One year after the Viper Challenge in Cyberjaya, Team GISKL were back at it at the Viper Challenge Classic Category in Sepang. The distance was 20 km and the obstacle count was at 25.
Well, it’s Sepang – the place where they race cars. How bad can the incline possibly be? Besides, after the Spartan Beast in Tambun, everything is do-able. And it was.
With a flag-off time of 10:30 am, this was my most pressing concern with this race. Would the heat be too much for us? I’ve heard of people having to DNF because of the heat. We would be crossing the worse of it with the noon-day sun.
We went with 50+SPF long-sleeve swimming tops, caps, and buffs to make sure we didn’t get burnt. This was definitely a good idea.
As expected, they were not as challenging as the Spartan obstacles, but there were a few interesting ones I have yet to master. They had some fancy names for each obstacle, but I forgot to get pictures so I’ve given them my own names.
The 5.5-foot wall
Climb over the wall. I have no idea how tall this wall was but it was definitely not 5-foot or 6-foot but somewhere in between. This was pretty straight forward.
Climb the Fence
Climb over the fence which was pretty easy. It was the kind of thing I used to do with my eyes closed as a child.
Traverse the Swings
This was an obstacle we’ve encountered before at SkyTrex so it was easy.
Climb over it. Again, nothing hard. It was just not a nice feeling being on the netting at the top because it sinks under your weight.
This was more challenging than the one at Spartan because there were no horizontal bars to grab onto. Since this is Viper and the goal is to work as a team, they encourage you to help each other up.
I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could make it over on my own. I managed to grab the top of the wall without assistance but someone pushed my legs up while I was trying to get my legs over.
The Monkey Bars
I attempted this twice and got halfway before slipping off. The first time, I slipped off, but I don’t know what happened. The second time, my hands were starting to sweat under the gloves. They started sliding up and bunching up at my palms until I could no longer grip the bars properly.
There are three features about these bars that make them more challenging than ordinary playground monkey bars:
- It’s a longer distance to traverse.
- The bars slant upwards as you go, so each bar is slightly higher than the one before it.
- There are a few rotating bars (like the last Monkey bars in Cyberjaya). I got past them by using the sides.
Since it’s a team effort, the marshall said that someone had to sit on the tyre or it would be too easy for us. I’m sure each of us could have dragged this tyre on our own.
Using hands and feet, you have to get across from one side to the other the way the girl on my left is moving. Only challenging if you’re vertically challenged.
The Ice Bath
We skipped this one because it wasn’t very icy by the time we got there (all the ice had melted) and the water was disgusting.
Get across from one side to the other. Also pretty straight forward.
Use the rope to pull the weight up to the pulley. Compared to Spartan, this was light. Easy peasy.
Didn’t get a photo but there was nothing difficult about this. We had to crawl under a net, through a tunnel, and out the other side. The tunnels were sitting in a ditch filled with muddy water so the only danger was getting splashed in the face by the person before you.
Barbed Wire Crawl
The Cat Walk
Like walking on a balance beam over muddy water. The queues were quite long by the time we got here. It was clearly a bottle-neck and we didn’t want to wait so we skipped it.
The main challenge that I could see is that the beam wobbles. Some people had their teammates hold the beam steady while they attempted to traverse the beam. If you’re on the heftier side, the beam can also flip when you get to the end. That didn’t look very safe to me.
Negotiate the hills – pull each other up if you can’t get up on your own. I think it was supposed to be a mud pit at the bottom but it was pretty dry by the time we got there.
The Curved Wall
Run up the side of the wall, grab the rope, and haul yourself up. It’s not unlike the ninja warrior wall, except they don’t get the rope. Maybe theirs is steeper. We managed to get up this wall.
The scary thing is that the rope is not secured. It is held onto by the people up top. The last members of the team before will help the first member of the next team up before they leave. Not so good if the first person up is a featherweight and the second person is heavy.
Climb over the block (which rotates) and get out the other side. Since the block rotates, you need your teammates to hold it for you while you get on, then roll it over so you can get down the other side.
The multi-rig has always been a challenge for me because I’m uncoordinated. The tricky part about this one is that it’s low and over water. If you drop your legs, the water drag will affect your swing. If you stop swinging, you can’t reach the next ring. So this one needs core – keep those legs up at all times. Unfortunately, I didn’t and I lost my momentum. I didn’t get past the third ring.
I’ve been thinking about this ever since and I know where I went wrong. Don’t let go of the last ring until you have enough momentum. If you pull on the rings, you can increase your swing without having to use your legs (which you can’t anyway because you have to keep them up and out of the water). Since my left arm is weak and I need to share two hands on one ring so I can lead with my right, that doesn’t leave me with much leeway to get this right.
I keep coming back to the same issue – I need more experience and practice. Time to hit those two new obstacle gyms that have popped up.
Wooden Climbing Frame
This was pretty straight forward – climb up and over, then down the other side. Only challenging if you’re vertically challenged and afraid of heights – neither of which is me.
The fire jump has always only ever been about one thing – photo opportunity. There is nothing challenging about this except how cool you can make yourself look in mid-air.
After the Spartan Sprint in Kuching where I failed the rope climb, I have been questioning my technique on the rope climb. I’m glad to see that I still have it. At least I’ve redeemed my failure in Kuching.
They used a wire for this so I couldn’t slide. I had to use the Spartan technique of swinging one leg over the next. It was a metal cable that was pretty thin so it dug into the back of my knee. No cramps this time, which was an improvement.
This looks a lot like the Ninja Warrior challenge we’ve seen on TV. You have to run and jump off the wooden platform, then catch the netting without falling into the water. Then you have to climb under the net until you reach the other side.
I didn’t attempt it because it looked like an accident waiting to happen. You could injure your shoulder catching the net or you could get your legs tangled in the net and fall headfirst into the water. Either way, I didn’t want to risk an injury and take myself out for the rest of December since I still had the Tribe League to compete in. Besides, the kids are on holidays and I don’t think it would be fun to have Mum incapacitated.
Climb up the haystack and down the other side. Easy peasy.
All in all, only really two obstacles on my mind – the monkey bars and the multi-rig. The same two that plague me in almost every obstacle course race.
The organisers did well with the water stations so the 2L I carried wasn’t entirely necessary. Nevertheless, I prefer to err on the side of caution. I’ve been low on water before and it is not a pleasant situation to be in.
What we did need was food. By the time we got to the granola bars, all that was left were empty boxes.
The full-body coverage was also a good idea because the sun was up for a lot of the race and it was hot! Next time, I will bring sunglasses. The glare is pretty hard on the eyes and headache-inducing.
The queues for the obstacles were definitely better this time. I don’t know if that was due to better organisation or if it was because 20 km was a bit of a deterrent to registration and there were fewer people racing.
Next OCR: Viper Urban – 6 km 12 obstacles. It should be easy.