It looked like it was going to be a very wet day in Toronto as we headed downtown for the City Chase. To top it off, the (mandatory) shirts were white this year - so we could also refer to this as Wet T-Shirt Contest 2009.
My teammate Patricia and I were returning chasers and ended up spending the day with a team of virgin chasers - my friend Dave and his friend who is also named Dave. We met up at the starting area and decided that four heads were better than two. We had the benefit of familiarity with the event and they had the benefit of a Blackberry! (Last year we were constantly calling my husband asking him to Google things for us in order to decode the clues and locate the challenges - yes, this is allowed.)
A brief overview of the City Chase:
The City Chase is a unique urban adventure that requires participants to exhibit teamwork, resourcefulness, determination and the ability to make decisions on the fly as they search for ChasePoints scattered in unknown locations throughout the city. Chase Points are designed to test teams with a variety of physical, mental, and otherwise adventurous challenges.
To conquer this 4-6 hour urban event, 2-person teams will run, walk and use public transit to navigate their way throughout the city, while calling family and friends for help, accessing the Internet, and even employing assistance of total strangers.
The event kicked off in high gear when we were informed that we would have to complete a scavenger hunt of sorts and return with 6 "items" (of 9 listed) in order to receive our clue sheet. We were encouraged to team up with another pair, so this worked out great. Our 6 items were:
1. a photograph of one participant mooning the camera while a non-participant stood beside him (yes, I do have the photo but I don't think Dave would appreciate having it posted here - haha)
2. a page from a newspaper dated two days ago
3. the number of the next Air Canada flight for Quebec City from Toronto
4. two participants with their tops and pants on backwards
5. memorized lyrics to one verse of If Today Was Your Last Day (I had to recite it)
6. the bible verse number for a passage that was read during the introduction
It took us about 15 minutes to achieve the above and we were handed our clue sheets - a double sided sheet of paper covered in complete gibberish! We then spent about 30 minutes going over the clues, figuring out as many as we could and charting a rough map of our route in order to accomplish 10 (of 40).
Finally, we were off! We ran down to the lake and hopped on a streetcar, which would turn out to be the only time we used public transit all day. (It's much more fun to run!)
Chase Point #1: Runners
"In Liberty Village you'll look high and low for coded signs while you're on the go. The Metro parking lot is where you will check in where friendly staff will get you set to begin."
One partner has to pull the other around a few blocks in a rickshaw while looking for posted signs containing letters, which we would then unscramble in order to receive our point.
Once again we were allowed to work with another team and the Daves were kind enough to pull us ladies.
We only missed one letter on our first lap and were able to figure out the word: Adventure!
[From here on out we made our way on foot from challenge to challenge. Someone would always say "It's not too far" to which the general reply was "Yeah right, I've heard that before." We were running a few kilometres between each one, mostly in the rain. Fortunately we were having so much fun that we didn’t even care.]
Chase Point #2: One and Two and...
"Show off your groove at Danceology."
Here we learned a mini version of the merengue and we were advised that plenty of hip motion would get us our point. We paired up with our partners (Patricia led!) and swung our hips around the room until they gave us our stamps.
Chase Point #3: Reach for the Bell
"Find a big wall with safety ropes to prevent a bad fall. You'll feel a great thrill when you reach the top, ring the bell and then you will drop."
We each had to scale a 30-foot indoor rock climbing ball, one partner removing a bell from the top and the other replacing it - all within 10 minutes. It was pretty difficult and I was pretty shaky, but we totally did it and had a blast doing so.
All strapped up:
There I go!
Chase Point #4: The Plunge
"At Trinity Bellwoods Park we'll see how you fare, as you jump off a tramp and fly through the air. Land the jump right and a stamp you will get, fail to stick it and you're sure to get wet."
We had to pull on a (sopping wet) velcro suit, run and jump off a trampoline, fly 15 feet over a pool of water and hopefully stick to the velcro wall. It looked like so much fun - until I saw someone slip on the wet trampoline and twist her ankle right before my turn. Here I am, trying not to be nervous. You can see them wrapping the injured participant's ankle behind me. Yikes!
Here I go...
I did it! (yes, that counts. They were pretty lenient. And yes, the lower half of my body is in a pool of water. If I wasn't already soaked, I was after this.)
Chase Point #5: Strike a Pose
"Just a lunge east of Spadina at Lu-lu's store, hold a pose on the mat on the floor."
There were yoga mats set up outside of Lululemon and at first we thought, "No problem! We've all done yoga." Not so easy! Patricia had to go in the store and memorize three yoga poses. Meanwhile, I had to find a non-participant to actually complete the poses with me. I had to ask a lot of people before someone said yes. Apparently not many people want to do yoga on the sidewalk in the rain with some disgusting, soaking wet runner.) A really sweet girl finally said yes and agreed to help the Daves as well.
What a good sport!
I had a REALLY hard time getting out of bed this morning when the alarm went off at 6AM, but I managed to get up and meet my group at the conservation area for a