GORUCK Tough Class # 3459 AAR

When/Where: 9/11/2020 – 9/12/2020 / Charlotte, NC Start Point: Mountain Island Fitness 10030 Callabridge Court, Charlotte NC 28216

PAX: Cinnamon, Foxy, WeeMan, Breadsticks, Nurse Jackie, Speedwalker, Chickenhawk, Defect – Led by Cadre Clay (28 started / 27 finished)

Conditions:   Mid 70’s ….. Wet at times….

Initial Intent: It was the intent of the F3 Florence Ruck Club to represent F3 Florence in an impactful way in this GORUCK CSAUP.  We have been training like crazy in preparation over the past several weeks and months. We had Clipboard (not Cadre) Monkey and Thunderbird run the PAX through a MOCK GORUCK event. There were some key learnings that happened in that exercise. Several of the PAX completed the most recent PATHFINDER Ruck Training with both Cinnamon and WeeMan acting as course advisors. The guys wanted to show up ready and motivate each other and the other participants throughout the event.

What happened? We rented a van and set out on the first adventure of getting out of Florence. Pom Pom was kind enough to drive us up and agreed to drive us home afterwards. We were able to get him a hotel so he didn’t have to sleep in the van! We stopped in at Red Robin where WeeMan decided to show us his mettle by putting the All You Can Eat steak fries to the test…. A Target run was in order for Uncrustables and Socks. We did our best to throw a bag over Breadstick’s head and shove him in the van amid the shocked onlookers…. We made our way over to the start point to meet up with Chickenhawk and Defect. There was a large team assembled so the adrenaline started flowing.

9pm – Go Time: The large group that was gathered slimmed out a bit as 6 or 7 PAX faded into the Shadow Company. Cadre Clay let us know he was a nice guy… very fair… and we were starting with 28 and he expected to finish with 28. However, we failed to line up correctly which the seasoned GRT’s let happen and he gave us a chance to fall in correctly. Around this time we saw the large Fire-truck make its way through the parking lot. During admin phase he stopped to give his first WARNO (warning order). Cadre made it very clear that “if you are not 100% certain that your waterproofing efforts are good you should leave your devices. When I say 100% I MEAN ONE HUNNIT PERCENT SURE.” This gained the attention of the group and we all promptly passed our precious devices to PomPom for safekeeping. Cadre provided our water containers for the event (1 Jerry Can and 5 big rubber water bags). After we filled those he instructed the group to gather over near the Fire-truck. This was the 1st trap. He made it very clear that gaggles weren’t going to be accepted and we needed to move as a team. 50 squats in place as a penalty. Then he made everyone not carrying a coupon to go load up on coupons. The team gathered the Kraken (3 logs chained together with log chains), a 1000 lb Pole, a huge tire, and few other items. 100% of the PAX had a coupon as we made our way to the front of the Fire-truck.

Welcome Party: We dropped our rucks and moved to directly in front of Engine 33. 100 Squats, 50 Left Leg Lunges, 50 Right Leg Lunges, 100 Burpees and 100 SSH was the exercise. The fire hoses wet us down and it was surprisingly refreshing… until the burpees. The burpees really really sucked. Our cadence caller decided to start with a 6 count which he quickly aborted and went with a “Down… Up”. We broke the pain down into sets of 10 and got after it….. Cadre Clay in his best Paycheck voice called an AUDIBLE…. “WHERE IS MICHAEL FERRERA?” – Here sir “YOU CAN THANK YOUR WIFE FOR THIS…. 200 4-COUNT FLUTTER KICKS… GO” It was during the Flutters that we all realized what a good torture technique water boarding is…. After the welcome party we got hydrated and listened to a few Charlotte-Mecklenburg fire fighters tell us what 9/11 meant to them. The Captain pulled a flag from his front pouch and told us that he found that flag laying in the street on 9/11/01 and he has kept it with him on duty every shift since.

The Movement: We loaded up 100% of the coupons and stepped off with 27 (best guess around 10:30pm) as we lost a guy due to a shoulder injury. Every single pax was either under a heavy coupon or carrying a coupon. There were no free hands FROM THE START. The Cadre had mistakenly planned his route using Google Maps and there was a large building and a rent-a-fence in the way of our path. Have no fear…. When can improvise and overcome. We snaked the Kraken, the LAWG and all the other stuff down the fence line and made our way into the clearing under some powerlines. The terrain was brutal with all the coupons, but off we went. Shadow company looked at the terrain and bowed out of following along. We struggled to find our way and had to be constantly reminded that we were “busting through floors at the WTC”. “You think the firefighters knew where they were going when they were busting through floors”. We had to make a lot of adjustments and bushwhacked through some tall weeds and briars several times. We were able to roll the tire and we used it to lay down the tall grasses to make a path for the LAWG which was our ladder and the KRAKEN which was our Firehose. At some point we failed to come together as a team and along the route so we stopped for 100 Squat Thrusters with the Ruck. After several ZERO counts we finally got our rhythm and did them in 5-10 thruster sets. After the thrusters we had story time with Cadre Clay. He told us a touching story about his good buddy that was KIA in Afganastan. HM2 Luke Milam (see link below). After that we made it to the lake. The slope down to the shore was CRAZY steep and all the coupons had to make their way down. Lights off. Lock Arms. Back your way into the lake…. 50 Burpees as a team to simulate breaking through a ceiling to make it the next floor of the WTC. We must have started coming together as a team at this point b/c there were no penalties and we were allowed out of the water. We picked up two wounded and had to gurney them out (no more rolling the tire, it had to be carried the rest of the journey with our two “ghost” casualties). Getting the LAWG and KRAKEN back up that hill was BRUTAL and when we made it to the top we kept moving… The floor was giving way behind us. Once we made it out we had a rest and story time with Cadre Clay. It was here several of the PAX began sharing stories and NJ shared how the whole world came together on 9/12. After that we stepped off… We lost our way and our spacing and the Cadre got our attention with Bear Crawls down and back. It was here we learned “Bears are noble creatures… They don’t walk on their knees!”. We only lost our way a few more times along the route so we paid the price with Bear Crawls and Lunges holding the ruck in front of you. Somewhere along the way Tiffany, whom the Cadre re-named Diamond, was recognized as giving maximum effort. She was under that log and carrying her weight like some kind of mountain woman! She earned the respect of the group and led us all the way as our final TL. On the last push headed down a rather steep decline YHC Cinnamon decided to roll his ankle on a rock and BOWL down the hill taking out a few more PAX. It wasn’t long before Breadsticks did the same. We we made it out of the valley the Cadre gave YHC a glimpse that we could bust across some private residence yard’s if we could keep it down. We busted between some houses with the LAWG, the Kraken, the TIRE and all the other fixin’s and made it back to end point. When we got back to our start/end point we moved out as a team to pick up one final downed casualty (some stuffing in the roadway that we had to clean up from the night before). As we endexed the event Cadre Clay reaches in a tire and pulls out shot glasses and a bottle of KRAKEN Rum to toast. Diamond ran around pouring our shots and as a team we toasted. Cadre Clay shared that he only does the toast for her Tough classes (not the light’s). The toast: “Never above you! Never below you! Always beside you!” Pictures, Tears, Hugs and Kisses and we were out!

Learnings: Just a few

Foxy: Welcome party was 45 minutes / Log and Kraken were stupid…. / We could never get enough people on the log, even after the water bladders began to empty and there should have been 1 or 2 fresh bodies. / Speedwalker stepped up and took the first TL / First ever event for WeeMan, Speedwalker, Breadstick and Defect / Nurse Jackie earned the coveted “Foxy” award for killing it in the event.

Breadstick: No free hands in the event. No one was ever fresh / Mountainous terrain is hard to train for in Florence / The Cinny and Bready tumble down the hill towards endex was epic..

PomPom: Funny how all the guys ran the phones over when the Cadre scared everyone / Thomas “Cinny” snoring on the ride back and woke himself up… / Kidnapping Breadstick from target “black ops style” / Breadsticks crying when he found out there wasn’t anymore PT at the end / Foxy HIGH on Fitaid busting out 50 squats in the Waffle House parking lot / Foxy rucking Syrup on Sunday AFTER the event

Speedwalker: “Bears are noble creatures… They don’t walk on their knees!” / Military working dogs are awesome but only are good for 2 or 3 deployments before they get PTSD / Let’s live and love like it’s Sept. 12th, 2001 / You always have a choice. If the 1st one doesn’t work out, go back to the decision point and choose again.

Cinny’mon: It’s way better to show up to an event with a crew versus showing up solo / Waterboarding is the worst form of torture / Pistol whipping is a war crime but if you have to do it with a Glock turn it sideways / Never get behind WeeMan when he’s “greasin’ the groove” / Never Above You! Never Below You! Always Beside You!

WeeMan: Extremely nervous at the start. Cadre Clays demeanor was calming yet in charge. Ruck dump was easier than expected but probably not typical. Needed to hydrate more during and get salt tabs since leg cramps set in about an hour after event. Be sure to Use stable footing as I slipped and fell on my knee going down a hill carrying Mr Smiley (45lb plate with smiley face painted on it) about 1 mile in. I was ok but scared me. It was great hearing our first TL (Team Lead) Speedwalker count cadence on the 100 ruck thrusters. He got a deeper country accent as the reps increased starting with a normal UP – DOWN to UWP – DOOWWUUN with a bit of cracking in his voice. Good TL work though leading us through the woods.  I feel the Pathfinder Ruck Training, Heavy Drop Training, and the GoRuck Simulation were a big help in preparation. 

Nurse Jackie: Cadre gave us a chance to do 10 ruck burpees to earn a shortcut. 10 of us did to earn a “shortcut…” but Cadre then said “never mind, you just found out that part is blocked” 

Final Notes:

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