Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Friday, November 24, 2006

Desert Wahini's Race Report

Hi Everybody!

My friend, Julie, and I ran the Urban Dare race in Tempe, AZ yesterday (http://www.urbandare.com/). We had an amazing time and I thought I'd share the fun with you. Be warned it's a long email, but I'm hoping to give you a sense of how cool this race was.

First off, Urban Dare seems to be much like a scaled down Amazing Race, if you're familiar with that show. It's a race to find clues, complete puzzles/dares/challenges, and photograph proof of your accomplishments. For the our race in Tempe, there were about 20 teams of 2 people. Most were coed teams of twenty-something year olds. We were probably one of the oldest team and one of only a few female teams. The winning team wins a free trip to the national championship at an undisclosed location (they find out where they need to fly to 24 hours ahead of time). The top 5 finishers qualify for nationals but they have to pay for their own trip.

We met at Tempe Beach park on Saturday and had to answer some trivia questions in the beginning. Once you answer correctly, you run to get your list of clues. Teams are given up to 4 hours to complete the race. You can walk, run, skip, hop or take public transportation to get from check point to check point. No cars, roller skates, etc. were allowed. We ended up running 95% of the race. The other 5% was spent on the ground looking at maps or walking while phoning friends to help Google our clues. In all, we ran over 9 miles and climbed up and down a mountain. At the very bottom, you'll see a link which shows the approximate route we took.

We entered just for the fun of it. We weren't disappointed. Our team name was the Desert Wahinis (aka Desert Ladies / Queens) . If you have some time, below is how the race unfolded.

Clue #1...
1. Go up Hayden. It's a beaut (homonym) and just before you get to the very top, get your picture in front of the no trespassing sign.

So we found the Butte and took our picture in front of the sign we thought was the correct one...

2. The Colt Peacemaker was one. The Beretta and a 9 millimeter are not. Go to the place which shares this name where your aim must be true to this dare.

This was confusing but Julie read ahead and thought that since we knew where the running store chain was (see next clue), we should head in that direction and figure it out once we got closer. Ends up that there's a bar in the same strip mall as the running store called Six Shooters. We ran in and had to shoot darts. We couldn't move on until we hit a bull's eye. It took us about 20 throws then we were off to the running store

3. Head to the Tempe store of Arizona's largest local running store chain. It's a stone's throw from checkpoint 2. You will be spell bound on this dare.

We got there and had to pick a piece of paper out of a cup that had a word on it. Our work was IMPORTANCE. Each letter of the word had a point value and we had to give the clerk the total numerical value of our word. In order to find the value of each letter, we had to find the clues hidden in the store that gave us those numbers. It took us about 15 minutes to find them all and give the correct total then we were off.

4. Go to genpicxomhykyor (unscramble the letters for a 3 word answer) for your upward mobile dare.

Julie was able to unscramble the above while we were running. We had to head to the Phoenix Rock Gym for our next challenge. We didn't know where it was but we knew my friend, Leslie, would. We called Leslie and ran to the rock gym. When we got there I had to sign a waiver, put on climbing shoes, and climb to the top of a wall. The hardest part was putting the frickin' harness on while you're trying to hurry. There was a team that got to the rock gym when we did so I had to hustle up and down . While I was climbing, Julie was on the phone reading all the clues to Scott (Julie's husband) for him to Google because we didn't know where we were going to next.

5. Head to the nearest local Gar for your eats dare.

Ends up that there's a Prankster's Gar and Brill in Tempe. We ran all the way over there with another team right on our heels. When we got there, we had to wait for our order then down 10 jalapeno poppers. While we waited, we were on the phone with Scott and Leslie as they searched the Internet for answers to the clues.

6. He was the first person to manage ball clubs that won the World Series in both the American and National Leagues. Go to his den for your next dare. This dare does not open until 12 noon.

We had to find Sparky's Den in the basement of the ASU Memorial Union. Once we did, we had to bowl a strike at their bowling alley before we could move on. It was my lucky day because the first ball I rolled was a strike. Yeah--- I almost fainted at that too.

7. This piece of art was featured at the Chicago's World Fair (not the official name) in 1893. Get your picture with it.

This was by far the toughest of all. This blue vase was in a hidden courtyard that was accessed by a hidden "tunnel" walkway. Scott found out what and where we should go but we still couldn't find it. No one at the campus knew what we were talking about either. We later found out that one of the teams had to quit the race because they couldn't find this goofy blue vase. Luckily, Bloodhound Peterson, my partner, eventually found the entrance to the courtyard.

8. Get your picture with one of Tempe's giant rabbits. Aaaaah, but which one? If the race director had a blue hat on - Guard. If the race director had a black hat - Groomer. And if the race director had no hat - Restful. 1:00 minute penalty for wrong rabbit.

So we got the rabbit question wrong. I took pictures of the race director guy earlier in the day but he didn't have a hat on in any of the pictures -- I guess he did in the very beginning though. Oh well. It wasn't the Restful rabbit.

9. Meryl Streep ran a __________________ in Out of Africa. Go there for your next dare.

This clue led us to the Coffee Plantation on Mill. We had to answer every category of Trivial Pursuit questions right to move on. We're actually a pretty smart team (Julie) so we were done in about 10 minutes.

10. At a diner named for the Original Blonde Bombshell, get your picture with the Laurel and Hardy Stained Glass.

We had to run forever to get to Harlow's Cafe on Broadway for this clue. We almost died but were too stubborn to quit. One of the other team's was hot on our trail and later told us that we were in such a hurry to get to the final check point that we ran right past a bus that we could have gotten on. Oh well, we both had our RUNNING shoes on so we might as well put them to good use.

11. Photo hunt- Get your team picture with a real airplane flying in the background.

It was hard to tell if we ever got a plane in one of our pictures (note the puzzled look on my sweaty face) so we just kept taking them. We should get an award though for the only team to pose for their plane picture AND have a US flag point to the plane at the same time---see last pic.... :o)

12. Go to the restaurant with a caboose out front for your most puzzling dare.

This was to be the last place we had to go. Macayo's Depot Cantina on Ash. We had to do a puzzle. Let me rephrase: Julie did the puzzle while Nicole just starred at all the tiny pieces with a puzzled look on her face. We finished up pretty quickly just as another team entered the Cantina.

At this point, we were actually told that we won the race. OMG! We were pretty shocked but excited as well. Unfortunately, one of our pictures (see clue #1) had the wrong No Trespassing sign in it. SO----we had to climb ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP of Hayden Butte to get the picture. UGGGH!

To say the least, we were both exhausted but the Butte was just a 1/2 mile down the road so the Desert Wahinis hula'ed to the Butte, climbed our buttes off, and got the picture. I took an extra one of the view just to prove that we went to the top. Notice the look of exhaustion on our faces--gasping for air.

So we ran down the mountain, climbed through a few ditches, past light rail construction, and back to the Depot Cantina. 50 feet from the entrance to the Cantina, Julie got a charlie horse in her leg. I offered to give her a piggy back ride, but she hobbled into the finish line.

We showed the race official our last picture and he congratulated us on our outstanding finish. Even though we didn't get first place (another team had finished in the meantime), we did get 3rd out of about 20 teams. I thanked him for putting on the race and told him how much fun we had. He said that we were a really good team and was glad that we had fun.

But wait---

3 minute time bonus. Sell the Katrina Bracelet we gave to you for $5. All proceeds go to the Greater New Orleans Foundation in support of the rebuilding effort. It was one year ago when New Orleans was flooded. We have donated over $6,000 through the sales of bracelets this year.

We had sold our Katrina bracelet in the Gar we were at earlier (notice how happy Julie was to sell it) which gave us the 3 minute bonus. The race official checked and the 2nd place team lost their bracelet.

Yep--we got 2nd place because we sold the bracelet :o)

We were both a little surprised that even after climbing up and down Hayden Butte, we still finished as well as we did. We had a couple margaritas (and lots of water) with the other competitors. Everyone was a lot of fun and real nice. One of the other teams was evidently keeping tabs on us, texting to someone, giving Julie and I the nick name of "Running Girls". The winners actually thanked us. They said that they saw us running around and it inspired them to run more (which eventually led to their 1st place win...dang!).

An all around great day. I have dibs on Julie again for next year. I hope after reading this you might consider doing it next November....

Hope all is well with you.

Nicole :o)

Here is the route we ended up taking to get to all these places. We covered almost 10 miles of which part was climbing up Hayden Butte.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Urban Dare Tempe Top 5 Finishers

Urban Dare Tempe was run on a bright sunny day with temperatures a comfortable 75 degrees. It was a beautiful day for the last race of the 2006 regular season.

This question proved to be the most difficult for the majority of racers:

This piece of art was featured at the Chicago’s World Fair (not the official name) in 1893. Get your picture with it.

Congratulations to Angela Sinclair and Brian Andrews who won the race in a time of 2:41:50. We’ll be seeing you two at a mystery location for the Championship Race on December 9.

Nicole Moest and Julie Peterson, the Desert Wahinis, finished a strong second and Scott Mackey and Amber Selby, Chompadilla, came in third.

Here are the top 5 in order of finish:

2;41:40 Angela Sinclair & Brian Andrews
2:58:01 Nicole Moest & Julie Peterson – Desert Wahinis
3:00:38 Scott Mackey & Amber Selby – Chompadilla
3:10:05 Jolynn Iglesias & Eric Splinter – The Undecided
3:15:05 Kate Maurer & Mike Maurer – Maurer Power

The answer to the stumper clue is a blue vase located in a garden in a courtyard of West Hall on the ASU campus. It was a difficult clue for many to find on the web. And even harder to find once you knew where it was, as you have to go through a tunnel to get to the courtyard.

The first clue was the most difficult for me as the race director. I sent racers up Hayden Butte to get a picture of the no trespassing sign just before you get to the very top. A few would be winners, had everything correct except they took a picture of a no trespassing sign towards the base of the hill. I found it very hard to tell them they had the wrong photo. Thanks to all of you for your understanding on this one. I’m sure it was disappointing.

I always love the reviews many of you give me at the end of these races. I’m delighted that the participants enjoy them as much as I do. I look forward to seeing you next year in the Tempe area.

I also look forward to competing in my first Urban Dare in Austin on March 24. Now that I have created my dream race, I’ll finally be able to see how I stack up against other racers.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Urban Dare Tempe Sat, Nov 18

Urban Dare Tempe, the last race of the 2006 regular season, will start on Saturday, November 18 at 11am at Tempe Beach Park. This will be the last chance for racers to qualify for the December 9 Champions race to be held at a mystery location.

Urban Dare is the race where smarts can beat speed. Teams of 2 solve clues to find checkpoints where they must perform dares.

This year participants must wear their Urban Dare t-shirt throughout the race. We'll get your shirts to you at the check-in. You should have a cell phone and a digital camera. Maps are also handy.

The Urban Dare start is unique. We will ask multiple choice questions and you will move into A, B, C or D areas depending on your answer. Get a few answers correct and you are on your way. This gives us a staggered start, but we'll be through it quickly. Questions will be based on local trivia and you can't use your phones at this stage of the race.

Once you are out of the starting blocks, you will pick up your clue sheets and be on your way. You can call friends as much as you want for help on clues. For the checkpoints that mention a dare, you must check in with the Urban Dare official, accomplish your task, and get your passport stamped before moving on. On checkpoints that mention a photo, you must get a photo with both team members to show you were both there. This is a team race. You must be together throughout the race.

At checkpoints with dares, you must accomplish a task and get your passport stamped to move on to the next checkpoint. Dares range from throwing a bulls-eye, doing a climbing wall, completing a puzzle or eating something(things people like, not bugs)

We expect the winners will finish the race in less than 3 hours and most of you will finish under 4 hours. We are working to provide a fun-filled day for you, while providing some good challenges.

The winners will receive free round trip airfare and 2 nights hotel for the Champions Race on December 9. They will find out their destination at midnight on Eastern time on December 8

Check out Urban Dare at http://www.blogger.com/.

See you at the race.