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.”