. We made a weekend out of it and went up Friday night to camp and enjoy some of the spring
The Sin City Geezers - Wendy, Jason, Alex, Throttle, Notorious....Steve was MIA at this point
weather. About 11 folks came out the night before and enjoyed some BBQ and frosty beers; always a good idea to carbo load before a big race, right? We were in fact treated to some spring weather in the form a nice steady rain that lasted the night through. Unfortunately after many beers and two hours of rain we realized that we probably should have put the rain-flys on our tents. We did finally get the tents and bags dry and ended up having a great night sleep. By Saturday morning the rains had cleared out and by race time it was a beautiful sunny day.
Thottle and I sprinting - obviously towards the beer
By race time our six person team was raring to go, with some slight trepidation on the part of the newbie’s (I believe one of the question/comments was “Am I gonna Die?”). For 3 of us this was our second run at this event so we had a slight advantage in terms of mental preparation. However, this course is challenging enough that even foreknowledge of the challenges doesn’t make them any less demanding. Running a 5k race is not a feat by any means, but running a 5k race on this terrain has been likened to running a half marathon. In fact I overheard a few of the
Alex enjoying the obstacles
competitors who recently ran the Warrior Dash and Tough Mudder say that this event far exceeded it in terms of metal fortitude and difficulty. The race encompasses over 65 acresof 30 degree slopes, pond crossings, obstacles, and rope climbs. The uphills will challenge your calves and lungs and the downhills will burn your knees and thighs. The obstacles are a mix of up and overs, an uphill monkey bar climb, and balance features that all become very exciting in wet and muddy conditions. Did I mention it rained all night before the race; that of course added mud holes, slippery slopes, and one section that amounted to a butt slide down a 40 degree slope….yeee haawww. The rope climb comes near the end of the race and being that a few of the competitors were in front of
Jason - Splash Down in the water crossing
us (Probably 120 of the 130) it was slightly slippery by the time we got there. Of course being the consummate athletes that we are, we stashed some beers before the finish line to finish in style. Then came the part of the event that we really excel at, the after race festivities. The atmosphere was friendly and jovial with racers comparing experiences, enjoying some tasty post-race food cooked by Colleen Schreder (VP of Smoky Mountain Endeavors), and of course enjoying a keg of Yuengling Lager (Provided by none other than Bikes N Beers) for all the racers to
Wendy taking a breather after the rope climb
replenish those critical carbs lost during fierce competition (Maybe not so fierce on our part). One of the teams did struggle to get in but Dan was kind enough to hold off the award ceremony until they arrived, as he said to the crowd “No one gets left behind”. The final team did arrive to every single competitor cheering them on, a sight that team will not soon forget. At the award ceremony Dan presented some very unique handmade trophies and the winners in each category received some complimentary tickets for white water rafting at Rafting in the Smokies, another one of
Steve (Left) our MIA team member - We're enjoying some stashed beers before the finish line
Dan’s great sponsors. After the award ceremony Dan and Colleen was kind enough to host a few of us drunkards for the majority of the evening as we floated the keg (I told you we excelled at that part).
Smoky Mountain Endeavors hosts this race twice a year (Spring and Fall) and the next race is coming up on October 1st, so mark your calendars and get your ass training. As for Bikes N Beers we plan on being there with an even bigger team ready to conquer the hills and float another keg. If you’re interested in seeing what else Smoky Mountain Endeavors provide you can check them out here. If you go, tell em, Bikes N Beers sent you.
The post-post race activities (L-R) Becky, Notorious, Erin, Wendy, Colleen, Jason, Throttle