I hated the Superhero Scramble.
At least that is what I felt on Saturday. Now that I have had time to replenish my calories and get some serious sleep action on, I can look back at the race with a more calm head and review it like intelligent human being rather than like Joe Pesci in a Snickers commericial.
Now that my stomach and aching calves aren’t doing the thinking for me, I can say that I think the Superhero Scramble is a pretty good series. I am going to give it the benefit of the doubt and say that the Tri-State Scramble was just not its shining moment. Please bear with me. This might be a long one because I want to get all the thoughts out, good and bad.
First off, the event was supposed to be at Tuxedo Ridge, just like the Tri-State Spartan Sprint. I think it was in May that they suddenly switched the venue, allegedly due to a contract issue with the resort. The event got moved to Plattekill Mountain in Roxbury, NY, 2+ hours North of the original location. This is hardly considered Tri-State and is a shlep and half for just about anyone. The 2 hour trip made me unhappy and cranky to start with.
Speaking of which, this was billed as a 4+ mile course. It ended up being 6+ miles. I’m used to Spartan Race pulling that kind of sadistic nonsense, but not other races. Now I know for next time, that SS is just as sinister as SR. Like SR, you had penalties for skipping/failing and obstacle- 10 burpees and 10 Super Spins (dizzy bat spins).
Also, the obstacle list and course map that came in an email prior to the race bared little to no resemblance to the actual course.
The obstacle list promised 4 “Razorback” barbed wire crawls. There were 2. And one of them was also “Muddy Lips.” “Rock Hard” was a rock wall climb. This was a pretty original twist on the wall climb. There was a taller and shorter obstacle – not men’s and women’s, which made me happy because I always want to at least try the harder one. There were probably 5 or 6 walls of varying heights plus 2 under and 2 through walls. The higher walls were all really wobbly. One was being leveled with a rock shoved under one of the supports. Not exactly reassuring. And one of them was built right under a low tree branch. Eye-poky goodness.
“Arach Net Phobia” was actually pretty cool. You had to climb up, go over, and climb back down. And it was high. My acrophobia was definitely rearing its ugly head.
The “Plattekiller” I’m guessing, was the half mile haul up one of the slopes. It was steep and brutal.
There were 2 “Hero or Zero” rope climbs- a short one at the top of the slope and another higher one at the bottom right under the cargo net, which gave it that extra little fear factor with the people climbing right over you.
I’m assuming that “Gettin’ Stoned” when we entered a quarry, grabbed any rock, and walked around in a triangle with it. There was supposed to be 2 of these but there was only 1.
“Karma Krossing” was balance beams over nothing but hard dirt. There was no volunteer here if someone fell. In fact, there weren’t many volunteers on the course, at all, which didn’t exactly give me a sense of the warm fuzzies. There were a lot of spots where if you were hurt, your teammates would have had to have trekked half a mile through sketchy terrain to get help for you.
There were “Mounds of Doom” mounds of rocky dirt with muddy water in between. Standard issue mud run stuff here and well appreciated for the mud factor. “Ring Worm” was swinging on rings. It was supposed to have water underneath to fall into. It didn’t. One of my teammates fell flat on her chest into the dirt. Luckily, she was ok, but the volunteers didn’t even flinch and never asked if she was OK. I don’t find this acceptable.
The end of the race was “Leap of Faith” Just like Tough Mudder’s Walk the Plank, but with actual safety people positioned at the bottom who paid attention to each jumper. The pool might have been a little shallow for the height of the jump, since 2 of my teammates touched bottom. Then we were sent back up into the mountain, just to come back down for the “Fire Jump.” That was followed by “The Beast” slanted wall with a rope. The volunteers here were awesome and literally pulled people up encouraging them to not let go. That wall led directly to the “Super Slime Slide” which had NO SLIME!!! The whole reason I wanted to do this event was to get covered in slime and there was none of it. Such a disappointment.
“The Final Battle” before the finish line was a couple of guys with martial arts training kick pads trying to knock you down a la the gladiator pit at the end of a Spartan.
Missing obstacles promised in the email:
- “Sand Baggin'”
- “Rude Awakening” unless this was just the sprays of water right at the beginning.
Other things that may have been considered obstacles:
- Jumping a fence
- Climbing over a large fallen tree
- Going around a large retention pond
So I guess it really was 28 obstacles as advertised, but they just weren’t the ones promised. But to me and my teammates, it wasn’t really enough to justify the 6 miles. There ended up being just so much up this trail, down that trail, up this trail, hike, hike, hike that I actually forgot about a bunch of the obstacles until looked through the pictures we took. My brother, husband, and I came to the conclusion that it would have been a really stellar race IF it had been 4 miles, but that all the pointless up and down took away a lot of the fun factor. I’ve done the crazy slopes at Blue Mountain, Tuxedo Ridge, and even Killington. I get that they want to tire you out and kill your self-esteem a little bit, but these ups and downs just didn’t feel right. It was too much in respect to the obstacle locations. Maybe if the obstacles were more interspersed between all the hills it wouldn’t have been so bad, but 70% of the time I felt like I was out on hike instead of at an OCR.
This was the first time EVER in an OCR that I’ve seriously considered saying “screw it” and taking the fastest course back to the car. My team just wasn’t having fun. Now this could have been because we all underestimated this course. Even the race director. The elite were supposed to be finished in 45 minutes. The fastest time was 1:14. The average racer should have been done in 1:30. We usually pull in at twice the average but it took my team 4:30. Starting at 10:30, we thought we’d be done in time for a late lunch. We were starving and exhausted on the mountain and just wanted to be done, but luckily we were all stubborn sons of bitches that were going to get that goddamned medal if it killed us. And it is a darn nice medal, too.
So that is my recap. I don’t want to pass a bad judgement because I am pretty sure that Superhero Scramble was not functioning at its peak. Maybe not enough people signed up to volunteer or build/test the course because of the venue switch? Maybe this mostly Southern series didn’t know how to handle the this Northern mountain terrain?I don’t know. This isn’t like Rebel Race where it felt like straight out negligence. It more felt like growing pains from a race that is growing so fast that it can’t keep up with itself and got put in a last minute bad situation on top of it.
Would I do it again? Not at Plattekill Mountain, that’s for sure. Two hours driving through the boonies is not my cup of tea. But I’m putting serious though into trying another location. Maybe I’ll head down to Florida and face the Scramble on it’s home turf with one of my oldest friends and make make a weekend out of it. Care for houseguests, Toni?