Getting down and dirty in Whistler: A Mudderella Survival Guide

Dee Raffo's first person account of last year's Mudderella Whistler adventure race

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      By Dee Raffo

      A day out with the ladies might conjure up images of Sex in the City's Carrie Bradshaw booking the hottest restaurant in town after a full day of shopping and pampering, however the way it's done in Whistler is a little different. Don't get me wrong, there's still a mud bath and some ridiculous outfits plus plenty of chances to shop and spa, but this isn't New York. In the mountains we have a name for the day the ladies come out to play – Mudderella.

      Although the organizers of Mudderella dubbed it as an easier "gateway event" to the longer Tough Mudder course, trust someone who's been there and done it last year – when you place an eight-kilometre course with 12 obstacles on the steep sides of Blackcomb Mountain it's one hell of a workout.

      The only way to do it properly is with a fully trained sense of humour and a group of your besties. My team in 2015 consisted of a strong group who hate the cold, heights, water in the face, and exercise in general – in short, we were born to do this. We called our team "Legs Eleven" although between the five of us we had ten legs – in all honesty we might have had some wine the evening we came up with the name and miscounted.

      Although some of the obstacle details are a bit of a blur I do remember the last one, the "Hat Trick", very clearly. It was a three-part obstacle involving a very steep rope-ladder climb to an elevated platform with a 35-foot slide at a 40-degree angle, ending in an icy pool that you had to swim across to get out. I'd been pretty gung-ho about the whole thing up until that point but when I looked down the black slide towards the water my confidence simply disappeared. Then I heard a blood-curdling scream from my fellow teammate as she went for it, fist pumping the air as she slid. Well, I couldn't let her go alone, could I?

      David Raffo

      But don't worry, that's not what they've got in store for you, no no. Not ones to repeat themselves, the Mudderella crew have some lovely new obstacles lined up for 2016. From the description the "Triple Threat" sounds the most familiar so here's what's in store for you as per the Mudderella instructions – note the "graceful" part, which seems at complete odds with words like slippery, clamber, and dunk:

      "Get ready for a triple shot of mud. Using a rope, you'll scramble up a slippery slope and climb into a muddy tube. Climbing down through the tube, you'll emerge into a pit of muddy water. With the help of your teammates, clamber out of the mud bath onto a muddy embankment and slide gracefully into the second pit, where you'll dunk under a wall to reach the exit."

      Now that's a challenge!

      Preparation is Key: A First Timer's Thoughts

      Gail Wynia from North Vancouver is attempting the Mudderella for the first time this year. She works for Canada Post, is the mother of three, and grandmother of one. Gail is one of those people that seems to have the knack of making things sound like a lot of fun. I know this because she's managed to turn her initial two-woman team into an army of 22, all on team Dirty M*&^%s (use your imagination). A way better name than Legs Eleven.

      Along with her friend, Miriam Pulsifer, she's been working on her strength training for any monkey bar antics, and also doing the Grouse Grind on a regular basis to keep her cardio up. Much like Gail, I'd envisaged myself swinging like Jane across the monkey bars - I was unbeatable when I was five. Alas, time and a lot more body weight has made my Tarzan chasing days a thing of the past – Gail is wise to focus on those bicep reps.

      "O.M.G. I am so excited about doing the Mudderella." Says Gail via email. "I chose to do it this year because a friend and I wanted a goal to prepare for and we thought Mudderella would be fun because of its female empowerment angle. The thing that I am looking forward to the most is holding hands with my girls and crossing that finish line, and of course the beer consumption afterwards!"

      Justa Jeskova

      Dee's Final Words of Wisdom

      Last year I remember looking around at the racers, many in full make-up and crazy costumes, and thinking how amazing it was to just be outside, having fun, surrounded by incredible women, and simply living in the moment. For those embarking on this year's Mudderella on September 24, here are my sagely words of wisdom…

      "Just like any night with the ladies – you start together, you finish together."

      Dee's Mudderella Tips

      • In terms of training I advise watching lots of Amy Schumer so that the amount of laughter at your friends misfortune in the mud won't split your sides.
      • Coordinate your outfits – it's easier to pick out your teammates when they're wearing matching luminous tights, tutus, hair scrunchies etc.
      • You must have team names, the ruder the better. Bonus points if they relate to a drinking game after the event.
      • Be at one with mud and cold water. You know when you usually go around that puddle that you don't know the depth of? Jump in and embrace that soggy sock feeling.
      • There are cargo nets you have to crawl under – think twice about that high ponytail.
      • Last year 10,000 women descended on Whistler – make like Samantha Jones and get on the guest list at one of the after party destinations way ahead of time.
      • Do not wear your new, limited-edition Nikes (or anything you vaguely care about for that matter).
      • Spectators can stand at certain points on the course – perfect for that friend who chickened out and now owes you some free event photography coverage.
      • Work on your high fives, fist pumps, and "just fell in freezing water face", because someone will capture that for Facebook fun.
      David Raffo

      The Straight has also teamed up with Tourism Whistler to offer our readers a chance to win a Mudderella prize pack that guarantees a day of some serious post-race R&R, and a stellar night out on the town. Valued at $1,800, the package includes two nights accommodation for four guests, with four entries to the race, access to Scandinave Spa baths, along with a $200 Whistler gift card… because the only thing sweeter than a weekend away with the ladies is when it’s free. Try your luck here.