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Great Urban Race New Orleans Championships 2009

November 7, 2009
New Orleans, LA
By Kipley Fiebig - Team Vignette-KD


When you enter a Great Urban Race, you and your teammate receive twelve clues, and the two of you run around the city to find the answers for the clues (also known as "checkpoints" or "CPs"). You can take public transportation, such as buses, but no private transportation, such as taxis. In 2009 the Great Urban Race ran events in 20 different cities, and if your team finished in the top 25 at any of the qualifying cities then you were invited to race in the National Championships in New Orleans for $10,000.

My teammate David Bogle and I qualified for the championships when we won the race in Dallas. And our friends Marcy Beard (my sister) and John Beard (her husband) qualified when they won the race in Austin. We also qualified several other teams of our friends in Austin that would head to New Orleans with us (Jason/Rob, Richard/Chris, and Art/Robyn).

The championship team would be determined by two races on the same day in New Orleans. In the morning preliminaries, all the teams would compete in a race with the same format as the qualifying races. The top eight finishers from the morning race earned the right to race again in the afternoon finals race, for the $10,000 prize.

The Morning Preliminary Race

The race started in the center of the French Quarter in New Orleans. While the French Quarter is well known for many festive things, unfortunately it doesn't have much to offer in the way of public restrooms, so finding a place to empty one's bladder before the race was a bit of a challenge. But soon enough it was time for the real challenge of the day, as we received our clue sheets and the race was on! Dave and I quickly took photos of the clues and sent them in to our crew:

Dave immediately knew where we could get the photo for CP12, and it was just to the southeast of the start, so we were off and running. We headed past the St. Louis Cathedral into Jackson Square, and carefully lined up this shot of the cathedral, the statue, and the clock:

We'd also seen the "Martha a Market Customer" statue while wandering around before the race (which was CP3), so we kept running, to the "Dutch Alley" the starts behind Cafe Du Monde. A short way down the alley, and we found the statue. I managed to read the clue sheet as we were running, and saw the part where we had to hold up as many fingers as the last digit of the year when the sculpture was made. So we checked the year on the plaque, and I told Dave to hold up three fingers, and we took this shot:

But Dave held up two fingers! And I didn't notice! (Imagine an ominous "Duhn-dun-daahnn" sound effect here.) He was probably distracted by the fact that our phone contact Chris was simultaneously telling him the location of our next checkpoint, which was CP2, and so that's why he held up two fingers. Either that, or he's gotten really bad at counting lately... I'll keep an eye on him over the next few months to determine whether that's the case...

Blissfully unaware of our snafu, we continued the short distance down the Dutch Alley to the French Market Performance Pavilion that was CP2. Time for Charades! The volunteer handed Dave a card that said "Go fly a kite". Dave leaned back and mimicked pulling on a string, and I pretty much immediately guessed the answer, so that was that. The volunteer stamped our clue sheet and we were out of there. I've got to say, this was probably the speediest start we've ever had in one of these races, as all these checkpoints were very nearby and we ran directly to them without hesitation. I can safely say we've never completed three checkpoints within the first five minutes of a race before! But of course, the race had only just begun, and the rest of the course would be a bit more of a challenge.

Chris headed us in the direction of CP7, when I noticed that the clue sheet stated that CP7 didn't open until 8:30am. We didn't want to wait around for that long, so we abandoned that one for the moment and instead ran towards the La Playa Juice Bar for CP4. It was about this time we noticed that our phones were both beeping continually from incoming calls. We answered one to see who it was, but there was nobody on the line. And when we hung up, the calling started again. Someone had unleashed an auto-dialer on us! Well, it wasn't a huge deal, as we tend to stay on the line with Chris throughout the whole race anyways. At first it was a little annoying as our phones would continually "beep" in our ears to let us know of the other incoming calls, but after disabling call waiting even that little problem was gone. It was amusing to check our phone call logs after the race... they called us both once every minute, with either "No Caller ID", or "123456" as the return number. And one other number from a known auto-dialing center.

So, I guess we should be flattered that another team considered us enough of a threat that they decided to try and interfere with us during the race. Harassing and interfering with other teams is against the race rules, not to mention against the law. I suppose we'll know when we've really made it to the big leagues when another team comes at us with a baseball bat during a race. It's a good thing that 99% of the people who enter these things are really cool folks... it makes it a lot easier to ignore the rare exceptions.

Where were we... oh yeah, running towards the La Playa Juice Bar. We arrived at CP4 and had to squeeze the juice out of oranges. Dave grabbed us two cups so we could both work on this at the same time, and then we poured the juice into one cup until it was full. The volunteer gave us the go-ahead when it was full enough, and then Dave drank it down. We tried to clean our hands off with the provided towels a bit before grabbing our phones and maps and such.

As we ran on Chris mentioned we should be looking to collect ten one dollar bills with an "F" in the serial number for CP6. There was a convenience store right where we hit Magazine Street, so we ducked inside and asked the cashier if we could search through her bills to find the specific ones we needed. She was quite helpful and let us do so, and another customer in the store even got involved and looked through his own bills for us. Such friendly New Orleans folks! Between our own bills and the ones from the people in the store, we had all ten that we needed, and it only took us a minute or two to gather them. Perfect!

A couple of blocks down Magazine and we were at Mystic Blue Signs for CP8. The sign in the window said we had to take this picture while one teammate piggy-backed on the other, which turned out to be too difficult for us to get as a "selfie shot". So we handed the camera to a stranger to take our photo, and she was rather amused to capture us doing this (note that Dave is still holding the dollar bills in his hand!):

We continued on Magazine, looking for the volunteer that would be at CP6. We found them easily enough, and had to choose the sign with the correct St. Jude's tagline for a picture. Chris didn't immediately know what the tagline was, so we just took a picture with all four signs, and deleted the wrong ones later once we knew for sure. The answer turned out to be "Finding Cures. Saving Children." We donated our ten "F" dollar bills, and were off once again:

To Tulane campus! We cut up to St. Charles Avenue and ran along it, hoping to catch one of the trolleys that comes along this road regularly. Unfortunately our usual bad luck with public transportation kicked in, and we wound up running all the way to the university. Which was a long ways, let me tell you! Darn trolleys, what with their inconsistent schedules and frequent big gaps between them, I said. At least, I would have said that if I weren't so out of breath.

But eventually, we made it to Tulane. We ran north, looking at the sidewalks to see if we could spot the chalk puzzle that was CP9. Then we saw Marcy and John running back the other way, and they said they'd been up and down the campus already and they hadn't seen it yet. Uh oh, that wasn't good news. We kept heading north, hoping to get lucky and spot the needle in the haystack.

We reached Freret Street without finding the chalk puzzle. Chris tried to guide us towards CP1, but he wanted us to head up McAlister Drive which was all closed off for construction at that point, so we debated how best to get around for a bit. Then two of our ground support folks appeared, Jeff and Julie. They let us know that they'd found the chalk puzzle! Awesome! They guided us right over to the puzzle, which was... less than awesome. Apparently someone had vandalized the puzzle by adding some more chalk lines of their own. See if you can figure out how many triangles are in this figure for CP9:

Since we obviously couldn't quickly count the triangles ourselves, we sent a picture of the chalk figure back to our crew to see if they could figure it out while we ran on. Then Jeff and Julie asked us if we'd been to the bell yet. We said "no", so they took us back to Freret, and Jeff took our picture with us touching the bell for CP10:

Hooray for Ground Crew! We turned back around again and headed around the construction on McAlister towards CP1. But then Dave realized he didn't have his camera anymore... Jeff had left it on the ground back by the bell! Hooray for Ground Crew... except for when they do things like that! We turned around, and went back to fetch the camera, and then finally made it to the Lavin-Bernick Center for CP 1. We headed inside and went upstairs to room 201 for our next test, a word search. The word search was big, but none of the words were diagonal so they were pretty easy to find. And we figured it would take most teams about the same amount of time to find them all. Once we were done, we wrote down our answer (which was found by reading the remaining uncircled letters in the grid), and turned it in. The volunteer approved it, and so we were off.

It was time to head back to the French Quarter. We really didn't want to run the whole way back again, so we hoped we could catch a trolley back. We got lucky this time, as when we reached St. Charles we saw a trolley coming. We ran "upstream" on the trolley route one stop to meet it earlier, as we didn't want to run the risk of it filling up with all the teams that were now waiting for it at the Tulane stop, but that turned out to be unnecessary as it had room enough for everyone. Cool, time to relax the legs for a bit and plan our finish.

Obviously we needed to still do CP7. And we learned that our other ground support folks had tracked down some "Sho Nuff hot sauce" for us, so that would take care of CP11. The question we had was whether we should skip CP5, or not. CP5 would involve riding miniature vehicles call "Cruisers" around town, which sounded like fun but would take a bit of time. The problem was we didn't know what was going to happen with the chalk puzzle clue. Would we get credit for just visiting it without counting the triangles, because it had been vandalized? Or did we really need to count the triangles to avoid a 30 minute penalty? We had plenty of time to debate the pros and cons and relative risks of skipping CP5, or not, but finally we decided that we should play it safe and do it.

After a wonderfully relaxing trolley ride we ran to the Cruisers test at CP5. They had us put on helmets and asked Dave if he knew how to drive ATV's or motorcycles, and Dave said "yep", so we were off. Well, even if riding the Cruiser would cost us enough time to bump us out of the Elite Eight for the second race, they sure were fun! Dave had no problems with pushing the Cruiser to its maximum speed, and we were both laughing at the absurdity of it all. At one point we were stuck behind some slow traffic on St. Charles, so Dave cut over to drive beside the traffic on the trolley tracks. We had to hold our helmets on our heads with one hand as we went over the bumps. We made it to the circle around the Robert E. Lee monument, and I tried to take pictures of us and the statue all the way around, most of which missed the mark (as the statue is way up high in the air). But we finally got a good one:

We drove back on the designated route along Howard Avenue, until we ran into construction and had to take a detour over to St. Joseph Street. Soon enough we were back to drop off our Cruiser. Too bad we weren't allowed to borrow that thing for the rest of the race, as it sure was faster and easier than running! We headed to the St. Louis Hotel, where everyone in the courtyard pointed out the way to the Robespier room for CP7. There were a couple of alligators on the ground, and we had to carry one of them a short ways, around a cone and back. I thought they were just large stuffed toys, but as we went to pick one up it suddenly swung its tail at me, so I almost accidentally stepped on it. Alrighty then, I guess they're not toys! Their mouths were tied shut, so there wasn't any real danger, so we picked it up and did the carry. I hope the gators weren't too annoyed at being handled by all of us racer folks that day. We don't have any pictures of us carrying the gator, so here's one of Jason and Rob doing it instead:

Time for a final sprint to the finish. Well, at this point my "sprint" was more like a dragging shuffle, but anyways. We got back on Bourbon Street and headed towards the Great Urban Race arch in the distance. Another of our ground support crew met us there and handed us the bottle of hot sauce for CP11, and then we crossed the line. In seventh place! Since only the top eight teams get to race in the finals race, that sure was close! Whew!

As they started checking our pictures to verify that they were good, we learned that they were indeed accepting just a picture of the chalk triangles puzzle, and that we didn't need to come up with an answer for the total number of triangles. So it turns out that we hadn't needed to ride the Cruisers after all... well, at least not for that reason. But we did have to ride the Cruisers to allow us to skip our bad photo at CP3, where we were holding up the wrong number of fingers with the "Martha a Market Customer"! So this turn of events led us to accidentally be in a position where we could undo (skip) our previous mistake. Talk about lucky!

Marcy and John had also made it into the Elite Eight, as they'd finished the morning race in first place. They'd been smart and caught a trolley down to Tulane first thing, which was certainly a lot better than running the whole way like we did. Our next team of Richard and Chris came heartbreakingly close to making it into the top eight as well, but they missed it by only about a minute and finished in tenth. And Art and Robyn were right behind them in twelfth. Well, at least we managed to get two of our teams into the finals. We headed off to eat and charge our phones, as we didn't have long before the second race would start.

The Afternoon Finals Race

Turns out that finding a place to eat in downtown New Orleans is hard, even with a car. We eventually settled on a McDonald's because we needed to eat something in the short time we had between races. And even in McDonald's they lock the restrooms so that non-customers can't use them. What is up with New Orleans not wanting people to use the bathroom, anyways? No wonder so many people wind up going on the street.

Anywho, since we bought some fast food, we thankfully didn't have to go on the street, and we made it back for the start of the final race ready to roll. Like last year, they put all eight of our teams in a van, and drove us to a mystery starting location. This time they didn't bother blindfolding us, or take away our cell phones, so we could figure out where we were going and update our crew. During the drive Joe the race director was nice enough to make a public request that any team doing the auto-dialing shenanigans please stop, as it was against the rules. (Thanks, Joe!) Either Joe's request worked, or the team that was attempting to thwart us didn't make the Elite Eight, because we didn't get any more interference calls during the second race.

The van dropped us off in City Park. We'd been told the race had a hard cutoff of 4pm, and finishing after that time would result in disqualification. Wow, that was only about two and and half hours away... we'd have to watch the clock carefully. At the start we were all handed lego kits to assemble. And then... Go! Dave and I tore open the box, fished out the instructions, and got to work assembling our lego car. We quickly got in a groove and worked together quite well, doing much better at this than we had at last year's jigsaw puzzle opener test. Dave has kids and puts together legos with them all the time... in fact, he said that he'd assembled this exact car before! We were one of the first teams done, even beating Marcy and John at a puzzle for a change, and we received our first clue sheet:

We were standing by "Big Lake" already, but we weren't sure which way we needed to run around it to get to the boat house. Then we decided that the house we saw on the other side of the lake was probably the boat house in question (duh). So off we ran, skirting the edge of the water. Team Dos XX flew by us before we reached the boat area. Once on the dock, the staff handed us this murder mystery to solve:

Not our best picture of the day, but anyways, we had to figure out which of the six suspects were the murderer. We could immediately eliminate Jim Stevenson, as he was the victim. And since "The murderer weighs 190 pounds", and "Marty Davis weighs 170 pounds", we knew it wasn't Marty. Narrowing down the choices beyond that proved more difficult. I know how to do these types of puzzles, but solving them effectively requires drawing out a large grid to map out all the relationships between each of the person's characteristics in question, and we wanted to avoid taking that step if possible because drawing the grid itself would take a while. So I kept looking to see if there was any obvious combination of clues that could lead to the elimination of another suspect. Nothing seemed to work.

So, we had to decide whether to bite the bullet and draw the grid and solve the thing, or make a guess. If it was going to take us more than half an hour to solve, there was no point in solving it, as skipping it was only a 30 minute penalty. And we knew we needed to finish the whole course in the next 150-odd minutes, and didn't even know what the rest of the course entailed. Plus, we'd narrowed it down to four suspects, and had two guesses, so we had a 50-50 shot of guessing right. All these factors pushed us to take a risk and guess. Our first guess was wrong. And... so was our second. D'oh! Well, I guess this would be our skip point, then. But at least we were moving again.

We hopped into the boat for CP3, which was a rowboat. Too bad it wasn't a canoe or a kayak, as we race in those things all the time. Turns out that paddling a rowboat is a completely different skillset. We tried paddling side by side, but that turned out to be even harder to coordinate than just doing it solo, so I moved to my own seat and let Dave paddle it by his lonesome. I told him which way to steer and tried to keep our paperwork dry. We noticed that almost all the other teams were now jumping in the boats as well, so it looked like nearly everyone was following the strategy of guessing on the murder mystery. Hmmm... I wonder if this 50-50 guess will make the difference in who wins this race?

We rounded the fountain and headed back, doing our best to avoid the oncoming boat traffic. We've dodged car traffic, and foot traffic, and even other kinds of boat traffic before, but the dodging of rowboat traffic was a new one for us. Back at the dock, we tied our boat off and received the next set of clues:

We were about to send in these clues through the phone, but then Chris informed us that our support crew had arrived so we ran to the parking lot to confer with them. We scanned the clues to see if any of them were obviously in City Park, but it didn't look like it. At first glance everything seemed to be back in the French Quarter, downtown, or southwest of there. So we decided we needed to get heading that way. We ran out of City Park to the southeast corner, and saw a trolley sitting at the corner. Holy cow... we need to catch that trolley! We sprinted down the road, along with Jeff and Julie from our support crew, and we just managed to catch it before it took off again. Marcy and John made it into the trolley as well. Whew, what a catch!

Now we had a chance to analyze the clues while still moving in what was hopefully the right direction. The trolley went down Carrolton Avenue before turning onto Canal Street to the French Quarter. We knew that the Molly Marine (CP7) was on Elk Street, so if no other solved clues turned out to be closer along the trolley route, that's where we'd get off. And none were, so that's what happened... our two teams, along with another team, got out at Elk. The clue said that we all had to be actually touching the Molly Marine statue, but it was behind a locked fence. All three of us teams saw this and immediately agreed that it would be incredibly disrespectful to the memorial to jump the fence, and that's probably not what the race directors had really intended for us to do here, so we instead just took a picture with us touching the fence around Molly. And fortunately, Dave does know how many fingers make up a "peace sign":

Chris had a couple of options for where we could go next. Dave knew exactly where the statue was for CP12, so that was good enough to make the decision for us, and we ran down Canal Street towards it. We remembered to read the clue sheet to learn the exact pose we had to be in for the picture, and since the pose kind of needed both of our hands it was time to ask another stranger to help us take the shot:

Back to Magazine Street towards Harkins the Florist (CP11). Marcy and John were just exiting the shop when we arrived (they'd come here first instead of CP12). We went inside and tried to find the fake flower along with another team. The other team found it first, and then we learned that that was the last plastic flower in there, so we had to exit the cooler while the staff re-hid another fake flower for us. I wasn't sure exactly how we'd identify the target flower, but we kept pulling out different ones and looking at the bottom of the stems, and it turns out it was obvious when you saw the bottom stem of the fake flower. So, one more test done.

Our crew had managed to solve the very difficult clue for CP6 (Duke Morgan Ltd. The Spa), so we continued on Magazine towards the smell test. We arrived at Duke Morgan's, and there were five different vials of scents that we had to identify. We all gave them a whiff, and circled our best guesses for each. And wouldn't you know it, we were lucky enough to get all five correct on our first try.

Incidentally, I'm not a huge fan of the format for this clue. Here's why: It was a difficult clue to solve, and its location was out of the way. If your team happened to be smart enough to solve it, and you took the effort to run all the way to it, you could still wind up with no credit for the clue simply because your sense of smell wasn't good enough. If you guessed wrong on the smells, you would be effectively punished for attempting this clue, as compared to a team that just skipped this clue altogether, as in both cases you'd have a 30 minute penalty (but attempting the clue means you'd have run farther). A more reasonable way to structure this clue, in my opinion, is to give teams full credit just for solving/reaching the clue (by taking a picture of the location, as normal), and then perhaps giving a small bonus (much less than 30 minutes!) to teams that guess the smells correctly.

We continued down Magazine towards our next destination, which would involve eating a pie. This point was so out of the way that we weren't even sure we could get there and back in less time than we'd receive as a penalty for skipping it. But since we already had used up our skip point on the bad Murder Mystery guess, we figured we needed to get really lucky and hope to catch a well timed trolley on the way back to have any chance of winning this race. So we kept on going.

And lucky us... a bus came along on Magazine! Our first bus of the day (as opposed to a trolley). We happily climbed aboard, and the card reader promptly ate one of our all-day bus passes. Apparently, the driver wasn't empowered to simply print another one for us, so he kept fiddling with the machine, trying to get it to return our pass. We eventually told him not to worry about it, as we'd just buy another pass, as we were much more concerned with time than we were with money. But the race gods must have heard us talk about our time concerns, because at that point the bus promptly went out of service. Ok, so all we had to do was get out of that bus and onto another, but it took a few minutes for everyone to transfer over. Did I mention that we always have bad luck with public transportation in these races?

Our new bus took us a bit past our destination of Tee-Eva's World Famous Pies and Pralines (CP10), so we had to run back to it. There we had to eat a sweet potato pie with our hands tied behind our back. Fortunately, the pie tasted quite excellent. Unfortunately, this wasn't some miniature pie that we could eat quickly, oh no, this was a Full Sized Pie. We got pie all over our faces as we dove in. One volunteer was nice enough to help by tying my hair back out of the way... thanks for that! It probably took us close to ten minutes to finish off the pie, but eventually we convinced the volunteers that we'd eaten enough to call the test "done".

By now we were pretty far away from the finish line at the French Quarter, so we knew we'd have to catch a trolley. Especially since I wasn't running very fast anymore. We got back on St. Charles Avenue and said "we might as well wait at the trolley stop, because if we don't catch a trolley there's no way we'll win if we have to run all the way back". Well, that lasted about five minutes, and then we changed our minds, saying, "well, as long as we're just standing here, we may as well slowly jog to the next trolley stop, just in case there's no trolley coming for a long time". And so we jogged, and jogged, and jogged, always looking back for a trolley, and never seeing one. We passed the cross street that led back to the earlier CP where we did the smells test. Another team ran up from that street, having done the smells but not the pie eating. They decided to wait for a trolley. We decided to keep on jogging. We glumly noted that our fears had been realized... it had taken us more than a half hour to travel to the pie point, eat the pie, and return back to where we'd begun. Which meant that it would have been smarter just to skip the pie and take the penalty. D'oh! (Or should that be... C'rust?!)

Chris kept encouraging us over the phone by periodically saying "Good news, guys! You're a little closer!" Surprisingly, it kind of helped. I kept asking Chris if Marcy and John (or anyone else) had won the race yet, as that meant we could stop running, but to my great dismay we were unfortunately still in the race.

In the end, we ran all the way back without seeing a single trolley. Or rather, we saw four trolleys going the other way, but none going our way. So it was a good thing that we decided to run instead of wait. The team that we left back at the stop that did wait eventually did catch a trolley, but they had no time left to do anything else other than dash to the finish line after that, so they missed out on the rest of the fun bits.

Finally back in the French Quarter, we headed towards The Beach on Bourbon for CP4. Here we had to ride a mechanical whale for seven seconds each. Dave jumped on the whale, and attempted to ride it the "right" way, sitting up and all that. He lasted less than two seconds before being thrown off. For his second attempt, he lay down on the whale and wrapped both his arms and legs around it, which worked a lot better, and he made it through. So now it was my turn, and I copied what I'd learned from watching Dave's ride, and wrapped my body around the whale. The whale was pretty slippery, though, so I promptly rolled from the top of the whale off to the side and underneath it, but I was still clinging on to it tightly. The whale tried to defeat me by bashing me into the mat on the floor, but I was not about to let go. At the seven second mark I released, and my legs cramped up as I tried to stand, and I undoubtedly looked ridiculous. But I'm going to go ahead and call myself "Ahab" anyways. Wait, did Ahab defeat the whale, or was it the other way around?

The whole riding the whale test was so funny, we wish we could show you video of it. Oh wait, Michelle was there with a camera, so I guess we can!

On to Bubba Gump Shrimp for CP5. Here we had to make 30 (!) paper boats, by folding a template properly. It wasn't too hard, but it was time consuming. Marcy and John were here making boats as well. Since they had guessed correctly on the Murder Mystery test, we were much more interested in getting them to the finish line first than us, as they had a much greater chance of winning the thing. We asked the volunteer running the test if we could give our boats to Marcy and John. He said that teams had to work on their own boats. We pointed out that teams were generally allowed to assist other teams in this event, and he said that that was fine and all, but he couldn't make an official ruling, so if we wanted to give our boats to Marcy and John he would have to leave it up to Joe to make a call on whether that was acceptable or not. Quite reasonable answers to our questions, we thought.

Marcy and John figured they probably had enough time to finish their boats and make it to the finish before the 4pm, so they were going to try and do that. If it turned out that they were running up against the deadline, then they would accept our boats and risk whatever ruling the race management made about it. Sounds like an optimal plan, so we kept cranking out boats.

As 4pm neared, Marcy and John did indeed finish their 30 boats on their own, and so they dashed out of there and headed for victory. Dave and I, on the other hand, still needed to get CP9, a picture of us either in a horse-drawn carriage, or with a street performer covered in silver. It didn't look like we'd finish making all our boats before 4pm, and another of our ground support crew knew of a silver street performer that was nearby, so we abandoned our boat crafting and headed out to find the silver man. But on the way, we happened to run into a horse-drawn carriage that was even closer, so we convinced the driver and riders to let us briefly jump aboard to get this picture for CP9:

We ran towards the finish line. We hadn't done CP8 yet, but ground support had already procured the record for us, so Richard handed us the 45 before we crossed. It turns out that Marcy and John had done CP8 on their own, without the help of our ground support folks, which is why we managed to almost catch up to them even though they had saved a bunch of time by skipping the pie eating point.

So our results were irrelevant, as we had skipped two points, and Marcy and John beat us to the finish line while only skipping one point. Several other teams had crossed the line before Marcy and John, but we knew they had all skipped at least two points each, so it was going to be a suspenseful finish. If Marcy and John finished within a half an hour of a team that had skipped an additional point, they'd be ahead of them. Did they finish in time? Were all their pictures good? And most importantly, did Dave and I still have bits of pie on our shirts?

And the answer to all those questions was... yes! Marcy and John were the only team to clear the final race with only one skip, and that was enough to give them the win! Which makes them the Great Urban Race Champions for the second year in a row! Great job, gang! We all had a lot of fun racing in the Great Urban Race series in 2009, and can't wait to do more of them in 2010!

And here's a final picture of Dave with his wife Michelle. We're so glad that she's understanding enough to let us keep doing these things, and that she comes along for the fun:

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