Now that the dust has settled (literally) from my World’s Toughest Mudder experience in Las Vegas just a few short weeks ago, I’ve had some time to reflect on my experience. Going into this event, there were so many unknown factors that I believed contributed to race success. I used the experience of others I met on the Worlds’ Toughest Mudder Community Facebook group as well as working with and talking to folks in person – people like Coach Mud, Simon Donato and a few other’s I knew that had been in the trenches. I felt very prepared with the gear I had compiled, but I was quite surprised at how the race eventually turned out.
Here are 4 major gear related factors that didn’t quite go as I had predicted: Tents Coach Mud had tipped us off to these really great ice fishing tents, the Eskimo Quikfish 5i. They were burly and spacious. I expected using this shelter as a reprieve from the elements of the course throughout the 24 hour race. As it turned out, I only ended up using the tent as a pre-race staging area and a place to relax before Sean Corvelle got us all hyped up for the challenge ahead. I’d highly recommend these tents for anyone taking on the WTM, but I spent exactly zero minutes in the pit during the 24 hour period.
The Wetsuit I squeezed my girthy-self into Simon Donatos (sch)Medium sized neoprene wetsuit. I asked to borrow his, as he had already modified the suit by cutting off the legs, just above the knees. It worked out really well until I completely blew out the crotch at mile 65. Thanks goodness I chose to wear some Saxx undies that day, or the WTM community would have had to deal with yet another course hazard.
The Shoes This was my biggest surprise of the event. I had packed 4 pairs of shoes (3x All Out Crush, 1x All Out Peak) and planned on changing the tires every few laps. To my surprise, I started the race in the All Out Peak, and a single pair of Injinji Socks and I kept that same set-up on for the entire duration of the race. I may have stopped to tie my shoes a handful of times, but the feet felt great and I walked away from the event with no blisters.
Warmth This was another unexpected, yet pleasant outcome; I mentally and physically prepared to feel like I was in the arctic. I’m quite familiar with how quick body temps can plummet in endurance events, especially in the desert and most certainly during races that involve water. I was ready for the worst. Fortunately, the worst never came. I didn’t put my wetsuit on until lap 4 or 5 and when I did I was roasting. In the middle of the night, I added the neoprene cap just to make sure I didn’t get caught out in the cold, but aside from that, my body temp never seemed to affect my performance.
The WildCard Simon has been known to wear a sunhat, not uncommon to the old guard of adventure racing. He encouraged me to pick up a wide brim hat, like this one, to combat the desert sun. I scoffed at his suggestion initially, fearing my hardcore edge would be lost with my new look: gardener’s chic. I eventually broke down and picked up a sun-hat enroute to las vegas. As it turns out I wore the hat from start to sun-down and it made a huge difference! I felt completely shaded from the sun and as a result I didn’t overheat during those early event hot laps. It may not be the sexiest piece of my WTM kit, and I did actually see an 80 year old woman wearing this exact same hat last week while walking the city streets of Denver, but it will certainly be making my gear list for the next World’s Toughest!