On Saturday Kip and I traveled to Dallas to race in the CitySolve Urban Race. Also racing were our friends Marcy and John Beard. It was rather windy when we arrived in the Big D. The race was set to start next to the Winspear Opera House, and finish about a block away. My wife and kids came along for the trip so they chose to hang out near the finish line since there were tables and chairs for all the food vendors.
It looked like there were 50-60 teams at the race. At the pre-race meeting, Jason Hofsess (the race director) made the usual announcements, then decided to do the costume contest prior to the start. There were no really great costumes, mostly just matching T-shirts. After that was over, the race was ready to begin. It started with Jason unfurling a banner with a question on it and 4 possible answers. The questions had to do with a ring of honor. I was talking to my buddy Chris on the phone and he was able to quickly google the answer and tell us it was 17. This corresponded to a certain location on the banner; that is where we would find our clue sheets for the race. Kip and I were the first to take off running along with Marcy and John. Kip found the location on our map and led us directly to the volunteers holding the clue sheets. Now that we had hurried to get here, the initial rush was over, until we could figure out where to go next.
We started scanning the clue sheet for any location that we might know. Clue 2 had the name of the business, so I asked Chris to try and map it. He quickly gave us the address, so we were off. Not sure where Marcy and John headed, as we would not see them again for a while.
We ran back toward the starting line, then turned west to head to the Asian Art museum. We found a table with a nice lady outside. We were her first customers. She instructed us that we had to create an Origami flower from the instructions. Kip and I both started the task and got most of the way done until we reached the final confusing step. Unfortunately there was no sample finished flower to help guide us. Other teams arrived. After watching us struggle and seeing other teams become confused at the same point, the volunteer took pity on us and helped us interpret the last step. We finally got our flower folded and got our picture with the volunteer, and we were out of there.
Now that our flower was done, it was time for the next clue.
Turns out the answer for this one is Backbeat. We got the address from Chris and headed there.
The next one is a fun one, good thing I have a degree in engineering (but sure it was obvious to many people as this is fairly common knowledge stuff I suppose).
The answer was the Joule hotel on a couple blocks away from our current location, so we headed on over for this picture.
Off to our next location. We live in Austin (home of the Longhorns), so when we hear the word "burnt", we automatically assume the next word has to be "orange", and so it was.
We headed east to Orange Salon, which was a good little way away. We were able to gather this photo and say hello to Marcy and John. They arrived at this location the same time as us, but they had come from the opposite direction, so we figured that would be a great direction to keep running.
The next clue was a few blocks away and the answer turned out to be Big Sky.
We saw quite a few teams running along this stretch of road. As we approached Big Sky, a few guys offered to take our picture for us, but we had already managed to get one on our own. We had been running pretty hard up to this point, so we were starting to sweat a bit and get tired.
Chris was very excited about the next clue because he apparently was quite the video game player back in his youth. He knew this game to be none other than Rampage.
He told us where we would find it and we began to run. Then Chris let us know if we were good boys and ran real fast we might be able to catch a DART train which would bring us back to where we had to go. This was plenty of motivation for us, as the next train wouldn't come for twenty minutes, so we kicked up our heels and ran to get our photo at Rampage Salon.
From here, we were right across the street from the rail station, and we could see the train coming, so we darted to the station just in time to board the train. This is just crazy, Kip and I usually never get lucky and take public transportation during these things, and here we were in our second race in a row about to take a perfectly timed, nice long relaxing ride. Well, as we sat on the green line, we had a look around and in the back of the train were a pair of ninjas! (They were also in the race, and in costume). About that time there was one of those terrorist type announcements on the train that said if we notice any suspicious activity we should please report it to the train conductor. Well a set of ninjas is usually pretty high on my suspicion chart, but we let this one slide.
So let's see now, that makes 6 clues completed up to this point. There were a total of 10 clues, but we were allowed to skip one, so we had 3 more to get before we could finish. One of the clues was unclear, so we had Michelle (at the finish line) track down Jason and ask for clarity.
The clue below was confusing to us as the wording about the Cotton Bowl ended mid sentence. The gin clue seemed hard and it appeared like he may have required the bottle of gin to be shown on an album cover. Jason told Michelle that the gin had to be on an album cover, and that seemed difficult, so we decided to skip this one. We later found out at the finish line that teams had taken a picture of a bottle of gin and that was accepted. This is frustrating as were told that that wouldn't be an acceptable picture while we were racing (and also at the finish line when I asked Jason for clarification).
Well, now it was time to give up the nice luxury of the DART green line and off we went in search of our next picture. We knew from the moment we read this one that it pertained to Scooby Doo. We headed for the Ghost Bar for our next picture. This one cost us a little time as when we ran up to the hotel, the doorman told us it was on the top floor. Then a lady in a convertible pointed us around the corner. So we ran around for a minute or two before finding the correct spot.
From the Ghost Bar it was a very short run over to a building with the name Cirque on it. Everyone knows what Cirque du Soleil is so that seemed like a cool clue.
We now had 8 clues done, and we only needed one more to finish without a penalty. Next up, we had to find this mural. Chris gave me some directions in our ear and we were off running again. We arrived and snapped our picture.
We now had our 9 clue pictures completed so we headed toward the finish line. It was sure a shame that we could not have used the gin clue as this mural was pretty far out of the way so that cost us at least 5 minutes. Oh, I should also mention there were two bonus picture clues. They involved getting a picture with people in various sports team jerseys and/or getting a picture with someone with a lasso and cowboy hat. We chose to skip both bonuses as they did not seem to be easy to get.
We made our way to the finish line and were told we were the first team in. We had all our pictures checked and they were all good, so now we started a stopwatch. The bonus questions were worth a lot of time, up to 25 minutes if a team got all of them, so that is a long time to wait. After a short while, Marcy and John came bolting across the finish line. We were excited to see them. Several minutes later (24:31 after Kip and I finished) came another team. This could be trouble if they had both bonus pictures! We did not know for a while, but it turned out this 3rd team to finish did indeed have the bonus pictures and they were declared the winners. This put Kip and me in second place and Marcy and John were bumped down to third. Not ideal, but being in the top three did still win us free entry into the championship race in New Orleans, which was our main goal for the day.
Thanks to our wonderful friends who help support us in doing these races. Oh, and since I had my GPS with me, it recorded the following track for our travels. It has sporadic coverage so there are some gaps.
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