Dec 29, 9pm. Four intrepid adventurers step handcuffed into the Mayor’s Office…
For my Amazing Race Canada challenge 1, I admittedly started off gently with an event I have previous experience with – an escape room. This was partly because I was fighting a raging lung infection and partly because it’s hard to find things open between Christmas and New Years, but mainly because I just freaking love escape rooms. They’re like crack, the second you leave one, you want to sign up for another right away. Something about the adrenaline spike of trying to think outside the box while racing the clock, working as a team and pretending you’re in a real-life mystery just does it for me.
We chose Adventure Rooms Kitchener – http://adventurerooms.ca/. A few months ago we had first chosen this particular escape room company simply due to good ratings online and proximity to where we lived, but after trying other companies in other cities, this is one I will always come back to time and again. It’s just so well done. The puzzles are difficult without being illogical (it sounds like common sense, but I’ve done other rooms where the leap in rationality you would need to make in your problem solving is so ridiculous that there is no way anyone’s escaping in time), the theming and design is immersive, the staff are great and it begins with handcuffs, so you know it’s going to be a good time. We’ve now done 3 of their 4 rooms at this location, and will be back soon for #4. I highly recommend it, or it’s sister location in Niagara Falls, to anyone. And don’t worry, you’re not going to get any spoilers from me.
Just like with the Amazing Race, choosing the right teammates for an escape room helps increase your odds of escape exponentially. My team consisted of a travel agent, a video game level designer, a doctor and a guy with 2 psychology degrees. In each of our chosen careers the majority of our day is spent problem solving, so on paper we’re a dream team. But honestly, I think the most important trait a teammate can have here is the desire to win. As long as you have that, you’re going to be focused, put the pedal down and just get shit done. For just this reason, I love my team. We’re going to escape or die trying.
The picture below is from a previous game, where we successfully escaped the Alternate Adventure with more than 15 minutes remaining. I don’t have a pic from this most recent room, as I was high as fuck on antibiotics and I totally ruined the photo. But basically it would have looked a lot like this one except that my husband’s rocker hair would be about 2 inches longer.
So, in the middle of a snowstorm, we entered the Mayor’s Office, which begins with all of you handcuffed together. For obvious reasons I’m not going to tell you what happened in the room, because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but when you have 4 people handcuffed in a circle, you can imagine the type of yoga that transpired. Miraculously, the aforementioned fact that I was super sick and super high on meds didn’t affect my brain any, and we all just got to work, ready to make this room our bitch.
We emerged exactly 1 hour and 1 minute later. The time limit was 1 hour. We just didn’t enter the code into the final lock in time and failed by seconds. A heartbreaker. I’m realizing now that if this was a challenge on the real Amazing Race Canada there would be some sort of penalty for not finishing within the allotted time. Since the goal is to turn 2017 into My Amazing Race Canada, then I have to now penalize myself. I’ll start brainstorming punishments now – if you have any suggestions, comment below, or message me on twitter, my details are in the About Me page above – and there will be a penalty blog to follow. When you’re as competitive as we are, it was a disappointment. But honestly, I thought we did great. There wasn’t one thing that caught us up for an unreasonable amount of time, and we were all on point with a lot of our puzzle solving, but we must have just slowly bled time in a lot of different places that cost us the win by a hair. And it was a really freaking good time. There is still one room in Kitchener we haven’t done yet, the Original Adventure, and 2 in Niagara Falls, and we know within this year all three of these are going to be crossed off the list. Craving another one already.
So, leg one of the race down, and if this was a real Amazing Race I would put us in a comfortable 6th place out of 12 teams. Not good enough to beat all the fictional teams that would have made it out within the 60 minute time limit, but in the top tier of the teams that had to take the penalty. Comfortably ahead of the teams who got lost trying to find the escape room in the first place and accidentally ended up in Guelph. Please note, when I refer to my Amazing Race Canada team ranking throughout this whole blog year, it’s going to mean just me, but since you can’t Amazing Race alone, we’re going to pretend there’s two of me. Yeah, I get it, it’s ridiculous, but I said I was going to commit to this theme and damn it, I’m going to do it.
Now it’s time for my pit stop, during which time I’m going to sleep, eat, mingle with the other teams, and get rid of this lung infection so when next leg starts I’m not going to be drugged out of mind. One down, many, many more adventures to come!