Monday, November 18, 2013

Australia: Tough Mudder Perth 2013

As you know, I took part in the Viper Challenge held in August this year with my awesome team HUH?! which made me realize my addiction to obstacle challenges. By October, I was itching for another round of monkey bars, mud, ice and water and so, it was off to Perth, Australia for Tough Mudder Perth!

Tough Mudder has been hailed as "possibly the toughest event on the planet" and is organised throughout the year in different countries like the United States, New Zealand and of course, Australia. Perth was the latest edition to reach Australia, adding to a list consisting of Sydney, Melbourne, the Sunshine Coast and so on.

Since Perth was the closest Tough Mudder venue to Malaysia, we boarded a flight the day before the event and flew off to sunny Perth. (actually quite a far bit of logistics planning went into this trip as there were 13 of us, all with different itineraries)

Tough Mudder Perth was held in the middle of nowhere (WPC Copley Farm to be exact) and with our luck (good or bad, depends on you) it was freezing when we got there at 7am. We got ourselves sorted out at registration, got our bibs, got our numbers drawn our foreheads and dropped off our bags at the baggage counters, all rather quickly thanks to the efficiency of the organizers and volunteers.

Of course, to commemorate the event, we took a lot of pictures.My team was Mudder-in-Law, after a friend's favourite curse phrase and we were the most mismatched, psychotic team to fly out of Malaysia for this. Our wackiness started on the five hour flight over and quite frankly, we were surprised we were not thrown out from the plane for all the noisy and obstruction we made on the plane.

Anyway, Tough Mudder had the coolest starting Emcee who drilled the essence of the event in our heads and got us all pumped up for the flag off. Did I mention that we had to scale a mini wall just to get to the start line. That was Tough Mudder alright.

We were to expected 20 obstacles over a 20 km (12mile) trail and we got our money's worth in the crazy but fun obstacles that lined the course.

1. Kiss of Mud
Kiss of Mud was fairly straight-forward. We crawled through the mud, almost kissing it but the only catch was that there are barb-wires above our heads. My hair got caught a few times on that and a lot of people also lost their bibs in the mud.

2. Just the Tip
I must say this obstacle was one of my favourites despite taking a long time to calm my nerves to tackle it. Basically we had to inch our way along a wall with minimal hand hold and foothold across a pit of water. At one point, I was literally hanging by my fingertips as the footholds disappeared, relying only my arm strength and body momentum to swing me across.

3. Cage Crawl
A lot of people had concerns over this obstacle as it can get claustrophobic but water babies aka swimmers would love floating along the shallow tunnels filled with water and with only 6 inches of breathing space. I found it a rather....tranquil experience.

Our photographers were spotted running alongside the team on an assigned route for spectators.

4. Mud Mile
Now this was where we got really dirty all over. We had to sludge our way through a mile of mud and water that were up to our waist. It wasn't too bad other than the fact the water was cold and the hills of mud were collapsing under our hands even as we tried to boost ourselves up. That was what my team was for though and we got over this rather smoothly. I heard it wasn't that bad since our trenches were filled with water rather than actual heavy mud.

5. Electric Eel
Mentally and physically, this was one of the more daunting challenges as there was absolutely no way we could have trained for this, short of actually electrocuting ourselves....We had to crawl on our bellies through live wires that were dangling all around us and there was almost no way you can avoid them. I say, almost because somehow I managed to get through this obstacle without a jolt or a sizzle of electricity. Friends who got zapped ended up hopping around, screaming about their crown jewels.

Of course, the real skeleton at the front of the challenge didn't help. 

6. Glory Blades
Glory Blades was one of the easier walls to tackle. To get over it, we had to support each other by forming a stepping stone for our friends at the wall. Once they were over and down, there was another one on the other side.

7. Arctic Enema
Ah, the infamous Artic Enema of Tough Mudder.

I did a similar one for Viper which was actually modeled after this and this was certainly no walk in the park. Again, we had no way of training for this other than sitting in a tub filled with ice but somehow we went ahead with the Just Do It mentality and did it anyway.

Not a pretty experience as the water was freezing cold and filled to the brim with ice. We had to dunk our heads completely underwater to get under a board and come out the other side. It was just my bad luck that the guy in front of me got stuck trying to get out and I had to wait a torturous minute for someone to pull him out. In less than zero Celsius ice and water. By the time I had climbed out, I lost all feelings in my body and it was a miracle that I could still move without cramping up.

8. Water Logged
This was easy and we all had to do was climb over several fences of logs and duck under several barb wires in between. Of course, nothing was ever easy with my team and one of us...had a wardrobe malfunction when her pants caught a splinter and ripped. We spent a good ten minutes trying to patch her up with duct tape only for it to fall off as soon as she started running. And as if that wasn't obvious enough, she kept turning around and asking us, "IS IT OBVIOUS?!"

No, Caryn. It wasn't obvious UNTIL you did that. 

9. Warrior Carry
Next part was the Warrior Carry and in pairs or trios, we had to carry each other for 100 meter, then switch roles and go for another 100 meter. Ironically, this was where my left calf decided to cramp up. Not because I was carrying my teammate but because I was hopping on to his back. Luckily for me, he carried me the whole 200 meters with me yelling 'MUSH!' at the top of my lungs.

Thanks, Raj! 

Junken in the picture below got royalty treatment and was carried by Alex and Lenny.

10. Spider's Web 
Due to my cramp, I walked around this challenge. It was similar to the one we did at Viper Challenge where we had to climb a loose net and to create tension, people had to anchor it. It was a nice change to see other teams helping each other to hold the net down while people scaled over it. Got to love the team spirit that Tough Mudder fostered.

11. King of the Mountain
This was the only challenge we encountered a line and waited about five minutes before it was our turn. By then, the top of the hay had disintegrated due to people constantly grabbing at it. So the organizers pulled up and closed off this challenge to allow them to fix it up. It was a good call for safety reasons and since we had done the same thing in the Viper Challenge, my team had no problem giving it a miss.

Of course, in every team there just had to be that one person who did it anyway despite us yelling at him to get down.

I found out much later that there were several more culprits in team who couldn't resist the challenge and scaled it after the team ran ahead. Sneaky buggers. They ended up getting stuck up there to help other people.

12.  Berlin Walls
I loathed the 12 feet walls but because this was Tough Mudder, I wasn't allowed to whine or complain. Aloud. My plan was to just scramble over them by any means necessary and not look like an idiot doing so. Mission accomplished.

The same can't be said for my friend who tried helping other people and ended up looking like a pervert looking to grab ass. 

Nevertheless, we all did it!

Only to find another wall waiting for us.

13. Underwater Tunnels
I can't believe I forgot to bring my goggles for Tough Mudder and really had to squeeze my eyes shut for this challenge less my contact lenses got swept away. People had to basically go under the barrels and come out on the end. Easy enough if you are accustomed to water. Although the marshal at the start yelling "DON'T DRINK THE WATER. IT HAS TADPOLE PEE IN IT!" didn't help.

14. Hold Your Wood
What a cheeky challenge name but it was by no means a joke.While it may seem easy to carry a small log or share out a long one amongst your teammates, what most people don't realized is that the dirt road we carried the log around went uphill and down. Smart people went for the low numbered logs while those driven by adrenaline and egoism...went for the heaviest log. Like my two teammates in the photo below, sharing a long and heavy log.

Really, genius....

15. Walk the Plank
Officially my favourite. A few of my friends were hesitant to tackle this challenge, not because of the height of 15 feet but because they couldn't swim. I just went for it and as soon as the space beneath me was empty of people, I leapt in and paddle to the top. I realised only then there were scuba divers on standby to fish for any one who didn't come up. There was also a lifeguard on a surf board, ready to assist anyone struggling to get to the land.

16. Twinkle Toes
Twinkle Toes really depended on our sense of balance and speed because right in the middle was when you really need to sprint for the other side. The plank would wobble and there goes your balance and into the water you go!

17. Funky Monkey
Unlike the monkey bars I have encountered, this one curved at the top and went down again. I gave it a shot and just couldn't find my grip. I lost it at the fourth rung and into the water (again) I went.

18. Everest
One of the most iconic obstacle of Tough Mudder. We had to sprint up a quarter-pipe and with the help of our friends and other Mudders, scale over this summit. Timing and coordination was key for this obstacle. And most of all, a never-give-up mentality. I will let the photos and videos do the talking.

19. Electroshock Therapy
And finally to bring an end to our misery, erm, challenge, this was the last obstacle that stood between us and the finish line. We recuperated before this challenge, steeled our nerves, held hands and ran like shit into a field of dangling live wires. Some carried a voltage of 10,000 volts and I definitely felt it all the way to my right feet each time it jerked under me. I got hit four time I think but that wasn't as bad as a friend who took 10 wires that sent him to his knees.

And finally the end. The sweet sensation of walking pass the finish line and getting our hard-earn orange headband, t-shirts and beer. Team Mudder-in-Law had completed the entire course in about 4 hours and a half. HOORAH!

I know I cursed and swore the whole way but I wouldn't have been able to do this without my teammates. The memories of Tough Mudder is just something that only fellow Mudders can understand and appreciate and I am glad that I got to do it with the most supportive and whacky group of friends.

Would I do it again? Hell, yeah.

*Sunglasses sponsored by Glassesonline.


Unknown said...

Nice blog with great pics !! Nice to re-live the adventure again .. Same time next year then :P

Tania said...

Why not, eh? Same time next year, longer stay. Btw I am waiting for your post on the experience. Looking forward to that Brit/Singaporean humour :p