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Urban Dare Austin

March 22, 2008
By David Bogle - Team Vignette

Well, this was my first attempt at being on the "ground" and running an Urban Dare type of race. I have been on the phone a few times supporting other teams. The race started at Auditorium Shores in downtown Austin Texas, and my teammate was Kipley Fiebig. My family was with me hanging around at the start which was nice as it was a very nice day outside and the kids enjoyed running around the park and taking a few pictures of their own. Urban Dare is a race where you have to solve clues and then go to the location that the clue points to. Once there, typically you have to take a picture of yourself at the location showing both racers and the location. At some locations, there are "Dares" that must be completed before moving on.

At noon, the race director had us move into a starting grid to answer trivia questions so the race could begin. There were 80 teams of two at the starting line, so the grid was full. We started in square D. The director called out trivia questions and we had to move to square A, B, C, or D based on the correct answer. We did not know the first answer, but most folks moved into D, so we stayed there and were correct, so we were off on the race along with about 90% of the other teams. We got our clue sheet and started calling in the clues to our support crew. We were working with another team, Tom and Spencer, who decided to start walking north as we read some more clues in. We were not sure where to go yet. Our support crew solved one of the clues which was up on the UT campus, which was a long way north, but we did not have any other clues solved. For this race, we were allowed to visit the clues in any order, except for the finish line which had to be visited last. We headed off north and quickly passed many of the teams that had started moving before us. Kip and I were running pretty well and heading mostly uphill away from the river. It was a gamble heading so far north so soon, as we were sure there must have been some clue locations down south, but we didn't feel like waiting any longer. Along the way, our support crew called to say they'd solved a clue that was closer, so they rerouted us to the State Capital.

Clue 6 - The Boy Scouts dedicated a statue to the state of Texas. Get your picture with it.

On the Capital grounds there is a replica of the Statue of Liberty. This was a bit funny as we did a training workout in Austin a couple weekends prior and visited this statue as part of that workout. We jumped in front of a bunch of tourists riding Segways to snag our photo, and then we were off again. One clue down, only eleven more to go.

Clue 1 - Get your picture with the first statue of a Latino on the UT campus.

From here we headed north to the UT campus. Jason (our phone support person), directed us right too it. A very surprised person sitting on the statue was a bit bewildered by us running up taking a picture, then running away.

Clue 8 - UT's mascot sells books by the community college. Get your picture there.

From here, we headed south quite a few blocks to get a picture at "The Bevo" book store on the community college campus. No problem at all.

Clue 10 - Go to the Greening WAR FILM (TWO WORD JUMBLE). If we are in bull market, get your picture with the bull. If not, get your picture with the eagle. 2:00 minute penalty for the wrong pic.

From the Bevo, we headed back North again to Greening Law Firm. It certainly was not the optimal route, but our clue solvers can only solve things so fast, so we either have to wait until all clues are solved and run the shortest route, or just go and hope that the order doesn't turn out to be too horrible. We were still running well, so we just kept moving. This clue's solution was at a law firm that had an eagle and a bull in front of it, we had to get a picture with the Eagle, no problem, we got it and were off running again.

Clue 7 - Go to the first sibling rivalry's place for your double dare.

The next location had two dares for us to complete. We arrived at Cain and Abel's restaurant to find we had to win 3 games of Connect Four against a race volunteer, and also consume 2 burgers before moving on. Kip sat down and started playing, so I did what I do best and ate a burger. Kip grabbed a burger and multi-tasked - eating and playing. It did not take too long for him to win his 3 games. Both burgers gone, we were off once again.

Clue 3 - Napoleon would have hated Austin, too many places with a foreboding name for him. Go to the park with this name and get your picture with a sculpture of the man known as the Liberator of Mexico and do your soccer dare.

The solution to the next clue had us head over to Waterloo park. We arrived and one of us had to dribble a soccer ball through a set of cones and shoot a goal. I picked that one due to my unique qualification of playing soccer 20+ years ago in high school. That must make me an expert! Well, it was not tough so I got it done, and Kip found the correct statue in the park, so we got that picture and were off running again. These races are very odd in that you simply never know where you are at relative to other teams as we can get clues in any order. The volunteers have no idea what order we are doing things in. The volunteers at this clue actually commented that we must be lost as we were coming from a different direction than the other teams. Up until this point, we had only seen a couple of other teams, so around here we started running into more teams. OK, off running again.

Clue 9 - Next to the restaurant named for the capital of the largest Caribbean island you'll find your water dare.

At this location we had to do a dare, which was to fill a small tub with water, from the creek which was about 15' below us. To do this, we were given a bucket on a string. The task seemed simple, drop the bucket over the side, fill it up, and dump the water. Well, the bucket was so lightweight that floated on the water, making it hard to fill. We swung it on the string to get it to work and got out of there after a few minutes.

Clue 2 - Get your picture with the item shown here:

The solution to the next clue was to get a picture with the apple outside of Forbidden Fruit. We were now back downtown on 6th street and there were lots of teams buzzing around. We got our picture and were off again.

Clue 5 - Roman Math Time: GO TO (CXLIII TIMES V) WEST (MCDXXXIV DIVIDED BY CCXXXIX)TH STREET, where your aim must be true on this dare.

Now it was off to the other end of 6th Street to complete the next dare. Once at Mother Egan's, we were told we had to throw a bulls eye on a dart board. Ugh, we talked about this before the race, as it turns out that neither of us are any good at darts. It took about 5 minutes, then I got lucky and hit the bulls eye. There were some rather amused patrons at this establishment that had a good time watching all of us crazy folks come and go. At least since we went north first, we did not run into any bottlenecks. With eighty teams racing, I am sure some folks had to wait in line for some of the dares. Done with the darts, we were out and back running. There was a bonus clue that was worth 4 minutes off your time. Our support crew thought the answer might be at Whole Foods, which was a couple of blocks out of the way. Tom and Spencer saw us as we were running and said that they'd been to Whole Foods, and had not found the bonus item. It was going to take us a couple of minutes to run there anyway, so we felt it was not worth it for the small bonus (especially if it wasn't there!).

Clue 11 - The Pillar of Autumn is this class of cruiser, get your picture at this coffee house.

The next checkpoint was Halcyon, back east on 6th street. This was another location we had visited prior on our training workout. We go the picture and headed out again.

Clue 4 - Get your picture where Ratso Rizzo's roommate was first caught posing.

Good news, this was our last clue before the finish line. This one was definitely the hardest clue for teams to solve. Unfortunately, our crew was still not sure if they had this one solved correctly. Their best guess was Midnight Cowboy (an Oriental Massage Parlor). We headed over that way, and there were several teams taking pictures, so we figured we would get the photo, head to the finish line and hope it was correct. If not, we could always alert our other team and give them a chance to figure out the right answer.

We were on our way to the finish... when our support crew called us with more good news. They had solved the bonus question, and it was on our way to the finish line. That's the type of interruption we like to get!

4:00 Minute Bonus - Get your picture with this item:

We swung by Cedar Door and got a photo of the giant olives on the roof. Woohoo, a 4 minute bonus and it did not take any extra time to get it. It was now a sprint to the finish line.

Finish - the Thorpedo is an _____. Go to _____s for your final dare.

The finish line was at Aussie's Bar and Grill which was very close to the starting area of this race. We hustled across the Congress Avenue bridge to get there. At first glance we didn't see the race officials. A waiter told us we had to go out back. Sure enough, there they were, just hanging out. They told us we were the first team to arrive. We had to complete a final dare - Beer Pong!! I had not been in college for more than 15 years, and I don't recall playing beer pong while I was there. The goal is to throw three ping pong balls into three different cups filled with... water, sorry no beer this time. I started the dare and got two balls. We were still not sure if the Midnight Cowboy answer was correct, but we opted to finish the dare anyways, to verify our pictures. This would allow us to re-route our other team if needed. We finished the dare, and the race director looked over our pictures, and informed us that they were all correct. Yes! A couple minutes later, our other team of Tom and Spencer came running in, along with another team right on their heals. Uh, oh, this was going to be a close race for second. They both started the final challenge at the same time, but Tom and Spencer were able to finish first. They also had the bonus time picture, which the other team didn't have. But upon picture verification, there was a problem: Tom and Spencer had missed the water dare! They'd accidentally just taken a picture of the business instead of going around back to find the volunteers administering the dare. It's easy to make mistakes when you're running around in a confusing race such as this. Tom and Spencer had to head back out, and the team that ran in with them officially got second place. Tom and Spencer managed to return in time to get fifth place.

Tom and Spencer playing beer pong

"Checkpoint 13"... a random volleyball player at Aussie's

Our official time was 1:40 minutes including our bonus picture. A quick check on Google Maps certainly showed we did not take the optimal route, and it looks like we covered about ten miles during the race. But hey, that's how these things work... you're probably not going to win if you wait until you've solved all the clues to start running. A special thanks to our awesome support crew who figured everything out and guided us through the whole race!

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