Beads, Bikes & Bottle Caps: Day 2

So: Race Day.  We got up nice and super early on Sunday morning to get ready to go. Ate a decent breakfast of bread, peanut butter and honey (that we had to make with our hands – no utensils – due to the previously mentioned me-forgetting-some-things) and juice.  Jeffiner and I headed out to the starting point and Jon was going to follow on foot.  We did a little more trail exploring on our way there, had to climb a crazy steep embankment on the way there that I cannot believe I didn’t slide down.  Seriously, it was walking straight up (and dragging a 35 lb bike) on loose dirt. Anyways, got to the start and dropped off our bikes at the staging area – which you can see in the first pic.

Because we scored a 69% on our pre-race Quiz we got to start in the first wave of people.   We knew this wouldn’t matter much in the end – and it didn’t, but it felt good to beat somebody at something – even if it’s just Googling skills.  We were cracking up at all the fun outfits people had come up with.  There were the Super Grovers with fun Grover jerseys and fuzzy blue helmets, Pinky and the Brain, Chicken and Dumplings – and the ‘brush people’ which i still don’t fully get.  Anyhow, we hung around as everyone got ready to start and they ended up starting about 15 min late – so they gave everyone until 12:15pm to finish (that’s 4 hours).  Simple, right? Ha.

So, the first wave takes off, we all run down the street to our bikes (We discussed several times during the race, especially at the end how this was good triathlon training) and untangle them from each other and get going.  They stopped traffic for us, but not in a super official way.  There may have been an officer or two. All I know is that we were all dragging our bikes over the grass to get to the road quicker and taking off over the bridge with some lady going ‘go! we stopped traffic! go! go!”

Our original plan was to get back on the trail immediately and follow it north for about 29 blocks.  After some initial brake trouble on J’s bike, we made it back to the trail but then the trail spit us back out only a few blocks up.  Much of the rest of the trail is awesome and helpful, but this part just wasn’t doing what we needed it to do, so we just started heading north on the streets.  It was funny because everyone was racing but you essentially had your own course, because except for around the checkpoints and a few short jaunts, no one was going in the same direction.  It also gave you a bit of confidence that at least those other people don’t KNOW where we had been already, hehe.

Ok, first obstacle: Picking up bottle caps with soaking wet oven mits on your hands, whilst being sprayed by super soakers – and fill a bowl with them. Nice. We got there and the line was long – we spent about 30 min in that line at least.  But we used that time to figure out the fastest way to fill the bowl.  When it was our turn we each found caps and scooped them together using the mitts and our forearms and filled the bowl with one trip.  It took us less than 30 seconds to complete that obstacle – then on our way to the first Mystery Checkpoint.  We headed over to the first Mystery and found the guy giving out beads and the next clue.  Thankfully, I actually knew most of the clue – at least where to start, so we didn’t need to phone-a-friend at this point.  It was on the way to another obstacle, so we went to the area where the 2nd Mystery Checkpoint was.  The only really annoying thing at this point was that my bike chain would not stay in gear completely, it kept partially changing gears and then snapping back down.  I couldn’t get it to stop – very annoying on the hills.  The 2nd Mystery Checkpoint produced the hardest clue of all of them.  A bunch of latin with some letters in caps, highlighted.  We had no clue, so we took a pic of it and sent it to The Support Team of Rita/Marcus and Karla.  I called Rita first and read her the clue because the photo wasn’t clear enough.  They went to work on the clue and we took off for the next obstacle.  On the way there was a massive hill – Jeffiner was just killing on the hills though and passing people all the time – especially now that all that extra packaging was off the bike ;).  Me, well, my chain kept jerking and well – I made it up the hills.  But I loved to coast down them – Jeffiner, not so much.  =)

We got to the next obstacle checkpoint which was actually 2 obstacles -the Keg walk and the Wheelbarrow.  We spent 45 minutes in this line. Boo.  Thankfully we had plenty of water and gel snacks to keep us going through all this. While in line, Rita called back several times and had figured out the next Mystery Checkpoint, so that was great.  Thank you!!!  Finally we got to the obstacles.  The Keg walk was pretty easy, you just stood on empty pony kegs with ropes and walked down and around a cone.  The Wheelbarrow – not as easy.  I had to hold on to a wheel and hold myself up, while Jeffiner picked up my legs and pushed me down and around the cone.  It took us a bit and some face in the dirt before we got it right – but we did it! I was a bit dirty after that though.

Click HERE to see a Youtube video of this obstacle in another city.  It was not pleasant, cool and rainy for us.

So on to the next obstacle – the Bike Joust.  This one was where Jon was waiting for us, so we have a few pics and some video (posting later hopefully).  Basically, one of you rides the bike while the other stands on the back with a joust and picks up 3 rings as you go down the line, then you come back.  I pedaled some, but did walk the bike a bit. Hey, we completed it though! Woohoo!

Ok, so at this point, it is about 11:40am.  We have only 35 min left to complete ‘everything’ before they shut down the obstacles.  Like many other teams who stood in line with us, we cut our losses and decide to go for the funnest 😉 obstacles to finish it off.  Obvious choice: The Rowing Dock.  The water.  So we head in that direction.  By this time of day there were many more people out on the trail and it took some time navigate through the HUNDREDS of walkers out there, but we made it to near the rowing dock, which was also next to the 3rd Mystery Checkpoint.  We picked up our third mystery bead – found out what the 4th mystery checkpoint was – for fun, and then headed down to the dock.  We originally thought it was going to be some sort of paddleboat obstacle – but all you had to do was hop in the water and push and empty floating keg around a bouy. Easiest obstacle ever.  So for part 3 of our impromptu-triathlon-training, we did a little keg kickboarding, passed the other teams in the water and finished that obstacle just in time before it closed.   We were also thankful for our triathlon bike shorts that we got because they don’t hold water like regular bike shorts and they were awesome.  So we put our shoes and gear back on and started heading to the finish to pick up some free beverages and see what else was there before going back to the hotel to clean up.  On the way up the hill from the dock, Jeffiner passed a team quite easily, saying ‘on your left’ (which is what you say to warn people you are passing them).  I was behind her but not having the momentum she had, I came up next to them and said “I’m on your left, but I have no aspirations of actually passing you”.  Then my chain was being weird again and the hill got steeper, so I just got off the bike and ran it up the rest of the hill, and said “on your left” as I passed them while running.  We were all tired and it was just funny.  So we headed back to the finish, parked our bikes, went to the actual finish line – there was a line to go through the final obstacle (giant inflatable water slide and big wheels).  We were not in the mood for another line that wouldn’t matter, so we just went into the parking lot, grabbed some free tea and checked it out.  There were lines for everything else, so we headed back to the hotel. We only had till 2pm to check out and it was already almost 1pm.

Here is us back at the hotel.  We cleaned up, headed out of town, got some lunch and came home. The end. We had a great time, even though we didn’t get to complete everything.  It just got us thinking about the strategy for next time…hehe.

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  • k - There were 1300 participants, fyi.

  • Heather - Sounds like a lot of fun! Is it possible to finish the whole thing in that time? Was there a “winning” team? Sounds like the lines were kind of a bummer!

  • k - It’s possible to finish, but you had to avoid the lines. We were just unfortunate to have the popular strategy, so we got stuck. They haven’t posted the results yet, but there was a winning team. In other news, I visited the New Belgium Brewery today – they are the sponsor for the races.

  • k - For some other pics of the event – check out this on flickr:

    http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=urban+assault+race+austin+2008&m=text

  • rita skeeta - sounds fun! i can’t wait to jump back on my bike!! we will have to ride together after this baby hopefully comes. of course, i bet you will leave me in the dust but that will be okay.

  • Mundane Details » Blog Archive » Seasons of Blogging - […] Then, running took over my blog. Training. I don’t know what I’m doing. Training. Racing. Running in the middle of nowhere. Biking. Swimming. All sorts of food and fitness craziness. Good times. […]

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