Thursday, 14 May 2015

Tough Mudder thoughts on London West 2015.

So it was over to Henley on Thames again for the first event of the year, which is when the weather starts to get better and normally isn't too cold. The course is hilly, its like they put the hilliest course at the start of the UK season, the map didn't have an elevation on it this time but it had short steep hills and long winding steep sections through the forests, of course I didn't do much training on hills so this was quite the killer, they even had us run past Funky Monkey and then back up a really steep section of the course.

The obstacles

New additions

Skidmarked: This is exactly like the hangover walls from the legionnaire loop last year, really tall so unless you can jump high enough and have the upper body strength you are going to need to get help over this one, this is no Glory Blades.

Birth Canal: Imagine someone pushing you to the ground and making you crawl and getting heavier the longer you crawl, this is what birth canal is like, you can use the gap between the sides and the water filled tarpaulin to get yourself through.

Cry Baby: The Saturday had a relatively weak mist to get through, easy to get through and see, Sunday was much thicker, where you can barely see in front of you, it was like olbas oil or vics vaporub, very menthol.

Kiss of Mud 2.0: This now has ditches to climb into and out of, making it an interesting one, quite difficult if its muddy.

Liberator: This one needs upper body strength but they do have foot rests so you don't slip back down and hurt yourself, a good challenge and an excellent addition, possibly replacing Balls to the wall.

Hold your wood 2.0: The key this time is team work, you will need at least one other person to help you get it round the course.

King of swingers: This is really good fun, managing to hit the bell is such a good feeling, you have to watch the jerk at the bottom of the swing as I've seen someone swing out, snap at the bottom and be flung off the metal handle, spinning in the air. A nice even swing should help you swing for the bell.

Funky Monkey 2.0: This has less spinning rungs and now has a swing at the apex of the triangle and one long pole to shimmy down to the other side that also swings side to side, take each rung one at a time to get yourself over this one and being tall doesn't seem to make much difference, in getting across.

Everest 2.0: Like the Legionnaire version last year, this is higher so the same principle applies, start at a steady pace and then speed up and reach for wrists or open hands and don't put your feet on the surface of everest and push to try and climb or you'll pull the people at the top off, like almost happened to myself.

Dead Ringers: Hook a ring over a peg and move up a triangle, swinging yourself side to side for momentum to get up the triangle, no water for this one but still difficult after a long course.

Those were the new additions for the Henley course, they were all excellent additions and help keep the event fresh. The disappointments were that Haha Ditch was on the map but wasn't being used, though the pit was dug, Bale Bonds which are hay bails to jumps over, it would be nice ice it was a stack of them to climb up and Devils Beard, which is a cargo net you can walk through rather than crawl through.

The Sunday event had a lot more mud due to the rain, so it was nicely muddy compared to the dry but cold course of Saturday. This was an excellent start to the Tough Mudder season for the UK and highlights why it is a premier muddy obstacle event and has so many people returning time and time again. I'll see if the other events use more obstacles or change them up drastically.