Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Friday, April 30, 2010

Gladiator Ventures and Urban Adventures

As much as I'd like to say that last Saturday was another typical Saturday, it was anything but...

It all started with the City Solve Urban Race. In case you don't know, I discovered the magic of Urban Racing last year. It's awesome. So when I found out about the City Solve Urban Race I knew I had to participate.

For this race though, I decided to switch partners out. I ran the "Great Urban Race" with my friend Darren...he's solid, steady, and you know what you're gonna get from him. For this race though, I teamed up with Jeff. For you regular (and awesome) readers, you know all about this Jeff character...he frequently stars in many of the more bumbling and blundering adventures that I write about. Jeff is a bit of a wild card...I knew by partnering up with him, we'd either DOMINATE the race, or end up in Mexico riding circus ponies.

So when the race started, I had mentioned to my friend Cassandra that in the last Urban Race, I'd worked together with other friends in deciphering the clues. She was under the understanding that we'd be doing the same thing on this day. As soon as the first clue was revealed however, I went running out the door.


Suffice it to say, when we saw Cassandra and Ashley at the end of the race, they weren't too pleased at my selfish abandonment. Oh well...

One of the caveats with Urban Racing is that the only allowable transportation is via foot or public transit (bus, trolley, tram). No bikes, taxis, cars, etc. Being the extremely hardcore individuals that we are, Jeff and I decided to foot nearly the ENTIRE RACE. That equaled about 10 miles of running all over the city.

The strategy paid off as Jeff and I came in with the second fastest time (although we unfortunately were assessed penalty time for messing up one of the clues).

Basically, we DOMINATED (and managed to avoid Mexico and circus ponies all together).

After the race, we were all hungry so Jeff, Ashley, Cass and I decided to go have lunch. BUT, on the way to lunch, we came across a commandeered parking lot downtown with all types of crazy apparatus and cameras everywhere. I looked up and saw the sign:

"Welcome to the Cuervo Games"

We went in to check it out, and someone came up to us:

"Hey do you guys want to sign up? You will be the last team to sign up today and you have about 30 more seconds before we shut down registration"

OBVIOUSLY, we signed up. Basically, the Cuervo Games are four crazy events where we compete against other teams in games similar to the ones on MXC. Once signed up, we were assigned team uniforms and a team manager, who took us to get fitted for knee pads, elbow pads, helmets, and mouth guards.

Good lord I've never done anything that REQUIRED a mouth guard.

Then we had to sign papers saying that if we died, they wouldn't be responsible.


The first event was the "Tahona Tumber." Basically, the four of us each stand on these small platforms as a padded bar goes round-and-round which we have to jump over while remaining balanced on the platform.

Being the superior athlete that I am, I was sure that I would be able to handle the 30 seconds of time we were required to stay up to gain team points. As the tumbler started, I skied high and easily cleared the first jump. When the other side came around, I bent my knees ready to fly over the next hurdle, however in mid air I realized this side of the tumbler was a DOUBLE hurdle - twice as wide. I flailed wildly in mid air to keep afloat.

Apparently wild flailing does nothing to keep one in afloat.

As I peeled myself off the mat to see the status of the rest of my team, I saw three other empty platforms. I turned to my right and saw a big round yellow pad...hey look its still moving! Closer?

Suddenly, my helmet is on sideways and my head is rattling, and laughter from the bystanders watching has ensued....yes, to add insult to injury, the tumbler came around and nailed me in the noggin.

I'm off to a great start.

The next event was the "Barrel Roll." Think "American Gladiators." Basically, there's a giant blowup pyramid that each player has to run up, grab a flag, jump back down, and tag your partner to get the next one. The catch is, "Gladiators" at the top of the pyramid are throwing rubber barrels at you as you try and make your way up.

We're competing against another team as well as the clock. I volunteer to go first and serve as inspiration to my team. I figure once they see me bob and weave my way up the pyramid and fly back down, they'll be inspired to dominate this event!

The horn sounds, and I'm off! The first barrel is hurled at me and I do a spin move and dodge out of the way, all while moving up the pyramid.

I am awesome!

As I revel in my awesomeness and make way for the second step, I realize there's a problem...I can't see the top of the pyramid anymore. Then I realize why. Yes, I am on the receiving end of a face full of barrel.


I eventually make it up and down.

The third event was definitely the scariest: The "Agave Airwalk." Only two team members are allowed to do this one, and you can't be scared of heights. I volunteered, but honestly, I was moderately terrified (and by "moderately terrified" I mean I had to take my mental focus to unrealized plains just to prevent wetting my shorts).

For this event, each partner had to scale across these planks suspended some 50 feet in the air while grabbing rubber agave fruits. Easier said than done. Ashley went first, grabbed a bunch of fruit, made it across, and tagged me...the only problem is I only had about 45 seconds to make it across.

As I made my way across, I knew I had no time to grab fruit! I made it to the last plank as the announcer was counting down at 5. I was swinging wildly out of control. The only way I was going to make it across in time would be to jump!


Nope. Even though we're harnessed in, it's totally unnatural to take a leap of faith while hanging onto an unstable plank 50 ft in the air. I wasn't about to test the safety features of the harness assembly either.

The fourth and final event was the "Waterfall Climb." For this, the four of us have to scale a rock climbing wall, while water is being fired at us from the top at 8 gallons per second. This posed a particular challenge for me as I have never in my life rock climbed...but after not taking the leap of faith in the last event, I knew I had to perform.

The horn sounded and I was off! The challenge proved ridiculously difficult though. As you look up to find hand-holds, you get a face full of water! I was getting soaked and blindly trying to make my way up the wall. The countdown began. "5....4....3..."

Not again! I need to ring that damn bell at the top!

Leap of faith.

I jumped and managed to grab and ring the bell as the final horn blew. BOO YAH!!! Waterfall Climb done and dominated!

We didn't actually win the Cuervo games, but for a team that didn't even expect to participate, we did pretty darn well!

Just another Saturday...

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