Tough Mudder Nor Cal 2011

What’s a challenging run for you? Try 14 miles peppered with military obstacles including barbed wire, freezing-cold mud and fire…. that’s what Carl LeBlanc of Kings Beach endured to bring you this Adventure of the Week. Read on, and be glad—or mad—you weren’t there.

WHO: Carl LeBlanc and the Kings Beach Speed Humps

WHAT: Tough Mudder Nor Cal

WHEN: September 17, 2011

WHERE: Squaw Valley, California

GEAR: Trail running shoes, Icebreaker merino, cause it’s as tough as this race demands

Tough Mudder Nor Cal: “Probably the Toughest Event on the Planet” and absolutely the toughest physical challenge that team “Kings Beach Speed Humps” has ever participated in. With rumors of the course being extended to nearly 14 miles long and nothing short of 25 military style obstacles designed by British Special Forces, this was indeed going to be TOUGH. The limits of strength, stamina, mental grit and camaraderie were about to be put to the test. Lined up 13 members deep, 7 men and 6 women, the Speed Humps put their hands to their hearts as the Star Spangled Banner signaled it was our time to go.

Smoke billowing in our faces, it was a mile, straight up hill and directly into a freezing-cold mud crawl lined with barbed wire. Nice, right? With shoes and socks soaking wet, there’s nowhere to go but up. They called it the “Death March,” and they weren’t joking. Loose shale provided unsure footing at best and many a rolled ankle at worst, but don’t worry: you can ice that ankle as you wade through chest-high ice water just before you scale a 16-foot quarter pipe wall.

As individuals, it would have been impossible to scale that wall. It was wet, from the thousands of  Mudders that had come before us. Building a human ladder of sorts and employing the assistance of every single team member, it was as if the wall were only 6 feet high and the lesson of camaraderie and team spirit was reinforced on only the third obstacle of the day. Sticking together, no obstacle was impassable and no hill was too steep. Each time you were finally warmed up from running uphill, there was another water obstacle to cool (FREEZE) you down.

We climbed up the rocks, we crawled through the mud, we scaled several walls and we swam through ice water and in the end, we’d do it all over again. Twice. If you’re tough enough, we’ll see you out there next time!

The Tahoe Mountain Sports Adventure of the Week blog series takes a walk (or hike, surf, climb or Death Tough Mudder March) in someone else’s shoes, from pro athletes to local Tahoe adventurers. Let us know if you’ve got an adventure to share.



I'm Tahoe Mountain Sports' web editor and a 6-year Tahoe resident. Yep, I live the life, with a lake view from my desk, lunch breaks on the beach with my dog, and morning powder runs when the snow's good. I ski, snowboard, skate ski, and cross-country ski in winter, and hike, mountain bike, backpack, and lay around on Tahoe's beaches in summer.


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