Monday, July 21, 2008

Food on the run - Notes from the City Chase

Ok, so I must admit, there wasn't all that much interesting food during the City Chase, but since this is a food blog, and I want to talk about the City Chase, I'm going to play it up!

I had no idea what to expect from the City Chase. The only information they give on the website it "The Amazing Race meets Fear Factor." So I'm picturing bungee jumping and eating bugs. Basically, there are physical tasks, intellectual tasks, and humorous tasks. People would ask me what that meant ("uh...who knows? kayaking down the Charles River in a chicken costume while answering trivia questions?"). Plus, this was an all day event, so the night before I'm on the phone with my teammate K saying stuff like "I've got two powerbars, nuts, apricots, water, should I bring more food? Will that be enough?" And she had to point out the painfully obvious - in downtown Boston there are, indeed, quite a few places to buy food. We're not in the middle of the desert here. But then, anything I go to, food is one of the top considerations...

So we get there at 8:30, caffeinate ourselves, and wait for the race to start. They had us do some perfunctory stretching (and then stand there cooling down to totally defeat the purpose. But I guess it's all in the fun of things), then they handed us our first challenge - a scavenger hunt. We had to get 9 out of 10 items on a list. I won't list all of them, but the most problematic being that we had to find an animal. Ensue discussion about whether insects are animals (and do we REALLY want to carry insects around?). We were lucky enough to mooch off of someone who found someone with a dog, and the dogwalker was our height. So she helped both teams.

Then we get to the Boston trivia, which wasn't too hard, but we didn't read both sides of our sheet and didn't realize we didn't have to answer it all before the next ChasePoint, so we wasted a bunch of time sitting around answering questions. Then we headed to MIT for a math test - and damn was that a hard test! I did ok on the logic questions, but there were few of those. I ended up outright guessing on three, and making educated guesses on several others. And actually managed to pass, I have no idea how (passing was 8/10).

Then miracles of miracles (given the humid 95 temps all day long) we got to jump in the pool and fish a hockey puck off the bottom.

Cue lunch time. Walking around on Saturday in the city it's amazing how many food places actually aren't open that time of day, and of the ones that are, how long it does take to get food. Roast beef sandwich doused in mustard, eaten on the run through Cambridge. Not a great sandwich (when are they ever from ABP?), but given how hungry running around makes me, it was definitely passable. I definitely had ice cream envy from K's lunch though, and had serious ice cream cravings all day long until I finally got some that evening (black raspberry with white chocolate chunks and blueberry pieces, North Station).

From there, we head across Cambridge to a health center, and from the description, we're picturing aerobics or weight lifting (so we're psyched because we're going to rock it). What do we get? Cheerleading. Ack! We had to come up with a cheer including a jump, kick, and lift, and put on sweaty cheerleading costumes. Um. Hm. We did it, but I would definitely say it was less humorous than awkward.

All of the above took us four hours. FOUR hours! And the race was due to close in another two hours. So we had 5 out of 10 stations done. So we look at the paper to plan it out, and head to the Hard Rock for the photo hunt. When we get there, we find a list of things we have to take pictures/videos of:
1. a pyramid of five people (only one can be on the team) - on the brick no less
2. a picture of one of us on the back of a passersby
3. doing the can can with passersby
4. eating food with someone not on your team (like eating a hot dog from both ends)

Um, no. We took a pass on that one. It was really hot and we were tired of trying to convince wary passersby to do strange things with us, so we moved on.

Took dance lessons (salsa) and circus lessons (K juggled, I balanced on a plank on top of a cylinder). Went to a gym and had to choose a candy bar, then burn off the number of calories in that bar (thankfully as a group effort rather than individually). And even better, was that once we were done, they gave us a candy bar for our efforts (to cancel out the calories we'd just burned) - and man was that one of the THE best candy bars I've ever had. Yes, I've always liked Snickers. But it could've been pretty much anything. After running around all day in the heat, there's just something about a sugar spike that's seriously awesomely awesome.

At this point we had about 40 minutes until the course closed. We weren't going to go to the next station (bowling), but as we passed it on the way to the check-in, we figured we'd take a look. Then we didn't feel like changing our shoes. Thankfully - because it ended up being strip bowling! No, that's no a typo, really, it was strip bowling! Any time you didn't get a strike, you had to take off a piece of clothing (in the picture reel at the bar afterwards, they caught a snap of a guy in his tightie whities).

After checking in at the end, they had a buffet for us (yummy spicy chicken wings, unspiced/unsauced chicken satay, egg rolls, and fried mac&cheese), two free wine/beer tickets, and a coupon for a centro something or other (I think it was vodka, orange juice, and 7up). We also ordered a spinach and goat cheese quesadilla, which looked really promising until we realized they put BBQ sauce inside it...

Definitely going to run the race again next year! Hopefully it won't be so hot. But even if it is, we'll have a better idea of what's going on and we'll kick some butt (or at least, finish the course...)


Charlotte said...

That race sounds completely awesome!! And you are my new hero for doing it all. You go on that math test;)

Leah J. Utas said...

Sounds like fun, and a wee bit confusing for me, but still fun.

The Lethological Gourmet said...

Yeah, Leah, it was confusing for me too! We didn't realize at first that there were instructions on the back of the piece of paper, so we didn't really go to the right events to maximize our time (we spent a lot of time on the subway getting places).

The Lethological Gourmet said...

Thanks, Charlotte! You should've heard us...I read one of the questions and said "WHAT?!" and about ten seconds later, K said "WHAT?!" I didn't even know what some of that was.

If there ends up being a City Chase near you, you should try it! I seem to remember that you do some running (or was that Crabby?), so you would do a better job running between points than I did.