The Wisconsin Tough Mudder took place at the Devil’s Head Ski Resort in Merrimac, Wisconsin. This meant that we would basically be running up and down the ski runs for the first hour of the course.
The race started running down a slope (“Braveheart Charge“, #1), turning the corner, and then proceeding up a very long red graded ski run then went up around the side of the mountain. They called this the “Death March” (#2), and it was very effective at thinning the pack. Dave and I made it about 3/4 of the way up before we started walking. After that, we walked up all the hills. By the third or fourth hill, no one around us was running the hills anymore.
The rain and clouds from earlier in the day gave way, and the sun came out in full force. It was very humid – felt about 95 – and it couldn’t have come at a worst time than during the hills. What made this easier was high pressure streams of water that you would run through at various points in the course. I think that the map called these streams another obstacle (“the Gauntlet“, #3) but, it was the opposite of that. (At one obstacle, people were pleading with a fireman to spray them with the hose).
When we finally came to the first real obstacle, “Boa Constrictor” (#4) we were pretty pumped. This obstacle sent you down a slope through a narrow pipe that went into the water, and then up another pipe rising up out of the water (you had to submerge in the muddy water to get out of and into the pipe). This was a lot of fun. I only wish it had been longer. It wasn’t long enough to make you claustrophobic, though the water element messed with you a little bit. Having goggles helped big time.
After another half mile or so, we came to the “Funky Monkey” (#5) – basically a long stretch of monkey bars over a pool of water. I read that in one of the earlier Mudders they didn’t dig the pool deep enough and enough people broke their ankles that they had to shut the obstacle down for the day, so I definitely didn’t want to take any chances. I had trained on monkey bars as part of my training, but was a little worried. I watched several videos of the obstacle on YouTube and saw a lot of people fall off. One of my pre-race goals was to make it across.
It turned out to be pretty easy. Any grease that had been on the bars had been worn off by earlier heats, and the bars were lot skinnier than the ones I had trained on, making it pretty easy to go across. Dave, who hadn’t trained on monkey bars at all, also made it across fairly easily. I think if the obstacle had been twice as long it would have been much more challenging. Nevertheless, it felt great to blaze through there, especially while others were splashing down around us!
(Next: Obstacles 6-10, 12 foot walls, and a lot more hills)