If you think you're just going to walk onto a Spartan course and crush it, you're in for a rude awakening. You need to prepare: You need to know the venue, the course, the terrain, the level of difficulty, and the likely conditions. Every month in OCR INSIDER, we look at the upcoming races on the schedule and tell you everything you need to know so when you reach the start line, you're ready. On the docket this month: San Luis Obispo, Atlanta, and San Antonio.
San Luis Obispo Spartan Event Weekend (March 12-13)
This inaugural Santa Margarita, Calif. weekend features a Super (10K, 25 obstacles), a Beast (21K, 30 obstacles), and an Ultra (50K, 60 obstacles). Saturday's Beast will be the second of five 2022 United States National Series races (with an Age Group focus for the first year ever), while Sunday's Super will mark the first race of the 2022 North American Elite Series.
The Venue: 'SloCal' California Wine Country
Held on the scenic Santa Margarita Ranch, one of the largest operating vineyards in the central-coast country of California, these new courses may not immediately appear demanding. But don't be fooled: They each range upward of 3,000 feet in elevation gain (that’s mostly a nod to the Ultra, which has 3,600 feet of gain).
Racers will dash through rows of growing grapevines surrounded by the towering Los Padres National Forest and a fossilized oyster bed.
To prepare, include a regular dose of Spartan hill training to have your legs and lungs ready for the adventure.
The 50K Spartan Trail race is relatively beginner-friendly (within the context of a marathoner stepping up to their first ultra, of course) and one of the faster courses of the Spartan Trail series.
Weather: California Dreaming
This is an inviting time of year to race in the San Luis Obispo area, with temperatures spanning from the high 40s Fahrenheit to the mid-60s.
Bonus: SloCal Treats
Whether it's craft beer at the local breweries, wine tasting at the vineyards, or impeccable ice cream, San Luis Obispo has you covered. And if wine tasting is your preference, check out an Uncorked Wine Tour.
Atlanta Spartan Event Weekend (March 19-20)
This Conyers, Ga. race weekend includes a Sprint (5K, 20 obstacles), a Super, a Hurricane Heat, and Kids races.
The Venue: The Georgia International Horse Park
The Georgia International Horse Park — part of the history of the 1996 Olympics — regularly hosts adventurous events from concerts to rodeos, sporting events, and even dog shows. This mid-March weekend, the park will serve up 15-plus miles of horse trails that twist and turn through both woods and pastureland. In other words, racers will face undulating, technical terrain, water crossings, and plenty of mud (not to mention obstacles). Be sure to be fully prepared.
Weather: Mild With a Small Chance of Rain
It gets pretty hot in an Atlanta summer, but not so much in March. Average temperatures fall between 45° and 62°.
As for the degree of muddiness, there’s typically a 30% chance that you’ll see some rain, so keep that in mind when you’re packing your bags.
Bonus: Go for a Ride
For some active icing on the proverbial race weekend cake, you can take your mountain bike out on select trails in the horse park. No bike with you? All you need is a smartphone to geocache your way around the park on foot.
San Antonio Spartan Event Weekend (March 26-27)
A Sprint, a Super, and Kids races are all slated for this Boerne, Texas race weekend on the rugged grounds of an operating longhorn ranch.
The Venue: The Don Strange Ranch
A 40-minute drive north from San Antonio on Interstate 10, the Don Strange Ranch is a working longhorn ranch in Texas Hill Country. Expect the kind of footing that you’d imagine on a longhorn ranch: a blend of hard-packed topsoil, rolling hills, rocky technical terrain, and a river run.
Prepare for ideal race weather, with temperatures falling from the mid-50s to the low 70s this time in March, and only an approximately 20% chance that a half-inch or more of rain will fall.
Bonus: Horseback Trail Rides
Professional horse trainer Willie Stricker will guide you on a tour through the Texas Hill Country on a trained horse. Enjoy the “views, fresh air, and tranquility.”