Concrete Hero Los Angeles Recap!
J Brooks checking in from a tiring but good weekend and coming through with the Concrete Hero Los Angeles recap. As some of you may already know, I was sought out by Gary Turner and the good folks over at APLA to do a round of interviews based on my experience with past obstacle courses. The big weekend was finally upon us and I was able to get on AXS TV for a preview of the course on Saturday. I was on for like 10 seconds but still appreciate the opportunities given to me. To the folks who had way better stories than I did (and there were a lot) but weren’t able to get on the air, I sincerely apologize. The best I can do is plug AIDS Project Los Angeles and Concrete Hero as best I can to help Angelenos suffering from the HIV/AIDS Virus. The highlight of Saturday though? Watching one of the older contestants try out and fail miserably at a rope swing. She skipped that obstacle come race day.
Sunday was upon us so the lady and I got up early as sh*t to be at LA Live by 7am to meet up with the media. I actually got airtime with the local NBC channel WOOT! Thankfully for the audience and the cameraman, my ugly mug was covered up thanks to the Beardhead graciously donated to me by David. There were at least 10 obstacles, and of them I recall the Tar Pits and Dodgeball Alley being the toughest.The Tar Pit consisted of a setup similar to monkey bars over some nasty ass water.
While the water wasn’t deep, I wasn’t trying to run the rest of the race with some soggy underoos on. The tricky part was maintaining the grip because the bars were super thick and I have small Asian hands. About four inches in diameter from what I remember, which led to a lot of splashdowns from other competitors. Luckily for me I got off the Tar Pits no worse for wear.
By the end of the race I was pretty winded which pissed me off. I really thought I was in better shape but alas I am not. One of the good things about Concrete Hero is that although the atmosphere is competitive, I saw a bunch of people helping each other out. A few times I saw some folks struggling at an obstacle, and this situation popped into my mind:
Yes I’m an evil bastard. But no I didn’t actually do that to anyone. They got away before I could. Kidding, kidding!
By the time I got to the Hollywood sign, I was somewhat winded, and my cousins actually saw me on KTLA! Climbing to the top of the sign was pretty difficult because some competitors were flailing around like fish out of water. I had to get my bob and weave on to avoid all sorts of appendages being inadvertently swung my way.
Momma I made it on TV!!! At the conclusion of the race, it was announced that our combined fundraising efforts brought in over $400,000. Not bad for an inaugural year, and I’m looking forward to participating next year and smashing on that number. Special thanks to my better half who snapped the pics and donated to my page, my business partner E, and all of my friends and family who donated. I’ll be hitting you up next year for similar donations kekeke. And now, onto the next challenge for The Suicide Kings.
Concrete Hero’s Ultimate Impact Day Is Here. Time To Fundraise People!
For those of you not in the know, today is Ultimate Impact Day for Concrete Hero! APLA is asking folks to get at least one donation. My good friend Jorge came through with a donation so now it’s up to all of you. There’s a bunch of heroes signed up for race day, so it’s time to get to business as the event gets closer and closer. Put it this way. You’ll be donating money to watch E and myself fail miserably at scaling obstacles while I get it all on film. So pay up to watch us make asses of ourselves. You can’t lose!
SUICIDE KINGS POR VIDA! Just had to throw that out there. More info on that later.
Donate Now at: J Brooks’ Concrete Hero Page
New Obstacles Revealed For Concrete Hero Los Angeles
Props due for Gary over at Concrete Hero. He’s pitched me to do a few interviews at local radio stations and I’m blessed to have the opportunity to not only represent Romero Brooks, AIDS Project Los Angeles. Interest among locals in the LA area is definitely growing, and so far organizers have kept some of the details of the obstacles under wraps. Shoot, works for me. Unscripted zombie training is the best kind of zombie training there is. While there are names to go with most of the items in the course, there hasn’t been many pictures showing what they’ll look like until now. Sign up for the CH email and you’ll get sneak peaks like these and regular updates as well as tips on how to fundraise. The small-ish picture above is the initial mockup for the “Tar Pit” obstacles, where competitors have to cross monkey bars and swing Tarzan style across a pit, or risk falling into a fake tar sludge.
Obviously I won’t be wearing my Nike KD IV’s or I’d be on suicide watch if I fell into the tar. Since real tar won’t be used, I’m hoping the obstacle pits won’t be filled with anything else as remotely sticky. You ever try running with your tube steak stuck uncomfortably to your body? Me neither, and I don’t plan on doing that come July 15th.
FYI, if you can find me and E out in the crowd of people there, hit us up! For donating we’ll give you free stuff. Just look for two yokels sporting Suicide Kings t-shirts.
Donate now at: J Brooks Donation Page
The Nike Free Haven 3.0
Cross-training shoes are mostly functional and rarely stylish. Until now. The Nike Free Haven 3.0 brings ultra-flexible platform to cross-trainers for the first time, offering a super-flexible seamless upper, a mesh inner sleeve, a dual-pull lacing system and soft “fingers” across the midfoot and arch to lock your foot down, and a DiamondFLX pattern on the sole for added traction when performing lateral or diagonal moves. Of course, if you don’t already have a pair of Nike Free Runs, these should be fine for running as well. The minimalist look of the shoes is definitely appealing. These ain’t your dad’s gym shoes. Plyometrics, Insanity, P90X, and Crossfit don’t stand a chance. Unless you’re morbidly obese. Then these shoes won’t do much for you.
Just $100 at Nike.
In The LA Area? Be A Concrete Hero For AIDS Project Los Angeles
We’re going to be participating in more obstacle courses under a yet to be named squad in preparation for Z-Day. So far my buddies and I have completed ROC Race with relative ease although it was pretty damn cold in the morning. The next event is Concrete Hero based out of Los Angeles. Ran by the folks behind AIDS Project Los Angeles, the event starts at 7:00 am on july 15th, 2012. Unlike mud based events Concrete Hero has most of its obstacles in an urban setting which means the Parkour enthusiasts will be out hitting the mean streets to help fund AIDS research as well as training for the end of the world. Win win situation really.
It’s time to BRING IT to downtown LA on July 15, 2012. Concrete Hero is the ultimate urban obstacle challenge benefiting, AIDS Project Los Angeles. Join thousands of fellow Angelenos for a unique obstacle adventure through the city streets, united for one common goal – to support life-saving services for people living with HIV/AIDS.
Leap over parked cars in Carmageddon. Scale the “Hollywood Sign” with thousands of your closest friends. Swing your way over tar pits without falling in. Come face-to-face with the city’s elements like you’ve always wanted. It’s gonna be tough. It’s gonna be exhilarating. But make no mistake, this event isn’t just for extreme athletes or gym junkies, it’s for anyone who wants to challenge themselves for a great cause. So prove yourself in the chip-timed 5K Competitive Challenge or try the 2.5K Fun Run. Either way, you’ll make a huge difference for APLA in helping the over 60,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in our city.
You’re damn right I’m gonna be running like my life was on the line. But that tar pit challenge means I’ll have to break out some beat up running shoes. No way you’ll catch me out there trying to look stylish in some brand new Jordans. So do the right thing and either help fund our team in the making, or become a sponsor of someone else by logging into the site. I’m gonna be borrowing a friend’s Go Pro camera so you can catch a good portion of the courses after we complete it. One day we’ll work our way up to the beast known as Tough Mudder. In the meantime, 5k’s for us!
More info at: Concrete Hero LA
Double BYAAAHH!!! 28 Mile Mock Survival Bike Ride Completed
Earlier this week, I had the dumbass idea of riding my Revel 0 from the office all the way back home to see if I could actually do it. I’ve had my bike less than a week and only taken it out for a moderate 11 mile ride around town before the ride. Needless to say, I was a little nervous yesterday leading up to the mock bug out. I packed a Camelbak full of water and various gear that I thought I might need, and about 15 minutes prior to heading out, I drank this:
Good ole Gatorade prime. Apparently it’s supposed to help with tough workouts and it was only about $1.50 so I gave it a shot. Google Maps gave me decent biking directions as about 80% of the route was on bike paths. And so, off I followed a bike path along a bus route I’m familiar with. A few stops here and there for red lights and I was chugging along at a decent pace with no sign of fatigue. 10 miles into it, the map told me to veer off into an “equestrian area.” Word? No big deal, I’ll just have to deal with the smell of horse poop for a few miles max. Nope.
WTF. Did I stumble upon Jumanji or some sh*t? I’m not used to stuff like this in the big city so I biked across the bridge as fast as possible. Yes, I saw the no bikes sign. But no damns were given. I proceeded to ride on dirt for a few miles and then Google Maps did me wrong. So wrong.
The route traveled UNDER this bridge. Then started again on the bike path. I’d like to d*ck punch the city planner who decided to do t his instead of the logical thing which would be to create the path over the bridge instead. In any case I rolled through as quick as I could without a fall and kept it moving. On the bright side the view on the other side of the path wasn’t so bad:
It’s no Grand Canyon or anything like that, but I’ll take it. About four miles past this part is when I started hitting the wall. I was beside the freeway for quite a while going against the wind and that was no fun at all. Either I’m super fat and that hampered my aerodynamics, or I would have been better suited with a road bike at this point. I’m thinking it’s a mix of both. I got lost for a brief moment which resulted in adding a mile uphill to my ride, but since I was only about 8-9 miles away I decided it wasn’t a big deal.
Until I got to this part. I briefly contemplated suicide. Sure, I could use my downwards momentum to try and power back up the hill, but my legs were close to shot and I honestly wasn’t so sure of myself. I said F it and rolled down it anyway and made it out without stopping. It might not look so steep, but when you’re looking back up it feels like you’re trying to traverse Mt Everest. The worst part of this ride started here for me. After riding through this monster, the last 7 miles were either on a slight or sharp incline. No cruising for me. My legs were on fire and the only reprieve I got were the four stoplights that turned red for me. Only my muscles started tightening up as soon as I stopped, so I biked in small circles until the lights turned. The last mile definitely took a ton of grit. I had to go up three hills, which were no less than 30 degree inclines. One of which was actually close to a 45 degree incline. Hopefully there wasn’t anyone out in their yard or they would have heard me grunting caveman style up those damn hills. With some effeminate whimpering mixed in.
As soon as I made it up the last hill to the house I needed around five minutes to sit around and compose myself before I could even hold a conversation with my better half. At that precise moment I wanted to dropkick every single mile of the 28 I had to bike to get home to my family (girlfriend and two dogs). During the entire trip, I took three 3 minute breaks to stretch or eat. I had an oatmeal cookie halfway through the trip and a sh*tload of water during the whole ride. My reward upon returning home? Something oh so great.
Home cooked pork tenderloin with a raspberry garlic sauce and mashed potatoes. I must have gobbled all of it down in less than a minute. I seriously couldn’t eat fast enough to stave off the severe hunger pains I was experiencing. After I was nice and full, I felt like king of the universe. I biked 28 damn miles through multiple types of terrain and through hills, and didn’t cramp up or p*ss out once. Rather proud of that. So I’m diddy bopping everywhere I go for the rest of the week. As soon as I regain feeling in my lower body.
Things I Learned On The Survival Ride:
- Pickle juice works. As soon as I felt a twinge in the muscles, I took a swig of it and it kept the cramps at bay for the entire ride.
- Riding against the wind really, really sucks.
- When you drink water, go with “a little, a lot.” That is, keep sipping water throughout your whole ride. It’s better for hydration.
- Foam rolling definitely helped before and after the ride.
- An oatmeal cookie as a meal sucks on a long ride. Even if you carb load beforehand.
- Never shift gears under load uphill. Your bike will make an ungodly sound.
- Always downshift when you see a stop coming up.
- Let others know what your route will be, just in case something happens along the way.
- Google Maps can and will do you wrong. Pack an extra topographical map for your trip.
- Seat height is crucial for efficiency and preventing body pain while biking.
- You can turn a mountain bike into a serviceable road bike, but you can’t turn a road bike into any sort of mountain bike. Keep this in mind when buying your first bicycle.
That’s all for now. Surprisingly my legs are still very tired, but not so sore. Although that might change tomorrow. If it doesn’t, I may take another ride on flatter terrain Saturday. But don’t count on it just yet.
Cramping Up? Try Pickle Juice. No, Really.
This stuff ain’t just for pregnant women. I just ordered my bike and hopefully it’ll be here in a few days. In the meantime I checked out some forums and internet resources on what I would need to prepare myself for longer bike rides. There was standard stuff like protein bars, small bike-specific multi tool, electrolytes, tire levers, etc etc. One thing I found a bit odd was the suggestion of one of the forum members to pack some pickle juice to “help with cramps.” You bet your ass I called shenanigans on that. The advice sounded like something strangely similar to homeopathic cures (insert air quotes here). I did some more digging and it turns out there’s some truth to pickle juice being useful for athletes to deal with cramps. Trainers at the University of Northern Iowa treated athletes with pickle juice to help eliminate cramps with very good results. Mustard was also used by other trainers in the country with positive feedback as well. The common ingredient between the two is vinegar, which has some pretty weird results involving athletic performance.
Instead, the researchers suggest that the pickle juice acts on neural reflexes — a plausible suggestion, given that earlier experiments have found that vinegar can provoke reflexes and affect neurotransmitter levels. This fits with an alternate theory that cramps have nothing to do with dehydration or electrolyte loss, first proposed in the 1990s by Martin Schwellnus of the University of Cape Town. – Sweat Science
What the hell? so this sour smelling concoction can trick my neurotransmitters into telling my body I don’t have a cramp? This is all too confusing for me. It’s rare that I do cramp up during normal workouts but there’s a strong possibility I could catch some cramps if it’s especially cold during my first bike ride. I’ll be sure to pack some pickle juice in a flask to test out. Couldn’t hurt right? I’ll definitely give it a shot because cramping up zipping down a trail doesn’t sound like it would end well for me. If anyone else knows anything about this pickle juice phenomenon, give me a holler. I’d like to see some more evidence behind these theories and claims. If not, I’ll be the guinea pig for the rest of you readers. Just hope I don’t puke in the process. Because if I’m puking, it better be due to drinking copious amounts of alcohol.