Sunday, March 28, 2010

Great Urban Race Austin 2010

Listening to Scared Of Chaka "Monsters"!!

Yesterday Dan and I participated in the Great Urban Race.  This is a one day race, done in cities all over the country, similar to what you would find on the Amazing Race tv show.  Dan and I had been talking about doing something like this together for awhile, so we thought we'd give it a whirl.

I had done the Oyster Race last October with Team Urban Animal (check out, so kind of knew what we were in for.  This was Dan's first race.

Herein lies the days adventures.

This is a picture of Dan and I pre-race at 1130.  We are Team Satan!  We actually got a lot of compliments on the t-shirts I made with a Sharpie.

I was amazed at how many people wore really well thought out costumes to this thing!  I can't imagine running a race in a prom dress but some of these nuts did!  Here is but a small samplings of some of the costume creations:

This race began at the outside stage at Stubb's in Austin.  It was kind of funny to be in the same space, during the daytime no less, where we have seen Motorhead, Joan Jett, and where Megadeth played just the night before.  All teams received their clue envelopes and at the strike of noon those envelopes were ripped open, and out came the pencils, paper, laptops, iPhones and cell phones.  For 10 minutes or so teams hunker down and figure out the clues and a route.  There were 12 clues, each with a destination or task, to be done in any order the team chooses.  We don't have an iPhone but no big deal since my sister, Kim, was our main phone contact/computer hookup person who helped us out.  For instance, she was able to figure out this clue:  this person's birth month flower is the carnation (January), birth date is the number of players on a rugby union team (15), and birth year is Roman numeral MCMMXXIX (1929)...this person is Dr Martin Luther King, a statue of whom is on the UT campus. We also knew that the clue "RIAL STA" was part of "Memorial Stadium" on campus.  So, we decided to head north on foot to campus first, then hit downtown, and finish up South.

Here is picture of us at our first destination: Memorial Stadium.

Next, we took a picture of us and bunch of guys in front of a fountain at UT doing the "hook 'em, horns" thing.  It didn't take much coaxing to recruit this group of handsome roaming males.  This was # 1 of a clue with 9 possible "tick-tack-toe" tasks.  To finish up the other parts of this clue we were on the look out for a guy in a cowboy hat, a person wearing red high heels, a dog who would allow us to shake it's paw, a person on a moped scooter, or a bunch of people willing to take off their shoes and have their picture taken with us. Our eyes would be peeled for the rest of the race for these things.

Then we hoofed it to the Dr King statue and snagged a guy to snap our picture.  I think he was a little taken back by our t-shirts.  He said "I'll take your picture but that doesn't mean I'm part of your Team Satan", as if we wanted to recruit him to the dark side. Weird.

We headed to the pizza place on Guadalupe called Mellow Mushroom.  This stop was for a musical lesson.  I learned how to play Mary Had A Little Lamb on the recorder.  It took about 2 seconds, we got our clue sheet stamped, the nice waitress gave us some water, and we were off to our next destination. 
We jumped on the bus going South on Guadalupe (I should say here the only mode of transport allowed, besides feet, is public transportation, so the bus.) and hopped out at Gold's Gym on 6th Street.  We ran in and participated in a 5 minute class of this thing called Zumba, sort of a Latin inspired aerobics dance thing with shimmies and hip rolls.  Our class consisted of 8 people, mostly guys, who I'm sure were all a little mortified at having to do this.  One thing this race does well, however, is to take you out of your comfort zone.  Well done here!  We got a business card from the instructor as proof we finished the task.

Then it was a brisk run for a few blocks where we ambushed Lizardman, a very cool performance artist.  He has a split tongue!

From there, we headed to Pete's Dueling Piano Bar on 6th and a big thanks to Kim for figuring out this clue!  We did a quick little fight cheer with some of UT's cheerleaders.  They are all very perky and blonde, and we aced this quickly.  We ran West on 6th, stopped at a convenience store to pick up some canned goods for one of the next tasks, hopped on the bus on Colorado and headed South of the river.

We got to the location of coordinates +30 degrees 15' 14.52" by -97 degrees 45' 44.50 " (thanks to Kim again).  This place just happens to be a doughnut trailer!  Dan knew where this place was, not that he eats doughnuts, but because it's right across the street from the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema where he works!  Here is a picture of us eatin' 'em!  Yuck!

Next we headed to the Mary Lee Foundation courtyard.  This is an organization that helps kids and adults with disabilities, and the cans of food we were carting around go to their food pantry.  Cha-ching, we got stamped and were off.

We were still prowling around for 2 more parts to the Tick-Tack-Toe clue, and luckily as were were running North on Lamar we spotted a high school carwash in session.  These kids were happy to oblige us with the #2 task.  Here we all are, barefoot!  Now only #3 to the tick-tack-toe clue left...looking for that elusive person in a cowboy hat.....

One of the clues Dan solved was a word puzzle, one of those grids with a letter in each box, and you gotta find certain words, cross them out, and unscramble the letters that are left.  Dan figured out MUSICMAKERS, the guitar store on S. Lamar, our next stop.  We had to shake an acoustic guitar and dislodge a guitar pick in the body.  Dan did this, and we retrieved the pick to hang on to and show at the finish line.

Next: the Lasso challenge at the place that was unscrambled from this clue: HYDRO VEGAS, or SHADY GROVE.  A brisk trot West on Barton Creek, to the cowboys and roping dummies (fake critters with horns).  Dan has an impressive wing span so logically he did this challenge and ringed it.  And lucky for us, there was guy in a cowboy hat!  Check it out!

That was IT!  We were done with all the clues....except one, which we opted out of.  All teams were allowed to skip one task.  The one we missed entailed a clue in the classifieds of the Stateman.  We couldn't find a paper anywhere during the race, so Kim went out and got one and called us with the clue...something about turtles at the turtle pond on campus.  There was no way in hell we were going to head back up there, so it was the task we threw out.

We were feeling good, and ran back to Lamar to catch the bus back up town.  There were about 15 other teams at this bus stop creating a bit of a party!  The bus was late, and when it did arrive it was packed to the gills and no one was allowed on.  This sort of messed up our strategy, but since we were armed with the MetroBus schedule book, we figured out an alternate route pretty quickly.  We all piled on the next Northbound bus, but we got off at Whole Foods, ran down to 4th Street, and caught the #7 bus after about a 3 minute wait that took us one block away from the finish line. No other teams were on this bus!  Why did no one follow us?  I think a lot of the teams ran all the way back to Stubb's, but we bussed it easily. This was a bit of a happy accident and probably got us back to Stubb's even quicker than the sardine bus would have!

One last mad dash and we crossed the Stubb's finish line.  Our time was 3 hours and a couple of minutes.  It looked like maybe 30 teams had already arrived, but with over 350 teams total we did well!

From here we proceeded to the camera checker area.  The guy checked that all our tasks requiring pictures were there, and we turned in our Zumba business card and our guitar pick.  All accounted for!  Success!

Now it was beer time.  We headed across the street to that weird little place called Jaime's Spanish Villiage.  A funny rundown little place, kind of dirty and seedy, but with a pretty patio and a grackle that was giving us the stink eye.

Here I am half way through my Heineken at Jaime's.

We were patting ourselves on the back for a job well done and we decided the most important item to have for this race is a really good and complete bus schedule.  Our bus book was indispensable.  But then you have absolutely no control over "bus luck" .  Friends TEAM AC/DC had some bad bus luck we are sorry to report, and that cost them a little time. We also do not think you really need an iPhone or laptop for this race, but rather a clever computer contact on your cell phone speed dial (Yay, Kim!).  I'm sure glad we weren't carting that gear around because it would have slowed us down.  We actually saw people running with their laptops.  How does that even work?

Anyway, we then headed to the bar at Stubb's for more suds and wound up chatting for awhile with "Marge and Homer" (Sarah and Jason, sshh!) who were going to stick around for the costume contest.  Marge made her hair out of poster board and quilt batting spray painted blue!  So smart!  We decided to stay and cheer them on.

Here is Dan eating a bag of carrots that one of the vegan teams threw out to the crowd during the costume contest.  Applause voting!!  He looks like he's had a little too much sun...or beer.

And look who won the costume contest!! So happy for Marge and Homer!

The official results with team times will be out on Tuesday.
Would I do this again? Hell yeah!

1 comment:

  1. looks like fun! Don't forget to check out CitySolve Urban Race when it comes to ATX on May 1st!