Friday, January 25, 2013


The Calvin College Amazing Race course continues to generate publicity for the college.  Our Fort Carson race in Colorado Springs, CO has generated some additional publicity from the great CNN.

Check out the link here: Fort Carson Race

The Grand Finale - Winner Take All!

Tuesday, January 22 was a great day.  The 2013 Amazing Race finished with one last flurry of activity.  The 14 students that would not be competing in the final race showed up at 10am to assist us with the final preparations.  As we sat in the Steen conference room in the Calvin field-house and unveiled the plan for the final race, many of the students were relieved that they would not be participating.  As leaders, we decided to frame the final race around one of the more innocuous activities of our trip....JEOPARDY.  As we reflected on the trip and the various physical activities, cities visited, and miles traveled, we also decided to add in a variety of physical activities that would replicate the 3 states we spent the majority of our time in: California, Arizona, and Colorado. 

The first round of Jeopardy began with these categories: HELPERS, PEAKS & VALLEYS, I GOT SKILLS, and THE WRITTEN WORD.  All of the students quickly realized in the first round that they would be forced to interpret Dr. Bolt's mix of hilariousness/seriousness/and intelligent wit to decipher the question and come up with the correct the form of a question, of course. 

Once the first round of Jeopardy was completed, the racers were informed that their first physical challenge would replicate our time in Colorado.  The racers were asked to run a "dog-sled" course which meant one partner pulling the other on a sled in the 10 degree temperature through a course outside of the field-house, reach a certain number of points throwing darts in order to simulate archery, shoot a nerf gun 20 times through a small opening to simulate 1 part of the pentathlon, and also slide their feet(on furniture pads) through a course up and down a carpeted, downhill hallway outside of Amber's office. 

The second round of Jeopardy included these categories: OCEANS, WHO SAID THAT, NEED FOR SPEED, and VANTASTIC.

For the second physical challenge phase, the students were told that they would be simulating our time in Phoenix, AZ.  They were challenged with a rather lengthy Phoenix-style race around campus, a sky-diving challenge, and a Bondurant style challenge.  When we visited the Bob Bondurant school of high performance driving, the students were timed while driving a brand new Chevrolet Camaro around a track lined with cones.  In Phoenix, they were able to do this rather quickly.....on campus, not so much.
In order to simulate the sky-diving challenge, we asked the students to climb the rock wall in the field house, find a parachute, and drop down from the climbing wall.....sounds scary, but it really is quite safe.  See how they did.
As for the Phoenix-style race, we ended up having to throw out the race due to a leadership mistake.  However, the end of the race required racers to eat something not-so-pleasant similar to the scorpion suckers they were required to eat in Phoenix.  Some of the racers were fortunate enough to not have to do this....not all of the racers were so fortunate.

Round 3 of Jeopardy included these categories: OH MY STARS, OLYMPIC SPIRIT, CITY SLICKERS, LEAD, FOLLOW, OR GET OUT OF THE WAY. 

In order to simulate our time in California we set up a "surfing" station, a "stand up paddle-board" station and a "hidden staircases of L.A." race.  To surf, the racers had to balance for 10 seconds, 1 partner standing on 1 foot on an upside-down bosu ball and 1 partner balancing an aerobic step on a 15 pound medicine ball.  Once they completed their 10 seconds on each, they were able to move on to the "paddleboards" which were really just a small scooter powered by a single crutch.  Then, to complete the "hidden staircases" challenge, each team had to find these 5 locations on Calvin's campus, retrieve a small item from each location, and bring the 5 items back to the start.

Finally, when the California race was completed, all 5 teams were sent back to the Jeopardy tables for FINAL JEOPARDY.  The task was to list all 12 teams in the order that they finished along with the names of each individual on the team.  The 5 teams competing were able to wager any amount that they had banked in the previous 3 rounds of jeopardy and the previous 3 physical races. 

Dan & Lauren Turner of Team Graphite prevailed to win the 2nd Calvin College Amazing Race!  Congratulations Turners!

Monday, January 21, 2013

For all the marbles.....

Please come and join us at the Calvin College Spoelhof Fieldhouse Complex for the GRAND FINALE of the Calvin College Amazing Race-2013.  We will have 5 teams competing for all the marbles tomorrow....actually, no marbles will be won, but the pride of winning the 2nd Calvin College Amazing Race and a semester's worth of books doesn't sound to bad either.  The final race will begin at 1PM!  Hope to see you there.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Amazing Race Finale Announcement

Tonight we met as a class one final time.  The excitement and anticipation has been building for the last 24 hours, which two teams will get in to the final race?  The final two teams were chosen from a lottery draw and a random draw.  The tension built as Amber drew out the first piece of paper.......TEAM GOLD is the lottery pick to compete in the finale.  Trevor and Ali Roode were ecstatic as Trevor compared his lottery draw to that of the Chicago Bulls gaining the lottery pick the year Derrick Rose entered the NBA draft.  

Next, it was time for a completely random draw of the 8 remaining teams.  Many teams felt confident that they were going to be chosen to compete in the final race.  Again, the anticipation mounted as Amber reached in to draw out the final piece of the Amazing Race finale puzzle.  She reached in, the collective group breath drew in, and.......TEAM PINK was chosen as the final team to compete in the Amazing Race Finale!

Tuesday, January 23 marks the 2nd Calvin College Amazing Race Finale.  The five final teams competing are:
Team Vegas Gold - Nick Holtrop & Zach Willis
Team Graphite - Dan & Lauren Turner
Team Navy - Jeremy & Stacy Kamp
Team Gold - Trevor & Ali Roode
Team Pink - Alyssa & Kimby Penning

Final Day of Racing

Team Navy here:

Today we started off the day by heading to the basement of the gym to the archery area.  We had an initial challenge to try and hit one of the balloons with only one shot.  Dan Turner and Jeremy were the only two to get this, and they were rewarded with 5 seconds time reduction from the soon to come cross country skiing. 

  Then we had a competition with the targets and each got to shoot three arrows, in the end tallying up you and your partner’s points.  This was really fun, but also proved to be a little more challenging than some were expecting, even though it was only about 15 feet away. 

We had an activity-filled afternoon in the gym.  We started off by randomly being put into 4 teams of 6, and then had competitions in both basketball and dodge ball.  We were going to also play floor hockey, but since we couldn’t reserve the gym, we didn’t have the time and space for that.  We played many five minute games, and were out of breath after those because of the crazy things the elevation (9000 ft) can do to your breathing.  It proved be to a very fun, exhausting, but also intense afternoon because it was the last day of competition.  

Team Purple here coming at you on our final day of competition! Our second challenge of the day was made up of our own mini biathlon.  The race consisted of two parts,which were cross country skiing and shooting. When we arrived at the Nordic center we were all given some skis and poles, which took some getting used to as not many of us had been cross country skiing before. We were still confident however that this would be our race.  This confidence lasted a whopping 10 seconds until a certain someone who shall remain unnamed, *cough* Zach Willis, intentionally sabotaged our chances of winning. He did so by taking Jenna out on the very first hill. 

After the lost momentum we made our way to the shooting range where we had one minute to hit the target with a pellet gun before making the trek back to the Nordic center.  

Overall we had a fun time trying something new, even if things didn't turn out as we had hoped. This was just another cool experience from the amazing journey we've been on. Peace out girl scouts. 
Goooood morning bloggers! Michelle Kwan and Kristi Yamaguchi (otherwise known as Vegas Gold) reporting live from snow mountain ranch family ice skating rink! Yesterday, the 12 teams were presented with the challenge of choreographing and performing a one minute figure skating routine with their partner. Teams chose their own song, planned out wonderful moves, and even picked out some pretty ridiculous outfits. Each pair capped off their planning with a 10 minute practice session on the ice to perfect their routine.  While most performances were not so graceful, everyone had a great time, and caught many good laughs.    

 Team Graphite here: Our final competition in Colorado was slightly less complex than one might assume. It was invented by our group earlier in the trip, and to our surprise, Dr. Bolt felt it was an appropriate race to end on. The total amount of equipment required consisted of an old soda bottle filled with a little water. The overall goal of the game was not to drop the water bottle when it was thrown to you. This became increasingly difficult as more and more rules were introduced and the throws became more challenging to catch.

Knowing that this was the last opportunity to gain points, everyone felt the pressure to perform, yet at the same time it was amazing to see how much fun we could have with such a simple piece of equipment and some creativity.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sky Diving Poems

Yes, thats right,  we asked the students to write a poem to describe their sky-diving experience.  The poems were judged on how well the students captured the experience, use of words & phrases, and finally, creativity & voice.  The students were asked to utilize an iambic pentameter style.  Here are the final results.

1. Forest Green
2. Columbia Blue
3. Pink
4. Graphite
5. Red
6. Purple
7. Kelly Green
8. Vegas Gold
9. Royal Blue
10. Gold
11. Orange
12. Navy

Here is the winning poem

Let me paraphrase a parable in a paragraph 
It's a parable of a paradox that I once had
I was paralyzed in the sky, something didn't compute
The fact that between two people there was one parachute

Jumping from an aircraft, ironically, far from plane 
Soon to be the kings of the sky, it is we who will rain 
Whether ready or not, there's no turning back, we're all in
No, the butterflies we feel, they won't keep us from fallin'

At the beginning of the day, reaching ground was our goal
And when our shoes hit the grass, we found relief for our souls
An equal partner with gravity, obeying its will
And in return being served one of our life's greatest thrills          

Friday, January 18, 2013

Dog Sledding Adventure


This is Melissa and Jon Bosma (Team Orange) reporting to you from Snow Mountain Ranch. We are the team that has been carrying all of the other teams ahead of us (someone has to do it). Before we bunked up here, we started the day off early leaving Colorado Springs, driving through gorgeous snowy mountains, and heading to Breckenridge for our unknown race. 

When we arrived in Breckenridge, our leaders gave us the news that we had ten miles to go yet. We ended up at Good Times Adventures to our surprise for some dog sled racing! We were all pumped!

After suiting and booting up we walked outside and were greeted by multiple, excited to run, racing dogs.

Instructors introduced us to all the dogs on our team, and they taught us the ins and outs of controlling the sled. We jumped on board to drive the sled, ride in the sled, or ride in the sleigh pulled behind a snowmobile to enjoy the show. 

Starting with an uphill battle, the dogs were off to a slow start, but not too long after, the dogs were showing us a thing or two that made us work to stay on the sled. We tried out turns, hills, and jumps and the smiles never left our faces. 

While on the trails, we were all in awe of Colorado’s landscape; it seemed picture perfect.

It was challenging to say goodbye to the dogs and this adventure, but after we left we continued on through more of Colorado’s wonderful views towards Snow Mountain Ranch. During the afternoon we took part in a wide variety of activities that Snow Mountain Ranch provides, some of which were: sledding, swimming, or sipping on hot chocolate.

We ended the day altogether to discuss more about competition. Reflections about the past adventures on this trip were brought up in order to provide examples for how we have seen competition play out. Many have suggested that cooperation is becoming more important than competition, but yet we all put ourselves in situations of potential failure for the opportunity of success. The situations where competition is positive is when competition is pushing us to become better in whatever area of life we apply it to. For example, in the work world, employees compete with other employees to move up. As a result the individual becomes better and the company benefits. This is just a short summary of everything that was discussed in the meeting today.

Tomorrow we are looking at our last day of challenges and “may the odds be ever in our favor.”