AAR Team Assessment - Part 08: Saturday
Slosh Pipes and Patriotism
The cadre put their heads together as we got a break for priorities of work. Then Cleve and Hand took back over and gave us the next evolution. We went up the hill to retrieve an empty slosh pipe and five gallon bucket per team. Our task was to take them both to the river, fill them and then bring them back up to Cleve at the bottom of The Hill. He would inspect them. We would dump them out. Repeat. As many times as we could for an undetermined time. We simply said “thank you, cadre” and did what we were told.
As we were getting the slosh pipes and buckets up in the yard, Jason said the Cloverleaf event would be starting soon which he was leading. This is a new format event where participants do 3 workouts and 3 distances in 3 hours. It is facilitated by a cadre but participants scale the weight of the ruck and sandbag to their ability level. We had all speculated that we’d have to do the workout with the people from local ruck clubs that were coming out. Luckily we didn’t because we would have been a sorry sight and not inspiring at all.
Before we set out, Jason told us “I’m going to be playing some Metallic and what not up here for the Cloverleaf folks. Don’t go getting motivated by it or anything.” Check. We were not allowed to be motivated. Ha.
Having the Cloverleaf participants going back and forth on the trail while we were working was a nice distraction. They’d say encouraging things to us. We’d praise them for coming out and getting after it. It was nice. Except when there was a traffic jam.
Getting back in the river wasn’t too bad since I only had to go knee deep but we kept inadvertently splashing each other with the slosh pipes. When it’s only 40 degrees you want to avoid that. I still struggled to lift the full bucket to eye level on the bank but Shannon was there to take it over the edge.
We were allowed to leapfrog the bucket and slosh pipe as long as they didn’t get out of range. So we’d carry the slosh pipe a little ways ahead of the bucket then go back and carry the bucket passed the slosh pipe and repeat. We always had to stay together. Carrying the bucket with one hand each was becoming a habit and this evolution rolled by despite the pain we experienced bending down to pick up the slosh pipe every time.
Cleve was in a great mood and gave us a rousing speech about the glories of freedom which include hot showers, satisfying breakfasts, and being an American dammit. On one round of emptying our bucket and slosh pipe he told us that he’d dipped his hat in the bucket of the team ahead of us before they dumped it. “You want to know why? Because I was too damn comfortable. Gotta remember why we are here.” We couldn’t help but laugh.
Could It Be?! CulEx Time
Before watching all of last year’s live feeds, I wasn’t familiar with the term “CulEx”. But 44 hours into the event and I was looking forward to our “Culminating Exercise”. After completing maybe 4 rounds of the bucket/slosh pipe trek, we had to move all the supplies back up the hill which took three trips. Then all the teams were given a little longer break. We all relocated out from under the trees and onto a sunny slope in Jay’s yard to warm up.
Second MREs were broken out. Fresh socks were donned. And we were all sitting close and talking quietly among ourselves. I got a quick nap in the sun that was exactly what I needed. I even decided to change into my spare t-shirt. Everyone was in a good mood because we knew we were in the final stretch.
Mocha and JC brought over the apparatus and gave a quick demo of how to put it together. There were clamps and washers to hold the tires to the axel and the cargo net and poles we had plenty of familiarity with. Then they had us line up and brought out the whiteboard with all the rankings.
Unsurprisingly there was a clear demarcation between the top three female teams and the bottom four. (There were only two open teams left plus Chad was being allowed to do the work by himself after losing not one, but two partners during the night.) But the cadre said that the CulEx evolutions would count double points so it was open season.
Shannon and I were not gunning to win or even get top three. (One team would be given Champion status for winning and that’s it.) We just wanted to finish. That had been the goal all along. We were in 4th place exactly where we expected. Shannon dubbed our teams in the bottom four teams “The Rec League”. We were all here to participate but winning wasn’t the objective. It was demonstrating the true DFQ mindset.
Throughout the event but especially during the second night, I witnessed the struggle. All of the “Rec League” teams had low points where one teammate was keeping the other going. Where we were glassy eyed and wondering how we would make it through an evolution. It was encouraging and humbling to see everyone fighting their demons and still standing the next day.