Sunday, February 10, 2013

Winter Death Race Insanity

Winter Death Race finishers! 37 hours later. 6am, -something degrees out.

Ok, I love people WAY TOO MUCH.

Here I am again, volunteering for a Death Race and I all I want to do is help EVERYONE. Yes, these elite athletes paid BIG BUCKS to come here and suffer. They are asking for it...every last bit of cold weather, cold water, sleep deprivation, hypothermia, hunger, dehydration, pulled muscles, etc. But, I could not just sit there and laugh, make them do shitty things...I had to help them stay in the game or at least let them know someone was around to help if needed. I don't desire to be a hero, just a compassionate human being. And, this race brings it out in me. See my Myers Briggs profile of an ESFJ. The Caregiver. Yup. That's who I am to the core.

"Michelle, can I get you food at the General Store?"
"Norwich students, can I hold your frozen feet against my body to warm them up as you are in a hypothermic state?" (this was quite hilarious as these three guys endured cougar jokes from me and Laura for a couple hours as we helped warm them up).
"Daren and Yesel, I am going to run to the store and get more water for you. Here is my water bottle, take it". Their camel back tubes froze up.
"Amelia, how are your feet? Let me help warm them."
"Carmen, let me help you get out of your soaked clothes. You are shivering and hypothermic. Where are your extra clothes? Here is my down coat. Drink the warm drink."
"Can I help you get your stuff back to your car?" to those who DNF'd.

I can't even count how many frozen bare feet I held in my hands to help warm up. Feet that had been in boots and sweaty socks and the river for 20+ hours. Yeah, I did not care. The feet needed help! :)

This is what I did for hours. I started volunteering around 5pm on Friday night and did not finish until Sunday morning at 6am. I LOVED EVERYONE OF THOSE RACERS. They inspire me and make me want to push myself. Whatever I gave them, I got back 100 fold in what I witnessed that weekend.

I will just post pictures of these amazing athletes and not ramble too much about it because I can't really explain all I witnessed. If you want to see people push themselves to their limits and beyond, sign up and volunteer. There is nothing more inspiring.

I will give you a quick list of what they had to endure (I probably left some stuff out...can't remember everything):

1. 3-4 hours of bodywork exercises at Joe's barn: squats, planks, jump squats, sit ups, etc.
2. Pass a real, froze beaver around as they stood in a circle.
3. Move two of those HUGE hay bales that you see in farm fields that are all wrapped up...move them to the sheep barn which was not close to where they were being stored. They had two boards and webbing to move it and could not drag it.
4. Hike up Joe's mountain with each team of 15(?) holding on to a rope with no food or water... a couple hour hike?
5. Move and chop wood.
6. Burpees.....hundreds and hundreds.
7. Hike up Joe's Mountain again and again.
8. Dredge out an Ibeam in the river and pull it out. They did this successfully but several dropped because of hypothermia and frozen feet. They were in and out of the river for hours.
9. Hike up Joe's Mountain 3 times during the night with a new log each time.
10. Hike a few miles on the way to Bloodroot Mountain.

54ish started, 11 finished. Every single racer did their best under the brutal conditions. The temperatures were 15 degrees during the day, if that, and 0 to -digits at night. It snowed. They were cold THE ENTIRE TIME. They endured.

Here are some pictures:

Norm and Andy "Time to go for a 20  mile run." I believe they ended up
going up Joe's Mountain instead.

The green house at Amee Farm....home base.

 Andy (gray coat) and Jack Cary, 4 time DR finisher and DR Summer Race Director
"graciously" came to volunteer and torture the racers.

Amelia Boone. So glad to finally meet her. An huge inspiration as a woman athlete.
Here is her blog if you would like to check out her adventures 

Nele and Keith, who I got to spend the Death Race Camp with a few weeks earlier.
Great people!

Carrying 80 pound blocks to the river to start on the bridge stuff. Actually,
there were screwdrivers attached to this. The only thing they needed, but the directors
decided to attach them to the 80 pound blocks. How nice.

chopping wood to make a big fire since everyone would be starting to
get hypothermic SOON.

Time to undress and get in the water to get the Ibeam out of the bottom of the river
and onto the bank.

Joe Desena...loving every minute.

first hypothermic racer being carried in by stretcher.

Michelle crossing the bridge. That thing scared the shit out of me.

warming up the Norwich students! So many cougar  jokes. 

Joe and Peter "Strict cutoff time! You were not here at 2:30. You are DONE."
There were so  many pissed off racers. Some kept going anyway.

I am sure something evil is going on here if Joe is laughing. ;)
Finisher skulls! I was lucky enough to get a ride to the place where they were
finishing so I could see their beautiful faces as they were
told they had finished the race!

Don and Dan! Congrats, Dan!

Andy and Mark. Mark was AMAZING. He stood in that river for hours.

Josh and Nele. Josh tied for first with Olof and Nele was the first female.
Congrats, guys!

Melody, second place female. Congrats!


Peter St. John fell to the ground in gratitude. Amazing athlete! Congrats!

Finishers with Don Devaney. Don barked orders at them the whole weekend.
No wonder he is wiped out!  :)

I get my turn of this hell in June. Can't wait. :)


  1. Great write up, Jane! Thanks for your presence and assistance! We may not say it in the moment (because we are suffering, delusional, sleep deprived or yelling at Joe) but we all appreciate the volunteers that show up and help in any way they can! I think you gave Daren and I your water bottle at one point down by the river. Thank you!

  2. you are most welcome!! No thanks needed. Like I said, you guys give back just being out there and inspiring us! Great job to you and Daren!! See you in June!