The Mountain Bike Life

We have all heard about the odd Tough Mudder race, and everybody has a crazy friend who has done one, but it’s a much bigger thing than I had thought. There a whole genre of racing called obstacle racing, and these races are running races with different obstacles, ranging from rope climbs to pushups, icy pools and mud pits, and carrying heavy loads over obstacles. I had a night-before invite to do one of these races put on by Alpha Obstacle Training in Toronto. I didn?t realize what I was getting into, or how much fun I’d have.


The atmosphere at these races is totally different than most other race atmospheres, it’s almost as if the racers aren’t competing against each other; they’re competing together against the obstacles and features of the course. Before the race even began, there was a warmup on an indoor soccer field where we were all coached through running on the spot, jumping jacks, plyometrics, pushups and planks. Over the course of the race we stopped at different stations and had to complete the following challenges:

1. 30 squats with a big piece of wood on your shoulders
2. Carrying a big rock
3. Bear crawl
4. 20 burpees
5. Long jumps to cross a beach section
6. Hay bales obstacle
7. 20 pushups
8. Wall traversing
9. Tire pull from the bottom of the water using a chain 3 times
10. Wall climb
11. Over unders (jumping over then going under 3 foot barriers)
12. A Frame Climb
13. Monkey bars (up and down)
14. Rope Climb
15. Running through a tire section
16. Sand bag carry
17. Sand buckets carry
18. Carry tire above head
19. Tractor pull
20. Sledge Hammering
21. Tire flip

Monkey Bars

The end of the race was a section of back to back to back obstacles, with judges making sure you do the right challenges and cheering you on. Notably Jesse, who seems to be the guy organizing the whole thing is cheering and running around encouraging all the racers. I found the format of the race and the nature of the obstacles quite challenging, but it’s the kind of thing that any reasonably active person should be able to complete on their own. I would recommend anyone try a race or some cross fit training, it’s a great challenge at any pace, and being a mountain biker you are already a lot more fit and stronger than you would expect.

All images used with permission from Alpha Obstacle Training

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Chris Fruetel

Graduate Student, Civil Engineering at Queen's University
I am a graduate student at Queen's University, studying Civil Engineering, and racing the Elite category at the provincial and national level. I love to ride, and grew up in Muskoka on the Canadian Shield riding the thick forests and granite in that area. Though I focus heavily on racing and developing speed, I think that there's nothing like working my way through a new trail system.

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