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    NTC operations group ‘Tarantula Team’ conquers 2011 Southern California Tough Mudder

    NTC operations group ‘Tarantula Team’ conquers 2011 Southern California Tough Mudder

    Courtesy Photo | Capt. Jeff Tebo, Capt.Terrance Higgins, and Sgt. 1st Class Lewis carry Log Blocks up...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    Fort Irwin Operations Group

    By Capt. Eli Rivera
    Fort Irwin Operations Group

    BIG BEAR, CALIF, – Fifteen Combat Trainers from the National Training Center’s Operations Group ‘Tarantula Team’ (Airborne) joined over 5,000 athletes to compete in the grueling “Tough Mudder” 10-mile obstacle course May 29, at the Snow Valley Ski Resort.

    The Tough Mudder is a nationwide adventure race series that sponsors the Wounded Warrior Project and aims to donate over $3 million this year.

    The Tarantula’s were attracted by the challenges of a different kind of 10-mile race. Designed by British Special Air Service veterans, the course traversed difficult mountain terrain punctuated with over 20 obstacles, most of them involving water. To complete the course, the Tarantula’s tackled obstacles with ominous names like ‘The Boa Constrictor’ and ‘Electroshock Therapy’.

    Starting at 6,800 feet above sea level, competitors ran, climbed, and hiked ascending and descending trails to eventually reach the summit at 7,830 feet. With winds gusting up to 60 mph, wind chill temperatures for the water-soaked teams at the summit dropped to just 10 degrees. Bodies and spirits were challenged by crawling through dirt filled tunnels, swimming through dumpsters filled with ice water; swimming across alpine ponds, scrambling over boulder strewn paths and scaling mud-caked walls.

    Despite a slate gray sky, and temperatures hovering at 35 degrees at the base of the mountain, and The Tarantula’s who called themselves ‘The Eight-Legged Freaks’ for the race, lined up with the first heat of 300 competitors at 9 a.m.

    As the race progressed and elevation increased the temperatures dropped, clouds and cold mountain breezes chilled both competitors and spectators.

    “When I saw several trucks coming down the mountain full of competitors covered in space blankets it finally sunk in that it was colder than I thought it would be,” Sgt. First 1st Class Kavika Duff said as the team neared their last mile.

    Sporadic rain and snow added to the difficulty for ‘The Eight-Legged Freaks’ as numerous 58 degree water obstacles tricked competitors into thinking the water was warm. Without succumbing to the weather, the ‘Eight-Legged Freaks’ bested each obstacle in turn. Hands slid from ice covered ladder rungs and ropes, plunging the team into a comparatively warm lake as hands and knees swelled under the abuse. Overcoming each obstacle tested teamwork, a key component to the successful completion of the Tough Mudder.

    The course’s final obstacle ‘Electroshock Therapy’ proved to be a rite of passage. To pass through the obstacle competitors ran through a gauntlet of dangling live wires. Any contact with a wire resulted in a punishing 10,000 volt shock, dropping competitors to their knees and into a muddy pit of water.

    In most locations Tough Mudder courses average a completion rate of 85 percent, however poor weather amplified the challenges and whittled completion rates at the 2011 Tough Mudder Southern California to a mere 67 percent.

    Regardless, all fifteen ‘Eight-Legged Freaks’ who started the race were greeted by other members of the Tarantula team as they crossed the finish line earning their race shirts, hallmark orange headband and complimentary glass of beer. Punishing weather, difficult obstacles and an intimidating race course did not deter the ‘Eight-Legged Freaks’ from finishing The Tough Mudder.



    Date Taken: 05.29.2011
    Date Posted: 06.18.2011 17:03
    Story ID: 72346
    Location: FORT IRWIN, CA, US 

    Web Views: 455
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