Friday, November 6, 2009

Muddy with a Buddy

In the spring of 2007, my co-worker Ernest told me about a race called Muddy Buddy. The race consisted of two partners alternating between running and biking for a six mile course which was divided into five legs. At the end of each leg there was an obstacle and at the very end of the race was a very long mud pit that you had to crawl through.

It sounded fun, so we signed up as a team, complete with a terribly obscure name from Futurama – “Team Scooty Puff Jr”. It didn’t seem like a very hard task, plus with several months to prepare, it would be okay. As the days and weeks ticked by, there was very little training, unless you count riding the bike five blocks to my friend Parker’s house to drink beers.

The time flew by and suddenly, the event was a few days away. I packed my roommates bike on to the back of my car, picked up Ernest and we drove out to San Dimas. There was a huge turnout, some in fancy costumes and everyone ready to go.

Upon seeing the course, it was evident to us that somewhere along the registration process, we must have missed the part about needing a mountain bike. The course was full of off-road paths, steep hills, tree roots, and sand. We were going to try and tackle these obstacles with a thin tired city bike. We decided that I would do the bike first and Ernest would begin on foot. This would give me three biking legs, since I was the weaker of the two of us at running.

The race began and all the heavy duty bikers took the lead. I lagged behind a bit and tried to get a rhythm going. The first downhill portion took us on to a beach, through the actual water and back up an even steeper hill. The water was deep enough to make my socks wet, putting me in a pretty foul mood at the time. I parked the bike and tackled the first obstacle - three balance beams – and began on foot. A little while after I began chugging along, Ernest passed by me on the bike and took the lead into the second obstacle – the cargo nets. After the third obstacle – the wall climb – I began running what seemed to be the smoothest and most downhill portion of the course. It was just then when Ernest zoomed by on the pavement, barely even peddling on the bike. After beating the tall, inflatable slide there was one leg left. This was the most ridiculous leg – weaving in and out of trees, steep tight turns while going downhill and a crowded path at that. I ended up running the steepest hill while carrying the bike.

I threw the bike into the parking area and found Ernest. There was one piece left and we were prepared to conquer the famous Mud Pit. In order to make sure you were deep inside the mud, there was a net hanging over the entire thing and you had to get down to crawl through it. I was down to my chin and Ernest was up to his neck, covered in mud.

It felt great succeeding in this task, despite the lack of practical preparation. We both ended up throwing out our shoes and socks into the overflowing garbage can that was already filled by people who had the same idea. There was a small series of tents set up where people were handing out things like free socks and granola bars. After grabbing our samples and hosing off in a crowded outdoor area, we got back in the car and headed out for the spoils of war – pizza and beer.

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