Here’s the thing. This is Josh writing this race report. I’m not the most common contributor, but there were things that needed to be said in this report that the other Nads are too polite and considerate to say. So I’m writing this after a stiff drink and a recent win by the Broncos, which means I’m in a good place in my head to just tell the truth without much bitching.
I blew it. Here’s the deal, the tic-tac-toe, it’s all in spanish. But there’s one word that is the same in english and spanish so don’t get overwhelmed. The word is “video”. Before the race even started, Jordan from GUR made it very clear that they would be sticklers on the rules and the clues. If it says photo, you can’t just pause a video. If it says video, you can’t just shake a photo and call it live action. So when they say take a VIDEO of pumping a stranger’s (“desconocido”) gasolina, they mean video. Well, I was the only spanish speaker so I was in charge of tic-tac-toe. I nailed the three diagonals top right to bottom left…..pumping gas in a stranger’s car, video of teammates singing “livin’ la vida loca”, and a postcard from Puerto Rico. Super easy, or so we thought.
The rest of the race was pretty straightforward. We had the privilege of working with the Avenging Narwhals for the first time. We got the clues, decided they would wait for the bus to go west to Old San Juan while we went east to El Condado. We fumbled a little with the launch site for the stand up paddle board, and were disappointed that they just stuck us on the beach and made us pop balloons between us…no picture is available because this was lame. Then we went to the marina for a charity which I’m sure is doing good work but you just don’t have time to care during a race. Those were the only two east clues and then we were off to the west/Old San Juan to see the other 100 teams all on Calle de Cristo Street… needless to say the other clues were pretty well clustered together, which turns out to seal our fate later on.
For details on the rest of the morning race go to http://www.kipley.com/uc/gur2013sanjuan.html Caution, there’s a spoiler alert about half way down the page.
Or do this one http://thewindykitchen.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/great-urban-race-national-championship-san-juan-puerto-rico/ if you’re tired of looking at Kip/Dave selfies and you’d rather see some pretty girl selfies.
After we did all of that stuff that they mentioned, we ran along the bus route back to the hotel, but didn’t catch a bus. Turns out that running a zig-zag pattern back and forth across the street to ensure a bus couldn’t sneak past us wasted a lot of energy, but seemed like a good idea at the time. Luckily it was only a two mile run (as the crow flies, but we made it into a four mile run).
We crossed the line fifth, followed closely by hordes of teams, and were checking our clues. I’m not sure how to describe those moments in line. We were feeling surprised that the race was so close. We were a little surprised to be fifth, but recognized that our heading east and struggling to find the SUP launch site had slowed us down. We were happy that Cougin’ It and Avenging Narwhals had made it ahead of us. And we were starting to think about the afternoon race. Until….Clue Checker: “Oh, pumping a stranger’s gas. Nice. Do you have a video? The clue says video.” Silence. My stomach sunk to my ankles. Andy said to Tyler on the phone “We blew it. We don’t have the tic-tac-toe.
We’re out.” Clue Checker nicely checked the rest of our clues, confirmed all was well, and sincerely said, “Sorry you guys.” With the 30 minute penalty, we went from 5th to 20th…yeah, those close clues lead to a close finish.
That’s Austin Mob #1, 2, and 3. Wow.
Many drinks were had that night by racers and staff alike, some of them paid for by GUR, some paid for by the $200 winners, none paid for by the top three teams. Puerto Rican people, scenery, and beaches were lovely. Despite the epic race fail, we left with fond memories and hopes of redeeming ourselves at a future GUR championship.
Fast forward two weeks. It’s 5:30 AM and I’m headed out for a run (the first since the race, and only after I realized that drinking, gambling, smoking and not exercising was a dysfunctional coping mechanism). Suddenly, like a Vietnam vet having a PTSD flashback, I’m struck with an image of Andy running the championship race wearing a GoPro video camera. I frantically look through the pictures on my phone and confirm this grim reality. Then I shoot off an email begging him to tell me that it wasn’t turned on or the video didn’t turn out for some reason. Nope, email confirms that we had video of pumping a stranger’s gas that whole time and just didn’t think of it. Andy captured the sentiment of that realization best: “I just threw up in my mouth.”
At Wild Canyon Games they will assemble to form Taint So Nad.
Their combined strength will likely create such extraordinary power that all who dare to look directly at them will be blinded and any who wander too closely will faint from the overwhelming scent.
The weather report for Denver called for sunshine that fateful day in August. Sunshine and sweating would be risky if you were wearing a fake mustache, but these babies are real, so we applied SPF 30 mustache wax, loaded dad’s Ford pickup like Noah’s Ark…two of everything for Adventure Race Double Day…and arrived at dawn as the mist was rising off the Aquarium parking lot.
After some brief intimidating warmups, we lined up with what would turn out to be 135 losing teams and ran a scatter pattern around the parking lot when they said “Go find the first clue!” It was clipped to a nearby bridge and we got ours in relatively quick fashion…off on another Oyster adventure!
Passport 1 was all about the sponsors, and our scouting for those paid off…Chipotle, Merrell, and the credit union. What you can’t scout is how to solve the hoardenger. But we have also learned how to improvise and work together quickly, so we blew through a few of those, with only one really questionable decision.
Rare advice from a Nad (write this down): if you have to carry a stranger in a challenge, maybe don’t choose the first person you see if that person weighs more than 250 lbs.
After Josh’s legs were crushed by the hefty stranger, Tyler and Andy carried him back to the transition area for Passport 2.
Passport 2 sent us on bikes to the north part of the city, on a route that would have been tricky had we not scouted it the day before. Have you ever heard of the TAXI development in River North Denver? Would you know how to get there from the Aquarium? Go ahead, go look at a map and see if you can plan that route quickly. Then throw in a stop at the Matchbox, and try to get there after you had to sit in a bucket of ice while your racing partners solve a puzzle.
After a cold chode ride to TAXI, we had to find one of two yellow duckies in a pool of hundreds of duckies that had the numbers we were given on our way in. Done in a few minutes, we biked back fast to the TA…and saw Kissing Moose right on our tails (a recurring theme throughout the day)
Passport 3 was on bikes again to a west side lake (Berkley) where we did a triangle pattern across the lake on a paddle board, taking turns as the other guys ran to meet us. Back on the bikes, we realized Josh had a flat! Andy cut a piece from his thick mustache hair and fashioned a tire patch from the hair mixed with Tyler’s styling gel and we were off to Lakeside amusement park.
Upon arrival, we were mistaken for the strong men they were expecting from the circus and we were sent to employee badging. We got that sorted out quickly, found our way out through the hall of mirrors while tied together, and headed back to T&A….what’s up Kissing Moose! Looks like you’re getting closer.
Passport 4 - One guy on a bike and two guys running to Roo Bar. Andy rode 2/3 the distance, Josh rode 1/3 the distance, Tyler ran the whole way there, then we flipped all that on the way back. We played an abbreviated and/or modified version of rally, thanks to turning in 100 bottle caps of ShockTop. And Andy ate a real Rocky Mountain Oyster.
Back to TA.
Passport 5 and FINAL - it’s always so thrilling to get the different colored final passport. I get tingles in special places. Unfortunately the giddiness turned to strife as we got lost on our way to the final checkpoint, which was in a tricky industrial part of town.
Our superstar support team (Josh’s wife Laurel and their neighbor Kathy) were on their smartphones and calling us to try to guide us there, but the frustration over the circuitous route and the pressure of having a team right behind us almost ended a beautiful 13 year marriage.
The final destination was a rock gym where we walked a slackline, climbed a rockwall, and swung on a rope to ring a bell…ding, ding, ding, let’s sprint back!!!
It’s 11:15 and our next racestarts at 12:00! Ahhhh!!!
We made it back to the finish line first, chugged our celebratory champagne, did the math on the two transportation options to get to the start of our next race, and hopped on our bikes to get to the Great Urban Race 1.5 miles away, arriving with 20 minutes to race start.
- Hot Mess
As we are gathered across the street from the Matchbox, I hear Kevin say, “The clues are in the bar. Go!” I look over and I see Ashley is the first one in the bar grabbing the clues. I knew right then that Ash was definitely in it to win it. It’s Urban Dare time!
I wanted to introduce Ashley (my new co-worker) to this crazy fun hobby of urban adventure racing, and show her why I’m so obsessed. Not sure she knew what she was in for but I saw that she was definitely up for the challenge when I saw her sprint for that clue sheet.
First clue on the sheet had us go the first Quiznos. I ask T-Nad where that is and he says it’s south of the capitol. That seemed pretty far to me so I thought we should head there first.
Along the way we snag the 5 min bonus.
The Quiznos ended up being further than we thought. It gave T-Nad plenty of time to help us plan a route with the other clues.
From Quiznos we headed to the Denver Monoliths to take a pic. We then cut north through Civic Center Park to this little median that had the Macintosh bust in it. That’s where we did our wheelbarrow challenge.
I could tell at this point that Ashley’s initial adrenaline had worn off and she was hurting. I also knew that T-Nad had an awesome route planned for us so I wasn’t worried.
After completing the word scrabble challenge at the Promethius Tower, we cut across Broadway and zig-zagged our way to the “All Together Now” sculpture. T-Nad said it was a straight shot to the finish line from there.
Ashley was burnt at this point and she kept apologizing for having to jog and rest so much. I told her not to worry. It’s not about being the fastest in these races. It’s about being the most efficient and not to make any mistakes. So far we hadn’t made any mistakes and we had the perfect route planned for us.
At Skyline Park we did our three-legged race challenge. Around the corner was the Ralph Carr bust. I made an elderly ladies day by proposing to her and we got someone to do a cartwheel on the sidewalk.
Prior to the race, Ashley and I scouted out the Zanzibar so we knew where that was. We scrambled our way through some construction to the Pinkie and Mr. Green sculpture and shot over to The Mad Hatter smoke shop right next to the finish.
We entered the Matchbox looking for our main rivals The Agents. When they weren’t there we knew we had it in the bag.
Booyah! Ashley collapses on the bar and at the same time learns what the Nads experience is all about.
to be continued in Denver Double, Part II: Three Moustaches and Three Nads…
Emily, the MC for Merrell Oyster_The Race tells the racers packing into Pioneer Courthouse Square that they need to find a hidden puzzle, solve it and turn it in to get their first passport.
She milks it a bit, “They are… … in the Merrell tent!”
I told Will and Drodgey that I would get the passport so they hang by our bikes while I run with the crowd to the tent. I get there and immediately scan for the puzzle. Nothing in clear sight, so I start rummaging through shoes, clothes boxes, under the desk, etc. In the mess of Oyster racers arms, I can’t find squat.
Emily comes over before too long to end the misery of the few teams left empty handed who are sifting through an already pilfered tent.
For a few minutes Drodgey and I distract Will with nonsense in an attempt to help, while he works on the puzzle. It is probably best just to let him concentrate, so we do.
After Will handily solves the puzzle we get our first passport. We are to produce 5 items from a “Hoardenger” list. We buzz through four of these quickly, but stumble over what to do about drawing a mustache on a teammate because 2/3 of us already have lavish mustaches. We opt to be on the safe side and draw one on Will’s prepubescent upper lip.
The next passport sends us on foot to the Chipotle on Lovejoy. We jog the couple miles to find Cougin’ It just leaving the task.
We dig into the task of identifying Chipotle ingredients when the Oyster volunteer (Oysterteer) tells us wrong answers will bear repercussions at the transition area (TA). We sober up from our normal Oyster giddiness as we realize the seriousness of this decision. We turn in our answers and receive one demerit representing an unknown obstacle when we turn our answer for our next passport.
Back at the transition area an Oysterteer, sees the mar on our otherwise perfect sheet and deflates a bit. ”I am sorry you got one wrong. You have to eat this”, as she pulls out a large cup of raw garlic.
”That is a lot of garlic. That will be unpleasant” I think, or cry out loud, I am not sure which.
Then she pulls one clove off of one head and cuts it into three. We each grab one sliver, toss it back and grab the next passport as we laugh as if cheating death.
On our bikes we head to Houndog Bar in SE Portland. We arrive around the same time as two other teams. Sibling Rivalry and Cougin’ It.
We feel the pressure as we play a round of rally, a multiple part bastard child of beer pong. We finish just before Cougin ’ It, and head to the front door to get a QR code that will lead us to our next stop.
Sprint data coverage, blergh, this is paaaainful.
Cougin’ It pops out the door and tells the Oysterteer that their beliefs don’t allow them QR reading technology and they receive a piece of paper with the image that is taking my phone that seems to think we are a mile below the surface of the earth ages to download.
Cougin’ It is kind enough to show us the image. We chat a bit with our competition about the location, and we head off on two different routes to the same place.
Will, Drodge and I stop a mile into our ride to scratch out heads and discuss the unlikelyhood of the Oyster sending us to the Washington State border, when we hear a shout in the distance “nads”. It is Cougin’ It. They luckily biked right into the challenge along there alternate route.
Close call! Had Cougin’ It not seen us, we would have never had the chance to put cow balls in our mouth at the next challenge.
So we backtrack to the Home Pla8 food cart we were supposed to find. Drodgey eats some testicles, and back to the TA.
The next challenge takes us on foot around the corner to play some miniature golf in the dark with our faces at Glowing Greens. A bit of running and we take a short SAT exam at Portland State University
Back at the TA, the passport is a word puzzle. We solve it to find the location for the next challenge: Lillis Albina City Park. We hop on our bikes and Drodgey and I tuck in behind Will “The Billboard” and get pulled across town.
At the park we are to do two challenges. First Will and I slingshot our shoes across a field to Andy with a bucket. Then I get blindfolded and Will and Drodgey shout conflicting directions at me while I wander a “minefield” of tennis balls that I cannot touch.
Back at the TA our next passport is an image puzzle with a picture of poop and some other stuff that directs us to Voodoo Doughnuts where we must eat a huge doughnut with no hands. When the doughnut is gone we find our mustaches full of glaze and a QR code revealed on the table. We scan it to download a photo of the ”Car Wash” Fountain.
As adrenaline was clouding my better judgement, the Oysterteer gave us two pieces of paper with numbers on them. We needed to find a duck with one of these numbers on them. The ducks were rubber duckies floating in the downtwon fixture ironically named the carwash because it is a cesspool, more of a urinal than a tourist attration.
I hop in the fountain and start splashing around. As my good time continues, Will shouts from his strategically dry position that he has found the duck we need.
We run back to the TA as I try to remember my vaccination history.
We get hung up. But Drodgey finds his inner Bobby Fischer and starts shouting moves at Will and I. We knock it out and head back to TA.
We are given a green passport signifying it is our last. We know we are behind two teams and just hope we can catch a break. On bike we are to head to a kayak dock on the Willamette.
One of us (Will) is to stand up paddle board from the dock on the east side of the Willamette across to meet two teamates (Drodgey and I) who have just run across the bridge). Will then runs back to the kayak dock and Drodgey and I ride the board back.
After 5 minutes of being slapped around by with a paddle by Drodgey, I am back at the rendezvous point with Drodge to meet Will.
We start our bike sprint to the finish.
We just can’t quite catch Cougin’ It (two and a half minutes ahead of us at the tape), but we come in second overall, and first in Men’s.
As per usual, another ridiculously good time brought to you by Oyster_The Race. We’ll see you next year.
As The Mighty Mighty Nads were dominating their way through another summer of adventure races throughout the U S of A, they determined it was worth taking a quick stop for a little race at the end of September – Oyster_The Race | San Francisco. While the Oyster has been a Nads staple for many years, this was the first time that Nads have competed in the city by the bay – an environ usually dominated by the Nads rival and local juggernaut: the ever-crafty Taintastic! This race also marked the return of one of the original Nads: Hubbs, who had lost the last 3 years of Nads racing to Africa, more Africa, and then a bum knee. Now living in San Francisco, he was hoping to seamlessly join the well-oiled machine of Drodgey and Tyler for another Oyster victory.
The race started all well and good out of the Sports Basement parking lot near the Presidio. Mustaches of all three Nads members were trimmed to perfection and looking intimidatingly aerodynamic. During the first bike ride out to Pier 42, we heard rumors of a super-team that had flown, or perhaps invaded like a Midwestern Ghengus Khan, from Denver. When we mentioned that this team couldn’t possibly do well as they didn’t know the city, the all-knowing rival countered that one of the super team actually lived in the city. Never mess with teams from the Silicon Valley – Steve Jobs has trained them to have some crazy good intel!
Despite Tyler’s flat tire coming back from some flawless fish throwing at Whole Foods, our heros were well-positioned in the lead pack after the first 3 clues. The next run through the Presidio was expertly navigated by Drodgey and our support captain on the ground, Kevin ‘Hot Tub’ Barden. The Nads had moved up in the lead pack, and, after a bike across the Golden Gate Bridge, had cruised into the overall first place position. It felt comfortable.
But here was where the race was lost – due to somewhat embarassing circumstances. The race was lost because the Nads fumbled away a precious 5 minutes finding the beer challenge, which was somewhat hidden in the corner of the Sports Basement parking lot. REALLY, Nads?!?! C’mon!! (The writer’s head is shaking even while writing this blog.) Any Nad worth their salt should be able to sniff out a game of beer pong 10 miles away. Our team is led by members of the Outdoorsman Challenge, an elite beer drinking and running crew well documented on YouTube. This should have been a cake walk, and where the Nads’ star should have shined the brightest.
This allowed the second place team, a local coed bunch who had been second fiddle to Taintastic! for the last three years, to surge ahead of our champions. One must give them credit, they showed great heart on the final San Francisco-steep bike up to Alta Plaza Park, where a boot camp crew and miller lite awaited (two great tastes that do NOT go great together). During the sprint down the hill, almost every traffic law was broken, several accidents may have been caused, and all three of our hero’s lives were put in danger, but when the traffic light at Van Ness was missed, the race was over. The Nads had to settle for second place.
The Nads did, however, succeed in taking the Men’s division crown from Taintastic! That felt good. Plans were soon made to attempt to take over the Oyster on the other side of the Mississippi as well.
After the race, and after this Oscar-deserving performance on Oyster television - wait for the 2 minute mark, Hubbs was offered the National Spokesman position for Shocktop beer. Despite advice from the Nads’ agent, Hubbs demanded first right of refusal to wear the Shocktop mascot costume at all Shocktop events. Shocktop stopped returning Hubbs’s phone calls and sent him a 6-pack of Shocktop Pumpkin Wheat as an apparent consolation.
And that leads us to the end of this edition of NADS BLOG. The Nads family will see you again next time – same Nads time, same Nads channel.
Until then, kids - Keep Dominating.
I would like to remember the first 22 minutes of the Great Urban Race Portland as absolute perfection from an efficiency in racing standpoint for The Nads Oyster Racing Team.
”Don’t get cocky kid.” - H.S.
Things kind of fell apart after that.
After receiving our clues we see a few things to focus on right away.
- We were to donate several items to the Ronald McDonald to the south about 1 mile.
- We were to go to the Convention Center for a challenge, about 1.5 miles south.
- We were to select three tasks in a row from a tic-tac-toe grid of tasks.
We knew the location of a convenience store just down the road from Prost!, the start and finish of the day’s race. Out of the gate we book it to the store. We were the first team there and we pick up the needed items for the Ronald McDonald House and a few items to help with the tic-tac-toe challenge.
Out the door, we cross Mississippi St. where we see two nice ladies who look like they might be good sports. Indeed they are, and they take a picture of us with cups on our heads, and one of them tangos with a flower in her mouth with Drodge.
We thanked the ladies and Drodge gives his dance partner the flower (ahhhhh, how sweet). We headed to the Ronald McDonald House where we quickly donated the purchased items and receive a fake tattoo to prove we completed that task.
Then to the convention center, but not without stopping at 7/Eleven to pick up a newspaper to complete another clue.
We arrived at the a park across from the convention center to find several piles of smoldering coals.
We heard someone say “a team is here”. A volunteer told us it will be a moment while they spread out the coals.
How wonderful, some nice fresh coals for me to walk on.
Drodge and I had already discussed who would do what kind of tasks that day. I got physically damaging and he got eating gross things.
As I walked the coals, Drodge scoured the paper for the clue hidden in the classifieds.
I put my shoes back on and we hit the road again. As we were leaving we saw
Tool Time Team Low Bar, the eventual winners of the race, running into the park.
There you have the first 22 minutes. I would prefer to stop writing and just savor the satisfaction of completing two tasks completely, two thirds of the tic-tac-toe, and holding the paper in hand showing the secret location of another clue before the winning team even got to their first clue location. But, on this day and any other for that matter, it doesn’t really matter how well the first 22 minutes go, especially if the newspaper in your hand is useless and you go another 30 minutes without completing anything accept digging a McDonald’s wrapper out of a garbage can.
You see, while we were at 7/Eleven, I had hastily purchased the only paper they had available early Saturday afternoon. It so happens that that paper was an early Sunday Edition, not the required Saturday paper that would prove to be an impossible item for us to find.
We arrived at our next task where we were to discover the infinite amenities of several brand new Chevys in finite numbers, and use them to solve provided algebra equations.
This seemed like an easy enough task, but with the distraction of working on another task and trying to search the newspaper for something we did not yet know was not in that paper, the Chevy task proved to be more dificult than it was designed to be.
So after “finishing” the Chevy task, we went to McDonald’s and got a wrapper and headed west to cross to the Pearl. We popped in and out of a few shops empty handed with the realization that the paper we had was not the one we needed. Before setting foot on the bridge, which in hind sight was a unnecessarily long route anyway, Drodge says, “I think we were supposed to get a picture at the Chevys”
[Insert the worst three expletives you know here]
We headed back and get the necessary photo 30 minutes after arriving at the Chevys the first time, before heading back on our unnecessarily out of the way route to the Pearl.
From here things went pretty routine, especially considering I was pretty much spent, although Andy looked fresh as a morning daisy. We went to Jameson Square where Andy played some Petanque; we headed to The Tea Zone to identify some teas, and went to Deschutes for a business card to round out our tic-tac-toe.
Then back over the river.
I would like to say your welcome for the HIGH RES photo that is available to really take a look at how nice the cracker is in Drodge’s mouth in horrifying contrast to the stuff going on in my face.
Then back up a hill to Sideshow Alley Tattoo where Drodge fulfilled his half of the deal mentioned earlier and ate a scorpion.
One more stop before the finish.
We caught a bus for four blocks with the best $15 we have ever spent (we had pre-purchased bus passes that we couldn’t find until about a hour after the race and had to pay the fair to ride the bus). Seriously, it felt heavenly, totally worth it..
Last task was to roll a quarter into the prongs of a fork at EaT: An Oyster Bar.
A long ass last dash back to Prost! for the finish to find the Goats had finished significantly ahead of us and Low Bar significantly in front of them for the win.
After a normal length race that felt like an outrageously long race, with some high and lows, it was a good day. We won our entry into the Las Vegas Championship, and we got our free beers.
Great Urban Race is clearly trying to make the tasks more fun and they did a good job of that. They have said the Las Vegas race will be one not to miss; they are already planning on stepping up the already very involved challenges there as well.