|Moto Pro Traing's Marc Spataro|
I arrived at Marc’s training facility early Friday morning with my photo gear and work out cloths to find a rather diverse group of guys ranging from pro, pro-am, and amateur racers. With the help of William Yokley National Guard/Yokley Racing, one of Marc’s racers, our first activity of the day would be an outdoor obstacle course at the local National Guard facility. A pleasant ride around a beautiful lake dropped us into a wooded valley laden with government warning signs and multiple gates to pass through. After meeting all of the clearance requirements we ventured deeper and further into the woods. Arriving at our final destination, Marc had a tent set up with drinks and snacks and instructed everyone to take a seat in the bleachers for a brief lecture as to why and what we were going to do today. Marc focused on balance, coordination, power, and speed and then it was time for the physical challenges.
This state of the art facility is used by several governmental agencies to train for terrorist attacks as well as basic boot camp for military divisions. The obstacle course contained 15 stations and Marc chose to break the course down into 2 areas of 6 stations to run timed trials through. Three of the challenges were too dangerous to risk someone getting hurt so they were left out of the regimen. These stations would challenge every aspect of human movement especially endurance and strength. Marc let everyone try each station several times in order to let the racers get accustomed to the challenge. After practice Marc grouped the racers into groups of 2 or 3 based on their abilities to perform the task. From here Marc and his assistant Casey would conduct timed trials using stop watches to record everyone’s results.
The first challenge had racers run and leap to grab a 4-inch rope and swing up and over a wooden railing only to let go mid swing land on the ground and take off towards an 8 foot wall. This angled obstacle had to be scaled and either slid down or jumped off. Once your feet hit the ground it was back to a sprinting pace towards a cargo net climbing wall. When the racers jumped up on to the cargo net it swung back and forth as they desperately tried to climb up it faster than one another. This caused several of the guys to taste dirt and try again.
Upon reaching the top there was a furious run down a set of stairs touching down to the ground and taking off in a sprinters pace towards one of the toughest obstacles called the Pyramid. The Pyramid is a torturous obstacle requiring the participants to weave themselves over and under 4”x4” timbers up twenty feet and back down. There was no easy way to do this and several of participants lost there grip and fell to the shredded rubber base below. There were three timed trials that were ran at these six stations.
The second set of obstacles involved a series of balance beams that progressed like stairs until they reached a height of twelve feet. At the end of the balance beam there was a set of monkey bars that contained 3” rungs that went a distance of about 30 feet. Completing the monkey bars after the first course was extremely challenging due to grip fatigue. Most everyone made it through this obstacle to continue on to the rope and wall climb. This station had several 4-inch ropes that were attached to a platform 18 feet in the air on one side and a 50-foot cargo net climbing wall on the other. Participants had their choice as to what they wanted to climb, if they chose the ropes they had to go up them without the assistant of their feet as many times as they could. If they chose the cargo net wall they had to climb all the way up and down one time. These stations were not a timed event but rather for strength and endurance.
After we completed these stations it was on to a speed drill involving a 350 pound tire flip and a 20 pound sledge hammer swing. The goal was to see how many times you could flip the tire or swing and hit the tire in one minute. This could possibly be the longest minute of your life, especially when you have to switch stations directly after completing one. I surprised everyone at this event by having the third highest number of flips and swings coming in behind Mark Notman and Marc Spataro.
Grabbing some drinks and snacks we headed back to Marc’s facility for a catered lunch and the next half of Friday’s events. Of course the lunch was packed full of nutritious goodies such as grilled chicken, salad, home made lasagna, and roasted potatoes. During lunch Marc explained that rest of the day would be part lecture and part participation. The subjects covered were strength training using compound exercises, endurance training utilizing cross training sports and riding, and core training using an invention that Marc developed called the Core Bar (www.corebar.net). At the end of the day we were all pretty exhausted and Marc concluded with a question and answer format. That evening everyone met up at a local restaurant and hung out preparing for the next days activities.
Saturday started bright an early at 8 a.m. with a 4.5 hike in one of Maryland’s most beautiful state parks Oregon Ridge. While 4.5 miles might not seem like a very long hike to some, there were extreme elevation changes and the guys had to carry balls full of water in back packs ranging from 25 pounds to 45 pounds. The movement of water inside the balls created inertia, which challenged everyone’s strength, balance, stability, and endurance. To make matters even more challenging Marc decided to make this a timed event shooting to break his best time for this hike. Hot and humid conditions added one more element to this challenge but regardless the group finished just shy of 3 minutes of the record completing it in 53 minutes.
Back to Marc’s training center the group prepared for more lecture and physical activities enjoying another nutritious catered lunch. The day’s subjects covered balance and stability, myofascial release a form of massage helping with recovery, and reaction time drills. Another question and answer session rapped things up and everyone went out to Marc’s for a cookout and swim party.
Early Sunday morning Marc had everyone come out to his farm and apply the reaction time drills to improving starts. The majority of participants brought their own quads or used someone else’s in order to participate. After several trials, I was very evident that the drills worked because everyone improved their time coming off of the line. Marc expressed the importance of practicing starts all the time and concluded by thanking everyone and saying good-bye.
If you are serious about racing and really want to improve yourself I highly suggest seeking out Marc’s services or participating in one of his camps. They are not only highly informative but also really fun and challenging. Moto Pro Training’s next camp will be held on February 6-8, 2009, check out www.motoprotraining.com for more information.