Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Viper Challenge 2014 - BIGGER & BETTER

After a total of three hours of sleep and two scones for breakfast, I found myself at Sepang International Circuit in the wee hours of a Sunday morning for the second Viper Challenge. Hailed as the biggest obstacle challenge in Asia, Viper Challenge 2014 saw its tickets sell out like hot cakes within the first week and after last year's, um, incident, had to make a comeback in order to redeem itself.

And did they ever with a completely new circuit mixed with old and new obstacle challenges along the way.  I was a bit apprehensive at first about it, unwilling to get my hopes up until I heard the raving good reviews from Day 1 participants. It was a massive improvement from the previous year and has risen the standards of obstacle challenges around the region. Or so I heard the evening before. 

I was in the first wave along with my team from the previous year and as soon as we were flagged off, rain pelted down on us (again). Fortunately, this wasn't a reenactment of last year's race because this year, we found the entire course changed, revamped and toughened up.

It was super excited. 

We were treated to last year's favourites and iconic challenges like the ice bath and the walls (oh god the walls....) and so many new challenges specially designed for this occasion. Heck, they even flew in an obstacle expert to help with the planning and construction of the obstacles this year. And the great thing about these challenges was that they were designed for participants to help each other, regardless if they were in the same team or not.

As for my team, we went with a new approach for this year's Viper Challenge and opted to break up into several small groups according to our respective fitness and experience levels.  There were at times when the whole team came as one to assist each other through a major obstacle but we found it was less pressure on everyone if we moved at our own pace instead of wait for each other. 

The terrain was trail most of the way (just the way I like it) and epically muddy. Thank god my Columbia Trail had amazing grip in the mud and I merely strolled uphill past others who were slipping and struggling to find their footing. However on road, the minimalist sole wore out my feet and resulted in a pulled thigh muscle. Still I powered on.

And as I have said time and time again, the obstacles this year were amazing.
My personal favourites were everything that had a pond of water below to catch my fall and of course, the final and tallest obstacle I have ever seen. If I thought Tough Mudder was tough, this was the toughest Everest ever. 

And I conquered it after two tries.

The feeling of overcoming that obstacle was exhilarating and at the top, I paused for a moment to take in the sight of everyone else at the bottom, waiting of their turn to conquer it. I would have done a song and dance routine to celebrate but I think my bootcamp instructor (also one of the organizers) would have kicked me off the ramp.

My finishing time was 5 hours 30 minutes although I didn't successfully complete all the obstacles but then again, that was the nice thing about Viper Challenge. You try what you can and if you can't, you move on. The back end of my team pulled up to that challenge an hour later. A few friends from our fellow bootcamp team, the Musang Kings and I returned to the top of the ramp to help my team and ended up helping so many other people instead.

Being thanked for helping them up the daunting obstacle was perhaps the best reward out of the entire experience. (I was a little disappointed that I could not volunteer this year). That and the abundance of food and drink trucks available on site! Coffee, kebab, burgers, Juiceworks...no one went hungry after completing the challenge.
With this year's massive improvements, I can confidently say I am definitely looking forward to Viper Challenge 2015. Bag drop was fast and prompt and we were given an additional wristband for collection later. Parking was no issue for us as we were the first group of reach and start. Even as we were waiting for our flag off time, there were already things to do on site thanks to Breezy Sports. There were ample drinks thanks to Mountain Dew and Revive along the way as well as medics and ambulances. And once we had finished the course, showers were provided although the water pressure became an issue as more and more people came in.

Kudos to the organizers for this awesome event! 

As for my team, as much as I would have liked us to finish together like we did last year, we finished it anyway and I am proud of each and everyone of Team Huh?!  Why are we doing this again? Because we can.

At the end of this, I also learnt a few things that would help me for the next Viper Challenge in March 2015:
1. Swim suit = no chafing!
2. Wearing compression wear does make a difference. I learnt this the hard way. 
3.  The braid style worked wonders in keeping my thick mane controlled. 
4. Wearing the right shoes goes a long way in helping me finish this event. 
5. Loading up on MyBurgerLab the night before helped me survive the first 10km.

To view the photos of my team in action, go to my FB album link: Viper Challenge 2014 

See ya all next year!

To sign up, go to http://www.viperchallenge.com/

To read about other obstacles challenges I have taken part in:
Viper Challenge 2013
Tough Mudder Perth 2013
Singapore Men's Health Urbanathlon 2014
Spartan Beast Brisbane 2014

 *This post is based solely on the writer's own experience and opinions. Her entry fee for Viper Challenge 2014 and 2015 was paid for with her own hard earn money. Camera used to capture the photos was an Olympus Tough. 

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