Tough Guy, not so tough with Brynje........
Having almost exhausted all baselayer options whilst completing my 5 previous Tough Guy events and still not finding the magic bullet, I stuck on an old string vest last year as an afterthought and to my amazement it not only worked but made a noticeable difference. My thoughts then went straight to Nordic Life and Brynje, as I already own lots of their tops and use them regularly at work throughout the winter and in the worst weather of the year. My work involves climbing mobile phone masts to repair and maintain the antennas so I know a thing or two about being exposed to all that mother nature can throw at you. I love the Brynje baselayers as they provide the perfect solution as a baselayer, as they excel in high intensity activities. It can a little sweaty climbing especially carrying up all the gear, tools and spares. The Super Thermobaselayer is synthetic so doesn’t retain any moisture which at the top of a mast with the wind whistling is a godsend.
Having used the Brynje Baselayers and loved them I really can't believe it took me so long to try these at Tough Guy.
Tough Guy is the daddy of the obstacle races that are currently in vogue. In its own words on the website
“The original and toughest test of its kind anywhere in the World. Run on the last Sunday in January, you will need every last ounce of mental and physical strength you can muster to rise to this challenge. Your fear of heights, tight spaces, fire, water and electricity will be tested to the max”.
And believe me it does what it says on the tin and more. It started in 1986 and is in many peoples eyes, mine included, the pinnacle, in fact this year around a third of the runners came from overseas to test themselves.
So with my new cunning plan and waiting for a January sale I decided to order my SuperThermo T-shirt and Super Thermo Longs with knee inlay. Everything was going well until I received an email from Rhodri at Nordic Life indicating that there would be a slight delay on the order due to the Norwegian Army placing a large bulk order with Brynje, If that’s not a reason to order I don't know what is..!!, anyway to cut an uninteresting story short Rhodri was kind enough to loan me his Longs as mine still hadn't arrived and supplied the T-shirt which had.
|The author looking ready to take on the world....or at least a very cold muddy field of obstacles!|
Standing on the start line this year was easily the most confident I’d ever been, after all I was wearing my new secret weapon. Tough Guy is basically a run with various obstacles to climb over, nets to crawl under, multiple hills to slalom up and down, streams and ditches full of freezing water to jump in and a few more surprises thrown in before entering the “killing fields” which is a series of 21 epic obstacles with names like “the tiger”, “water tunnel”, “underground interrogation pits” and “death plunge”. The trick is to not overheat too much on the run whilst having enough on to survive the freezing cold waters of the “water tunnel” and “death plunge”, in the tunnels you'll wade up to your chest in freezing cold water before arriving at the obstacle where the idea is to duck under a series of logs to emerge at the other side. The “death plunge” is a little more fun as its a dead mans plank into a lake of yes freezing water.
The baselayers preformed exceptionally the longs performing a little better than the T-shirt as I didn't notice my legs at all in the whole race, apart from the occasions when they were submerged. As soon as I scrambled out of the water my legs returned back to the lovely temperature they'd been earlier. With many runners going down with cramp the St Johns Ambulance staff were inundated and I think this year was among the worst for people dropping out with cramp. Not me, it was if my legs were connected to some sort of central heating system. The T-shirt performed too well on the run and I overheated. This though is not uncommon for me as even on training runs I’ve been known to overheat with a normal t-shirt on. Back in the “killing fields” though, wow the T-shirt really started holding its own, again I only noticed that my forearms were cold whilst crawling half submerged under barbed wire in the “Stalag escape”, obviously this was because I only had a t-shirt on, but it really cemented just how unbelievably good the Brynje Super Thermo underwear is, and why anybody stupid enough, like myself, to enter Tough Guy really needs to wearing this gear.
As it makes Tough Guy not quite so tough....