Fall Day @ the IMA

I had a request from my favorite peeps to accompany them on their inaugural visit to the The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature 100 Acre Park at the IMA. Purrrrrrfect holiday time. Let me introduce you to Mr. Funky Bones!

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Of course, I walked on it just like the other kids were. A CS sport favorite in art!

A new exhibit is “NOTICE: A flock of signs”. This “pretty” sign us pointed at us!

And, CS found this one pointing at him.

Creeper!

IndyQuest Adventure Race 2014

Previously.

Want to hear a story about how this 42 mile GPS map was built? Keep reading…

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Win Or Lose We Still Booze were ready to defend our title of Champs as the PA Urban Sprint Race. Except we couldn’t because they changed the name. It’s now IndyQuest. Fine, let’s race!

We arrived at Fountain Square Brewery to sign in and get our paper work. This year we only had 1 map at the start and a clue sheet. We assumed our usual roles of BA as clue guy, KOD as navigator and myself as passport keeper. Last year we used clear contact paper instead of map cases and it worked really well so we employed that tactic again. Having 1 map was great so we folded it over and didn’t have much to mess with while riding.

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The race always starts with some challenge before you take off. Helps spread the field out. This year, the first challenge wasn’t meant to be a tough challenge but turned out that way for a few teams. At the start of the race, the RD (race director) puts up a map. You have to go on foot a marked location and get your passport. BA always leads us off, so he took the honors of this. And BA took off the wrong direction with about 5 other teams. The RD was stunned. After a few deep breaths, he got on the megaphone and said, “If you are traveling NORTH you may be going in the wrong direction.” Problem was, BA is a fast little guy. He was gone. Gone for 8 minutes. As we saw him returning, KOD took off the other way to get the passport. We were literally the last team to leave the start. We had some ground to make up.

Checkpoint (CP) 1-5 on bike:

We rode our bikes from Fountain Square to downtown to CP1, a 30 story stair climb. At first I was glad this was first and on fresh legs (except for BAs). A week later, my legs are finally back to normal. I hobbled for 4 days after. We blew by many teams here. Made up a lot of ground by not stopping at all on the stairs. CP2 & 3 were clues to find at different downtown spots. The green box in the background had a colored circle on it. We had to note the color on our passport.

Michelle Craig Photography: Indy Quest Urban Race &emdash;

Photo courtesy of Michelle Craig Photography

CP5 was a frisbee challenge. 1 team member had to knock over a 2-liter bottle, 

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then get the coveted punch on the passport attached to these flags. You see these flags all day long!

Michelle Craig Photography: Indy Quest Urban Race &emdash;

Photo courtesy of Michelle Craig Photography

Besides the fun obstacles you encounter on the race course, you meet competitors with sweet outfits like this guy.

Michelle Craig Photography: Indy Quest Urban Race &emdash;

Photo courtesy of Michelle Craig Photography

CP6-10 on Foot:

Arriving at CP6, we got our O course map. We could get these 5 points in any order. We like to get the farther points sooner rather than later, so we switched directions from most teams here which was a great strategy to gaining time. The first circle we hit was at a bridge. Knowing the RD, I told the guys it would be under it in the water somewhere. And I was right. Moving to our next CP, we were looking at our first creek crossing. KOD says, “Do we want to win this thing?” YES! On the 2nd arrow below (green is where we started from), we crossed a creek and likely the source of my current poison ivy shit, into a trailer park. It seemed like something out of a movie. Random people coming from the woods running across lawns like the apocalypse. Once we got to the spot of the CP, I asked BA, “What’s our clue?” His response, “I don’t know.” You are the clue keeper! He left the clue sheet back at the green circle where our bikes were. We were stumped at what to do. Until… another team had followed our path and agreed to help us. That is not cheating and is allowed in this race!

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The O course also brought us to the Indiana Medical History Museum. Here we had to find the hours of operation on a sign. The CP on the map was at an intersection, but I knew exactly what building the IMHM was. So I yelled to my boys ahead of me (they are fast) to stop. With confused looks I told them I had been to the IMHM before so I knew where the sign was. We didn’t need to go any further. KOD says “Of course, you’ve been there. Why wouldn’t you have?!” I am random at times.

Back on the bikes to CP11 for Ladder golf. 1 teammate had to get the balls around 1 of the top 2 rungs. Check out that form!

Michelle Craig Photography: Indy Quest Urban Race &emdash;

Michelle Craig Photography: Indy Quest Urban Race &emdash;

Photo courtesy of Michelle Craig Photography

The boys turns

Michelle Craig Photography: Indy Quest Urban Race &emdash;

Michelle Craig Photography: Indy Quest Urban Race &emdash;

Photo courtesy of Michelle Craig Photography

CP13-15: Canoe time was up next! 

Michelle Craig Photography: Indy Quest Urban Race &emdash;

Photo courtesy of Michelle Craig Photography

We got CP12 on bike across the river before hitting the east side of the river for CP13-15. Upon arrival, we learned that we were now in 2nd place overall! This year the RD supplied the paddles and PFDs. We quickly learned that we needed our own double sided paddles. We probably did 3x more strokes without the double sided ones. But of course, we still were having fun!

Michelle Craig Photography: Indy Quest Urban Race &emdash;

Photo courtesy of Michelle Craig Photography

CP16 looked amazing! We rode up to a bunch of stuffed animals lined up at the bottom of a hill. Teddy bear bowling was invented! Just like in golf, I took the first pass at this so the boys could see my line. KOD went 2nd and nailed it. We were making quick work of these things!

CP18-21 on Foot:

We arrived back to the home base to receive our next set of maps and clues. This was a foot course in Fountain Square for CP18-21. 2 were clues about signs on things. We were hoping the clue at La Margarita was about tequila drinking. It was, but not for us to drink. We had to count the tequila bottles on 3 shelves behind the bar. We divided up the shelves among the 3 of us. Then rotated to get another set of numbers. I randomly selected a number from our list from each shelf, and surprise! We got it on our first try. Not sure if there was a threshold clause, but we didn’t care. Off to the next one!

Michelle Craig Photography: Indy Quest Urban Race &emdash;

Photo courtesy of Michelle Craig Photography

We went around the back of the restaurant to find climbing gear laid out for us. 1 person had to stay down and 2 people had to go up to the roof. 

Michelle Craig Photography: Indy Quest Urban Race &emdash;

Photo courtesy of Michelle Craig Photography

I, as videographer, stayed down and sent the boys up. As I looked at these pictures today, I remembered that BA doesn’t like heights. His facial expression while climbing the sketchy scaffolding was priceless. Here’s KOD going up.

Michelle Craig Photography: Indy Quest Urban Race &emdash;

Photo courtesy of Michelle Craig Photography

Seriously, they were high up.

Michelle Craig Photography: Indy Quest Urban Race &emdash;

Photo courtesy of Michelle Craig Photography

The point of going up was to throw darts off the side of the building that needed to hit a watermelon.

Michelle Craig Photography: Indy Quest Urban Race &emdash;

Photo courtesy of Michelle Craig Photography

It was like a dangerous game of Plinko with the wind. There were 10 darts I sent up in a bucket that the boys would rope down. KOD hit it after 5 darts! Let’s move out! And this is where we noticed where the 3rd place team was… Arriving as we were leaving. But we weren’t sure what order they did the foot course in. It was a good gut check going into the last leg of the course. 

CP22-28 on bike:

We were still in 2nd place at this point, but 10+ minutes behind the leaders. They were strong bikers. We (me and BA) are not. KOD makes it look so easy! Our goal was to maintain.

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CP22 had us doing the limbo at a winery. CP23 was a home made golf ball launcher, with our target being a tile board that we had to break a tile out of. It was quite the contraption dreamed up by the RD.

CP24 & 25 was our downfall. The clue read “Bike to CP24/25 for a Special Challenge worth 2 checkpoints”. At the pre-race briefing this CP was also called out for being worth 2 points and we’d have 2 choices upon arrival. Many points in the race, the beginner teams don’t get all the CPs. If you want to win, you get all the CPs. Our interpretation of this clue was that we had to complete both puzzles to get 2 points. WRONG. We arrived to several stations with a round wood puzzle with the British flag on it. The boys immediately let me get to work. It was double sided, so I knew once I got one piece to line up, it was just a matter of trying to match the edges (you’ll see it in the video below). Once we got that one done, we moved over to what we THOUGHT we had to do for the extra point. It was 9 pieces of 4×4 wood cut in the same length. They had random colored dots on different sides. We tried lining them up. We tried color coding. Nothing looked like a finished piece. We asked the volunteer “Did the first team through do both?” She said no, so we agreed to keep trying until the 3rd place team arrived. Which we did wasting 8 minutes on something we didn’t need to do. Just 1 puzzle was worth 2 points since they were so “hard”. After the race and all my Survivor analysis on what that 2nd puzzle was, I was stumped. I had to ask the RD. Guesses anyone?!

CP26 & 27 were clues on signs. Then we were treated to one last challenge at CP 28 of corn hole. We arrived here exactly with the 3rd place team. Finished about equally and took off to the finish. Even had to wait at a red light right next to them! But they were bikers. We were not. They beat us to the finish by 1 stinking minute. I look happy, but deep down I was bummed.

Michelle Craig Photography: Indy Quest Urban Race &emdash;

Photo courtesy of Michelle Craig Photography

We got out of our wet clothes to freshen up and hydrate. My face here says it better. Waahh wahhh. 3rd.

Michelle Craig Photography: Indy Quest Urban Race &emdash;

Photo courtesy of Michelle Craig Photography

We made 3 critical errors this time. 1. Go the right direction at the start. 2. Always bring your clue sheet. 3. Always read your clue sheet. After being down 10 minutes, gaining that back, then losing it at the puzzle… it was defeating for me. It was our strategic choice to make and I still think with what we knew, we made the best decision for us. So, after 2 weeks, I’m over it now! Ready for next year and some flaming arrows!

And note to self: Cover all skin all day. I don’t want to go through this F’in poison ivy shit again.

Here is some video I managed to shoot while out on the 42 mile course!

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!

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True test of the tailbone last Saturday. I participated in a 12 hour Rogaine Adventure Race. My team was comprised of what will/would be my 30 hour teammates in a few weeks. We thought it’d be good to practice together prior to the event. I missed out on the biking/orienteering session last week, so I was ready to get out there. Until I read this in the info packet.

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Meth Lab? Interesting. The course was in Owen Putnam state forest. Never been there before. There were 40 checkpoints to get in this race. Since I am not the best map reader, I let my teammates plot a course for us. Plus I had to get back to town early, so they made a plan to do a medium size loop to get me back to the start by 4pm. We got 1 giant topography map with all the points on it. We started in the green circle below. I tried to show where some of the checkpoints (controls) are too.

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We needed to stay inside the bold lines or face certain death by one of the locals. They don’t like you on their private property. You also get a clue sheet to help you “locate” the kites in the forest. The rest is up to you and your compass.

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As my teammates orienteer-ed us to the different spots, I served as my team’s rabbit. They would get us to the location of the control, then we’d all look around trying to find it. Whenever it was found, I would run to it and punch our passport proving that we had successfully found it. I needed to contribute somehow! 

I even found my own Powerline! Luckily, I didn’t have to run up and down it.

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At the end of the day, we were out for about 6.5 hours going about 17 miles getting 20 checkpoints! My GPS didn’t register a single lap while I was out there. Dammit. I really wanted to see the Google map because we got quite confused a few times and had to backtrack. Good news was, the tailbone held up fine and was not even sore the next day. Until I rode my bike.

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.

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. 

CP11-14 On Foot

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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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…