Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Great Urban Race

This morning was the Great Urban Race in New York City. The rules are pretty simple. Show up wearing matching outfits/costumes (there were some pretty good costumes there!), get your numbers, receive the clues and head out into the city for an adventure / scavenger hunt using only your feet and public transportation to get around. Here we are pre-race, showing off our matching Washtenaw Dairy t-shirts (here's a tip if you find yourself in Ann Arbor: good ice cream, great donuts!):

We milled about for a while after getting our numbers, but before they handed out the clues. We took a few minutes after getting the clues to take photos of the clue sheet and read over some of them. We had a "phone-a-friend", so we e-mailed the photos to Drew's friend, Jon, for his review and assistance! Luckily for us, Drew had been reading the clues pretty closely, because right as we were about to get on the subway, he spied someone with a skateboard and we needed to get a picture of us standing on a skateboard for a tic-tac-toe clue.

We first headed downtown from 79th Street to our neighborhood. That was very handy because in my efforts to clean my backpack before the race so I wasn't hauling around a bunch of junk, I took out the pens that were in my pack. Luckily, that meant that Drew was able to just run upstairs really quickly and grab a pen while I moved onto the first challenge. As we were walking from one clue to the next, we stopped and snapped this photo, which we needed for the tic-tac-toe clue.

We were sort-of surprised as to how much was in our neighborhood, but it was pretty handy since we needed to find a picture of a fountain (for the final tic-tac-toe) and I thought that there was one hiding about a half a block from where we were. Luckily, I was right and we asked a very nice lady to snap this photo for us (we had to be pretending to dive in).

After that, we jumped back on the subway and headed further downtown to Abracadabra (a costume shop) because we needed a photo of us in front of their body part display case. There was a line formed of other Urban Racers and luckily everyone was nice enough to take the photo of the person behind them.

We noticed pretty early on that some people were just sprinting from clue to clue. We decided that we'd rather hurry, but enjoy ourselves, so we mostly did brisk walking instead of running. The next stop was Rickshaw Dumpling Bar. We'd eaten here (both in the restaurant and from a street cart) and it's pretty tasty. We went to the back of the store, grabbed our sesame ball and headed outside. We noticed that a lot of people had something chocolate, but I thought we had gotten something different.

We had to take a photo of us both taking a bite at the same time and as soon as I sunk my teeth in, I heard this horrible squirting sound. Which meant that the chocolate on the inside of the ball mostly ended up all over the sidewalk. Oops. The sesame chocolate-filled ball was delicious, though! I'd definitely recommend it!

From there we jumped on the bus and headed to Chelsea Piers. We had finally figured out that Clue 10 meant that we needed to find a word with a double letter (thanks to Jon!). While we were on the bus, we took this (pretty bad) picture of us pointing at the word "door".

Drew wasn't sure that the picture from the bus would be the best, so I suggested that we take another photo pointing to access and businesses. Drew still wasn't convinced that we would get this clue correct since there were so many other words on the sign. He thought that we needed to find a sign with only one word showing. The search continued.

Once we got there, we had to do two things at Chelsea Piers. One person from the team was supposed to run a 200 meter dash and the other person was supposed to climb a bit of the smaller climbing wall that they have there. We decided I'd do the running and Drew would do the climbing. He's been wanting to take rock climbing lessons for a while now, I thought this would be a good thing for him. Because we didn't have to have a photo of the person running the 200 meter dash, a lot of people either didn't do it or sort-of clowned around and took fake running photos. I figured that I might as well follow the rules and really run! I ended up finishing in 41 seconds, which I think is pretty good (it would have been a 5:29 mile, in case you're wondering ... ha ha ha!).

After I was done running, we headed over to the rock climbing wall. Drew had to do this pose twice since the first time he jumped off (or maybe slipped) before I snapped the photo. I think being there confirmed the fact that he'd really like to take those lessons.

On our way back to the bus, we noticed this commissary sign. We decided that this would be the best picture for the double letter if we could find someone to take our photo with just that word and us in the photo. Luckily we happened across some tourists who snapped this for us!

After that, we headed over to the East Side to Dylan's Candy Bar. The clue said that we should take a picture of all teammates doing the action of the following French verb: oreilles de lapin. So, if you Google that phrase, this is the very first picture that pops up:

So, honestly, I'm thinking, "we have to make rabbit teeth in the photo?". That seemed weird to me. I then Googled oreilles de lapin translation and then it became clear that we actually had to make bunny ears. Which makes a lot more sense!

From there, we only had one clue left. To get to the Fuller Building at a quarter-hour and take our photo. We got there a bit before 3:15 and hung around with some other teams while we all waited for the clock to line up so we could snap photos and be on our way. Obviously, you can see some of those other teams in the background.

We rode the bus across town and north and then made our way to the finish line. Drew says that this picture is blurry because we were SOOOO fast!

I don't know our official results yet, but I think it was somewhere around 3:40:00. We knew we weren't going to win and we probably wouldn't come in last either. I had a great time and I'd definitely do this again. I think we could have been faster and if we had really strategized, I think we could have gotten around the city and the clues a little bit better than we did, but it was a lot of fun no matter what. Definitely a fun way to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon!

1 comment:

  1. OH!!! I wanted so badly to do this! I married a native New Yorker who works in the news biz, so I figured we would do year for sure, it looks like so much fun!