On May 19 – May 20, I participated in the GORUCK Challenge Orlando event. For those of you who don’t know what GORUCK is, I’d suggest the GORUCK FAQ. Here’s a quick summary of a GORUCK challenge event:
- Wear a backpack with bricks in it.
- Perform various PT type exercises with a group of about 20-25 of your new best friends
- Ruck to somewhere far away
- Ruck back
- Expect various factors of suckage along the way
Overall I’d call the event one of the more difficult things I’ve ever done. I’ve hung out with a number of folks who have previously completed the challenge, and was adequately warned that it would amount to as much. The camaraderie is the only thing that overcomes the difficulty. I’d highly recommend this to all friends and colleagues that are in decent shape.
Cadre – Dave
Our Cadre (guide / leader / painmaster) for the event was Dave. Dave spent 18 years in active duty doing in various roles in Special Forces. Dave was a smaller guy than I had imagined we’d be lead by. Having said that however, Dave is a monster of a man: not in the physical sense, but you can’t escape the feeling that he’s got a vast amount more knowledge about the limitations of the human mind and body than most of us could ever know.
Class 172 started at the amphitheater on Lake Eola in Downtown Orlando. Our route put us around the lake, doing various forms of PT along the way. Within an hour we had our first casualty: a member passed out, and was unable to continue. We wound up in Lake Eola (gross), running to 7-11, then through Downtown Orlando during the primetime of the night scene. We headed to the new Arena, and to the Citrus bowl (directly through the roughest ghetto in 100 miles). All the while, we were carrying our own packs (mine was just under #40) and 5 bags distributed among the team (each at #50), as well as the team weight: the head of a swan boat from Lake Eola. Doing all of this would have been enough, without the extra load. From the Citrus Bowl we took the scenic route to Citywalk. We had met some of the most interesting characters Orlando has to offer during the trek. Our march to Citywalk was a mix of running, indian runs, PT, and various other mental challenges. Along the way we were threatened by the intoxicated, rewarded with hydration, and questioned by criminals.
We got to the entrance of Universal Studios (Citywalk) around 7:30am. We got a group shot, and were able to lighten some of the #50 sand bags we’d been hauling around for so long. By that point, the less physically trained were showing signs of weakness. That’s not to take away from what they did though. If anything, those guys pushed themselves farther than any of us. For that, they have my respect.
Because of this however, our journey back to our starting point didn’t entail any other PT. I was a bit disappointed. I had expected to be pushed farther than I ever have been before. That certainly was not the case however. I had a very difficult time, but not as much as I had been worried about.
If you’re planning on doing the GORUCK Challenge, I’d suggest a few things:
- Be in good physical shape. Crossfit is an excellent primer for the things you’ll encounter during the challenge. Having said that however, it’s not enough. I highly recommend practice rucks and extra running
- Bring good gear. A friend of mine let me borrow his GR-1 for the event. That thing is awesome. I’m saving my pennies to get one of my own.
- Hydrate heavily before the event. I had a gallon of water a day prior, and experienced no cramping at all
- Eat like a complete asshole the day of the event. You’re likely going to expend somewhere on the order of 10,000 to 20,000 calories during the challenge. Because of this you’re going to need every calorie you can consume. This isn’t the day feel guilty about pizza. Find food, and stuff yourself
I’d love to thank everyone who was a part of class 172. My friends Ben, Mirason, Brenna, and Ramon were great to have for the ride. I met a ton of awesome new friends that I can’t wait to join to complete another event. A huge thanks to Dave for being an amazing leader during the event. This was my first event. I can guarantee you it won’t be my last.