As we leave the best Arby’s of all Arby’s in existence, I pop another benadryl and knock out for the next 4 hours to Madison. I’m the worst co-pilot ever- all I do is sleep and not talk to you.
~*4 hours later*~
As I come to, Sam is exiting the highway and we’re in Madison! Best road trip ever. It’s been a journey of 17 hours. Sam is a talker. Man. I didn’t tell him I’m writing this but dude can talk. He’s probably talking right now. Hi Sam. Jill can talk too. Hi Jill. The idea of the trip was, for them, to surprise their Midwest crew as 4 of the five ladies from the Miami HTL team were going to be there so Jill and Sam wanted to surprise them and again, my schedule is pretty light on actual commitments so that worked out for us. We check into our hotel (with free breakfast!) and then proceed to rock out.
If you haven’t traveled with a bunch of GRTs before then you’re in for a treat. Everywhere you turn, there are these damned backpacks (“rucksacks” whatever) because you need one backpack to carry your travel gear and then another bag for your event gear. Everyone starts out with one bag. Most people I know end up with 2-3 bags because you “need it.” Funny how that works out.
We get up in the morning, have some breakfast, and then head out to the start point, which is conveniently a 10 minute drive from the hotel. Madison is a cool town. Heading into town, we’re driving into downtown with Lake Monona on the right and holy shit, there are people sitting on the lake. ON A LAKE. ICE FISHING. This part of the trip has been promoted to best part of the trip now.
Sitting on top of a lake!! In a hut. Crazy.
After backing into a parking spot, Sam sees Connor outside and he goes to surprise them. My plan I didn’t tell anyone is I was going to record it on my phone but my damned hands are inside some warm ass mittens and as I’m trying to pull them off quickly, I knock the phone onto the floor. I’m fumbling around trying to grab my phone and I finally get the phone up, I’m out the door, phone still not ready. Jill passes by me and hugs her peeps as well. I finally get my phone ready to record video and I missed most of it. Oh well. I put the phone up and go sit inside the car because it’s cold as hell.
3 minutes later I check my phone and sonofabitch it’s still recording. I had one job.
So the event starts at 09:00 with very minimal admin time. We’re facing Lake Mendota and the wind is whipping across the lake at us and Cadre Brad gets us moving. We I didn’t learn until we got to the Capitol that Madison is the capital of Wisconsin and hey, it’s all uphill. Maybe if it wasn’t so cold I could breathe. Maybe if I did cardio I could breathe. Maybe I should do some cardio before Bragg Heavy.
The Light is fun. Save for all the walking (“this is bullshit!” was said once or twice) we did and the freezing temps, it was really fun. So we ruck here and there, Brad talks to us about dressing for freezing cold weather and he says we should always strive to be “comfortably cool” when out in conditions such as we were. There’s always something to learn on these events. Sometimes the only lesson is that you’re a dumb ass but lucikly that was not the (only) lesson this time.
We rucked to the top of Bascom Hill at UW which is, all the way uphill. Seriously, level this shit out Wisconsin. It’s like Normandy. Fucking hills. When I rule this bitch I’m going to make everything flat. Take that, nature. From there, we learn some climbing skills that I’ll never use because outdoorsy shit, nope. But we ruck to a gas station and make our time hack by a few seconds. After like 20 minutes of break time, Sam goes to grab the team weight (a piece of plywood that looks like the state of Wisconsin) and Jill says “oh Sam is finally going to carry something!”
Sam, I think she’s talking to you.
Sam’s feelings hurt, we ruck to a park by a small pond. The major lesson I learned this day was to not trust the other teams when competing in a 3 squad race. Winner gets to choose the exercise for the other two. So we had to play a game and spell out letters using the team to form the letters. I was fortunate to be on the team to win the first three exercises in a row so we had them do starbursts, monkey fuckers, and the chicken dance. Not bad for the first three rounds. The fourth round we somehow lost (also bullshit) and the winning team chooses that “Bring Sally Up” exercise and really dude? Next time we win, flutter kicks in the water. No, we don’t care that you have to break ice to get in there. Bitches. Sally finished, we proceed to crush the next two rounds.
In the final round, some of the other peeps (Meghan, Stephanie) thought it would be a good idea to bumrush the team that screwed us over (turns out it was Cadre’s idea) and we chased them and they ran away like we were going to lay hands on them. We get back and lose the final round and we get to do the Macarena. I couldn’t do that in 8th or 9th grade but hell, there were quite a few who were dancing it like it never went out of style.
After the event, we all went out to eat some cheese curds. Which were really awesome to eat but if I never have a day in my life where I eat them again, I guess I’ll be OK. I get to talking to the locals and they mention ice fishing and how it’s just an excuse to sit on a chair, in a hut, on the ice, and drink beer. I think I’ve found my calling. There were quite a few newbies to GORUCK and some regular GRTs which is always fun to chat with. Background, why they paid to prove they are bad at making decisions, things like that.
Then we did some drinky drink things, ate breakfast, got #gold in #scavenger with #outoftowners, headed home, saw the St. Louis Arch at night, saw Tulsa at night, pull into to parking lot 15.5 hours after leaving Madison.