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Cerberus III AAR

Cerberus III, Colorado Spring

August 5-7th 2022

Curtis Goldensoph- DNF

Hello and welcome to my first After Actions Report. Not sure of the proper structure or etiquette these reports follow so here’s to winging it. I’ll give a quick synopsis of the event that I can remember and give my perspective during and after the event. Hope anyone reading this finds this helpful insight on one of the coolest events I’ve ever attempted.

A little background; I’m 35 years old, married with 2 young girls, and I work as a Paramedic Firefighter. My schedule is full and time for training isn’t always convenient. This is the first Cerberus Event I have done. I discovered Cerberus through HDT and have utilized the HDT + Pathfinder training programs to maintain fitness. Cerberus is also my first exposure to GBF or Castleman Events. On top of these programs I still do GORUCK events and subscribe to Tribe. I love Rucking and really enjoy meeting like minded people that tend to choose the harder path. I signed up for this event as the next step in events. I didn’t know a ton about Cerberus for some obvious reasons: first being this was the third ever event held and second the design of the event is to keep you in the dark until the moment you experience it. I signed up expecting a challenge and was met with everything I asked for and more.

The days leading up to the event I was prepping by continually packing and repacking my gear, prepping caloric consumption and hydrating. I doubled my water intake for 3 days with my usual electrolyte levels. In hindsight, I think doubling my water and not increasing my electrolytes is the cause of my cramping situation I found myself in during the event. In essence I may have flushed my body of some much needed resources. Hard Lessons.

The event starts with introductions to our Event hosts, Bryan Singelyn “The nice guy” and Gregg McLeod “The strict one”. It is clear from the start that there is a high standard and the standard will be upheld. Gregg has the ability to put on a Cadre switch that is straight to the point with no fluff and zero tolerance. Personally I love it!! It’s a language I am familiar with and the kind of thing I expect from an event like this.

PT tests were conducted to get a general fitness level of the group and to highlight any outliers. Punishments were given if hands were on hips or any other position other than “parade rest” while standing. The purpose of this was discipline and always being engaged even while resting. One of the few “knowns” of the event was the rope climb and was emphasized as the critical tasks to accomplish to complete this event. This is a task that if you don’t come rehearsed, it will show. Gear was laid out to insure the packing list was met and food confiscated. Electrolytes were ours to keep but calories were to be held by Cadre until deemed necessary. To be honest, there were plenty of opportunities for food and due to the constant activity, your body never really wants a meal but you force calories down when you can.

Now Cadre started their alternating schedule, first with Bryan and 3 massive HDT WODs and an AMRAP. Prepare for a lot of reps with Ruck and Sand Bag work. Sweat Hydrate and enjoy. The pace was high and the event allowed the competitive spirit of people to show here. Fun was being had all around and even shenanigans like the Sand Doom AMRAP brought laughs. You looked amazing Troy! The AMRAP was done with snorkels in the mouth that could not be removed. People brought masks with the snorkel, when the packing list specifically said snorkel, assuming some water element and had to wear the mask as well. People with masks were forced to breathe through the snorkel while one’s without could nose breathe.

Next was Gregg’s rotation. Grab those odd weighted rowers and ruck to Cerberus brewery. 2 rowers means 2 teams so make it a race. Get there, brewery is closed so what else do you do with rower’s, row. 5k on each rower to complete as fast as possible. Discipline enforced with burpees, rest became front leaning rest and before you know it we’re back to rucking with the rowers for the return journey. Get back to the gym to do another round of 5k on each rower. Rest became over head plate carries. Pace and expectations never changed. People were dropping off.

A quick U-Haul trip to Red Rock Canyon got us outdoors right as dawn approached. A litter filled with 180#’s was then carried as a group. Gregg’s cadre mode of no BS and straight to the point was pressed onto each individual to identify stronger teammates and weaker teammates. There is no hiding or “Grey Manning” this event. Time hacks were met and time hacks were missed. Penalties given and Buddy carries were completed. It was at this point cramps began within a number of athletes. The pace continued and people continued to drop. 4 remained as we took the longest break yet. The heat of the day came early with no cloud cover and that high altitude sun glared. A nice 5 mile run with nothing but water while running trail was next. My spirit was high for the first half, cramps were coming and going and my pace plateaued. The run was gorgeous and spirits were still high. Hydration was the number 1 priority with cramps periodically.

Next was a U-Haul trip to a park with Bryan. Another 3 massive WODs, tons of reps. The location was perfect, being on a small clearing of grass and sticks surrounded by a duck filled pond and a short walk to a mountain stream. Cramps hit full force during the heat and were a constant battle. All measures were taken for hours to include 2 ORS packets, 4L of Gatorade with added electrolytes, 6 salt tablets, Mustard shots, and some refreshing creek submersions to shock the system. All attempts gave 1-5 minutes of hope before proving futile. Survival mode was in full effect. Even the weather would give pity on us and grant us scattered showers to reprieve from the summer heat. I was no longer competing at the level of my peers and was now at war with myself and my body.

Our location changed to a larger greener park perfect for low crawls, rope pulls and bear crawls. The daylight hours began to wane and bodies began hitting limits. As the 24hr mark came it was decided that only 2 would move onto the night navigation Ruck. The first thought as I was told I was medically dropped from the event was relief, followed by an almost instant feeling of disgust with myself for being relieved. I know why it happened and I know why I felt frustrated. I still had fuel in the tank but I failed to prepare my body to last for the entire event.

I rested and returned to watch the remaining warriors rage on. Mentally I declared this as a “postponement” of my eventual success. I took this opportunity to study my teammates while they continued on. To observe that caliber of person is inspirational.

This event surprised me not only in the high unwavering standard it gave, but how I felt afterward. This event is unlike any other in how you work as a team to complete objectives, compete against one another for hierarchy and how ultimately you battle with yourself and figure out those limits.

I hope this helps shed some light on such a new and dynamic event. I hope to see more of you like-minded people at the next one.


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