The Bell City Chase (Why I Can’t Walk)

I’ll attach pictures soon…

My lovely and wonderful girlfriend Rachel and myself had an adventurous weekend. She posted about it here. You see, Rachel is absolutely obsessed with the Amazing Race, you know the one that is on TV that I think is pretty much entirely scripted (she has hit me for saying that). So when she found out that there was going to be a massive race called the Bell City Chase in Toronto last weekend we were signed up within a few days and I know that she was dreaming and thinking about it every waking moment. As for me, I really didn’t know what I was getting into.

There was 600 teams overall in the race equally a total of 1200 people. When we got there in the morning there was people, booths and advertising everywhere. We were handed a bag with all kinds of stuff including visors (which of course we didn’t need because Erin made us AMAZING HATS, pics to come soon…), new dry-fit t-shirts and lots of gum. We sat around and people complimented us on our hats; we were called the Tigers. So the morning is about to begin and the host gets on stage and starts talking. He makes a few announcements and I look up and realize that there is TV camera and he says something about it being on TV. So I look at Rachel and tell her that no matter what happens to do, I am going to try my best to get on TV. Thirty seconds later I hear him ask for volunteers and so I freaked out and started jumping up and down and of course, out of more than 1200 people the guy with the cool Tigers hat in pink and green is going to be quite noticeable so I get picked. I grab Rachel by the arm and dragged her up to the front from the back where we were standing all the while she is telling me about how she hates me.

So we get up on stage and sure enough there was a lot of people out there. Another team of two girls gets picked and they stand next to us. The host then goes to tell us of a new feature of the race called friend or foe where he is going to go around the race course and either be people’s friend or their foe, and so he was going to test it out on us on the stage in front of everyone. He pulls out two cards; one has the words good news on it and one with the bad news. Since Rachel was shy and really didn’t want to be in front of all these people he gave her the choice of the cards. She picked the right card. So we won two $50 gift certificates to the Running Room. We got off the stage and I had my moment of fame. I probably should have flashed the camera first though. The second team was left with the bad news card, their punishment was that instead of four eyebrows leaving the stage, there would only be three (thanks to Gillette being a sponsor). The girls fought it until finally the host gave in and just drew with permanent magic marker all over their faces. So far our day was looking great.

With one minute to go, he tells us that the clue sheet is at one of two fire stations in Toronto.

Side note #1
Rachel and I know NOTHING about Toronto. I know a few major streets but that’s about it. I knew where the CN Tower was because I can see it above all the other buildings. Most of our day consisted of not knowing where we were going. We didn’t know the Toronto Transit at all either. We made a bunch of bad choices in where to go simply because it was the only place we actually knew where to go. Hopefully we’ll do better next year and maybe do some Toronto training first.

Everyone starts running and so I just start following them. Rachel is yelling at me because she doesn’t want to just follow everyone else, but I don’t know where we go so I just follow the masses, and we got lucky and found the fire station pretty quick and got our lists. As soon as I looked over the list, I realized I was in for a long day because I only knew where one of the fifteen spots was. Luckily, Rachel’s mom was in Sarnia, phone in one hand and Google in the other and she went wild on the search engines and maps and found out all the places for us and told us how to get there. The race was set up so we were give about 20 different places to go to, and we had to go to ten of them. Some of them were mandatory and some weren’t. At each stop there was something we had to do either physical or mental (mostly physical) Here is a list of where we went and what we had to do there.

Stop #1 – GoodLife – Rachel and I were one of the first teams at this stop and we had to go on one of the rowing machines and row 2000 meters (2km). The problem was that we had to do it together, we tried sitting beside each other, her sitting on top of me. The guy next to me just laid there while the women did all the work, he had it made. Rachel and I got frustrated at each other pretty quick and I think we both realized then that this was going to be a long day. We finished it pretty quick though, but my body fell apart at that moment because Rachel was shorter than me and the whole thing was awkward. We stepped away from that stop trying hard to not be like one of those annoying couples on the Amazing Race who just argue at each other the whole time.

Stop #2 – Paddleboats – We had to take off half way across Toronto to the Ontario Place where we had to paddle boat. I picked a wrong chip meaning that we had to paddle the boat around this obstacle with a time limit. We made it back from the time limit, even with some snotty nosed kids cutting us off with less than a second to spare. Again my body fell apart.

Stop #3 – Scavenger Hunt – We had to grab 10 different things or provide answers. One of them was a guy in cut off shorts and other random things.

Side Note #2 – The place where you brought in all the items was central to where the gay-pride parade was. Lots of nakedness and guys with cut off shorts were around.

Stop #4 – Pictures – We had to go around with another team and take pictures of certain things, we did pretty good in this one and got our pics fairly quick.

Stop #5 – Olympics – We had to go to this Olympic place and run a 100m dash and get recorded and do speed skating or something of the sort. Kind of a useless stop that only tired me out more.

Stop #6 – Basketball – We had to find this park and shoot two free throws consecutively and whenever either of us missed we had to remove a piece of clothing or something we were wearing. The team behind us that got there before us was in their boxers and underwear and Rachel and I had one sock off and did it.

Stop #7 – World Cup – We had to name all flags of the world cup. Rachel knew a bunch and then I found this kid that wasn’t much older than ten and he knew almost all of them. We finished that stop around five minutes, and we blew past any teams that were stuck at that stop.

Stop #8 – 27 Flights – We had to climb up 27 Flights of stairs at City hall, I’ve never been so exhausted or hurting in my life.

Stop #9 – Fundraiser – We had access to squeegees, sponges and water and had to raise $20 for Children’s Wish Foundation. Rachel squeegeed some cars and made $5 and I just randomly ran around asking people for money and made $15 bucks in five minutes. I would make a great homeless person. If that was my job, that would be like $300 an hour.

We never did finish our tenth stop. It was six hours later. It turned out that first place team finished in about three hours. I couldn’t believe it. Their prize? A trip to the national championship to possibly win two brand new Volvos.

Overall the race was awesome. I’ve never actually been that sore the day of a workout, it usually doesn’t come until the day after, but sure enough there I was limping home. Did I mention that I had a sore chota from all the rubbing? (No explanation for those that don’t know what a chota is). The people were so friendly, and everyone loved Rachel and kept congratulating us wherever we went because they knew how unfortunate she was for having me as a boyfriend that was willing to risk embarrassing her for my few moments of fame (and $100). Would I do it again? Of course. In fact, next time I hope that I can get as many teams together as possible and all of us race against each other and make a weekend out of it with all kinds of friends.

A few hints if you decide to enter the Aug 26 race.
1. Go with someone that you won’t hate if they yell at you or get frustrated at you or vice versa. You are guaranteed to hate this person periodically for periods throughout the race. Of course I never hated Rachel at all, but she did hate me over and over again I’m sure. But that’s only because she’s perfect. Cough Cough.
2. Have someone handy sitting at home on Google to call them and get all the info you need, or have instant internet access on a Blackberry. I don’t think there was a team that didn’t have this luxury.
3. Don’t make any plans for three days after, you will need it to recover.
4. The key to doing well is to plot your route. Even if you need to take 20 min and go to an internet café and figure it all out, DO IT. You will not come close to winning if you just run around as you figure things out. Figure out all the places, plot your route and then go.
5. Start training now.

4 thoughts on “The Bell City Chase (Why I Can’t Walk)”

  1. Sounds like a great time. I was there too – my second year! Saw you guys on stage – just feel lucky that you didn’t have to shave your eyebrows!

  2. I remember you guys! ME and my friend were there too haha i remember the whole stage thing.. that was an INSANE day and it took four days to get feeling in my legs back .. it was one of those experiences you will NEVER forget i bet!! Scary thing – im gonna go back on aug 26!! haha cheers to u and your girl you guys were awesome (nice hats too!)

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