The GoPro Mountain Games in Vail, Colorado is a gathering of some of the best athletes in the country and world in the summer extreme sports categories. Everything from downhill mountain biking, kayaking, bouldering, rock climbing, and more are featured during this outdoor festival. Basically for a couple days Vail village becomes a meca for the adventure seeking with vendors, booths, athletes, spectators, and more all mingling together. Now we can add OCR as another sport represented at the games. This year the Badass Dash presented by Eddie Bauer became a part of this high profile games.
I first learned about the Badass Dash a couple months ago during a USOCR Summit trip. After speaking with Grant Reeves the CEO I was so intrigued by what he and his guys are doing at Badass Dash that I changed some flights opted out of the Tuxedo Spartan Race and instead was looking at a quick turnaround after Peak 500 and a few family engagements on the east coast making the GoPro Mountain Games and the Badass Dash a reality.
It was a quick trip for me and admittedly I wish I had been able to stay and watch the awesome athletes there but my time was focused on the Badass Dash and I was able to do a quick walk around of the rest of the event and picked up the vibe immediately. The laid back mountain town feel was everywhere at the Games. The Badass Dash had it’s own festival within the festival and that vibe very much carried over into our area. The area was filled with athletic or outdoorsy people riding bikes around the village, walking with dogs and overall happy. It was one of those times when you are just around good people and can feel the positivity in the atmosphere.
The Badass Dash drew a mix of athletes, those that happened to be in the area and wanted a challenge, OCR enthusiasts, and those weekend warriors looking to take on a new challenge. The event was welcoming and inviting for all. The race itself consisted of a course a little less than 5-miles long with probably 25-30 obstacles. The obstacles were challenging and some were different than I have seen before. One that stands out doesn’t sound like much but 10 forward rolls over a mile into the race was definitely a standout and puker for one more than participant. The terrain was a mix of mountain, road, and natural terrain around the Vail village. I think it was the only time you can run through the water features in town without be arrested. For me I love when a race uses the natural terrain and features of the area making unique obstacles. We also ran, crawled and slid on some snow leftover from the winter on the resort, nothing like running on snow in June to mix it up.
The race consisted of four categories an elite field, recreational division, K9 Division (the first and only of it’s kind) and a kid’s division. One of the things that impressed me about the Badass Dash was it presented awards for all four divisions. Most races only recognize the elites and maybe the opens. I was impressed that the oldest division of the kids race were awards prizes and even got a chance to stand on the podium. As someone who is looking into the future of the sport it was great to see the kids get recognized like the adults. I can also say I was stoked that a girl beat all the boys as it warmed my heart a little.
Badass Dash mixes it up a bit from the other OCR’s out there. They have picked Autism Speaks as their charity partner. This charity is near and dear to the race director as he has a child with autism and has seen how it effects kids and adults firsthand. At the beginning of the race the CEO of the company Grant Reeves gave a speech to participants reminding us all that those who autism race challenges and obstacles everyday and then said some of the obstacles would be challenging but are all accomplishable. It really was a great analogy for both sport and life and was touching to all that listened.
Overall, I was impressed with my time at the Badass Dash at the GoPro Mountain Games, it truly was a perfect fit for the rest of the extreme sports festival and gave many in the greater sporting world a better understanding of what our sport is, as well it will be featured on the NBC Sports coverage of the Mountain Games this summer. Already looking forward to my next change to head to another Badass Dash.
More Information on the K9 Division: Running with Your Dog
More Information on the Badass Dash: Badass Dash
More Information on the GoPro Mountain Games: Mountain Games