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Great Urban Race Austin 2008

October 5, 2008
By Marcy Beard - Team Vignette-MJ

John and I were racing as a tune-up for the championships in Las Vegas. Plus if we managed to win $300, that would be a fun bonus. But the best part was racing with all our friends again!

Pre race notes: We drove by the Bob Bullock museum on the way to the starting line. I noticed the 6 flags of Texas flying in front - hey, that's cool. I did not notice the huge banners with "The Story of Texas" along the MLK side of the building. Well, that's it for pre-race notes. On to the race!

Kip and Dave took photos of the clue sheet to send to our crew at home. They are really good at that! John and I read through our clues, looked up, and they were gone. See Kip's race report for the actual clues.

We took off east toward the Holiday Inn on Town Lake. We looked ahead to see two of our teams, then looked behind to see another two. A bit of shouting back and forth, and our mob coordinated an on-the-fly meeting at the Frost Bank Tower for a photo of 10 people (including a bystander or two):

More running, a bit of confusion around a construction site, then on over to the Holiday Inn. Right before we arrived, I realized that the two dares weren't "open" yet - the bat spin opened at 12:30 and the Segway ride (cool!) opened at 1 pm. Major oops! We decided to run to the bats - hey, that's an Austin tie-in! - and chat with our phone contact Steve for 10 minutes until 12:30.

As we ran up, the volunteers got up like they were going to give us instructions. The bat spin was already set up, so I said to John "do not ask, do not say a word!" Yep, they opened it early for us. What awesome luck!

John went first, putting his forehead to the bat and spinning around 10 times. It's always fun watching John not be able to run straight... then it was my turn, which I spent spinning and yelling instructions to John. A bit of off-balance staggering, and we were done. We looked over toward the Segway area, didn't see anything there yet, and decided we had to skip that CP instead of waiting around until 1 pm.

Art and Robyn yelled over that they had found the "Howdy" rock (CP8), back up the trail to the west. Cool! We ran up and snapped our photo there. Well first, we messed with our camera trying to get the shutter to open. In fact, if it's on "review" mode instead of "take a picture" mode, the shutter doesn't open. Good thing to learn.

We ran north from there, with Art and Robyn following not far behind. They asked us about our race numbers, because they were looking for a number "24" on something (CP3). Art caught sight of a "24" on a pole and called us back - great catch, y'all!

More northerly running, John talking with Steve, me trying to get John's attention, a bit of yelling. Normal stuff.

At 6th Street and Red River, we needed a photo of Emo's for CP11. John started asking which Emo's, because he had volunteered at SXSW and had picked people up at 3 different Emo's. Jim and Rob ran up, saying that all entrances went into the same club, it didn't matter. John and I eventually agreed that we should just take our photo. Then we had another moment of camera flakiness (we are learning so much about our camera!) but we got this:

A couple blocks north we took a photo at Stubb's for CP12:

Next we needed to go to the UT campus. John and Steve discussed a route, and they decided to start with the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. So we took a slightly hillier route than required, but we have been training to run in the mountains, or at least that's what John keeps telling me. Well, he's the one towing me everywhere, so who am I to argue?

So we ran to Bob Bullock and I asked John if we could we take a photo of the 6 flags just for kicks? Sandy and Gail were there and we all saw the "Story of Texas" banners hanging outside. But none had red letters, and the clue specified that we had to find it written in red letters. John verified this with Steve and we both decided the race organizers wouldn't mess up something like that.

I walked inside where a museum person yelled "red letters?" Obviously he had some idea what was going on, and may have even been Art's brother who works there (Art called over to ask his brother about this clue). He also knew where to locate the red-lettered-sign: on the north side. Thank you!

We got our photo, Gail and Sandy got theirs, and we were on our way. The next several stops were quick: the Cesar Chavez photo near the UT Mall, the Renaissance Market to pick up a free pin (mine says "Girls Kick Ass"), and Slices and Ices for a slushy:

One more task - find a Tab soda or a dollar bill with six 6's. I told John, "give me all your money" and found a dollar that fit the bill - yay!

So we ran south, down Guadalupe, past a jeep with someone yelling something about a leash (our tow line), finally to the top of the hill so we could start down. We stopped for a traffic light and John actually made us wait there because there was a cop next to us. Ok, now go!

We got to the finish line and found out we were the first ones there and it was only 1:09 after the start of the race. Awesome! We waited until our other mob teams crossed the line to ensure everyone qualified for Vegas, which they did. Awesome! What a lot of fun, what a great bunch of folks on our fellow teams and support crew!

And to top it off, Leslie handed us a pin that read "Texas. Bigger than France." Too funny, thanks Leslie!

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