Tackling the toughest of Tough Mudders
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – When you see Lucas Rivera flipping massive truck and tractor tires down the road, he’s not changing a flat. He’s training for the World’s Toughest Mudder.The event is November in Englishtown, N.J., which means that not only will he, his friend T.J. Ricciardi and his brother-in-law Matt Westenfelder be exhausted and beat up, they’ll be cold and wet.Rivera can’t wait to go.Tougher that toughThe World’s Toughest Mudder lives up to its name.It’s a 24-hour race with more than 40 military-style obstacles in each lap. Each lap is between eight and 12 miles long.They’ve been trying to create strategy, but it’s like cowboys trying to herd the fog. They don’t know what they’ll be facing until they face it.They won’t know the length of a lap or the types and number of obstacles until the starter pistol fires.There’ll be water to swim through, barbed wire to crawl under, cables and cargo nets to crawl over and climb, mud and misery.Last year 1,000 athletes were invited. Almost half didn’t finish the first lap. Injury or hypothermia got them. The water in New Jersey is 40 degrees that time of year and you have to swim through it.This makes Rivera really, really happy.”You have to be a well-rounded and versatile athlete,” Rivers said.To prepare, Rivera trains six days a week combining circuit, interval, sprint, endurance, and strength training. Tires, sledgehammers, sand bags, weight vests, kettle bells, TRX, Olympic lifts and body weight exercises are followed by 10-mile road and trail runs – and lots and lots of swimming.”My least favorite parts are the ice baths in which I get the temperature to a frigid 46 degrees. I use this as a recovery tool to stimulate faster recovery, but I also use it to gain the mental toughness that I will need to get through this race,” Rivera said.The plan for now is to complete a lap or two, then refuel with food and liquids, Rivera said. That’s when they’ll decide how cold the water is, whether they can jump into it without a wetsuit, and what other gear they need to carry.Whatever you’re wearing when start a lap wearing you have to finish wearing. You can haul gear in a backpack, but backpacks get caught on the barbed wire you’re crawling under, Rivera said.”A backpack doesn’t work all that well,” Rivera said.Team LucasRivera works as WECMRD’s athletics coordinator and played college football, so he knows about diet and exercise.He eats a strict Paleo diet, basically the food that cave men ate. No grains, lots of lean meat, vegetables and fruit.”It’s very simple and natural to follow. I was in great shape in college as a receiver on the football team, but I have one upped myself with the training regimen that I have been following to get ready for this race. I can outrun, outlift, and outlast my college self,” he said.Competing in the World’s Toughest Mudder costs thousands of dollars just for the gear.”You must come equipped with gear for this race or you won’t be able to compete effectively,” Rivera said. “With travel, registration, gear, etc., this adventure race turned into a huge financial commitment.”Pete Lien & Sons, Inc. picked up the tab for plane tickets. Ptarmigan Sports in the Edwards Riverwalk came up with socks, shoes, packs, base layers, headlamps, outerwear and energy chews.Sno-Life, a new clothing company in the valley for sport athletes to everyday mountain locals, is helping with warm clothing. Vail Summit Orthopaedics is paying some of the registration costs.Xterra gave him a wetsuit.His dad, Henry Rivera, is an artist and sculptor and donated sculptures to sell, along with proceeds from his own sales.And his mom, Jan, who has been hauling him around since he was playing pee-wee football.Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.