Ridiculous Obstacle Challenge:
A BTC Social Club Fiasco,14th February 2016
On the 14th of February 2016, BTC Social club members and their guests took part in the Ridiculous Obstacle Challenge at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne.
A total of seventeen people climbed aboard a bus from our Sullivan Street workshop at 10:30 for the trip down to the event with eight others meeting us at the registration area for parcel pickup.
After a lightning fast bag drop and shirt change we were ready to start at 1:30. With a bit of encouragement from the starting line emcee most of us adopted the three point starting position and then we were off!
The first of the inflatable obstacles was reached after a short jog (accompanied by some breathless running commentary and questions about how so many of the less fit of us were actually going to make it to the end if we had to run the whole way), and then the team got their first taste of crazy bouncy fun with “Sky High”- which basically involved bouncing up and over the inflatable terrain and trying not to land on anyone. I managed to land on Slav’s hat which, luckily for Slav, didn’t have his head in it at the time.
Then it was time for another jog! With Euan setting a cracking pace and almost everyone else passing such comments as “..but he goes to the gym..” (until they worked out where the course went and ducked through the barriers- your judgement is not required).
As we jogged/shuffled around the corner we beheld the spinning balls of doom of the obstacle known as “Wrecking Balls”. We were required to put on a life jacket each (for the record, I found out a medium was a touch on the small side), then we climbed up onto the start platform to see three narrow round inflatable bridges floating on about a metre of water. Easy enough, except for the two suspended red balls rotating around above the bridges threatening to unceremoniously dump us into the water as we tried to cross.
But try to cross we did, and unceremoniously we were dumped into the water (except Karl, who got a big wet cuddle for being so clever), and out of the water we clambered to drop off our life jackets and jog/cheat our way to the next obstacle.
“Cool Runnings” saw us collect an inflatable ring each and climb four by four to the top of a huge inflatable (of course) slide. With the ring pressed firmly to our buttocks, a jump and some assistance from gravity we were soon sliding down toward the puddle at the bottom. Well, most of us were- for some reason I started spinning and Euan ended up in my lane with me.
Ah, more jogging! We made our way alongside the horse racing track itself at a brisk(ish) pace, although there was a rumour doing the rounds that some of us were checking the stands for outlets providing cool drinks.
Entering the Riverbank Precinct, we saw the next obstacle (yes, another inflatable one): “Foam of Fury”- It wasn’t as furious as the name suggested and could have been a little foamier if you ask me, although Luke did manage to eat some and there were some stability issues on the part of Rob and Nath as they were exiting.
Then we jogged, until we found a way over the fence (mental note to check the structural capacity of fences before loading four sizeable lads onto them). I might also add at this juncture that Euan was running the course completely without footwear and this part of the course was quite gravelly, but he was still setting the pace for the rest of the team (grumble grumble gym grumble).
I’m not quite sure what the next obstacle was, it is simply listed as “Mystery Obstacle”. But by this stage the lactic acid buildup in my legs was at such a level I opted for a quite inelegant “flopping” style of clearing the inflatable (pattern forming here?) logs.
“The Drop” consisted of a crawl through an inflatable (yes) tunnel and a rope assisted climb to the peak of another slide. I’m sure Jane was with us at the start line but, as I cleared the bottom of the slide and turned around to check, there was no sight of her distinctive rainbow leg warmers for some time. I may have used this pause to rest my legs but if anyone asks I had stopped to make sure she was OK (again, please refrain from passing judgement).
Normally I’m not one to cave to peer pressure but in this instance and with the rest of the team breaking into a run…
Up a hill.
And down again.
Then walked up the next hill.
To “The Sweeper”: think of a squishy (inflatable) log run with a rotating log passing a mere crawling height over the top of it. I was considering attempting a tackle on the log when I witnessed a participant with the same train of thought have a go. At this point I stopped considering: the resulting impact isn’t something I choose to go into in case there are more sensitive readers out there.
I climbed to the start point of “The Sweeper” to find it incredibly unsteady and, just as I was gaining my balance the guy before me took off. I’ll be honest- I’m not the most coordinated bloke and when he launched from the gate I kind of collapsed through the gate with him (laugh if you must). I picked myself up and staggered a bit further on when I realised the log was upon me and strategically fell face first just as one of the Flo-Foto cameramen was taking a shot. My children must be so proud of me.
The next obstacle was quite close and there was quite a lineup so I ambled over to “Jump Balls” with some of our team. From the conversation we were having I gathered that I wasn’t on my own when it came to fatigue but, like me, they seemed to be having the time of their lives.
“Jump Balls” was quite appropriately named: four large red inflatable (!) balls in a line obviously arranged to be jumped upon in succession until you manage to get to the other side.
Being the non-conformist I am I deftly jumped onto the first one and promptly fell off.
Then fell off the safety strip designed to guide you from the pit below the balls.
At this point in time I was beginning to question the wisdom of trying to keep up with the much fitter (grumble gym grumble) Euan. But I managed to extricate myself from my inflatable predicament and joined the others for a bit of a laugh at my own expense.
More peer pressure-induced jogging…
“The Hippo” was billed as the world’s largest inflatable waterslide and it was definitely up there with the best of them. We were cautioned at the start of the climb up not to jump up the ladder (a warning not necessary I can assure you) as someone had fallen earlier in the day, which made for a confidence filled climb for someone who is notoriously shaky at heights at the best of times.
I felt like taking in the sights at the top so I asked the attendant there to make sure the slide was good and wet before I jumped since I’m quite a beefy guy. I was amused by how seriously he took the request and impressed at how earnestly he watered my lane.
The last jump of the day on the last obstacle of the day felt awesome, and not just because it meant the end of me trying to gallivant about like a man half my age and incur the wrath of a body that certainly knows better. It was no small sense of achievement that I felt as I gracefully sailed out into the beyond to land softly on a softly cushioned (inflatable), well lubricated surface and scooted toward the bottom.
And then Luke bounced into my lane, landed on me and rode my sweaty carcass past another cameraman who surely wouldn’t have missed such a golden opportunity.
And that was that for the exercising shenanigans for me for the day. As we all gathered together at the exit gate I listened to the various stories coming from our group and there was a common theme amongst them that also shone through the fatigue on their faces.
We had fun.
As we gathered around the bus for a few well-earned drinks the infectious nature of the conversation continued, and more stories flowed as they do when the social environment is correctly lubricated with appropriate beverages.
I’m not sure if I expressed myself fully to everyone on the day, but if you were there and you’re reading this,
Thanks for a great day.