Wednesday, June 23, 2010

City Chase 2010!

AJ and I participated in our first ever City Chase this past weekend. We both love the Amazing Race, but fear our participation would lead to much frustration. City Chase is the one day version and we figured our relationship could hold up for one day of competition. It did.

We had no idea what to expect when we signed up. We read blogs and information on the site, but still felt unprepared, though excited. We packed a backpack of everything we thought we'd need and had some friends on standby to help us with Internet searches since neither of us has a BlackBerry.

We arrived bright and early to Nathan Phillips Square at 7:30am in case we hit traffic or long registration lines, but we faced neither. By 7:45 we had our shirts on and ready to go so we spent some time relaxing and watching the crowd gather.

Before the race officially began, we enjoyed a hip-hop performance, even trying out some moves they taught us, as well as a quick workout from Goodlife. The MC brought some people up on stage who were brave enough to wear costumes and awarded "The Blue Brothers" $100 for being fan favourites. There were lots of "100" references since it was City Chase's 100th event.

Usually, the race begins with a scavenger hunt that you have to complete in order to be given your clue sheet, which I was happy to discover they were scrapping and just handing out the papers. As soon as the host said go, teams scrambled to the four corners of Nathan Phillips square to push and wedge their way to the front of the line. We weren't quite prepared for this and ended up getting our clue sheet near the end of the line.

We sat down and went through the clues, looking up locations and calling a friend to find out where some landmarks were. We had our first and only real argument about where to go first and then got over that quickly and headed out to our first stop.

ChasePoint #1–Walk Hard

We caught a bus (thanks to our unlimited transit pass) and headed to a park for our first point, a low ropes course that had one partner walking across 6-part course with the other supporting them. Touch the ground and you go to the back of the line. It was a very long line, taking us over an hour to reach the front.

Being new, we stayed in line, thinking that every stop would probably be the same anyway. We now know better and will save ourselves the time next year and just move on.

But I did complete the course without falling–thanks to AJ's very necessary support–and we received ChasePoint #1!

ChasePoint #2–Target Practice

This was supposed to be a paintball challenge, but apparently the city wasn't down with that and it was cancelled. The first time we walked by, the stage was shut down, but as we were in line for low ropes, we were told that it had re-opened as a new event.

This was practically a freebie, since all we had to do was toss a ball in a bucket. I let AJ and his impeccable aim complete this one. It only took him three tries and we were off.

ChasePoint #3–Sweeeet Ride!

Next, we stopped in a mall parking lot for what we thought was a rickshaw challenge. Instead, we had to work with another team (luckily we arrived at the same time as one) and pull a Mitsubishi (the main chase sponsor) part way across the lot and back into its spot. AJ pulled, the guy from the other team pushed, while his partner drove and I gave directions. Our instruction were a bit confusing, but we ended up figuring it out without too much trouble and received ChasePoint #3. We were on a roll!

ChasePoint #4–Art of Movement

ChasePoint #4 & 5 were in the same location, which is the reason we chose to complete them. The first took place in a Parkour training facility. I didn't even know they had these! We had to either do some vault jumps or climb up to a balcony and jump 15ft. or so into a foam pit. We opted for the jump. 15 feet is a lot higher from above than below and it definitely made me a little nervous, but I did it. AJ was obviously a pro and even impressed the employees with his form.

ChasePoint #5–Gastronomy

Outside the building was the dreaded taste test. As a very picky eater, I was unsure about this one. One partner had to taste 5 items and tell the other partner what they were. For every one the first partner got wrong, the second had to eat a cricket. Since AJ offered to be the cricket eater, I took a deep breath and put on the blindfold. I shouldn't have been worried. I had to eat a Craisin, banana chip, Corn Pop, chocolate chip and something like a wasabi nut (though not spicy). I got the last one wrong so AJ got to eat one tasty little cricket. I definitely got the better end of the deal.

ChasePoint #6–Footie

We headed next to Jack Astor's for a fun drink-mixing event, but the line was long and we had learned our lesson from the low ropes, so we went instead to Fionn MacCool's for World Cup Trivia.

One of the great things about City Chase is that everyone is really friendly and, for the most part, very helpful. By this point, we had seen several of the same people over and over and had made friends. Luckily, the ones we were with at this point had a BlackBerry, because that was the only way we could answer these questions. They worked from the top down and we made some hasty phone calls to friends to answer from the bottom up. Working together paid off because we finished in no time and were more than halfway done.

ChasePoint #7–Burn It Off

We had done a lot of running by this point and we getting pretty tired, but we headed to GoodLife Fitness anyway for a challenge we heard included chocolate. It did and it didn't. The challenge was to choose a chocolate bar and then work off however many calories it had. We had been told earlier to choose Crispy Crunch, while a guy just coming out told us Coffee Crisp. We opted for the first, while our friends went for the second. We had to burn 240 calories, while they only had 190. Grr. Oh well. After a short wait for a machine, we hopped on and started working out. It only took us 10 or 15 minutes and we made it to 240. Apparently, chasers were given chocolate bars to actually eat afterwards, but they had run out by the time we got there. *sigh*

ChasePoint #8–Boot Camp

Our time in the gym had really exhausted us, but we still had a couple hours left and then end was in sight so we pressed on.

We got some poor directions to the next location and ended up walking a lot more than we had to, to get to another park with 2 events.

The first involved yet another workout, more like circuit training, where we had to squat, run, hop and lift our way around the lawn, sweating like crazy in the very hot sun.

ChasePoint #9–Using Your Head

After Boot Camp, we dragged ourselves a few feet to the next challenge, which was, thankfully, much easier. AJ put on a helmet with a bucket attached and I had to throw bean bags into his helmet from four different distances. I guess we make a good team for this one because it only took us 5 shots and we had our ChasePoint. Just one left to go!

We considered going back to City Hall and doing the 28-story rappel, which we really wanted to try, but we only had about an hour and a half left and were told the line was really long. Fearing not finishing, we decided to go to an easier task we knew we could complete.

ChasePoint #10–Say Cheese

Finding our last bit of energy, we made our way to our last stop, where we were given a BlackBerry Bold and a list of tasks to complete. These included: taking a picture of a stranger doing a handset, a video of us doing a random act of kindness, serenading some strangers with "Life Is A Highway" and a few others. This was our least favourite challenge as bugging non-Chasers wasn't that fun, but we completed it, got our final ChasePoint and headed back to the finish line.

A few more subway stops, an unnecessary bus ride and an exhausted jog to the finish line and we were there! The entire chase took us 5 hour and 20 minutes. A success for us, since our goal was just to actually complete the chase. We ended up in 315th place!

There were a lot of other challenges that we just couldn't make it to, but deserve a shout out:

Tissue?–In this one, both members of the team had to make themselves shed a single tear. Apparently a toughie.

28 Floors–An urban rappel down Toronto City Hall and one that we had really wanted to try, but the line was so long, we were afraid it would slow us down. Next year maybe?

Mon Cheri–A team member had to sketch a nude model. 2 points in the nude model was the other team member!

Although we were more tired that I can ever remember feeling, it was an incredible day and we're already planning our strategy for next year. We want to head to the challenges that offer Passing Lane Cards so we don't have to wait in line and maybe plan our route a little better. We can't wait until City Chase 2011!


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