Sunday, August 05, 2012
Yesterday was the 8th annual Geneva Lakes Amazing Race. I teamed up with my friend Peggy for our second attempt at the race. We first tried it last year and had loads of fun. So we were very excited to get started!
The pre-race dinner was on Friday night. We turned in the last of our fundraising money, enjoyed some pasta, and then got our first challenge. We had to solve a Tangram puzzle as fast as possible. The order in which we finished determined which parking spot we got. It was a hard puzzle, but Peggy and I finished 10th out of 20. We were quite happy with our parking spot!
Saturday was race day. We started at 8:00 am. The only clue we had was that we needed our life jackets at the starting line. After photos, check-in, and a pep talk, we were off. Challenge #2 was to run across the Geneva Ridge resort grounds, grab a kayak or boogie board and paddle around a buoy in Lake Como while a teammate ran the other direction and picked up the Phase 1 race packet. There weren't enough kayaks or boards, though, so I ended up having to swim. Good thing I've been training! Unfortunately, I was 19th in the water and 20th out of it (got passed by my husband who decided to wait for a boogie board to come back - good strategy, I guess). But I passed him up on the way back to the car and Peggy and I planned our Phase 1 attack.
We got to pick and choose from 7 challenges. 3 were worth 30 points each, and 4 were worth 10 points each. We couldn't figure out the clues for locations on the big pointers, so we went for the smaller ones.
We drove into town, checking parking meter plaques to find plaque # 1. We needed to take a picture of it to get the 10 points. We had some trouble, but figured we would just keep checking as we headed out to our other challenges. The first was to find the "world's smallest carnival" behind The Cove. There we had to bounce ping pong balls onto a table covered in bagels. As soon as we got a ping pong ball onto a bagel, we got 10 points. Then we headed off to "the park for retired military personnel" (Veteran's Park) and sprinted across the baseball field to the challenge. There we had to clean shaving cream off a fence by throwing water balloons at it. That took us awhile, because we couldn't throw far enough. But eventually we got our points and headed out. I reread the clues and realized that one mentioned the local high school, so we headed over there. I was right! We got to participate in our very own Track & Field Olympics. It was brutal. We had 7 events: the jump rope sprint, the crab walk, a three-legged race, hurdles, field goal kicking, shot put, and the long jump. The first four events were each half the way around a full-size track, and the last three events had to be repeated until you were successful or five times, whichever came first. We were wiped out when we finished, but we headed out to the next challenge. Along the way, we found what we hoped was the right parking meter, but it turned out to be wrong. And then we ended up in the wrong town for the last challenge. So we had to forfeit 20 points, but at least we were able to get back to checkpoint in time.
At the checkpoint, we had a lunch challenge. One person from each team stood in front of a tent with Subway sub rolls and bags of chips. The other person stood in front of a tent with turkey, cheese, lettuce, pickles, onions, peppers, and tomatoes. That person also got a spatula. The challenge was to run each ingredient over to the rolls and build your sub. If you didn't want an ingredient, you still had to run it over to the other side. Once all 7 trips have been completed, the teammate holding the sub had to feed it to the runner (chips, too!). Then we switched places and built a second sub. As teams finished, they got their phase 2 race packets.
We finished phase 1 with 50 points out of a possible 130 (we couldn't find two of the big challenges) , putting us in 19th place. We knew we had to pick it up.
This was a great phase!
We started off heading to a 30-point challenge in Delavan. There we had to match car spec sheets with the actual cars on a dealer lot. It was a lot of running around on hot asphalt, but otherwise not terribly difficult. Then we headed over to Goodwill to buy $10 worth of goods to transport to a shelter. There was a bonus for getting closest to $10 without going over. We were at $9.98 but didn't get the bonus.
Along the way, we listened to a CD of country songs that we had to identify, then drove over to the radio station that compiled the CD and sang our own song on the air. That was hilarious! We also had to stop at a farm and shovel out a stall in the cow barn. That was not hilarious, but the farm owner was really enjoying having all these people come help him clean out the barn, so he made it pretty fun.
Then we headed over to Elkhorn, where we had to feed a stranger some custard from Culver's. That was a bit hard, but we finally found a good-natured guy. We hit the bowling alley up the road for our next challenge. We needed to bowl a 100-point game. That's not hard for me, but Peggy is not a bowler and we had to alternate. We ended the first game with 93 points, so we had to play a second game to earn the points. That meant we had to skip the last challenge in order to make it back to base in time. (Teams lost 10 points for every minute they were late to check in.)
We ended Phase 2 with 80 points out of a possible 110, bringing our total to 130. That's the same number of points a few teams got in phase 1, so we figured we had no chance to win, but we were going to give it a real go!
This final phase started with a diving challenge. They threw a bunch of change in the bottom of the resort pool, and wrote some dollar totals on index cards. Each team got one index card and had to have one team member dive for exact change. Then the other team member got an index card and had to take their turn diving. The hard part was, the second person got stuck having to dive for mostly pennies. There was more silver in the deep end of the pool, but Peggy and I are fairly buoyant and not strong divers, so 9 feet of water is tough. I had gone first and wished I could jump in and help Peggy pick up 166 pennies. She was getting out of breath and panicky, since she is not comfortable in the water. After all the other teams except one had gotten out of the pool, they let her get out of the water. But we had to wait about 5 minutes to get our final race packet. But we did get the 10 points for completing the challenge!
We took off as soon as we were able and headed for the biggest point challenge: strategy games on the beach. There we got to pick from life-size checkers, Yahtzee, chess, Scrabble, or Uno. We also needed to find a team to compete against. We opted for Scrabble, because Yahtzee and Uno are luck-based, and neither of us really like chess or checkers. A team approached us and agreed to play Scrabble. We got great letters with every pull and reached the 125 points we needed to win in just a few turns. The other team pulled almost all 'e's so had no chance. We got 45 points for that challenge!
Then we had to run along a lakefront path to the Water Safety Patrol building. It was a mile to the challenge, which really wiped us out. After we quickly answered the 5 trivia questions (based on pictures hung on the walls), we were on our way back, but we spent more time walking than running. But we still had 90 minutes to do as many of the remaining 5 challenges as we could. We headed to the last big-point challenge and it started to rain. Then the lightning came in. The wind picked up, and we found ourselves in the middle of a major thunderstorm.
They called the race at this point, so we headed to the finish line with another 75 points to add to our total. They held one final challenge before dinner. Each team had to hold up a gallon of water (which weighs 8 pounds). The catch was each team member had to use only one hand, elbows had to be above shoulders, and once you picked a hand, you couldn't switch. The water had to stay above your head. Peggy and I started out pretty good, but still ended up being the 3rd team out, after just 8 minutes of holding. After 15 minutes, they changed the rules to straight arms only - any elbow bending and you were disqualified. A few more teams dropped out. After 20 minutes, the final 9 teams were given a second gallon of water and instructed that they could no longer touch their teammate, which meant co-support of limbs had to end. After 30 minutes, there were 3 teams left. These people are pretty amazing! Finally, at 35 minutes, there was only one team left standing.
Peggy and I ended with 215 points. The winning team had 320 points. Fourth place had 280 points, so we had a ways to go before we could place. But we ended up tied for 11th, which was much better than last year.
All in all, a fantastic day! My hamstring is a little tight today, and my shoulders ache from the horrendous crab walk. But otherwise I'm in good shape and in good spirits today.
If you ever have a chance to participate in an Amazing Race-style event, do it. It'll be one of the best times of your life!