Obstacle races has always interested me, but I never got about to it because they are extremely challenging and I never felt like I was ready for it. Also the fact that it costs so much to participate was a deterrent.
Nevertheless, when I found that the price for the Goruck was discounted for the Aegis Nova anomaly in Padua, I decided to grab the opportunity and sign up for it. I still didn’t know if I was strong enough for it but the requirements on the sign up page says ‘Moderate to Low’ on the website, so it should be fine … right?
DeusExMachina, who participated in the Urban Ops for Vienna kindly lent me his backpack and I felt blissfully unaware. It was only on the day itself when I started packing, I realised that my luggage was extremely heavy! What on earth did I got myself into? And I’d have to carry it for at least 4 hours!
Among the required things to carry for the Urban Ops challenge was :
- 9 kg of weights (I used my hand weights)
- 2 litres of water (I used 4 1/2 litre bottles)
Which will easily make my backpack over 10 kg. Oh my.
On Friday afternoon, we took a quick look at the Vegan Festival in Eur and had a delicious lunch there and then we took the train to Padua.
It took us about 4 hours to reach there. We managed to snag a promotion from Italo and paid only 50 euro for the both of us travelling first class.
Our BnB happened to be a few minutes away from Piazza Capitaniato, where we picked up our supporter kits in the evening.
I happened to see the Stealth Ops participants doing their warm ups and met and said hello to Maurizio who was already perspiring after he’s finished with his warm up. I marvelled in the fact that he’d be doing 12 hours of challenges. I don’t know if I’d be able to do it myself.
Saturday morning, I started getting ready and here is the outfit of the day!
- Blue t shirt from Decathlon (5 euro)
- Blue buff found in Decathlon (5 euro)
- Sports bra from Only Play (10 euro)
- 3/4 sports pants from Only Play (10 euro)
- Resistance Cap by Doriscreations (Priceless)
- Aegis Nova bracelet (Which is my favourite design so far)
- Newton Fate Running shoes
I stuffed the backpack with the weights, the bottles of water, a piece of towel and some bananas to snack on. So heavy! I had to walk really slowly with the backpack on – I felt like an elephant. Seriously, what have I gotten myself into?
After having breakfast, my entourage and I walked over to the meetup point before the anomaly. There were so many people there and you’ll meet people from all across Italy and the world. Every anomaly always feels so festive and it was such a beautiful day.
Eventually, I said goodbye to Cart as he went off with his team and I started to search for mine … I headed towards Piazza Dei Signori and that’s where I met Marco (Errequadropi) and I found out that we were the only two Resistance players for Urban Ops. Oh my. But that’s okay.
There was Cadre Mickey whose role was sort of like a guide and judge of the competition. Our first task was to choose the leader for the team. Marco quickly arrowed me as the Team Leader and Roberto (HeartTremor) was TL for the Enlightenend.
Together we walked to our first location, Piazzale Porta San Giovanni with our backpacks. It wasn’t necessary for us to have our Ingress scanners open, but I wanted to do some unique visits along the way. Not easy while juggling all that weight behind you though!
When we reached our point, our first challenge was to choose someone to hold their backpack over their head while the rest of the team do lunges or elephant walks around him.
It was quite amusing to see the elephant walk but it looked easier than it was, especially with the weights, every step was precarious and I had to step hard to make sure that I didn’t topple over.
Both of our teams tried to last for as long as possible but we lost this challenge but according to Daniele who was holding up his backpack in the picture above, it was a very close match.
Then we walked to our second location – Via San Pio X. Here, the Team Leaders had to start a distance from their team. The cadre will say out a name of a glyph and Team Leaders will run to their team and write the glyph together on a piece of paper and then run back to the cadre. The first team which gets 5 glyphs correct will be the winner.
This challenge was interesting as some of the glyphs, I’ve never heard of before. I just winged whichever I could and hope for the best and you know what, Resistance won this challenge!
Cadre Mickey took me aside and gave me a code which contains pertinent information to help my faction during the anomaly. I quickly forwarded it to my dispatchers on Hangout and updated them on Zello.
After the challenge, we walked to Prato Della Valle. It was such a lovely day for a picnic here. There were loads of people sitting on the grass and just relaxing themselves. But I’m not sure if it was the heat or the fatigue from carrying all those weights but I was already starting to feel a little dizzy by this point.
For our third challenge, we had to take everything out of our backpacks and lay them on the ground next to it. All of us had to walk a distance away, and get ready in a line. When the cadre yells start, we run to our respective backpacks, put our things in and hold it over our head and yell Resistance or Enlightened.
I thought for sure we would lose this one as my zip didn’t close smoothly but to my surprise we both seemed to have finished first.
Another win for us! I breathlessly and quickly updated our dispatchers. We took a quick break and I lied down to ease my dizzy feeling.
For our final challenge, we walked to Piazza Eremitani. By this time, while I tried my best to catch up, I find myself constantly being the back of the pack. Each step was so heavy …
Nevertheless, it was such a beautiful park inside and felt so peaceful with all the flowers and greenery.
For our final challenge, while it sounds simple, trust me, it’s not. Everyone in the team will have to plank and the last man (or woman) standing will win for their faction.
I could only hold to the position for about 10 minutes. After that my arms were all wobbly and I could only crawl like a baby to move towards one of the agents who was showing me his scanner.
It was such a close match between Marco and Daniele. My goodness. They planked for close to 30 minutes. How on earth did they do that?
It seemed to go on forever. Unfortunately the Enlightened team couldn’t hold out longer possibly because he was tired from participating from the 12 hours Stealth Ops challenge earlier on. So we got this round and another code for us!
We headed back to Piazza dei Signori where each of us received our hard earned patches.
After a shower and a brief rest, back at the apartment (so nice to finally plunk away the backpack!) I headed back to join Cart and the rest of my faction members to celebrate our anomaly win. It was heartening to see so many people coming up to me curious about my experience and congratulating me.
Like Matteo and Gimmy from Stealth Ops and Matteo, Luisa and Aalyah my former team members from Vienna.
My shoulders hurt and my thighs were sore and my feet were complaining (doing the mission day on Sunday was a miserable day for me) but all in all, it has been a very interesting experience for me, and dare I say it, actually fun?
Thank you so much Roberto and the rest of the Enlightened members for being so friendly and a very sporting team and thank you Marco for being a wonderful team member and thank you Cadre Mickey!
The past six months has been amazing for me so far. With Ingress, I got to do a lot of things, I got to try at being a Team Radio in Milan, then a Team Leader in Vienna and now participated in a Goruck in Padova. Wow.
Now I GoRest.
P.s. For those of you thinking of participating for Goruck Urban Ops, while the fitness requirement is low – moderate, my advice to you is to train in some circuit training anyway. Carry a towel so that it will soften the barrier between your back and the weights and just enjoy the experience the best you can.