Spartan Race has always had a special place in my heart with it’s connections to Vermont and my introduction to the sport in 2010 at the very first Spartan Race outside Burlington, Vermont.
A few months ago, I wasn’t sure whether or not I would be attending this year’s race. Then an invitation from Clif Bar to be part of their Base Camp experience came in the form of an email. I jumped on the opportunity.
As the weeks led up to the event I kept wondering what the catch was, why had Clif Bar invited me to Base Camp. I kept waiting for some long list of requirements, social shares, etc… to come. They never did. Instead, I arrived at the Base Camp House still waiting for the other hat to drop, it never did. Instead, this was my experience.
I hopped off the plane in Reno to meet my driver Chuck. Like any ski town, people have colorful and varied pasts, Chuck was no exception. The owner of one of the best-rated car services in Tahoe. He is a former pro snowboarder from the 90’s, owns a longboard company in Tahoe, and has a series of other accolades to his name. The drive up to Tahoe we mostly talked ski industry and sports world.
Base Camp Experience
Chuck pulled me up to a gorgeous alpine lodge, which could have been pulled off the pages of a magazine. We were less than 3 miles from the race and just up the hill from the Truckee River. I was immediately welcomed by members of the Clif Bar team and the PR firm who put the weekend together.
The house was fully stocked with food and beverages from Trader Joe’s for before and after race day. I found my bed full of goodies and gifts. My favorites are the new Patagonia jacket, Timbuktu bag, TomTom Watch and all the Clif products you could ever want to eat.
That night we headed to sushi in Squaw Valley Village where I got to learn more about Clif Bar and the rest of the media personalities they invited to this experience.
We woke up Friday morning to a catered breakfast from a local company that sources all it’s food locally from organic or pesticide and herbicide free farms in the area. These were my kind of people. I briefly chatted with the caterer about my little urban farm and remarked at the variety in the breakfast.
The rest of the day was filled with a nutrition talk with one of Clif Bar Nutrition consultants, Bob Seebohar, who talked about race day fueling.
It was great for the rest of the Base Camp crew to get to meet and chat with Joe De Sena later in the morning before heading to Tahoe City for lunch and a short hike on the Tahoe Rim Trail.
Before heading back to Squaw for the athlete panel and then another amazing dinner with the whole Clif Bar Team including Clif Bar CEO, Kevin Cleary, who happens to be an America Ninja Warrior Alumni.
Race morning rolled around; it was a much different morning for me, no elite heat. Instead, I would be running in the open heat with about 20 other Clif Bar employees and guests in the 8:30 heat. We were all told at breakfast to run the races we wanted and enjoy the experience.
We watched the two championship heats go off then it was our turn. I ran the first half mile or so with Kevin Clearly, and it was a highlight of the weekend.
After that, I settled into a pace and found myself alone. A few miles into the race I ran into a friend whom I have raced against for years. She also was racing open due to the fact she is 5-months pregnant. After a few minutes I made the decision to stick with her for the day, it would be slow going, but we had a blast. It might have been one of our slowest Beasts ever but after about 6 hours on the course we finished.
After the race, we headed back to the Clif Bar house for a post race massage, pizza, and beer. The perfect way to end a race. A bunch of the Clif Bar staff were there sporting their new medals, finisher shirts and swapping stories from the trail. On a personal note, it was great to see the excitement from them as for many of them it was their first obstacle race. We chatted late into the evening and recounted the day.
Sunday was a lazy morning in the house; we again had an amazing breakfast ready when we got up as well as hot coffee. Everyone started to depart, and I headed up to the mountain to see how the Ultra Beast was going and connect with a few friends before flying home to Utah.
It is no exaggeration when I say; I have never been treated so well on a work/race trip in the 20+ years I have been an athlete, coach or media person in sports. Clif Bar’s goal with the Base Camp experience is to give people a look into the Clif Bar culture, the people, and have a genuine experience.
I have been a fan of the Clif products for a long time but now after this experience and knowing the people behind the products I am even more confident in talking about their products. Clif Bar is a company built on a mission backed by a bunch of foodies and outdoor thrill seekers. Basically, my kind of people.