Monday, September 4, 2017

2017 Spartan Race West Virginia Trifecta Weekend Race Review

The 2017 West Virginia Spartan Race Trifecta weekend was held at Summit Bechtel Reserve in Glen Jean, WV.  This was my first experience with a Trifecta weekend, where all 3 races (Beast, Super, and Sprint) are held over the same weekend.

We traveled down to WV and got a hotel about 20 minutes away from the race location the night before.

In the morning we got up, had some breakfast and headed out to the race venue.  There was a pretty good line of traffic going back the road so there was some time to think about what was to come.

The parking area was great, and there were bathrooms with showers in each lot.  (More about that later.)

The registration was about a half mile from the parking area, and it was quite foggy in the morning.

Spartan Race Trifecta Weekend WV

The first tent that we saw as we got through the fog was the volunteer tent.

Spartan Race Trifecta Weekend WV Volunteer

Next up we got our first look at an obstacle, the bridge that allowed the crowd to pass under to get to the registration area.

Spartan Race Bridge

After passing through to the registration area, we went to get registered for our first race.  The first day we were signed up for the Beast.  Registration went very quickly with the new bar code system.

Spartan Race Registration

We were registered for the 8:45 am heat and as we moved towards the start line we heard that they were running about 30 minutes behind due to the fog.

This gave us a little time to walk around the festival area.

Spartan Race festival area Iceland UB Championship

After walking around a little we headed up to the start line.  I think we started some time between 9:15-9:30 am.

Spartan Race Start Line

We all hopped over the wall and filled up the start area.  After a short speech, going over the rules, and a few AROOs!, we were off!

The race started off up a gravel road, which worked out great to spread everybody out.

After a half mile or so, we came to wall in a grass field and then a short steep hill.  Then a short run down a road to the first real climb.

The climb was fairly steep and there were a lot of false tops.  Throughout the 3 races that weekend in this section I heard a lot of "what there's more" as they got over the false peaks.  This definitely slowed the pace down.

Spartan Race WV Trifecta Weekend

After getting to the top there was some single track through the woods, anduthroughout the Beast course there was a good bit of it.

Spartan Race WV Trifecta Weekend

After spending some time in the woods we finally got to another obstacle, the first barbwire crawl.  This one was different than any of the other spartan barbwire crawls that I have done.  There was large holes and mounds of dirt under the barbwire.  This made it a little more interesting to get through than quickly rolling under it.

Spartan Race Barbwire Crawl

Once we came out from under the barbwire, we came to the first pool of water to cool down.  This was part of the dunk wall.  The dunk wall area was one of only 2 places we got in the water the entire Beast.  So this was a very dry course.

Spartan Race dunk wall

After taking a dip in the refreshing crystal clear water, up next was the bucket carry.  The carry was fairly long on a hill, and slow.  The biggest problem with the carry was it was single track through the woods.  So there was lots of waiting.  If one person stopped everybody had to because it was hard to get around people.

Spartan Race Bucket Carry

The other thing that made it tricky was that everybody was still wet from the dunk wall, so it was pretty slick.  There were a lot of people falling and I slipped twice even with my x-talons on.

Spartan Race Bucket Carry

After some more trails we came to the Z wall.  Being the wall was dry, this is a much easier obstacle, then when it is covered in mud.

Spartan Race Z Wall

Stairway to Sparta was at the top of the hills.

Spartan Race Stairway to Sparta

Great positioning of this obstacle, the view from the top was the best on the course.

Spartan Race WV Trifecta Weekend

Bender was next, this is one of my favorites, it reminds you of a childhood playground.

Spartan Race Bender

Our second dip in the water was the only water crossing other than the dunk wall mud holes.  About half way across was around knee deep, but the second half I could not touch.  They made everybody put on life vests, but some how I missed that part, so I got to do a little swimming.  The second day this water crossing was missing from both the super and sprint.

Spartan Race Water Crossing

When we were at the start line we noticed that a lot of people were doing burpees at the tire flip.  This seemed strange because usually the tire isn't that bad.  Now that we were at the tire we saw it was heavy and new so it was kind of slippy and difficult to get a good grip on.  It wasn't too bad once you got it off the ground and could get a better grip under it.

Spartan Race Tire Flip

The rope climb was pretty much the same as any other race, but once again the rope was dry which always makes it easier.

Spartan Race Rope Climb

The sand bag carry wasn't that bad except for the very beginning which was single track so there was a little waiting.

Spartan Race Sand Bag Carry

The bags were the new long Spartan bags, and they varied  in weight.  I think everyone I got was a different weight.  The first one below was like two chunks of concrete in each side.

Spartan Race Sand Bag Carry

The inverted wall was next, and it has been no different for a few years.

Spartan Race Inverted Wall

Next is my all time favorite, OK so really I am about 50 / 50 with the spear throw.  A good many of the misses are from not paying attention to the retrieval rope, but this time I nailed it right in the middle.

Spartan Race Spear Throw

The cargo nets were stretched nice and tight this time.  

Spartan Race Cargo Net

I am not sure if this is new or not but this was the first time I remember seeing all the warning signs at each obstacle.  Some of them are pretty funny and it looks like somebody put some time into this.

Spartan Race Warning Signs

This warning was also at every obstacle.

Spartan Race Warning Signs

The Plate Drag was quite easy, by far the easiest one I have done.  It was on grass and flat, so it slid nicely.

Spartan Race Plate Drag

The second barbwire crawl was a good bit longer but you could roll the entire way and it was on grass.  Not mud and gravel like some of the races.  So this was easy sailing.

Spartan Race Barbwire Crawl

The traverse was the same as usual, you hop on, get some rope burn and ding the bell. 

Spartan Race Rope Traverse

The Atlas Carry was the same as usual, pickup the Atlas stone carry across to the flag, do 5 burpees and carry it back.

Spartan Race Atlas Carry

The Monkey Bars were the same, offset as at a lot of the races.

Spartan Race Monkey Bars

The final wall was an 8 foot wall, saving the best for last.

Spartan Race 8 foot Wall

Not the best picture but when I arrived at the log carry they were out of logs for the guys.  We had to wait for awhile.  Once I got started I found out why.  The logs were pretty heavy and the course was tough.  This was probably the hardest log carry that I have done with Spartan.  Honestly I wasn't too disappointed when this was not included in the Super and Sprint.

Spartan Race Log Carry

The A Frame net was also stretched tighter than usual so you didn't bounce around as much when lots of people were on it.

Spartan Race A Frame

New for this year was twister, and this was my second race I saw it at.  I still have yet to figure this one out.

Spartan Race Twiser

Herc Hoist was the same as the past year or so.  Pull the rope till you get the bag to the top and let it down gently.

Spartan Race Herc Hoist

Olympus  is newer.  It's a horizontal wall crossing with options of using holes, chains, or climbing holes to get across it.

Spartan Race Olympus

The multi rig had a few rings to a pipe and back to rings.  For day 2 they removed the pipe and it was just rings, making it much easier.

Spartan Race Multi Rig

The final obstacle was the fire jump as always.  The Beast was finished, so we headed back to the car. It was great that the showers were in the parking area.  It was a cold shower but it was nice to be a little cleaner before heading out to find some food.  Then it was time to head back to the hotel to get some sleep before day 2.

For day 2 there was less traffic getting back to the parking area.  Our first race for day 2 was the Super, and we were scheduled to start at 9:15.  We could only check in for the Super and would have to come back later to check in for the Sprint.

Much of the race was the same as the Beast.  Except a large loop was cut out, so a lot of the hills were missing and several obstacles.

There were a few changes as we went through.  The first was that they filled the holes in the first barbwire craw with water.  The only other real change was that the bucket carry was much shorter and easier.

For the second day I figured I would give my 5.11 tactical pants a try.  They worked great through a few GORUCK events, so why not.  I got a lot of strange looks and comments as I went through the course!  

As I said the second day was a lot more of the same.

The venue was great, and very scenic.

Once we got through the course we headed back out to the registration area to get our final packet for the Sprint.  When getting into the start gate you could tell the people doing the trifecta weekend.  They were all still dirty and moving a little slower out of the gate.

The Sprint had even more cut out of the course.  The first hill was still there but then we were mostly running around the festival area out in the open fields.

After finishing the Sprint we were ready to head home.

Before heading out we gave the Spartan 3D scanner a try.

It was time to head out to the showers in the parking lot, get freshened up, and head home.

This was a great race and one of my favorite venues to date.

Here is some of the info from my Garmin.

Beast : 15.75 miles 3,508 ft elevation change
Super : 8.25 miles 1,710 ft elevation change
Sprint : 4.92 miles 922 ft elevation change

Spartan Race Trifecta Weekend

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