OCR AMERICA: DAY 2: June 20th
Shale Hill in Benson Vermont
I ran Shale Hill before as part of 24 Hours of Shale Hell, the ultra-endurance OCR which takes place in August. In 2015, I finished the event in 2nd place having completed nine laps of what I would describe as the toughest OCR in America. The 6.2 mile course is dense with 50+ obstacles, many of which would be hard to complete for most athletes while completely fresh. Prior to the event I decided we would do four laps of the course giving a total of 25 miles. Based off previous experiences, I knew the first two laps, would go well, I would start to struggle on the third lap and the fourth lap would start to get ugly.
My prediction was spot on. Jordan, who was now on his 3rd day of OCR, joined me for laps 1, 3 and 4. My driver/pit crew/pacer Demetrios “Sty” Karellas, would run with me on lap 2 completing obstacles, then run again on lap 3 but mainly film and take pictures for social media. I decided that lap 3 was a good option to film because I would be tired but not completely exhausted. Plus, the audience effect, a phenomenon where you can perform better when being watched, would allow to pull out some performances that would have been otherwise impossible.
The course winds through the woods and into open fields. With a sunny day and temperatures in the 80s, it was rough on the body. Add in the difficulty of the obstacles and time spent on the course and it was downright brutal.
If you have not been to Shale Hill, it is absolutely worth the trip. Whether you come up here for one of their summer races, the tri-obstaclethalon, their winter/snow race or just come up to train on the course. I would list all their unique, challenging and awesome obstacles, but that would be a several pages by itself. Instead take a look at some of the attached pictures and videos to see for yourself.
In addition, to having an awesome race course, they also have a Pro Shop with merchandise, Icebug shoes and a line of training products from Sinergy Sports. The tagline for Sinergy “When strong isn’t strong enough” is perfect, since they make products that are so challenging, they will challenge even the best OCR competitors. If you have ever had problems on rigs, uphill monkey bars, rope climbs or are just looking for general fitness improvement, their products have the answer you are looking for. Luckily I had trained using rig grips from Sinergy Sports and Fat Gripz for my weight training, so my forearms were able to hold up pretty well to all the stress.
We finished the very long day exhausted from being on our feet climbing. Out of all the days of OCR America, this was the day I felt the worst. At dinner I did not even want to raise my arms to drink my water glass (luckily the waitress gave me a straw).
DAY 2: Shale Hill Final Stats: 25 Miles, 6,755 feet of elevation gain, 210 obstacles, 2600 calories burned
OCR America Total: 46 Miles, 13491 feet of elevation gain, 260 obstacles, 4950 calories burned
This is an abbreviated excerpt taken from a working copy of my OCR America digital book, scheduled for release in 2017.