“In 60 hours, we covered a little over 70 miles and around 15,000 feet of elevation. Meanwhile, we were backpacking, so we had all our stuff on our backs…it definitely tests you in many ways” – Carrillo
The Agoge 60 is the most difficult Spartan Race event available, combining physical and mental obstacles meant to improve both mind and body. It is 60 hours of brutal individual and team endurance and intellectual challenges in the mountains of Vermont. Victor “Machete Beast” Carrillo, OCR athlete and finisher of over 40 races, including the Spartan Trifecta and Ultra Beast in Hawaii, recounts his experience with the Agoge.
ORAL I.V.: What made you choose to participate in the Spartan Agoge?
Victor: In New York, I took SOS, which stands for Spartan Obstacle Seminar. It’s basically about how to complete the obstacles and – I already know how to do all of them – but it’s more like which muscles you use for them. So, that was another piece of the puzzle for me. Over the years, I’ve done a lot of stuff with Spartan Race. Then, they sent me an email that basically challenges you to do [the Agoge], so I took the challenge.
ORAL I.V.: Would you say it’s the most difficult thing you’ve ever done?
Victor: 100%. The Agoge altogether is very difficult because of the sleep deprivation, pretty much eating whenever you could, so yeah 100%.
ORAL I.V.: What would say was the most challenging aspect of it?
Victor: The first 24 hours of the Agoge was the most challenging because you really don’t know what to expect. It was very physical… anyone who has been to Vermont, those mountains never end. I think about 20 hours in, it started raining and got a little harder to hike. Around 20 hours, I started to get a little dizzy. I started to feel fatigued and sleepy. You see that a lot, you see a lot of people around you literally sleepwalking. At that time, I think I just ran low on nutrition and everything even hydration. You have everything in your pack, but we weren’t really stopping. I should have had something in my pocket, but it wasn’t too clear in the instructions – it just said bring 10,000 calories. There were a lot of things that I use, like I always use ORAL I.V. and GU packs, but we couldn't get to them. We ended up covering around 35 miles those first 24 hours, and those weren’t easy miles. It was just a very challenging event.
ORAL I.V.: What lessons have you carried on to your everyday life?
Victor: It goes back to the whole philosophy of Spartan Race, just getting off the couch and being active. Even at my own events, at Machete Madness…people get tired, you have to speak harder to them – not yelling, but you really have to get more firm. We also learned a lot of other cool things like putting together wood we cut to make a stretcher in case somebody gets hurt. We had to carry one guy they picked for my team who was maybe my height – around 5’11” – and 200 pounds…man, that sucked. When we were carrying him, some people’s arms gave out faster than others, maybe when I was feeling good, we had to put it down and restart. Other times my arms and lower back started to give out, so I had to put it down. At times some people are going to be stronger and that means there’s going to be conflict, so you really learned how to work as a team. At the end of the day, that’s one of the biggest things I got out of it. Teamwork to another level – it’s really survival.
ORAL I.V.: Can you tell me a little bit more about your company, Machete Madness?
Victor: When I got into Spartan Race, I did my first in Temecula in January of 2014. Soon after that, with social media, I created my page just for fitness stuff. Spartan Race released the Burpee Challenge, so I started posting videos of my burpees. Soon people started commenting saying they wanted to join me. Later, Spartan started posting articles on their website about me, so I got more followers and more people commenting. So, I put a post out there saying next Saturday, meet me at 5 in the morning – you know, let’s see if they show up. I think between 40 and 50 people showed up, and it was early. I told them we were going to do 12 hours, but I really wasn’t going to…I just wanted to see how long they’d last. I stopped at about 7 hours since people were getting really tired, but it’s almost like the lesson was learned. Then, every month with Miguel Medina – he’s a Spartan Pro member – more and more people started showing up. We did an event in San Diego, one in San Francisco. Soon we made it into a brand with shirts and giving people medals and ORAL I.V. to pass out, so it became more of a business with the original mindset of giving back to people.
ORAL I.V.: Do you have any advice or inspiration for people looking to better themselves physically or mentally?
Victor: Definitely. People get intimidated by what they see; maybe they’ve never done a race and they get challenged to do the Agoge 60 hour, and they say “what the hell? I can never do that”. Like me, I’m only two years removed from not doing anything at all. I went through a lot of stuff that a lot of people go through…on Facebook I shared videos about my divorce, about how I got depression, and I got a lot of positive feedback from people. And that’s where it started for me; I was overweight, 230 pounds, and my dad got disappointed in me…one of my sons said, “Hey Daddy, are you pregnant?” I mean yeah, I had a big beer belly, but I couldn’t get that out of my mind. I went to a boot camp and man, I threw up. So the combination of those things motivated me to start eating right and working out, and everything went the other way for me. As far as advice, you have to want it. There are a lot of people like me who can be big inspirations, but they’re not going to motivate you because you have to find the motivation within yourself…you need a bigger reason why. I don’t see myself as special – I see people in way better shape who don’t finish races – you have to have heart, it’s all mental.