This truly is one of the top 3 events I have been looking forward to, with making my plans for it to be a weekend away with one of my favourite races right in the middle.
After many months of talking and not much planning we headed out to Amsterdam early Friday morning full of excitement and non stop OCR chat for the 6 hour trip out for myself and a few teammates traveling together. Our first plan once reaching Amsterdam was to visit the race venue for a sneaky look around and get a feel for what we are in for the next morning. From the outset I was blown away with the quality and quantity of the Toughest obstacles. Let alone bumping into the legend Johnathan Albon. We had a little look around (6k of the course) before meeting up with another team mate and going out for pre race dinner and rest.
Race day, after very little sleep and getting kick started by a very excited team mate watching Bob the builder in Dutch we was off to Spaarnwoude to get prepped and race, parking was a doddle, €10 quickly spent. Then an easy registration and a free bag drop sponsored by the best company in the word (KitBrix). We met with the rest of the team that could make it out for this one and got ourselves ready for our own very different approaches to the event. The Toughest village is always a very lively place to be with a great sound system and perfectly selected beats to get you going, all levels of participants from world leading athletes to first timers.
With the countdown to our 11:00 start from Toughest's MC we was off and running, obstacles came quick with only a few hundred yards in we hit the first Incline Wall followed quickly by Irish Table, Swing Walk and the Step Up. By this point the smile on my face just got bigger, we was heading for the first time back through the event village and completing Traverse Rings, Net Pyramid and Ring Slide.
With just under 3k complete we had a water station and completed the same amount of obstacles as in the full distance of some other 10k events. After another 2k of trails heavy in obstacles we headed back into the village again for my favourite obstacle, the Platinum Rig followed up by Spinning Wheels, another great obstacle with a tricky fast lane, a long reach would have been a great help on this one.
All this fun could not get dampened by the light shower Amsterdam offered us as a brief cool down. Back into the village and onto a new obstacle, Urban-Sky Superstructure, this section had a very nice twist to monkey bars, with a drum of bars that rolled along the rig as you passed from bar to bar. The last 2k of the track still had so much to offer, we hit some of the old greats with Money Bars, Traverse Walls, Dragon's Back and the Rope Climb and also the even bigger Trampoline Jump and tricky slippery Ninja Jump. Finally we had past 8k and back at the finish we just had the Ramp to complete before the finish of one of the best events I have ever competed in. Tired and grinning from ear to ear I was sorry it was over but ready for some food.
Taking some time to catch up with the team and other competitors was great, something we have not done lately due to the cold or rain, it was so nice to put some names to faces and hear other views on the event, my only wish from the event is I wish I could afford to do more Toughest events in Europe.
With a relaxing Sunday heading home with the post race withdrawals I now can not wait for Pippingford Park.