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2017 DER Weekend  

Eric Sirois's picture

The July 15-16 weekend was the apocalypse. I'm not talking about the end of the world as we know it, but rather the fetish race of the Dead End Race series. Again, the Dead End Race team proposed a weekend of racing to the obstacle enthusiasts by offering them not one, but two races in the same weekend, as well as being able to camp on site. Those who had the experience last year were back for the most part.

For Saturday they offered the "Survivor" version of 6 km of the race. It was also an opportunity to discover the journey that everyone would have to face the next day. Quickly, we could see the efforts put in place by the team to surprise the runners. Indeed, as soon as you arrived on the site, one notices the featured obstacle of the race: The famous warped wall. This is literally in the ground and leaves no one indifferent. From a height of sixteen feet to its highest, this one will present a challenge to the runners.

Another obstacle that intrigued everyone, a few days before, when the organization published pictures on its Facebook page was the rig in the water. Another proof that Dead End Race still succeeds in surprising by innovating and finding ways to destabilize the most accustomed. Connected to the structure that was in the water was a new obstacle. The "Human Hoist", which consisted of raising its own weight by means of a pulley and a rope connected to a piece of wood on which the racer had to sit.

Some small problems occurred during the first wave (elite). Indeed, the famous ramp was damp, wet and made it very slippery. In addition, the section allowing a momentum is a bit too short according to several runners. In order to avoid monster congestion in the elite wave, the organization makes a rule change during the race. Normally the elite waves of the Dead End Race are obstacle mandatory format races, but given the humidity of the ramp (DER cannot control the rain) they simply decided to make an exception for the ramp only. The elite racer had to attempt the difficult version of the ramp (16 feet for men, 15 for women) before going through the 12-foot version in the event of a failure. This change may have had an effect on the men's podium. Another adjustment had to be made to the last inclined wall, where again, the section of race allocated to take a momentum was not long enough. The organization responded by pulling back the fence to enlarge the section, because the queue was beginning to lengthen.

In the evening, the organization offered, in collaboration with Platinum Rig, a friendly competition: Master of the Rig, where registered athletes compete in the end of the course rig. The latter was modified only for the event. It was about 40 athletes who competed in the RIG on Saturday night. Two qualifying rounds for time on two different lines. Then the four best cumulative times passed in the final to face a duel.

While some party or for the most ... were resting for the day that awaited them on Sunday, the organization was busy making the changes according to the apocalypse of the next day. They took matters into their hands at nightfall. Both rigs have been modified, the monkey pipe have seen pipes added over the bar making it much harder, even the ramp received a small modification. Indeed, a mechanical shovel was at work at 10 am at night to enlarge the hole to give more running space. In the morning, rings were added to the bar to reduce the height, but in all while keeping a level of difficulty high enough.

Like the previous years, the runners started the course with a bag of sand on their shoulders. The latter weighed not less than 35 pounds for men and 25 for women. The bag was to be left at the bag cemetery midway and be picked up in the second lap to complete the race with it. In addition to adding an important load, the bag makes some obstacle more complicated. In particular, the sandbag carry becomes a double carry. What about the cliffhanger? The wall that this year had hockey pucks rather than chains, had to be crossed while carrying the famous bag!

Several water obstacles, of which the enormous slide was appreciated by the participants as much on Saturday as on Sunday, especially with the warmth that was at the rendezvous. The modified obstacles for the apocalypse version have been just enough in such a way as to complicate the task of the athletes, but while remaining feasible. Undoubtedly, the final rig will have taken several wristbands from the elite runners who had to complete all the obstacles in order to remain in the elite ranking. If the Saturday race had required some adjustments, the Sunday race was perfect. I did not hear any negative comments about anything, except that an extra water supply might have been needed. At the arrival of the runners, on the other hand, you were offered water, a bottle of Muscle Milk and a good cold beer, courtesy of Boréale. Enough to recharge your batteries! Bravo DER, mission accomplished! Congratulations to all the survivors!