Marolt: I’m one tough mudder flubber |

Marolt: I’m one tough mudder flubber

Roger Marolt
Cluster Phobic
Roger Marolt

Sunday evening I filled the tub with cold water and topped it off with a couple 20-pound bags of crushed ice for a nice, short soak. I dried off by connecting the terminals of a six-volt battery with my tongue. To celebrate, I was downing fresh, raw habanero peppers on the back porch (my goal was six in five minutes) when fortune presented opportunity in the form of a hornet. Fighting back common sense, I poked my hand at it until it punctured my neck and injected a potent (if I do say so myself) dose of venom close to my carotid artery which was dangerously swollen from running up and down Rim Trail three times with my shoe laces tied together and a large bag of Weed & Feed (I would have used a sand bag, if one had been in the garage) slung over my shoulder. What a terrific afternoon!

You might be wondering if I really did this and the answer is “no.” That would have been idiotic. Why? Because it wasn’t an official competition and I didn’t get a T-shirt for completing it.

Yes, I am making fun of the Tough Mudder competition held in Snowmass Village last weekend. But, if you contrast my opinion with the 9,000-plus alternative views of the event from those who packed our town for it, you will find that it has an overall approval rating of 99.99 percent. So, I’m the nut.

I am not wrong without doing research, though. I’ve been there; maybe not in the modern Tough Mudder sense, but in a few old-fashioned versions of it where we hurt ourselves on purpose in order to say we did so and nobody else caring one way or the other.

I remember not so fondly the Pikes Peak half marathon in which competitors raced up about 8,000 vertical feet of crumbled granite along the flank of a 14,000-foot peak with a perfectly good road built all the way to the top that you can easily drive up instead. This made absolutely no sense, which is why people paid hard-earned money to join the race for which all but two or three competitors had no chance of winning.

The worst part occurred above timberline and had nothing to do with the severe muscle cramps or the disintegration of knee cartilage that could be heard as well as could be felt. It had to do with there being no trees in sight. That means when, not if, you had to go, there was no where to go.

This event was so miserable that I had to do it three times until there was absolutely no doubt that both knees were shot. I wonder how much money would have accumulated with the magic of compounding if I had invested the entry fees in a Schwab account. It might have paid for a big steak marbled with fat. As for the T-shirts, I have no idea where they went.

The good news, or so I thought, was that I could still ride a bicycle after my Pikes Peak experiences. With the lessons I learned, I decided it was smart to enter the Leadville 100-mile mountain bike race, which turned out to be the absolute best way to waste a summer.

It’s all about the training. Conventional myth says that you should ride a hundred miles about a hundred times in order to do your best in a hundred-mile mountain bike race. The only thing it really does is get your butt “in shape,” which only means all your parts down there basically go numb. Not to worry, though: The feeling comes back several months afterward when you to swear off mountain biking forever and your fanny is once again mercifully “out of shape.”

I ended up doing the Leadville 100 twice to make sure it was no fun, too. I graduated to the Power of Four ski mountaineering race and proved that I really was 50. I have experience in enduring endurance events.

One day I woke up and declared, “I refuse to pay good money and train like a masochist when I can do all this dumb stuff by myself for free, straight off the couch, whenever I want.” Whenever I want turned out to be never again.

I figured out it is because events like this are nothing more than expensive, organized peer pressure to do something we shouldn’t. If that’s the case, then it’s really harder not participate in them. At least for now, I’m pretty content believing that.

Roger Marolt prefers his bath water not be on the rocks. Contact him at