2013 PA Urban Sprint Race

2011.

Now that I got my disposable camera developed, I can finally tell how we earned this…

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The old gang of BA, KOD, and myself teamed up this year for the Urban Adventure race. It’d been 4 years since we’d raced together. Win Or Lose We Still Booze was ready! The race started at Triton Brewery, where we arrived to check in and get our maps and clue sheet. We received 5 maps and made quick work highlighting our projected course because I needed to “laminate” them before the gun went off. Major lesson learned from previous years using map cases. Waterproof map cases only work when they are fully shut. This time, I bought a bunch of contact paper and covered the maps back to back minimizing the number of things we needed to carry. It worked so amazingly well!

The maps we received started at checkpoint (CP) 5. We learned 5 minutes to the start that the first map will be given out after you retrieve a golf ball from a gravel pile with your team number on it about 50 yards away. BA lined up to start us off!

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They’re off!

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BA made quick work of that task and we got our first map that had 4 CPs on it around Ft. Ben. This part was on foot. We had to read signs, count bushes to solve the clues and earn our points. CP5-9 were over at Camp Belzer for a biking portion of the race. We got a bit caught up on CP5 and vowed not to follow the masses. This was our race.

We had to cross a river with our bikes to get to CP10 because the bridge was out and you would be disqualified if you took the bridge. People were pushing their bikes through the water. I’ve been to this rodeo before and just picked up my bike and carried it over. Much easier people!

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CP10-13 were clue based about light poles and boring stuff. But we made it fun by going off road for CP11. We rode to a dead end, fenced off with trees behind it. I spied a gate that had a house down the hill. There was also a gate at the front of the lot that was open. We decided on a straight line approach and high tailed it amid barking neighbor dogs through someone’s back yard/wooded area, across their driveway and out to the other side of the neighborhood. Then we hit another dead end that backed up to a fenced off golf course. With no gates in sight, we decided to stay on the roads. When we turned around 3 other teams were standing right there with us! They saw us sneak down through the first gate and followed suit. They opted to hop the golf fence, bikes in tow, to find CP11. Turned out the CP11 was not in the golf course, but on the street in the neighborhood. Phew. They had to have been pissed. But we were all smiles on our way to Broadripple!

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KOD, our navigator, blew by CP14. I remembered the map had us at the shopping center east of Keystone, so we got KOD’s attention and headed to Title Boxing. Here we had to do a series of burpees, punches and sit-ups to earn our point.

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CP15 was another clue, then we got to the canoe section for CP16-18! I bark the orders and let the boys do the heavy lifting.

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The White River is pretty nasty so we did our best to stay out of it, except when it’s the shortest distance to a CP. As I studied our next map, which was an orienteering section, 2 CPs were on the south shore and 4 on the north. I told the boys it was fastest for us to cross the river and go into the Art Center park. Otherwise we’d have to trek on the trail then up and over College Avenue. This was my home turf! I run this area all the time. They both asked if I’d crossed the river before. Uhhhh… no. But I said “YES, it’s fine!”

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They were on board! We killed this section and headed out in what we figured was 3rd place. Teams don’t have to get all the checkpoints, but if you want to win you do. So you really don’t have a gauge at how many points the teams in front of you even have. CP27 was a skills challenge at the Brip fire station where we each had to make a bag in the hole for Cornhole. CP28 was reading letters of a license plate parked at Boogie Burger. CP29 was another skills challenge of Frisbee golf. We each had to land a disc before leaving. It took me a little bit on this one.

CP30 brought us back to the nasty pond we had to swim across last year. This time, we got an inflatable canoe but no paddles.

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I took the front, KOD in the mid, and BA at the back. Sitting up straight and using our legs wasn’t working. I handed off the passport to KOD and apologized for the view he was about to receive. I straddled the canoe and laid my chest on the front so my arms could reach the pond to paddle us along. Like the song says, face down ass up! Massive hip stretch for me for the rest of the day.

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We had 1 more clue CP to get before hightailing it back to Triton to get started on loop #2.

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We checked in at Triton for our second map, and learned we were in first place! We had under 2 hours left to find the last 32-37 CPs. Every minute you are late to the cutoff time (2 pm), you lose a point. I was strategically plotting our turnaround point to ensure we weren’t even a second late. CP32 was at a house near Ft. Ben. We walked up to the porch to find this.

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I said “Move over boys. I got this.” I grew up with a red plastic version of this puzzle at the lake. I have probably done it over a 1,000 times. But not since I was a teenager. The pieces make a 3 dimensional cube 3x3x3. Some how I remember one corner piece and started working. Try #1 showed me exactly where I was off at the top. Try #2, Done! 31 seconds. The volunteer at the CP was timing me. Before I could take a picture of it, BA goes “Knock it down so no one sees it!” No one was even there! Not sure if I could ever do it that fast again!

CP33 stumped us. We thought it was at the end of a cul de sac. It wasn’t. We talked to neighbors about where a dog park could be (that was part of our clue). No luck, so we backtracked to see if there were any entry points on the side of the road we missed. There was! But still no dog park items. After 20 minutes I called it quits and said we needed to move on. CP34 and 35 were clues again. Got those. CP36 seemed far away on the map and I didn’t want to chance something going really wrong (cramping, flat tires, etc) and ruin the excellent day we were having. The boys agreed so we headed back in. While riding back, I was studying that pesky CP33. As we passed an apartment complex up on a hill, I told the boys I wanted to ride up to see if anything stuck out about a dog park. We figured there must be a spot up the hill that had the clue. The hill looked really tall. We knew we had more CPs than any other team so we passed on CP33 again and headed in.

Upon arriving to the final check-in, which we thought was CP37, we learned CP37 was actually a block away. We still had 24 minutes to spare, so we kept on moving! CP37 had all 3 of us on the same foot planks with a rope handle, moving in tandem, walking a triangle shaped course. If one of us fell off, we had to start over. I became a drill sergeant and started “Left. Right. Left. Right.” to keep us on track. The last leg of the triangle, you had to walk backwards together. Not technical but lots of coordination!

Finally, after 45 miles and 5 hours and 39 minutes, we turned in our passport to finish the race.

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After they tallied the scores, we awaited the results.

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This picture is ironic now. I’m scratching my leg. I made a joke at one point during the race that I’ll wash off with White River water to get rid of any poison ivy I may have picked up. Well, I picked it up bad on my left leg.

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Turned out along with our 1st place prize for the Co-ed Division, we got anti-itch cream. They must have known this would happen!

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The race director published the results showing us 4th overall with 33 CPs completed. There isn’t an award for overall, but we counted us at 35. Pride was on the line here! I asked him to re-look at our passport. He did and agreed with our total, so the bragging rights are with Win Or Lose We Still Booze – for winning the 2013 Planet Adventure Urban Sprint race!

Click here for other racer photos.

Here’s the GPS map of the full course.

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Post race thoughts: We ran a nearly perfect race. The route wasn’t very technical but very easy to navigate. Poison ivy sucks. I wish they had more skills challenges but I recognize those take a lot of coordination with volunteers and getting the gear. My teammates rock. I’ll be back again next year!

Throwback moment… in 2012, I wasn’t able to participate in the real race, but the race director is my friend and said I could join him on his practice day. As the director he requires himself to do the whole course so he knows what the participants are faced with. Here’s the video I shot during practice! He wouldn’t let me release it prior to race day. No secrets can be revealed on these events!

  • KOD

    I got poison ivy too! But i thought it may have been from hacking my way through the woods the next day looking for my wayward golf balls…

  • nataleejean

    The cream shit they gave us for winning had an 8 step application process. I went old school with pink calamine lotion. My leg finally looks like I don’t have the HIV.