Paying the Piper
Well, folks, I’ve gotta tell you that Sam and I sure got our money’s worth over at Extreme Timber Challenge in Bonner Springs, Kansas, Sunday afternoon. Well, except for the tee shirt, we got our money’s worth. The tee shirt is definitely the most pedestrian of any of the ones I’ve gotten in my twenty-plus obstacle course mud runs in the past four years. Plain white cotton tee with a Bigfoot logo on the front and the names of a dozen sponsors on the back… But, in terms of interesting obstacles, challenging terrain and sheer fun factor, XTC was a definite bargain!
Courses are typically described as flat, rolling, moderately hilly or mountainous. Since I knew this one was in the “bluffs” of the Kansas River, I figured it would be somewhat hilly. “Bluffs? In Kansas?” I thought… right.
Well, having spent about an hour-and-a-half jogging up and down rock-strewn, log-jammed creek beds, over the creek and through the woods, I’d have to say that “mountainous” would not have been terribly mis-leading. I also have to say that “fun” for old freaks like me might be a bit of an under-statement.
We climbed over, around and through two old school busses (one of which was set on the slope of a steep ravine). We held onto ropes and worked our way down steep trails. We climbed up on cargo nets, old tires and tree roots. We swung our way over a mud pit and clambered over a fifteen-foot sheer rock face. We held onto a bicycle grip zip line and zipped across a little valley, over a couple hundred feet of slope, pond and mud. We climbed the stairs to the top of a seven-floor -tall wooden tower, wowed at the view of the river bottom and climbed back down. We hiked over rip-rap, scaled a wall of old tires and conquered big bales of hay. We slid down a hundred-foot slip-n-slide into a muddy pool. The race sponsors claimed they had forty-five obstacles in the four-mile run and I don’t think they exaggerated even slightly.
We had so many obstacles and so much fun that we reached the next-to-last obstacle at least thirty minutes earlier than I thought we would. Maybe they exaggerated the distance; maybe it was only a bit over three miles. I don’t know. But I do know that we climbed over that last A-frame wall at the finish line a lot sooner than I expected.
The last obstacle wasn’t there at the race track.
Even though I didn’t notice any pain or even discomfort throughout the whole race, by the time we got cleaned up and into the truck, I told Sam, “My knee doesn’t feel quite right.”
Sam was a little short on sympathy, having jammed his thumb pretty hard when he snagged it on the side of the slip-n-slide.
A night later, I’m sitting here with ice on my bruised and swollen left knee after spending the whole day limping around like Walter Brennan in “The Real McCoys.” So far, the folks I work with have kept their smirks and snickers out of my hearing range. I’m calling this final obstacle, “Getting Over the First Forty-Five.”
There’s not much fun in this world that doesn’t come with a price tag of some kind or another. I’ll sure take this over some of the other ones I’ve had to pay!