Category Archives: DRX-Games

Photos: DRX-Games

I’m later with these than I’d intended (major freelance gig distraction) but as is my habit I’d like to share photos from the DRX-Games. They had some official photography going on, and one of the nice things about the relatively small event is that there are a lot of photos of everyone.

As has been documented, I prefer to share the bad ones. Plus, I have this condition called ugliness that causes the light that bounces off my body to twist into a grotesque form as it approaches an observer or a camera. So these shouldn’t be considered a reflection on the photographer; I’m just not a fair subject.

Let’s start with what I call the constipated hippo pose:

Me on the DRX-Games Cargo net

Nearly as elegant is the immediate precursor to this shot, where I’m roughly impersonating that “Hang in there” cat, although less convincingly.

DRX Dash cargo net

Seriously, that cat’s dead now.

The tire flip was one of my better events, but I have to take issue with my form. Shouldn’t I be squatting a lot more thoroughly? Although that’s not quite fair, because if I were squatting well I’d be all, “Here’s me in the ‘slightly dim ostrich who doesn’t realize his egg is actually a big rock pose’ so maybe I should be easier on myself.”

Me in the DRX-Games Tire Flip

I like this one because of what’s probably an optical illusion. How did the spear get all the way up there when my hand is all the way down there? Probably the shot is after my follow-through and the spear is from someone behind me, but I prefer to simply call myself a wizard.

Spear Throw at the DRX-Games

This was actually a race. Doesn’t it show? The intensity on my face, the determination in my gait? I mean, I’ve nearly caught up to that inanimate tire!

Tire drag at the DRX-Games

From the same event: How does this face happen? It’s like I’m trying to smile but I’ve never seen a smile, only a description of a smile from someone else who also has never seen one.

DRX-Games Tire Drag

This one’s an ego boost, since I’m quite literally the only person in the world. So the problems in the face are okay because there’s no one with a better face to compare them to.

Farmer Walk at DRX-Games

This one you can smell the grunting. This wasn’t even the heaviest of the Atlas Balls, so I’m pretty sure I’m grandstanding a bit.

Atlas Carry from the DRX-Games

There are a bunch more (as I said, their photography game was on point and there are way more albums than that on their FB page), but the ones where I don’t look mental… well, why bother?

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OCR (sort of) Report: DRX-Games: I Suck at Liveblogging

Well, so much for the attempt to liveblog. And it’s completely my bad; I had enough reception, but I didn’t have the mental fortitude to keep my phone with me during the events, let alone writing during them. Which is pathetic—one of the people I was with did a fantastic job of taking pictures. Oh well.

My gym group at the DRX-Games

She didn’t actually take this one, but it was her phone and she arranged for someone to take it.

A rough outline of the event:

The DRX-Games aren’t exactly an OCR. They’re more Crossfitty, in that it consists of a series of six events that are scored and combined. Although the challenges are fairly OCR-adjacent.

It was a small event, compared to a usual OCR. There were, maybe, 50 or so people competing. I’m pretty sure that’s by design—I think they capped the number of entries at 60 anyhow, probably to keep it manageable to operate with a pretty limited staff. It produced a pretty friendly, close-knit sort of event.

The group was big enough to split into two. My group started at the Hercules Tire Flip. As I expected, this was a pretty standard tire flip; down and back a path, as many times as possible in a minute. The tire wasn’t all that big—maybe semi-truck sized rather than tractor-sized. Definitely lighter than the ones my gym has, which were a bit lighter than the ones at last week’s Spartan Race. It wasn’t light, but for me the challenge was more in controlling the tire than in actually flipping the thing. Up to five people went at a time, but I was lucky that my heat only had three, because I’m pretty sure I went off-center at some point.

My next event was the Amazonian Tire Pull and Drag. I think these used the same type of tire as the flip, but friction can be a harsh mistress. The event involved sitting down and pulling a tire attached to a rope uphill over a lengthy course—maybe 50 feet, though I’m not good at estimating distances like that. Then, we got up, dragged the tire back to its starting point with the rope outstretched, ran back, and did the whole course again. This was probably my best event; as one onlooker observed, it was pretty similar to rowing, which is probably the (athletic) thing I’m best at.

Event 3 was a quickie: the Ares Spear Throw. Three shots, three points per stick, with a bonus point if we get all three. We had a bit of chance to practice before the event started, and I missed every single one, shattering the fragile confidence I had built at the Spartan last week. In the event, however, I hit one out of three.

Number 4 was the Dirty Bucket List. This was a race, but kind of a two-parter: we started with a farmer’s walk, hauling two buckets (with handles) around a loop. Then we dropped one of the buckets at the starting line, and did a second loop carrying it bucket-brigade style.

Event 5 was the Atlas Titan Stone Relay Carry. We had to do three laps down and back around a flag, carrying a different heavy stone each time. Men-folk had stones that were about 40, 70, and 120 pounds; ladies had a 40 and two 70s. The 120 was really heavy; rolling was permitted, but the event was scored such that the fastest rollers were put below the slowest carriers. I managed to carry it, although it took a couple tries to get it situated.

Me hauling a 120-pound Atlas Stone.

Yep, I brought the Fez of Inspiration.

The final event was the DRX Dash—which was an actual OCR. It was a sprint, though, only about 300 yards, with 20 or so obstacles. The obstacles included a bunch of things that we’d already done, including tire flips, spear throws, atlas stone carries, and a bucket carry, but also crawling through tunnels, a log carry through a pond, barbed wire crawls, a pair of inverted walls and a pair of diagonal ladder-kind-of-thing climbs, a really effing huge slip wall, and a cool (though not spectacularly difficult) climb up a bunch of logs sticking perpendicularly out of a hill.

Overall Thoughts about the Event

First off, I was there with a few other people from my gym—Chantelle, Hayden, and Jay. That’s the first true group experience I’ve had at an event like this, and I really enjoyed it—it’s awfully nice to have people photographing, and sharing bananas and giving tips and cheering and sharing sunscreen and so on and so forth. Big thanks to them for organizing and for being there.

Second, the overall vibe was really nice—chill and relaxed and friendly, but also just a group of people coming together to do something cool, more than a heavily sponsored, very for-profit, “hey-Olympics-look-this-way!” Not that there is anything wrong with that (really, I swear!) but I have a lot of respect for little guys who do things too.

Third, the event was held at the Dirt Runner facility, which also contains a 4-mile OCR course and a Ninja Warrior-style speed/balance/power hybrid course. I think we had the opportunity to try the other stuff, although I was pretty cashed out afterword and didn’t. (Although before I tried the Ninja pegboard and its Z-wall, which wasn’t really a Z because it had four legs rather than three.)

Fourth, the small-scale nature of the event did have a bit of a downside in the form of some logistical glitches. I think the group was quite a bit larger than at the first one, so crowd control wasn’t always dead-on. There were also some logistical issues within the events themselves. For example, in the tire flip they used people competing but not in that specific heat to count, and in the first heat one person got counted twice while another person didn’t have anyone counting. In my heat of the tire drag, I’m told the timing got messed up so I’m not sure if I got an official time or what. In the Atlas Stone Carry a couple of people complained when they were assessed penalties because they dropped the stones in an out-of-control way and they kept rolling. (In a way, a valid complaint, since it hadn’t been explicitly explained. In another way, you shouldn’t need to be explicitly told that rolling a 120-pound, or even 40-pound ball, through a crowd of people is a Bad Thing To Do.) The bucket carry probably would have been more fair as a series of straight lanes rather than a loop, since people on the outside of the loop had to carry their buckets farther than people on the inside.

I’m not terribly bothered by these issues. Obviously you want to avoid them, but most of us viewed it as a fun event—the grown-up equivalent of a field day—rather than a hard-core competition, which I think is the right approach.

Fifth, I’m not a swag hag, and I wouldn’t do any event for the medals, but this is cool.

DRX-Games MedalI heard that it’s hand-made, and I believe it (you can see a few scratches and cracks that a computer probably wouldn’t have left), which is awesome. Also, heavy. If you had to, you could use this as a mace.

Personal performance

My stated goal was to finish not-last in something, and I’m pretty confident I did that. I don’t know details (they’ll post results on their website, but they’re not up yet) but I know I was second out of five in my heat of the tire drag, second out of four in my bucket carry heat, and second out of three in my Atlas stone heat. I’m really happy with how I did in the first five events.

And then the sixth was absolute crap.

My climbing is getting worse, and now there’s a mental component to the problem. Fear of falling, combined with the very real slickness from muddy hands and arms and equipment, and my own physical shortcomings have created a serious block, and I’m not sure how to deal with it. I’d like to figure out a place that’s feasible to get to where I can actually work on it—for me, familiarity breeds success—but I’m not sure where in Chicago that’s possible.

If you’ve got any ideas, let me know.



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A Woefully Uninformed Weekend Preview: DRX-Games II

This one is a late-breaking bit of personal news: This weekend I’ll be taking part in the DRX-Games in Marseilles, Illinois.

I normally don’t do events every weekend—I like to have a bit of recovery time, and the opportunity to keep them “events” rather than a constant thing. However, a couple of the trainers at my gym announced they were doing it and invited anyone who wanted to form a group, and so I’ll be there with a small group of friends.

What I know about the event is: It’s not really an OCR, but rather a collection of six events. Although one of those events is an OCR, albeit a very short one (300 yards).

The website has the event titles, and they vary in clarity. “Hercules Tire Flip” is, presumably, flipping tires as many times as possible in a given time. “Are’s Spear Throw” is probably a spear throw, although you may be disqualified for proper use of apostrophes, in which case I am fucked. “Dirty Bucket List” and “DRX Dash” aren’t quite so clear. Even the relatively clear ones have some mystery—for the tire flip, for example, how big is the tire, and how long are we flipping?

My stated goal is to finish not-last in at least one event. But that’s a bit douchey. And to explain why I need to call myself out there, I need to back up to when I first got into OCR.

I downloaded a free ebook from Spartan and read it, and got pretty annoyed by it. First off, it presented as “beginner” workouts things like 10-mile runs that really obviously aren’t beginner workouts. Second, even then I got bothered by the “This is a completely impossible challenge, and also, anyone can do it” mental gymnastics that most OCR is guilty of. Third were, as always, the “inspirational” stories. I think inspiration is problematic generally, but these stories, as I recall, were nearly all people who started as elite athletes and stayed that way. One that stands out in my mind was from someone who (again, in my mind; she probably didn’t actually do this) giggled as she said that she expected to come in dead last in her first OCR, but actually, she won it!

Yeah, fuck that false modesty.

And yet, here I’m dropping some of my own. Because even though I’m not ever going to be mistaken for an elite athlete, I’m looking at these events and very cautiously saying that several of them are kind of in my wheelhouse. (At least three are pretty heavy on power rather than speed or nimbleness, which plays well for me.) And you can see results from the last event online. The winner of the tire flip, for example, had 16 flips. That doesn’t seem like all that many flips! I mean, I can flip a tire 16 times.

Of course, the ambiguity still comes into play, because the results don’t say how heavy the tire is (the one at my gym is the one that I use as a baseline, and I can throw that around pretty impressively, but the Spartan last weekend had a tire flip obstacle, and it was definitely a bit heavier than my gym’s) or how much time you have to flip. And, of course, I have no idea what level the other competitors will be.

So there’s plenty of room for surprises on the upside. I guess when I say my goal is to finish not-last in something, really I’m saying that I don’t have any expectations and I’ll be satisfied with doing my best and not humiliating myself. But I wouldn’t be terribly shocked by any result.

Hoping it’s fun!

Eta: If things go well, I’ll live blog things this weekend.

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