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Sierra Recon shenanigans

Those who know me know that I’m not one to sign up for organized races. I’m not that type of competitive, preferring to challenge myself in other ways, such as long backcountry tours or mountain bike rides.  But this year has been the year of trying to say yes more than no (see: 33 Dresses). Which is how I found myself crawling through mud and cannon balling into ice cold water on Saturday as part of a 4 person all women’s team, the OGBAMSB, aka the OG Bad Ass Mud Slinging Bitches, a decidedly tongue in cheek ode to our collective derby past.  But I’m jumping ahead.

Sierra Recon is the brainchild of two local guys.  After having competed in one of these types of endurance mud-run races, they wanted to improve upon what they experienced by creating their own event. A good friend works with one of the founders, and decided to get a team together. I signed up, figuring it would be a fun way to see old friends and push myself to do something I’d never otherwise do.

Outside of doing some pull-ups in addition to the uphill mountain biking I’ve been doing this summer, I didn’t actively train for this, mostly because I wasn’t taking it too seriously. I knew to expect mud, but I was not aware that audience participation would mean that while crawling through the mud, Recon-ers would have a steady stream of condiments (mustard, mayo, syrup, etc.) rained down upon them. This was part of the ‘family-friendly’ and ‘audience participation’ element that Sierra Recon had promised. Suffice to say, the kids really loved this race. And those Cross-Fit folks did have an edge up on the upper-body heavy obstacles, which was about 98% of them.

Sierra Recon activities
Climbing walls and carrying kegs were all part of the hilarity.

Three course lengths were offered – beginner, intermediate and advanced. Our 4 woman team elected to do the intermediate (blue square) course, which was 7 miles with about 1500 feet of climbing and 12-15 obstacles. Said obstacles included everything from climbing over and through tires, carrying PBR kegs (a sponsor), boulder fields, walls to climb over, a small snow patch (hey, it was a tough winter), balance beams and a lot of hiking up and running down slopes. The grand finale was a slip and slide at the bottom, after which the team had to cross the finish line together.

With water breaks and the lines that form at many obstacles, we did the race in just under 3 hours. This was slower than I had anticipated, but I also did not realize how much hiking vs. walking we’d be doing, or how much effort each obstacle would require.

Sierra Recon Winner
Team OGBAMSB for the win. For reals.

Overall, it was a hoot. I didn’t expect to have as much fun as I did, even with the various wounds I managed to rack up (including a gash to the thigh within the first quarter mile). We learned after we finished that we’d been the 56th overall to finish, and figured it was a good effort on our part, particularly since we were doing this purely for fun. So we were all a bit floored to learn that we’d won 1st place for our division, 4 person women’s, thus receiving a gold dog tag to add to our red ‘finisher’ dog tag. It was, as my friend/team captain said, the icing on the cake of a fun mud and sweat filled day with friends.

Would I do it again? Apparently I have to, as I’ve been told OGBAMSB has a title to defend. Which means that I might do a bit of training in the next 12 months.


Jenn Gleckman is a marketing consultant to the travel & tourism industries, but she prefers to play outside as much as possible. She lives at Lake Tahoe in order to do just that. When she isn’t skiing, hiking, mountain biking, running after her dog or enjoying the majesty of the Sierra, she’s thinking about them and planning her next adventure.

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Georgette Hartley

Georgette loves adventuring outdoors and can usually be found exploring the trails, lakes, and peaks of the Sierra Nevada with her family.


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