Why Spartan? Because the “Spartans were tough as nails. Why race our obstacle course races? Because we all thrive under pressure, survival of the fittest.” At least that’s what the Spartan web page says about their events. Spartan races have been the global leader in obstacle racing since 2005 and are designed by seven ultra athletes and a Royal Marine.
Notorious likes mud!
They go on to say “Our goal is simple… to get you off your couch, throw you in the mud & trails, and feed you one tough endurance event day that will be the adrenalin rush of your life”…just like BNB likes it!
Now, the BNB crew has completed trail races, mud runs, and warrior dashes and we and we don’t shy away from a challenge so we thought it was time to step up to a brutal Spartan Race obstacle course. Being Spartan newbies we decided to tackle a Spartan Sprint out of the box and on March 9 the Bikes N Beers team (aka Sin City Geezers) headed to Conyers, Georgia to test our skills. We had nine insane-iacs on the largest BNB team ever, including guys from Men of Action and Heather Christopher who blogs Broken to Beast Mode.
Throttle takes the wall
The course was over 4 miles of trail winding through the woods and fields just east of Atlanta. Fourteen obstacles delivered brutality as promised and ranked close to being the toughest obstacle race we have ever done, second only to the Seal Extreme Challenge in Cosby, TN. The Team endured barbed wire, freezing mud pits, 8 feet wall scales, spear throws, climbing ropes, tractor tire flips, and a cargo net crossing elevated 30 feet in the air. Judges watched each obstacle and any failed attempts resulted in the delivery of 30 burpees..good thing we carb loaded at the Waffle House on our way…
Crash before her pants split
Actually the burpees were minimal as we performed better than expected. Notorious and Skid Mark were the rulers of the day clearing all obstacles with no penalty. Crash gave a little extra entertainment when she ripped her pants on a mudslide and Throttle put hours of footage into one of the most engaging videos he has ever produced. Here it is..hope you enjoy.
Participants Pre-race. Pay no attention to the goof ball in pink…
On October 13th 2012 Outdoors in the Smokies once again presented the SEAL Extreme Challenge and about 175 SEAL wannabes took on the latest course designed by owner Dan Schreder. Dan (ex Navy SEAL and total masochist) certainly outdid himself this time producing what is the most challenging trail yet (puke factor = 10). The trek was almost 4 miles long and, true to the Seal name, presented gut wrenching, character testing, pain inducing fun. Participants are told during registration that this event will test them mentally and physically like never before and runners said that it held true to its claims. Don’t show up here and expect to be pampered. No drink stations are provided; real life SEALs don’t get breaks or little pansy paper cups of cool water.
Down Mulch Hill…
The race started with a dash up ATV Hill, a slope so steep that you need 4 points of contact to make the climb. Once you make it to the top and after a short jog on the ridge you are ready for a decent that puts you sliding on your butt down mulch hill and hoping that you don’t go a$$ over teakettle to the bottom. About a half mile in you start the ascent up Heart Attack Ridge, a climb that rises 600 feet over one third of a mile. This part of the course gave many the opportunity to taste breakfast, once again, before surrendering it to the side of the trail as fertilizer. In all there is over 1500 feet of elevation change, but hills are not the only obstacles to be endured. There are water crossings, rope climbs, balance beams, and hurdles.
Completion times vary from 45 minutes to 3 hours. For many it is not about how fast you finish but that you finish at all. Awards are given in the fastest men, women and team categories as well as youngest competitor (tadpole) and “most experienced” racer (bullfrog). Regardless of finish time all racers finish with pride in their accomplishment and a boost of self confidence.
Navy Seal Dan with Crash and Throttle
The people and the atmosphere are what make this event truly special. The Shreder’s pretty much know everyone by name, you are more than a bib number here. Many participants come back time after time and the camaraderie among those tough (or crazy) enough to subject themselves to this punishment repeatedly is unique. Post race gatherings at the pavilion and around the bonfires provide an opportunity to share stories and laugh about slips and near misses. Bikes N Beers provided the well deserved and free after race libations, including our high gravity brew Big Dumb Blond. Feed My Sheep Ministries provided tasty food like barbecue and hot dogs. Proceeds from food sales went to the charity. Here is the video from the fall SEAL Extreme Challenge…
Bikes N Beers participated, once again, in one of our favorite races of the year, the Marine Mud Run. This race is put on by the Lt. Alexander Bonnyman Marine Corps League, detachment No. 924 in Knoxville, TN. They put on a fabulous race.
The race consists roughly of 3 miles of off-road running, which entails some obstacles, hills, and of course, mud pits. This off road 5K adventure takes you across scenic trails and fields, obstacles, and ends with a splash through refreshing water after crawling through several mud pits. The race is open to both individuals and teams. You do not have to be in perfect shape to come and run this one. There is lots of fun to be had for all ages and fitness levels.
The fun alone is enough reason to attend this race but even better this race is a charity event and all proceeds go to Toys for Tots. Bikes N Beers will be back again next year…for sure Enjoy the video.
Why would a community with a listed population of 6 have any notoriety? When it is home of an internationally famous destination for driving enthusiasts, such is the case with Deals Gap. Deals Gap is located along a stretch of two-lane road that has been known as “The Dragon” since 1981. The name is given to the 11-mile stretch because it is said to have 318 curves, resembling the tail of a dragon. Some of the Dragon’s curves have names like Copperhead Corner, Hog Pen Bend, Wheelie Hell, Shade Tree Corner, Mud Corner, Sunset Corner, Gravity Cavity, Beginner’s End, and Brake or Bust Bend. The speed limit on the Dragon was 55 mph prior to 1992; it was reduced to 30 mph in 2005.
Riders and drivers from around the world come to test their riding skills on the Dragon. Most of the time there is very little traffic and the vehicles that use this road are primarily motorcycle riders and sports car drivers looking for the thrill of their lives. Each year the number of motorcycles and sports cars testing their meddle has increased. In 2011 more than 1200 vehicles traveled the road per day. Unfortunately Dragon enthusiasts sometimes let their audacity exceed their capacity and more than 30 people have died on this stretch since 1995.
Bikes N Beers was commissioned to produce a video for one very skilled Dragon rider, Jared Barnes. Jared is a competitive street bike racer sponsored by US129 Photos and he rides the Dragon on an almost daily basis. Now we aren’t sure, but could guess that he may be pushing the speed limit a little here…Because he is the most skilled rider on the dragon, Jared is referred to as the Dragon Slayer. Below is the BnB Dragon Slayer video. We hope you enjoy and remember kiddies, don’t try this on your own.
As the morning fog settled in the small race valley, and the dew clung on various awnings; I smelled coffee and the anxiousness of a serious challenge brewing. So I put on my War Face and headed to the check-in, to begin the most physically challenging 5K I have experienced here in the South.
This is the fourth time BikesnBeers has competed in this race, and the second time we have been a sponsor. That meant at least one of us has run it every single time, and that one would be me. You would think that I would get bored doing the same race over and over, but the event organizer, Outdoor In the Smokies, does an excellent job of continually adding to the event and changing up the course. One year they started you out going through the water, another had you go up the 100’ rope climb twice; you never know quite what you have in store when you sign up to race. This time the race added a second rope climb located near the top of Cardiac Hill and added some new features to the obstacle course. This year’s event also provided concessions (homemade BBQ), beer to runners of age, and a band to complete the Smokey Mountain experience.
As part of the Sin City Geezers race team, my 10 year old son joined me to experience the pain; and after this race he now knows what it feels like to be a Geezer, even at his young age. He had run some cross country prior to this in school events, but nothing that required the vertical demands this race put on him. And that is part of what makes this race unique. Typical cross country runners are not used to the steep climbs and scrambles up and down hillsides involved in this race, and like my son, they were in for a whole new kind of challenge. It was also nice to experience the race again through the eyes of someone who has never done it, and doesn’t know what the next bend has in store. That continual look and mutterings of “Are you kidding me” and “I hate this race” and “When will this climb end” reminded me of my first time at this. And even though we completed the race in the bottom half of the standings, we both ultimately had a great time, all mutterings aside.
For anyone looking to test themselves in the future this race will definitely do that, but keep in mind that the race sold out about 3 weeks before the event, so register early.
We stood in the overcrowded darkness of the covered starting corral, I wondered what the world would look like in the zombie apocalypse, and whether I would “live” to see another beer in my belly.
As the gate crashed open and the mass of racers pushed through each other to get free and onto the course, I got my first glimpse of the undead through the smoke; framed in the stark forest and grey sky. She appeared to have been turned on her way to a prom, or a dance, and was grey in complexion, covered in blood, and had a crazed, lifeless hunger for the racers.
It had rained heavily the night before, and every step out of the gate was a slide through ankle deep mud as several ghouls lumbered towards us looking for a meal. I quickly moved out onto the course, planning to dart past the few zombies I expected; but many more had congregated near the corral as if they knew where to look for fresh meat. I quickly avoided 1, then 2 more, and then lost my traction in the slippery mud just as I felt a firm hand grasp my shoulder… It was Jason checking to see if I made it through the initial sprint unscathed. That was the start of the best race I have done to date.
How do you take a standard 5K race an push it to the next level? You add some obstacles. How do you make it totally awesome? You make it a race for your “life” against a horde of zombies. That is exactly what we experienced in the “Run For Your Lives” 5K race outside of Atlanta.
The event did a good job with the atmosphere. It included a short maze, smoke, and people kind enough to really get into the role of being undead. Adding the zombie factor to an obstacle race was a stroke of brilliance on the organizers part. About 10 minutes into a normal 5K race I am already bored and wondering if it is all worth it. Running a 5K with obstacles is more exciting, but if there are long distances between the obstacles I am back to being bored. With this race, in between all the obstacles, for the entire race, are zombies looking to grab your flags (flags are used as lives in the race). Not just 1 or 2 zombies here and there, but over 100 lumbering throughout the course in groups of 2 or 4 or even 10. This meant that you were always watching your back for what just came out of the trees, changing your speed and direction to avoid the grasping hands, and looking for a safe place where you could relax back into a nice jog. This also definitely made filming more of a challenge for us. The only way to make this race any better would have to been to assign us Nerf guns to “defend” ourselves with.
Also, it taught me a few things about the impending zombie apocalypse:
Slow zombies are only a preference. Some zombies have watched “28 Days Later” (I know it is not technically a zombie movie).
As you slip and slide through the muddy trails to safety (and beer), it is sometimes hard to tell other racers from their undead brethren, so trust no one.
Friends make good bait. Especially the slow or asthmatic ones. Again, trust no one, since someone may view you as the slow one.
Zombies do not like being teased. Imagine that. Even the undead have sensitive feelings, and hungry zombie friends still lurking.
Have fun. It’s not like it is the end of the…, well have fun anyway.
Bikes N Beers, once again, attended our favorite adventure race, The Navy SEAL Extreme Off-Road Challenge. This race, put on by Smoky Mountain Endeavors, Inc., is in my opinion the best race you will find in the 5K adventure race category. As one race participant said, “this is the hardest physical course I have ever done and I am still sore three days later!”. Another participant described it like closing your eyes and unexpectedly getting kicked in the balls.
The Punishers...SEAL Team 6
Navy SEAL Dan gave everybody a dose of what it means to be a Navy SEAL right off the bat. He sent the racers through the course’s water feature at the start of the race. As you can imagine the water was a shocker on the cool Tennessee morning and even more so when your body has not had the chance to build up some heat from the run. The screams and gasps and thoughts of WTF echoed through the Smoky Mountains. Not to worry though, as always, the course went up Cardiac Hill…so everyone did eventually get plenty warm. Cardiac hill is a scramble best made on all fours. Those who attempt it on two feet usually end up spitting dirt out of their mouth once their feet slide out from under them.
The best men’s time 0:49:03. The best women’s time 1:03:26. The best team’s time was 1:03:39. The most inspiring time came from a team called the “Dirt Divas”. This was a group a ladies that came from Dandridge TN. All of them married with children and rumored to have 14 kids under the age of 12 between them…wow. They came because they were ready for something different. They finished the race, together, in a time of 3:04:30 to the cheers of all involved. This is one of the elements of this race that makes it so special. Everyone at the race is there to see you through and help you succeed in this grueling endeavor. When you’re done you feel a phenomenal sense of accomplishment and a sense of belonging. Check out the Bikes N Beers video below.
We brought the beer!
Bikes N Beers had the privilege of being one of the race sponsors and as such we brought 20 gallons of our premium beer to let the crowd consume for free. We floated all 4 of our kegs soon after the race was over to live blue grass music from Outta the Blue. The favored beer was our imperial blonde, we named “Big Dumb Blonde”. This beer is big at 8.8% alcohol and as we like to say….she is a beautiful full figured blonde that goes down easy but will leave you as dumb as a bag of hammers if you don’t leave her alone. Lots went home stupid! We also had a Milk Stout we call “Bitch Pudding” (everyone got a taste…blam), an Irish Red we call “Kasasinator” after my crazy red headed daughter and a Kolsch called “Chamois Sweat”. After hard days run there’s nothing like getting out of those sweat soaked shorts and enjoying a frosty brew.
On Saturday (May 7th) Bikes n Beers rode in the Ft. Yargo Mountain Bike 6/9 hour race hosted by Dirty Spokes Productions Inc. The race is part of the Chain Busters Mountain Bike Race Series presented by Maxxis Tires and consists of 6 races all over the southeast. This is the second year we have ridden this race and as always we had a great time. The race attracts over 500 racers from all over the southeast. We finished as we normally do, towards the bottom but got some great race footage and had some tasty beers to finish.
The topography at Ft. Yargo is fairly flat which makes for a fun fast-paced flowing ride.
The GPS track of the race course (Click to Zoom)
The course is primarily a hard pack single track with gradual climbs and fast flowing downhills. The course was an 11 mile loop around the lake and has 1,147 feet of combined elevation. The conditions were nearly perfect with weather in the 70’s and a modest humidity. The first lap is a bit of a cluster since the entire field is set off together and skips the first 2 miles of single track as they run you down the asphalt road. This creates a bottleneck as everyone flies to the single track where the novice riders will definitely slow you down. Usually by mile 4 you can get past those folks and then the rest of the day is fairly clear. The first five miles of the course is composed of rolling hills and has a few downhills with jump sections the will
Throttle and his magic zoom juice
definitely raise the adrenaline and give you some Yee Haw moments. Somewhere around mile 5 is the only real sustained climb of the course but if fairly modest in nature. Following that the course goes back to rolling hills and a few down/up features that a just a hoot. The last miles of the course is a very fast downhill which brings you back the main area. The main area is a fun atmosphere with families and support crew littering the landscape with canopies, BBQ’s, and a few vendors.
Following the race we had a good time listening to Scarlet Stitch and knocking back a few
Alex punching himself in the head.....
cold ones. As always Bikes n Beers has video documented the race and experience. You can check out this video here.
Me enjoying the post race recovery drink - Special Formula, hence the fuzziness
This past Saturday Smoky Mountain Endeavors put on a ATV/MX time trials events for the benefit of the Cosby High School soccer team. Smoky Mountains Endeavors is known for their creative events and include the regionally popular Navy Seal Extreme Off-Road Challenge and the Race from the Devil Fat Tire Shootout. Bikes n Beers was a proud sponsor to this past weekend’s event and was thankful to be involved. The forecasted rain may have kept some folks away but the few that showed up had a great time tearing up the Tennessee hillsides. Dan Schreder, owner and president of Smoky Mountain Endeavors, put together a 2.1 mile track full of hill climbs, fast straightaway’s, technical turns, mud bogs, and all out fun.
Dan Scheder, President of Smoky Mountain Endeavors getting ready to send off a racer
The categories included 4×4 utility ATV, 4×2 utility ATV, Sport ATV 399cc and under, Sport ATV 400cc and over, Motocross 249cc and under, Motocross 250cc and over, Enduro, and youth categories. The riders were allowed to continue to run laps to either improve their times or to settle a grudge match, of which there was a few. The Sport ATV 399cc and under category saw such a battle between two young local gentlemen (Sean O’Brien and Jordan Norris) where their virtually tied 6:24 times were decided by a few hundreds of a second. Sean O’Brien won out in the end but the rivalry continues. The fastest lap of the day came from Levi McDaniel on his Yamaha 450YZF with a time of 5:08. In the end everyone involved had a great time and Smoky Mountain Endeavors gave out monetary prizes to all of the
Levi McDaniels ran the Fastest Lap
category winners. Additionally, Levi McDaniel received two passes for white water rafting courtesy of Dan other great sponsor “Rafting in the Smokies”. Additionally, Colleen Schreder, vice-president, managed the grill and provided delicious food for all of the participants. The Cosby High School Soccer team also played a pivotal role in providing parking assistance and course marshalling.
The event proved to be so successful that Smoky Mountain Endeavors is hosting the event again, this weekend on Saturday March 12th 2011. If you’re interested in joining this great event and would like a
ATV Racer coming across the finish line
great day of racing or just a day out with the family, I highly recommend this event. I am sure the aforementioned grudge match will be revisited this weekend. If you would like to see some pictures from last weekend’s event you can view some pictures here. You can find information for this event on the Smoky Mountain Endeavors website or you can call Dan directly (423)200-9935.