Thanks to Franc‘s invitation, I was able to hop on to the opportunity to join the much talked about Berghaus Urban Adventure Games at Global Circuit Event Grounds in Circuit Makati last Saturday, November 15, 2014. Berghaus is a UK-based outdoor clothing and equipment company which promised to take adventure racing to the digital age for the first time in the Philippines.
Before the event, I must have had read the same blog posts published about FAQs and mechanics of the game for over 10 times. Yup, that was how anxious I was for it! The sentence “THIS is not your usual adventure game.” was among the most striking, as it left me hanging with mixed emotions. Not usual?? 😯 I certainly did not have any idea on what kind of physical and mental challenges to expect apart from those that were given away on the Cyburban-Berghaus page:
“We have sports checkpoints (football, frisbee, basketball, etc.),
parkour obstacles and cross-fit challenges that will test the players’ fitness levels
in strength, balance, agility, skill and tenacity.”
I’m not good at any of those mentioned sports and they didn’t sound fun to me either. Haha! Nevertheless, I looked forward to trying them and doing all that’s required for the sake of experience and enjoyment as well as helping the team score points. I’ve set my heart and mind to it and came the earliest to the venue on the big day (an hour before the orientation proper)—even ahead of the organizers. #DiMasyadongExcited 😉
Circuit Makati at 4:20AM
4 Things I’ve Learned From the Cyburban-based Berghaus Urban Adventure Games 2014 (Circuit Makati)
1. Mobile Data Connection (or Wi-fi Connection) can be a Deal Breaker
The Berghaus race featured an app-based race format, the first of its kind, where teams composed of three members each would receive challenges on Android mobile phones. (Note: For now, the Cyburban app can be downloaded only from Google Playstore and I’m not sure when it will become also available in the AppStore.)
For every completed challenge, we had to scan a QR code to accumulate points. These points were updated online and in real-time. All members of the team were advised to use the Cyburban app and the points will be reflected in all devices. There was a leaderboard showing the rankings of the teams. That said, a basic fundamental in the Berghaus Urban Adventure Games was reliable mobile data or wi-fi connection.
Many times, we met the “Network Error” notification since we could not establish a good 3g connection/wi-fi. We had to retry the connection over and over and wait until the answer is verified before we could move on to the next stop.
2. Get Together With the Right Team
Getting together with the right team is important, as you’ll spend a fair bit of time in the game. We joined the Competitive category and that meant us playing for four hours, whereas those who joined the Fun category played in an unlimited number of hours. The timer began as soon as one of us in the team hit the “Start Game!” button on the Cyburban app.
Team FrancRamon 🙂
This style of adventure-racing is a team sport so we could only cross the “finish line” together. Some challenges required only one person to achieve the goal, while most required all of us three to participate. A mismatch in the commitment to the tasks would open the door for frustration, so it’s a good idea to get a balance of personalities.
I was grateful that I had Franc and Jham with me in the team. Both of them are experienced runners and endurance athletes who regularly go through intensive training programs to be ready in time. It was my first time to meet Jham but I’m glad that we also got along well. Franc was supportive as usual and competitive in the best possible way. 🙂
Quests we’ve accomplished are as follows:
- Berghaus Social Challenge – posted a selfie picture on Instagram inside the Berghaus photo frame
- Object Hunt – found and uncovered hidden QR codes everywhere
- Toby’s Sports Challenge – tent folding, hula hoop, basketball, skateboard, darts challenge, football goal and football freestyle
- Trivia and Riddles – solved mind-boggling trivia and riddles with the help of Google search 🙂
- Crossfit Halcyon – burpees and jumps over a box, sled pulls, pack run challenge (carry 40kg sand bags and run)
- Parkour Obstacles – the floor is lava (complete a circular course with a twist), parkour speed, get over it, rolling hills (roll on a hill), animal relay (crawls), through the wire
3. Safety First, Regardless of the Weather
Weather was not cooperative. It was drizzling before the game began all the way through the end. I thought the light showers would signal cancellation of the activity, but it didn’t. Instead, we just had a slight delay because the organizers needed more time to set up. Fair enough.
As weather plays a significant factor in the comfort and performance level, the lesson here is to always come prepared whether it’s rainy, cold, windy, or dark and think of safety foremost. Choose running shoes that will be able to grip the slippery pavement. Wear a cap or raincoat or carry an umbrella like we did. It would be miserable to be drenched to the skin in rain.
4. You Vs. Yourself
Typically, competition is defined as an engagement where opponents push one another to achieve excellence while abiding by the rules of the game and playing to their utmost abilities. On the other hand, competition works to inspire us to perform better while learning valuable lessons about teamwork, goal setting, and staying cool under pressure—without trapping us in drama, ego bruising, and poor sportsmanship.
Ultimately, it’s about challenging the self and knowing if and how we can beat our own previous bests by some substantial margin.
The Cyburban-based Berghaus Urban Adventure Games 2014 was a success. It was a great chance for us to take another step along our own path and take pleasure in learning about the game and about being gracious in both victory and defeat. This kind of outdoor adventure offers curious athletes, friends, and families an opportunity to try different sports and challenges to push themselves to the limit. For more stories about our experience, you may visit Franc’s detailed post about the event. 🙂