Sunday, March 18, 2012

Back to Black Rock

The Seneca Creek looking upstream

Bill either contemplating life or taking a dump
Leon laughing in the face of pain
Today’s workout was at the Black Rock Mill west of Darnestown. I’ve always been drawn to the mill, there is something spiritual about the place. Maybe that is what the band OAR felt too since they wrote a song about it. The girls and I have hiked here many times and the trails are some of my favorite.

My new friend Leon Nasar joined Bill Benoit and me this week and hopefully will for other workouts. I was introduced to Leon by some mutual friends who said he had completed some marathons and was interested in Death Race. I’ll be honest; I did not know much about Leon or how much outdoor experience he had so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. He proved to be tough and hung right in there with us.

The required equipment for the day was a backpack, a 50 lb bag of sand, duct tape, a 5 gallon bucket, and an ax. I had re-claimed Bill’s and mine duct taped bags of sand from the Tunnels of Doom workout. We met at Black Rock at 7am, just before first light.

After introductions, Leon put together his sand bag and duct tape egg. We loaded them into our backpacks along with our axes and headed off on our “hike”. Bill and Leon headed for the Seneca Greenway Trail. I stopped them to inform them that we were not taking the trail, we were taking the creek, just like last summer at Death Race.

The Seneca Creek at this point is about twenty feet across, ranges from shin deep to shoulder deep and can have a decent current. The water temperature was about 50 degrees, not quite what we experienced in Vermont but a good taste of it just the same. We trudged our way upstream getting used to our 50 pound packs. Each of  us slipped from time to time on slippery rocks but Bill seemed to be getting through this the 
Billy once again challenging gravity.
Will he ever learn?
best. Every so often, we would stop at a sandy area for pushups, leaving our water soaked backpacks on our backs. The biggest thing we all noticed during the "hike"was the strain on our outer hip abductors. That, and he fact that the backpacks got heavier as the sandbags got wetter.

After an hour and a half, we reach Germantown Road and exited the stream. I had scouted the area a few days ahead of time and knew there were some good log rounds that “needed” splitting. We proceeded to split the logs when a Department of Natural Resources ranger truck came to a screeching halt on the road above us. The ranger drew his gun and shouted down “What in the hell do you boys think you are doing?” 

Brainteasers supplied by my loving (and sadistic)
wife and daughter
All right, I’m just messing with you. But a ranger did show up and tell us we were not allowed to split wood on park land. He actually said, "Think of the visual. If other people see you doing this, they may want to do it too”. I am not making this part up! He really said this. Hold back the mob! We packed our backpacks, left the area disappointed, and headed onto the Seneca Greenway Trail.

Around ¾ of the way back to Black Rock I told the others to drop their packs. I pointed to a steep slope covered with underbrush. Our next task was to scramble up the slope and then back down. After this was completed I handed out three sealed envelopes from my pack. Nicole and   
Penalty for wrong answers: burpees
Nellie had prepared the envelopes as well as a forth one with an answer key. We had 15  minutes to correctly solve as many of the enclosed brainteasers as possible, paying a penalty for wrong answers and blanks. My concern here was the evil laughs I had heard from Nicole and Nellie when they prepared the test. We began, and, we failed. I had to do 200 burpees and hold a front plank and side plank each for four minutes. Bill and Leon had to do fewer burpees and the planks. Burpees suck.

When we got back to Black Rock we finally got to the backpacks off our backs. We grabbed our 5 gallon buckets. I led us down to the creek where we filled the buckets to the brim with water. Our next task 
Calculating how many stream push-ups
will be required
was to hike the Seneca Ridge Trail to a place called Three Skulls while spilling as little water as possible. Every inch of water missing from the buckets when we got to Three Skulls would result in 25 push-ups per inch, in the creek. A 5 gallon bucket of water weighs 40 pounds and is awkward to carry. Plenty of water was spilling out of the buckets as we went up and down the hills of the trail. I know we were each calculating how many push-up we would be doing. Along the way many mountain bikers passed us, each giving us their version of the “What the F” look. We hiked on and arrived at Three Skulls only to find that someone had stolen the three deer skulls that were usually on the log there. I was disappointed by this as people usually put little hats on them (see Mud, 
Leon taking the easy way out

Sweat and More Mud for a photo) and wanted to share this with my friends.

At this point we calculated the water loss and headed back towards Black Rock. We stopped at a stream for our push up penalty. I had to do 125, face in the water every time. More mountain bikers passed, more “What the F” looks. It was a great workout today. We were all soaked to the bone and covered in mud. What could be better?

PS  N.C. State beat Georgetown! Go Pack!  

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