Photo: Tough Mudder Start
What a weekend for Squaw Valley. Bringing Tough Mudder to the valley in September made what would usually be a quiet weekend look like a mid winter powder day with the number of cars and people here. That being said it was very well organized from parking and registration to the actual event. I think it worked out because of the staggered start times of the approximately 18,000 participants over a two day period. This was not only an event to particpate in, it also had a cause. Tough Mudder has donated over $1 Million to the Wounded Warrior Project.
We challenged ourselves on Sunday and lucked out with an early start time of 8:40am. 600 people started ever 20 minutes for this 13 mile course with 24 obstacles around Squaw’s skiable terrain. Our team, “Fadders and Mudders”, consisted of Ron and I and another couple who are good friends of ours and also competitive adventure racers. Yeah, they have done Primal Quest and Eco Challenge and races of that sort.
Photo: Fadders and Mudders
We were the 3rd wave of starts, so approximately 1200 people were in front of us when we gathered on the start line. Before starting we heard the National Anthem and raised our right hand for the Tough Mudder pledge that basically said… this is not a race but rather an event to be completed, no whining because kids whine and camaraderie and team spirit are of utmost importance. Having checked out the start on Saturday, we knew getting to the second obstacle at the beginning of our wave prevented us from waiting in a bottleneck lineup to complete it. So our team decided it would make sense to run up the first hill and get to the “Kiss of Mud” within the first 50 people or so.
The horn blasted and off we went up the Sunnyside of the mountain run and we were kissing the mud within the first 15 people. We had to belly crawl under barbed wire through muddy water about 18 inches deep. Yep, about a half mile into the 13 mile course and we were soaking wet and had bits of gravel in our shoes and gloves (a recommended bit of apparel). We chuckled as we looked at ourselves, glanced back at the bottleneck forming behind us and headed off on our hike up the mountain run.