This is a very fitting group shot of the participants and volunteers of the third annual Couchsurfing Manila Summer Scramble. Don’t stress yourself looking for me (or my teammates Ann, Mikoy and Verge) – this shot was taken before we even arrived at the finish line.
I took the first two editions of the race very seriously. I was lucky enough to finish third during the first one despite having to face adversity in the form of an extremely uncooperative and inconsiderate teammate. I was teamed up with a very athletic trio on Year 2 (Mon, Angel and Mark de Castro) but my wrong decision to take the LRT Line 2 to get from the Chinese Cemetery to the La Mesa Eco Park cost us the race and we had to settle for a fifth place finish.
I was less enthusiastic about the third edition of the race but I guess I’m still a competitor. Unlike in previous races, I didn’t really try to psych myself up. Maybe the fact that I have failed to win despite giving it my absolute all during the first two races disheartened me a bit. I was a bit excited to find out that I was going to be on the same team as Mikoy, Ann and Verge. I would be hard pressed to name a week wherein I didn’t see at least two of them. We’ve been really good friends this year and for all it’s worth, quantitatively and in terms of time spent together, these three are definitely among my closest friends – at least for the fiscal year of 2011.
I even made a joke that we were the tallest team in Couchsurfing Manila Summer Scramble History – with no member falling below 5’7″, I guess my unresearched remark could’ve held water.
I would love to elaborate on the things that happened during the race (maybe that’s for a later post), but to cut the long story short; my team (seen by some people as one of the stronger teams for some reason) bombed out in hilarious fashion as far as the results were concerned.
My team finished 11th… out of ELEVEN TEAMS!
This didn’t come to us as a shock since we made a lot of critical errors with how we commuted around the city. None of us were that adept in taking jeeps and tricycles around Marikina and Quezon City and in a race where taking cabs was not allowed; it was certainly our undoing.
We didn’t really make big errors but we made many little ones that added up to create the huge 90 minute gap between us and the eventual winners (a team that included Angel Juarez – my teammate of two years, co-blogger in Visit Sagada and hotshot travel blogger at Lakwatsero.com). Congratulations, Angel! Well deserved!
Our team (Team Midora) finished the race after a very disappointing run around the course, but it was all in good fun. I think the team’s morale was heavily affected by the things that transpired during the race (more on this on the future posts), but I don’t know if it would have made a difference. This year’s race was a lot more unforgiving – it was harder to catch up since you were taking the same train system and the clues while much harder were still being solved fairly quickly by all the teams in the game.
Finishing last this year makes me one of the few people in the history of the race to have competed three times. I’ve finished 3rd (more or less upper tier), 5th (middling) and 11th (dead last). The only thing left to be done is winning. At this point in my racing life, I don’t think I have it in me to win. I might be feeling low right now about my chances, but we’ll see next year.
Cheers to the organizers and the other racers!