Corporate Challenge 2012

Previously.

I had some help at work promoting the Corporate Challenge this year. That help resulted in over 90 employees signing up to participate or donate goods to earn our team points! Even with over 90 employees signing up, not 1 female entered the cycling competition. My team was left to me, sadly, filling that spot again this year. I requested the earliest start time possible because right afterward, I had to high tail it over to the volleyball courts 7 miles away for that event! For the cycling, I ended up 91st out of 104 people in our division. Finished in 22:46. Better than last year!

Volleyball had a round-robin tournament with single elimination to follow. We went 4-1 but we ended up seeded 5th in the bracket. Whatever. The tournament games were to 11. Really? Can’t we at least go to 15?! We made it to the semis only to get beat by Cummins. It was windy as shit, so that did affect our play. But I think they still would have beaten us. Regardless, 100 points earned for OneAmerica!

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For the main event day, I added 4 more events to my schedule. First up was golf. Again, no chicks signed up so I participated. We earned 77 points for our team!

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My first running event of the day was the 5k. I had been resting the hamstring all week, so I was ready to go as fast as I could for 3.1 miles. And I did. I ended up with an adult PR of 22:41! That beat my previous PR by over a minute! And I thought that I was awesome until I saw this picture that reminded me… the 62 year dude in red next to me got his sprint on at the end and beat me by 5 seconds.

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Frisbee came next where we earned a measly 36 points. The discs were lighter than our thrower was used to. We need to practice for next year and earn some hardware again! 

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I was laser focused to catch. Ignore the discs at my feet please.

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Final event was the 1/2 mile. I was not looking forward to it. Speed is not my thing as an adult. They lined all 49 of us (30-39 females) up to run at the same time?! They were breaking other groups into 2 heats. Not sure why we didn’t get the same treatment. It was a mob! I got out of the gate pretty well in the 6th spot overall.

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The key here is… not all these girls were in my division so I wasn’t technically competing against all of them for points. Just those in division 4. But you can’t tell who is in division 4 because their numbers are on the front of their shirts! So the goal remained to pass as many of them as I could. To help, I summoned up some BDHS track memories of my father. “COME ON!! PICK’EM OFF” he’d yell. Over and over. After the 1st 400 meters, I was in 4th.

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The chick in front me had a Cummins shirt on which meant, she was in my division. Crap! I have to get her now for sure. With 200 meters to go, a chick was creeping to pass me… oh no you won’t!

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Giving it all I got at the end… Nice face, I know.

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With about 100 meters to go, I passed the girl from Cummins to place 3rd overall so at least I knew I had got some significant points for us and a little award for myself. Turned out I got 2nd in my division to earn 94 points. 

Finally it was time to relax with some Mascot photos!

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My new boyfriend.

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The biggest turtle I have ever caught!

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End result of all my teammates hard work over 2 weekends was an astonishing FIRST PLACE finish in our Industry and SECOND PLACE finish in our Division!! I knew we did well, but I was not expecting that well! Everyone did an amazing job! Finally after 6 years of organizing a team for the companies I work for, I get to bring home a big trophy for us!

Cross Training

Took the J’s for a ride over to the 100 acres park. Living just 5 miles away, I wanted to introduce them to the canal tow path and show them some more nature trails in our metropolis.

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It’d be quite a while since I’d been there. A few new exhibits were around. There is a huge tree shaped swing set for the kids. This human trap was interesting, including a small one to the side for the vermin.

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Now that I look at this photo, I should have put my shoe or something in it to give a bit of perspective on how big this leaf was. Easily bigger than both of my hands.

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Even spotted some interesting wildlife on the ride!

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It was a good 10 mile 1 hour outing/workout with friends!

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Corporate Challenge 2011

2010 Part 1 & 2010 Part 2

Yeah… I wore the Captain hat again. Sometimes I can’t say “no” to volunteering. Organized my company’s Corporate Challenge team again this year. Slow and low turnout again for sign ups. I have to figure out a better way to promote this so I don’t have to play the role of proxy participant at events I’m no good at. Speaking of… First up, cycling time trials.

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I’d never raced this course before and probably hadn’t had my bike out since… oh… last year for this race. I really can’t remember the last time I rode it. So, my goal was under 4 minute mile pace. I hit that goal and finished the 6 mile course in 23:10, but didn’t score too well for my team in 93rd out of 99 places. Awesome.

2 days prior to the main event, our star runner was injured. Shit. This dude helped us rake in 600 points last year. Found a solid replacement for him hoping we’d still make a run at it. At the main event, I was scheduled to run the age group 5k and 1/2 mile in the female category. I medaled in those last year and was selfishly looking forward to some more bling. Friday night around 8pm, the night before the event, I found out that one of our other 5 mile competitors was sick. Shit. I didn’t have anyone’s cell to call as a back up. Only option, I was on deck to run the 5 mile now. Cue my own sickness episode. WTF? My stomach started turning over. And over. And over. Repeat 4 more time before I left the house at 6:30am. I was empty but walked out the door preparing to become a full fledged member of Team Shart.   

At 7:45am, I started the 5 mile slow because I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. Would I cramp? Would I shit myself? Would I pass out? I decided to stop worrying and just run. So half way I grabbed some water then started picking it up a bit because everything seemed to be settled down. I felt light, probably 4 pounds light actually. The scoring is cross country style so at mile 4 I decided to pick off each runner in front me until I crossed the line. 41:44, 8:20 pace. Not bad for (A) not training surprise and (B) not shitting myself.

Next event for me was golf chipping. Even though I’ve been playing golf, I suck at chipping. No females signed up for this, so we were left with me again as proxy. I rounded up my teammates and we headed over to shoot at targets about 30 yards away. With the early morning stomach issues, I didn’t think to bring my own club to use. I opted for a very lofty wedge from my teammate. Bad choice. I scored 0 points.

We had to wait awhile at the golf chipping for our turn, so right after my last chip, I jogged up to the start of the 5k at 9am with about 30 seconds to rest. I found a fellow teammate in the crowd and started out with her. After about 1 minute, I wanted this run over, so I said “Good luck, I’m going to see if I can go kill myself.” This time I ran 7:57 pace and finished in 24:40. Not sure how I did that other than determination. Preliminary results show I got 2nd in our division, so I should get some bling for that, but since I can only compete in 2 competitive events, I had to give up my shot at 1/2 mile. Darn. Some of my fellow teammates!

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I was very happy to be done with my running events of the day and got back to my Captain duties of getting everyone to their events, including myself for Cornhole and Frisbee toss. My team medalled in both of these last year but fell way short this year. Boo. Everyone seemed to have a great time, so it was a good reminder that this event is not just about competition but about team building with your co-workers.

Now you may think this next event was my idea, but it was not. It shows there is some brilliant mind out there with great ideas. You see, one of the events for companies to participate in is a Tug-of-war. Its very entertaining watching grown ups engage in Tug-of-war. What’s even better? Mascot tug-of-war!!!!! Getting their pre-game instructions.

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There were lots of mascots at the event, and 8 of them participated in the TOW. I was front row for the action.

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Blue from Butler, Firehawk, Firepup and Vincent Bear beat Chase the blue dog, the Lemurs, and Jinx.  

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Had to get some photos with the winners!

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And a loser but a cutie!

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2011 Urban Adventure Race

2010. 2009. Fresh and ready to race!

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Team Win or Lose, We Still Booze welcomed a new member for this year’s Urban race, Mr. T-Back. I rounded up the crew at 6:45am and we headed over to George Washington park to set off for our 6 hour adventure. The gear list this year didn’t have anything abnormal, so just the usual bikes, gloves, harness etc.

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We got our pre-race instructions from the race director and course designer, Jay. Let the course plotting begin!

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T.Back was instrumental in creating a new look for our shirts this year. Those faces look familiar?

Jay always like to start the race off with a bang, so this year’s twist was 3 volunteers each holding up a map with the first 3 checkpoints (CP) on them at 8am (really 1a, 1b, 1c). We could either memorize the map or draw it, then take off on our way.  At each of the first 3 checkpoints we were to get an envelope full of letters, then return to base camp to unscramble the words before heading off to checkpoint #2. BA blazing a trail…

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T.Back with some of our competition.

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Unfortunately, we lost about 6 minutes in this first leg. We took a wrong turn trying to find the 3rd envelope. Had to go back and look at the map again. Urg. In an attempt to make up this time, we decided we knew the answer to CP2 and did not really have to go where the map told us. The instruction sheet wanted us to ride up the Monon to about 52nd and find a mural on the wall and write down what the little boy was looking at in the water.  With BA and T.Back being avid Monon users, they were 76% sure the answer was a frog. Fine by me. It was only worth 1 point, and we needed the make-up time. I wrote down “frog” and off we went to CP3… Gate 18 at the State Fair.

When we arrived to the gate, we were given a map of the fair that had 7 CPs on it. (3a, 3b…3g) First stop, the grandstands. We had to run up and down all the stairs. Every year, there is a stair section in this race, so I was not surprised. We only saw 1 team ahead of us at this point but had 1 right on our tails.

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After the stairs, 3b had us throwing a ping pong ball in a cup, then we had to do whatever was listed at the bottom of the cup. T.Back and I got 20 situps. BA had 20 squats. 

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At 3c, we each had to get a cornhole bag in the hole for 3 points. 3d: find a flag in the piggie barn, 3e: move a barrel of hay (Took us a good 4 minutes to find this spot. Seemed to elude a lot of teams even with T.Back yelling “Anyone here with the Adventure Race?  Anyone?”), 3f: find the paddlefish exhibit, 3g: hit a midway game… or .. run a 200 meter lap in the midway. This came down to a time decision. The midway game was the long basketball hoop shot. It appeared to take teams awhile, so we did the lap and headed to 3h. 3h CP according to the map was ON the Pepsi Coliseum Building. We ran high and low, in and around, over and under if we could. Turns out, I saw some kids waving at us by the Dairy food hut ACROSS the street from the Coliseum. Urg. Lost probably 9 minutes trying to find it.  Here we had to eat 1/2 a grilled cheese sandwich and drink a glass of chocolate milk.  I took 1 bite, and quickly passed it to the boys to finish. I promised them I would milk a cow, birth a piglet… whatever the fair asked me to do except eat. That was all on them.

Exit the fair and hit CP4, northeast of the fair at a canoe drop-in point for Fall Creek. Here we had to canoe up river, drop the canoe then swim or wade up to CP5 hanging off a bridge. This was probably the most exhausting task because the water was neck high at some points. You have your PFD and shoes on weighing you down. And it stunk. We got it done, headed back to CP4 to rejoin our bikes and head even farther NE to CP6, which told us to keep our PFDs. I opted to wear mine while the boys rigged theirs to hang off their packs.

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CP6 had us swimming across a nasty pond to get a flag punch as Doug and Tracy got to watch our stinky demise. Here, I started singing, “I hate Jay Newlin”. It was cleaner than the scum pond 2 years ago, but still very nasty.

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There was no good way in our out of the pond. I basically slid on my arse to get in and had T.Back pull me out.

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CP7 kept us going NE up to Skiles Test Nature Park where we received a new map at the very top of the steep hill with 5 CPs on it. Our clues gave us an idea where to look for the flags in the woods, such as “man-made structure”, “distinct tree”, “boulder”. The boys started taking off running. I was a bit slower at this point, but managed to find the inner-yell to remind them to check the map scale. It may look a mile away, but 2 inches on the map was about 400 meters. We fought through nettles and neck high weeds before getting to the more tame trail portions. My shins took a beating, but I think we made good work on this part and needed to head back to CP4 because it shared the same location as CP8. On the way there I commented to T.Back that he’d been here for close to 4 hours. If he didn’t have his own watch on, I think he thought I was lying.

At CP8 we could either zip line down to the river from the bridge, or swim across the river and back. This, again, was a timing decision. To get in the harness, wait in line, then unhook and get back on your bike… too long. So I ordered my troops into the river. Which I’m sure BA just loved me for since he hates to swim.  

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CP9 was next and it was back at base camp near 34th and Keystone. Upon arrival, we had to each throw a dart at 3 clowns on a dart board. If one of us hit a clown crotch or nose, the whole team passed. I have such good aim that I did hit the clown crotch, but it didn’t stick. Doh! Didn’t take too long anyway and we headed over to the car to regroup and regear.

What I haven’t mentioned yet is that after the canoe portion at CP4, BA, in a good faith gesture to helping get the canoe out, exited the canoe before the launch pad and ended up over his head in water. This in itself is not a big deal. The problem was, waterproof map cases (as I learned last year) are only waterproof when closed. Our clue sheet was ruined. I was hoping we could grab a new one at base camp, but no such luck. Using my MacGyver skills, I grabbed the roll of duct tape from my trunk and started peeling. We didn’t need the front side of the clue sheet anymore, so like a puzzle, we turned our soggy crumpled mess of paper into a silver backed-semi legible clue sheet and we were off. Really unfortunate part was we wasted 20 minutes getting back on the road. Goal of placing, gone.  

But we were still having fun, so we rolled over to CP10 at Douglas Park. Here we each had to toss a ring on an upright pole with X’s on them. Bouncing plastic off plastic was not easy. Next was CP11 at Crown Hill Cemetery, one of the highest points in our city. On our way there, I noticed my rear tire going flat. I figured I’d just motor through. Too much time loss to stop and change a tire at this point. (Bad decision)  We only had 6 more CPs to go. Here, we were to ride up to James Whitcomb Riley’s tomb to solve the clue. T-Back was killing it on the bike to this CP so I gave him the maps and said he needed to keep better spacing with us, but feel free to take the lead. After the crushing hill to CP11, the boys wanted to find the north exit of the Cemetery because we were now headed to Butler University. As they were trying to find their own way, I summoned the inner yell again “CHECK THE F’IN MAP”. There were only 2 entrances and we didn’t need to waste anymore time or energy finding them. T.Back offered to switch me bikes at this point in an effort to keep me up with them. We got back on track and headed to Butler to find some words near the stadium steps then quickly off to CP13. At CP13, we had to shoot a 3-can pyramid down with a be-be gun. I had never shot anything but a water gun before, so I was way off. BA wasn’t much better, so T.Back single-handedly finished this one for us.  

At this point, we had 45 minutes left and learned that the next CP was a foot-race ropes course that easily took 30 minutes. This would put us way past cut off time to returning to base camp. We opted to skip all of CP14, go directly to hit CP15 a flag punch near main Broadripple then CP16 at Upland Brewery. Upon arrival at the Brewery, T.Back and BAs lovely ladies met us with a full pint of beer. BA looks as SS and goes “I have to drink this whole thing?!” No, she was just being nice and giving him a whole beer when we only needed a shots worth. I grabbed it, poured 3 shots and yelled, “Down them and lets go!” We were cutting it way too close.

T.Back’s bike exchange certainly helped me but left  him stuck with the gimp bike and ultimately we finished 4 minutes late after 42.7 miles. Not good. But we had fun and that’s what really matters (kinda).

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The after party had awards, pop, pizza and BYOB. I indulged a bit.

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After chatting with a few of the award winners, we learned they decided to SKIP SEVERAL checkpoints?! That never crossed our minds until the end where we were against a wall after CP13. These teams decided mid-race it’d take too long to get somewhere. Shit, I would have skipped the damn canoe part! That was only 1 f’in CP for 30 minutes. I guess different styles for different racers. We were there to race the maximum amount of the course as laid out by the director. Here’s our marginal effort for the day…

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As always, lots of lessons learned.

1. No more map cases. Laminate sheets from now on.

2. Change the bike tire. Its worth the saved energy.

3. Skip checkpoints…maybe. Still not sure that’s the type of racer I want to be.

The final results aren’t up yet and I have my own pictures from the race that I’ll edit in for some more views of what we did. We are curious to see overall point wise how we did in comparison to those that merely finished on time.  

We’ll be back in 2012. Be aware.

Corporate Challenge Round 1

Me and my volunteerism offered to organize my company’s team for the ISC Corporate Challenge.  Basically I just need to get people to participate in some sporting events.  This year, very few females signed up, so instead of trying to annoy, badger and beg my lady co-workers, I took the easier route of just competing in all the unfilled spots myself.  

This past weekend hosted the first 2 events, cycling and bowling.  Neither of which I feel I excel at.  The cycling event was a 5 mile loop at eagle creek.  I showed up in my monkey feet and hybrid bike while the majority of the other riders were in their fancy spandex shirts, moose knuckle biker shorts and clipped in. I screamed amateur but didn’t care. As long as I didn’t finish last I was going to consider it a success.  I marched up for my start time and the race director asks me if I’ve done the course before. Nope. His words.. Well let’s keep it low key today.  The course was a little wet so they were nervous of people falling.  Towards the end, I did get passed by 3 dudes but managed to catch the guy in front of me.  Happy to report a 18:16 time and not a last place finish. Our overall team placed 5th!  I packed up to get home to change gears and head to the bowling event. 

Since my work just had a bowling event, I asked the team I was on then to sign up for this too.  It was Baker style and we sucked.  Basically, you bowl a whole game but only a frame at a time.  But again, a successful event to us was based on not being last.  Check out my form, or lack there of.

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In a total of my 10 frames, I did get 2 strikes and a few spares.  Solid enough effort.  Our team tied for 9th place overall.  Here’s our squad.

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The rest of the events are in 2 weeks.  I’m guessing I’ll probably have to fill in at least 5 events that day.  Someone else can wear the captain’s hat next year.

Girls On Top

My favorite race of the year took place this weekend, the Urban Adventure Race.  The past 2 years I’ve competed in the co-ed division, but both of my male teammates had a conflict this year.  I was lucky to find 2 girls, Karen and Mackenzie, that were willing to sign up and do this crazy thing with me.  And Mackenzie came up with a great team name, Girls on Top. We met up a week prior to give them a heads up as to what to expect.  I also warned them of my competitive nature and said that I will understand if they do not want to be my friends after this race.

I’m going to give a pretty detailed account so if anyone out there is thinking about trying this, you’ll know just what your getting into.  The race started and ended at the Rathskellar this year.  Check in was at 6:30 am.  We all arrived promptly at 7 am.  Women.  When you check in, you get your first look at the course for the day.  Usually, you have a few maps to show you the course but this year there was just one.  Which worked well since we had 3 map cases, so we used one for it, one for the instruction sheet and one for the passport.  Here’s the map. The triangle right of center is where we start and finish.

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You can see the circles with CP.  Those are all the checkpoints we had to go to for the race.  At each checkpoint, you do something and get your passport stamped or punched for a point.  Most points wins.  The passport is your ticket to showing you were at each checkpoint (CP). It’s crucial to finishing the race.  No passport at the end = DQ. It was Mackenzie’s job to babysit the passport. Our almost completed passport.  More on that later.

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The instruction sheet gives you a clue as to what you will be doing at each CP. This was Karen’s job for the day. I was the navigator, so I was in charge of the map.  We each had our duties and got busy plotting our course.

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We had our pre race briefing at 7:50 am to get some final instructions.

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Pre-race photo op

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So here’s what we did…

CP1-5 On Foot

For this section we could get to the CPs in any order.  We chose to do the hardest one first, a 25 floor stair climb.  Figured it was best to get it out of the way and done with fresh legs.  There was no elevator down, so make the 50 flights.  The next 4 CPs consisted of getting to a building and finding some number on a plaque, brick or engraving to prove you were there.  We visited the Capitol building, USS Indianpolis Memorial, Scottish Rite Cathedral and Benjamin Harrison school.  Our instructions told us to head back to the Rathskellar to get our bikes and head out to the next section.  I didn’t get much bathroom time before the race, so I was very happy to make it back to some restrooms or I would have become a full fledged member of Team Shart.

CP6-10 On Bike

CP6 was at a park for a special challenge.  You had to spin around with a bat on your chin 12 times then put a tennis ball in a tube about 10 yards away.  I figured out it was best to side hop my way to the tube to avoid face planting in the grass. 

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We made quick work of it and headed to CP7 where we had to indentify the color of a slide in another park.  CP8 involved some javelin throwing.  2 of us had to make it into a hoop before proceeding on.  CP9 had us biking to a restaurant to find a sign on the door and write some words on our passport.  CP10 was a check in to drop off our bikes and head back out on foot. 

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The map showed the next checkpoints along the river to the north so some teams stayed on the dirt path and followed it around.  Not us.  Straight line is faster.  We ran through the apartments and Wishard’s campus to hit the next CPs in any order we wanted.  The punches were on orange flags hanging from a tree or a bridge.  Someone was kind enough to leave this one on the bridge.  After I punched in, I threw it back over so the next team would have to take time to pull it back up.  Hey, it’s a race!

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During this section, we also hooked on a rope line through the woods using a carabiner and runner.  Nothing too technical, just annoying getting smacked in the face with sticks and branches.

CP15-16 In Canoe

We made our way back to our bike drop off and grabbed a canoe, paddles and PFDs (life vests) and hit the water.  We all got in and promptly tipped over.  And let me tell you, waterproof map cases work great when they are shut.  Karen was the only wise one with hers closed.   The passport wasn’t too bad but the map was ruined and barely legible.  Good thing was we only had a few more CPs to go and they were at locations mentioned on the instruction sheet so it wasn’t that necessary anymore.  CP15 had us repelling off the Washington Street bridge into the White River.  Some generous friends had loaned me their climbing gear so we didn’t have to wait in line like other teams and borrow gear from the event organizers.  This was key to getting this CP done quick.  We only had 1 ATC and carabiner, so I went first then ran them back over to Mackenzie to go next.  Once Mackenzie was done, repeat the process and run it over to Karen.

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Mackenzie’s in the middle coming down.

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Karen’s on the ropes on the right.

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I was a bit worn out and didn’t realize I had put my helmet on backwards.  Thanks for the heads up Mackenzie.

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We ran back to our canoes and paddled our way to a CP for a punch, then we were back to biking around for our final CPs of section 1.

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CP17-21 On Bike

CP17 was an engraved phrase on the Riverwalk Promenade.  CP18 was back where the repelling happened but not at all repelling related.  If you watch Minute to Win it, you’ll know this task as Face the Cookie.  You put a Oreo on your forehead and have to get it into your mouth without using your hands.  Try it!  We all had to try but only 2 of us had to be successful.  After 4 tries, I got it!

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Karen got it too!

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CP19 brought us to the Medal of Honor memorial where we had to find 12 different names among hundreds and write down their middle initials.  The initials were a decipher that lead us to our real checkpoint at Victory Field.  The punch was on a tree, behind the stadium, behind the dumpster.  Nice.

CP20 was at Jillian’s where we headed to the 2nd floor to play a game of skee ball before leaving to our last checkpoint.

CP21 took place at Indy’s newest beer maker, Sun King Brewery.  Since an ID was not on the mandatory gear list, I didn’t have one.  Neither did Mackenzie.  And Karen wasn’t interested so we pounded some shots of water instead and headed back to the Rathskellar to finish section 1.

At this point, teams could continue on to section 2 of the course if they wanted.  But this is where the strategy weighs in.  For every minute you are past the cut off time of 2 pm, you lose a point.  You can see where it’s not worth going for a point if you are going to be 10 minutes late because of it.

We had 90 mintues left before cut off, so we decided to push on and see if we could get some more CPs.  We grabbed our next map and instructions that covered CP22-30.

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CP22 On Bike

CP22 was at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.  I kept an eye on how long it took us to get there because we wanted to be sure to have a cushion and not be pushing it right to 2 pm.  Using the canal tow path, it took us 35 minutes to bike to the IMA!  Good lord!  Subtract 45 minutes to get back, and we were left with 10 minutes to run around the IMA and get some points.  Once we arrived, we received another map showing where the CPs were.  Luckily I was just at the 100 acre park and knew the terrain. 

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CP23-26 On Foot

CP23 was up near the Lily house and we had to count the trees around the fountain.  CP24 was in the rock structure and we had to indicate which corner of the wall had an alcove.  Those 2 CPs ate up our 10 minutes so we headed back to our bikes to make the long trek back to downtown and the finish line. 

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We took a different route back at 10th street and biked into the finish with 9 minutes to spare. Phew!  In total, we covered 24 CPs over 34.5 miles in 5 hours and 51 minutes.  I quickly guzzled 5 glasses of water as I dried out my camelback at CP 19 and didn’t feel like stopping to fill up!  Teams were flying in from all directions at this point. It was chaos, so I took all my gear to the car, changed and was headed back for the awards and to see how my team did. When I got back, Karen nonchantly says “We won the all female division but since you both weren’t here they said to come up and get our award and picture at the end.” I finally won something and I didn’t even get the joy of hearing it myself! Urgggg! But still awesome!

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Everyone got a $10 meal voucher, so we fueled up and hung out in the sun for a bit. I enjoyed the sodas more than the food.

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Thanks to Jay and Monty and all the volunteers for putting on a great race!  Sorry I only see you once a year now that we don’t work together!

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Thanks to Karen and Mackenzie for joining in on the fun!  I don’t think I was too out of control or pushy since they are already planning our next event in October!  I think I got these girls hooked and we’ll be back to defend our title next year!  GIRLS ON TOP!

A look at where we went all day long…

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Race Across The Sky

I think anyone that knows me, knows my love of Colorado. So I tried to drum up some fanfare for a movie tonight about a little city known as Leadville and the big races it produces. Kristin’s the only one that joined me probably because everyone else looked at the running time of 205 minutes!  Holy crap, but it is worth it.  This is an exclusive screening across the USA at once.  Pretty cool to think some people I’ve met in my travels out west will all be watching at the same time.

I took part in the Leadville Half Marathon this year while my Bro raced in the full marathon. In addition to those, Leadville hosts a 50 miler, a 100 miler and a 100 mile bike ride. Brandon is nuts enough to have competed in the 50 and will compete in the 100 next year. There are even crazier people that enter all 5 LT100 race events, Trail Marathon, Silver Rush 50, LT100 Mountain Bike, LT100 10K, and the LT100 Run, within a racing season and finish each within designated qualifying times and you’re get to call yourself a Leadman or Leadwoman and get a large belt buckle. 282.4 miles for that?  No thanks, I choose to live the bike race out on the big screen.

So, yes we are at a movie, but at the same time, it’s epic to be watching with others across the US.  I shed some tears, did some clapping.  Kristin looked at me in digust, “Are you crying?!”  Shut up!  I finished the evening with a loud “Ewe-ewe” responded by a single “ewe-ewe” and applauded.   This city doesn’t get what I need.  I was curious to know how many in attendence actually have been to Leadville.  We know Lance Armstrong has.  He was fresh off the tour, uniball and all, he achieved stellar competition.  And he finished on a flat tire. He’s just that awesome!

2009 Urban (my ass) Adventure Race

The big day finally arrived!  Last year’s Urban race was awesome so I was really looking forward to this one.  For those that don’t know, an adventure race consists of orienteering through woods, canoeing, running, and biking.  You get a series of maps, all different scales, with checkpoint locations on them.  You have to race in numerical order and get punches on a passport that proves you were at every spot.  An Urban race is on city streets and has the same concept but the passport includes tasks at each checkpoint that you have to complete in order to move on.  I call it “The Amazing Race” in one day.  Last year was my first year competing.  We cargo-netted 2 stories down and up into the White River, repelled off a building, jumped off the IUPUI 10 meter platform, ran in the storm sewers under downtown Indy, ran all the stairs at the U of I gymnasium… I could go on.  We ended up 4th in our division and finished the whole race.  We were looking to improve on that this year!

I was like a little kid at Christmas trying to sleep Friday night.  I managed to get some shut eye around 1:30am, but was up at 4:30am to head over to Kevin’s to get the tow system hooked up on my bike.  In this race, it’s legal to create a home-made tow system to use your strongest biker’s momentum to carry the rest of your team.  Last year, Kevin didn’t look like he even broke a sweat on the bike, so this year the engineer in him fashioned something out of PVC pipe, ski rope, carabiners and bungy cords.  It worked well and not so well at one point, but we’ll get to that later.  Here’s a shot of it.

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The next thing we decided to better than last year was get to the park on time.  Last year, we couldn’t find the damn place and got there with about 10 mintues to spare and didn’t have time to review the maps.  We only took 1 wrong turn on our way to Southwestway Park but arrived at 6:15 to check in.  We got our maps and started studying our course.  Got all of our gear organized, including the random straw, sugar packet and quarter we were each required to have.  I spent many hours contemplating what this stuff was for.  I was not going to snort sugar off a quarter with a straw.  I couldn’t manage to suction the sugar to the quarter using the straw.  And I tried to walk and balance them on the straw.  Was very interested to see what we needed this stuff for.  Here’s the team.

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Race started at 8 am and we were off to checkpoint 1.  The first 7 CPs were an orienteering section.  The instructions said, get 3 of the 6 and move on.  So we did.  We grabbed our bikes, PFDs and paddles and biked over to CP8 and found canoes waiting for us.  We had to drag the canoes down a hill into the river.  At some sections, the river wasn’t deep enough so we took turns dragging it down the shore until we got to a point we could paddle again.  Brian provided some comic relief at this point with a song that we had to repeat as he sang.

“I… wish all the ladies”

“Were holes in the road”

“Cuz if I was a dump truck”

“I’d fill’em with my load”

“I… wish all the ladies”

“Were bricks in a pile”

“Cuz if I was a mason”

“I’d lay’em all with style”

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We made our way up and down the river and were in 5th place at this point.  As we were headed out to CP10, one of the race organizers said that the advanced teams were suppose to get all 6 CPs from the beginning section.  WTF?!  Then put that on the instructions!  We had to go back there around CP26 anyway, so we decided we’d talk about it then.  More checkpoints = more points overall.  We hooked up the bike tow system and headed off.  It was working well until Kevin took a turn that my tow system didn’t like.  I was hooked to Brian and it kind of flung my bike in a big swoop.  I knew we had a problem, so I just calmly said “I’m going down boys, going down.”  I did my best to land in the grass, but my knee took a pretty good scrape.  No time to waste, so just get back up and move on!  First aid will have to wait.  Did break my front brake, so had to manage without that for the remaining 30 miles of the day.  We rode up to a house and were directed to the backyard.  There were 9 clear water bottles submerged in a pool.  We had to find 3 of them before moving on.  I had brought goggles with me, so I threw those on and walked into the pool, shoes and everything.  Made quick work of it and headed out.  There was a lemonade stand next store with a sign “A QUARTER”.  Really?!  This is what the sugar/straw/quarter was for?!  Cute but boring.  We each downed a glass and got some bonus points for figuring it out.  Next we headed to the golf course for a putting challenge.  It was kind of lame.

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Then we were off to another park for some more orienteering.  This time it was 2 of 4, so we got our 2 and moved on to take the lead in the race.  We found a lady standing in the middle of the road at CP18.  We were told to ride down this huge hill to the stop sign and back… twice.  WTF is urban about that?!  We completed the task and headed to Perry Meridian high school to find some volunteers at the track.  We each had to run 1/2 a lap before we could get our stamp.  Easy enough and on our way to CP20.  We arrived at a house with a nasty pond out back.  There were several inflatable canoes in the yard.  All 3 of us had to get in one and using a rope across the pond, pull ourselves to one side and back.  Brian got in, I followed and Kevin took the rear.  The rope had accumulated some scum and seaweed on it, so as we were whipping across it, shit was flying everywhere.  I looked back at Kevin and he’s just covered in a green mess.  I started to cry it was so funny.  He just did a shoulder shrug and said “Yea, f*ck it”. We knew we wouldn’t stay clean, but it was awful. 

Our next checkpoint was at a creek.  We learned that we had to take our bikes through the creek to the exit point.  WTF is urban about this?!  The creek was knee to waist high.  It was a soft foundation so you couldn’t ride through it and you’re a bit tired at this point so carrying a bike wasn’t a viable option either.  Glad I just bought a great bike 2 weeks ago only to run it thru 1/2 mile of Indy’s finest water.  A team ended up passing us at this point, so we were back to second.  The next few checkpoints were on a dirt bike trail at a levee.  We regained the lead by cutting through a backyard to return for our stamp.  Upon our return a volunteer noticed we were missing CP10 on our passport.  WHAT THE FUCK, BOYS?!  Kevin was navigator.  Brian was in charge of the passport.  A huge wave of disappointment came over all of us.  We had blown right by the CP after the canoes.  We immediately rode back over to the spot on the map, but the task was over and no volunteers were there.  Son of a… Major penalty for missing a CP.  Strangely, I wasn’t mad at anyone just sour that our great ride was not going to be a 1st place finish.  And I took over naviagation.

We biked over to CP26 to find a zip line across the river.  Jerry, one of the organizers, was still setting it up.  Geez, guys… clock is ticking.  The gear list told us to bring our own harnesses, so we’d been trudging around town with about 20 extra pounds only to find harnesses waiting for us at the zip line.  Maybe they didn’t plan on it, but just frustrating that we didn’t need to carry such a heavy load.  I snapped on the line and sailed across.  The return line was sunk down in the river so once I snapped on and got in, the pulley slid off the wire and got stuck.  I wrestled with it for a bit and ended up just walking back across the river.  Disappointing.  Since we were close to the area where CP5-7 was, we decided it was best to go get those and make up some points since we missed 10.

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Well, that was a big mistake.  We had our bikes with us on a very thick vegatation trail.  We spent 40 minutes in the woods getting scratched, scraped, bitten and muddy.  You needed a machete to get through parts of it.  We didn’t find 5, 6 or 7.  Finally a clearing with a dirt road opened up in front of us.  I think Kevin wanted to call it quits at this point.  He said if he sees his truck, he’s done.  Slap-happy phase set in for me, but we motored through and headed off for Stage 2 of the course.  There is a 6 hour maximum completion time.  If you finish after that, you get penalized so I kept an eye on the time.  We had an hour left and 7 more check points to go.  These CPs were very spread out but we managed to hit 3 before heading back in.  One was moving 3 bails of hay at a horse farm, another run thru a creek, and then had to catch 2 fly balls at baseball diamond.  We rode back in with 5:54 on my watch and 43.16 miles covered.

We didn’t place in the top 3 for our division.  Results aren’t posted yet, so no idea how bad the missing CP hurt us.  Only 1 team finished the entire course, which to me says it was too long.  I think you would want a few teams to finish or why else plan that many CPs that no one is going to get to do?!  Overall this year, I hate to say, I was disappointed in the course.  It was much more on the Adventure side, than the Urban side.  Just wasn’t prepared for that.  After the race, we noticed our race tshirts had “sub” urban written on them.  Exactly!  It was not advertised that way.  The tasks at each stop were not challenging like last year.  You were through each one in about 2-3 minutes this time.  Pushing all that aside, I had a great time with my team and made some wonderful memories.  Hopefully Kevin and Brian will be back again next year because remember boys, Win Or Lose We Still Booze!  (That was our team name 🙂

Here’s some video Jessi and Sara shot while we were out on the course.  Leave it to Jessi to find room for the Glamour shot on a stick. That thing will haunt me to the day I die. Still trying to get the Google Earth map to work…

GT 5.0

I gave up looking for the A-hole that stole my Trek.  Time to upgrade the Mt. Fury Roadster for a real bike.  Mt. Fury was a bit rough to ride.  It always felt like it was too small for me.  Even with the seat way up, then the handbars never felt right.  Drum roll please… My GT Transeo 5.0!

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This purchase started about 2 weeks ago when my friend, Mr. Tim Brewer, took me to Town Park Trails.  His bike is wicked awesome.  He talked about this great local bike shop, Indy Cycle Specialist, that always served him well and suggested I check it out.  I had not done any homework yet, so Tim graciously offered to take me there and help me pick one out.  Sweet!  I got my list of requirements together and with the ISC salescrew and Tim we were in and out in 30 minutes.  It’s kind of a hybrid mountain and comfort bike.  So it will work good on the road and trails.  Took it for a ride tonight and couldn’t be happier with my new toy!  Everything felt like it fit.  And to risk any chance of theft or weather-wear, GT’s going to be stored inside.  Thanks for the help Tim!  Hope to return the favor some day!