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Guide to Alt Races: Mud Run, Urban Assault, Muddy Buddy & ALC7

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These races are more than just running and biking. These races are dirty, wet, bouncy, life-changing and fun. LAist has four picks of local(ish) races in the next upcoming year to gear up for:

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Camp Pendleton World Famous Mud Run

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Next Race: October 20, 2007
Location: Camp Pendleton (Oceanside, CA)
Website: www.camppendletonraces.com
Tips: Sells Out Extremely Fast. Another three races will be held in June of 2008 in which race registration will begin in January and will sell out in January.

We ran this a few weeks ago for the second time and as we expected, it was tiring but a blast. Imagine this, if you will. You set out at the start line for your 10K race (that's 6.2 miles). Within a quarter of a mile, you get sprayed down by 3 fire hoses. Then after 2 miles of trail running and 2 small muddy river crossings, you start your ascent on a hellish 2-mile hill with hay bales and tire obstacles for fun (or annoyance, ask your legs at that point).

At mile 4, you are already heading down hill at a nice pace when at the bottom, you turn a corner and the real fun begins. Slosh into the first mud pit, climb the wall in the middle and slosh your way out. Time to run again. Turn another corner and "holy!" there's a lake reservoir to cross. Time to get totally soaked up to our chest. After a few minutes slowly wadding through the reservoir, back to running. How many more miles to go? Soon, we hit another mud pit, this time with a bigger wall to climb in the middle. Once out of the mud pit, it's down on your knees to crawl through a metal pipe (got claustrophobia?) Are we done yet? No: more trail running to do. Eventually, you hit a hill with the sobriquet 'Slippery Hill.' That's because they run a fire hose down the extremely steep hill forcing you careful steps or a face full of mud upon your falling impact. At the top, get sprayed down by another fire hose, if you will. Okay, almost there, right? Yes, half mile maybe of trail running and small hills. The finish line is near, we hear the crowd. Okay, one more mud pit. To get across this one, it is most efficient to army crawl -- down and dirty. Alright, 300 ft to the finish line!

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Suburu Urban Assault Race

Next Race: September 30th, 2007
Location: Long Beach, CA
Website: www.urbanassaultrace.com

It's an Adventure Race, Scavenger Hunt and Bike Race all in one, complete with obstacles like adult big wheels, obstacles on foot, scooters, BMX bikes, slip N slides, bouncy balls, ropes, kayaks, balance, or other craziness. Depending on the division your team is in, your ride can be anywhere from 15 - 30 miles and take from an hour and a half to three hours to complete. This is a team event, so find your buddy because teams are of 2, no more, no less. Family teams consist of a child between 7 and 12 and one adult.

This race has no specified route. Teams are given checkpoints around the city that they must hit in any order they choose with any street route of their choice (a few streets are off-limits). The obstacles at each checkpoint are a mystery to the participants until they arrive. Be careful out there, if you get a ticket from the police, you are disqualified!

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Muddy Buddy Ride & Run

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Next Race: November 4th, 2007
Location: San Dimas, CA
Website: www.muddybuddy.com

Think mud run combined with urban assault. The Muddy Buddy is another 2-team event where participants switch off and on the bike while the other one runs. It's all a bit technical to describe, so we'll leave it to the race organizers themselves: "Both partners start at the same time, one running and one biking. The course is approximately 6 miles long and is separated into 5 legs by obstacles along the way. The first obstacle is near the one mile mark. Assuming that the biker is traveling faster than the runner, the biker will approach the first obstacles transition area first. The biker will drop the bike and conquer the obstacle and start running to the 2nd transition/obstacle. The runner will then approach the first transition area, conquer the obstacle, find the bike and start riding to the 2nd transition/obstacle area. The team will continue to leap frog throughout the course switching from biking and running along the way."

Just like Urban Assault, the obstacles are mysteries until arrival. "Mystery events could be challenges such as a cargo net crawl, a wall, monkey bars, or a hay bale obstacle. At every race teams will have to conquer the famous Mud Pit before crossing the finish line together."

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AIDS/LifeCycle 7

Next Ride: June 1st - 7th, 2008
Location: Starts in San Francisco, Ends in Los Angeles
Website: www.aidslifecycle.org

First, we need to clarify that this is not a race, but rather a ride. However, we put it in this guide because it is an adventure in itself, mentally and physically. It also raises a lot of money for two organizations: the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

Secondly, if you missed this short documentary we posted earlier in the week, check it out to get an understanding of why people do this 545-mile ride and how it works.

When it comes to something this big, people have a lot of questions and so did we. We grilled the executive director about every single angle we could think of. Where do we sleep (you camp or if you want to do the "Princess Tour", book a hotel room)? What happens if we are too slow (if you are that slow, you will be swept up in the chase vehicles and driven to camp)? How do we raise $2500 (ALC gives you a variety of tools and training. The average person raises $5000 anyway)? How do we get our bikes up to San Francisco for the start (ALC contracts with a company to ship your bike up north at a somewhat thrifty price)? How the hell do we train for this (there are plenty of training rides, cycle buddies, tips and people to talk to)? Basically, after doing enough research, we feel very comfortable about taking part.

Now all we have to do is upgrade out bike from the $60 Target special.

Mud Run Photos by Brightroom Photography, you can buy the images on t-shirts and mugs and stuff! (Bush Photo Link/Mud Wall Link). Urban Assault Images by FotoJack.com where you can buy photos too! (slide photo link/tricycle photo link) Muddy Buddy Photo from Printroom where as usual, you can purchase photos of yourself in the race (link to picture). ALC Photo by Ron's Log via Flickr.