> Urban Clue Solving Races > Urban Dare Austin 2015

Urban Dare Austin 2015

March 7, 2015
By David Bogle - Team Vignette

It's been a while since Kip and I have done a clue solving race. Kip was nice enough to fly into Austin and join me for the Urban Dare. It didn't start until noon, so we figured why waste a whole morning, so we signed up to do the Twisted X 5K run beforehand. It made for an early start for sure, but it was fun to maximize our day with activities.

Jason also joined us for the morning 5K, and later that afternoon he would be our ground support for Urban Dare.

Also running the 5K was Sheila TB. She too would be part of both races as she was the afternoon phone contact for our other Austin mob team. I have been suffering from a hamstring injury and decided (with lots of encouragement from Kip) to take it very easy at the 5K. No need to damage the hammy further before the main race of the day.

We all ran well at the 5K and Kip won his age group. It turns out there was a last minute course change which made the 5K mostly a trail run, which was very nice (for those of us that like trails). With the 5K done, our finisher awards were in liquid form: Free post-race beer. Sure it was 8:30 in the morning but hey... free beer is free beer.

We drove into Austin and met up with Tom and Spencer (our other Austin team for this race). We got all set up and ready for our second race of the day.

The start was a bit chaotic for sure. At noon the race director Kevin held up a stack papers with the clues on it and said "go". It was a hectic scramble as everyone tried to grab a cluesheet at once. I was lucky and got one of the first 10. As usual we snapped a quick picture and sent it to our super support crew back at home.

Kip recognized one of the clue locations as a park a few blocks away, so we took off running towards it.

At Wooldridge Square we had to do a 3-legged dare. This involved tying our legs together then travelling around the park perimeter. We took it slow and just walked most of it. We were the only team around so we did not feel much pressure. It was fine with us that the dare took some time to complete, as it gave our crew a few minutes to solve some other clues for us.

One checkpoint done, 11 to go. Chris (our phone guy) gave us directions to the next location which was a business called Title Nine. Only thing to do here was get a picture of us and the business name. Done.

Next we headed south to Sand Beach Park. Here we had to do a Balloon dare. This involved blowing up a balloon and twisting it into the shape of a sword. All those years I spent as a balloon tying clown were paying off. I whipped out a spectacular sword balloon, and the volunteer approved it and we were off. Three clues down.

Our next destination was the Stevie Ray Vaughn statue. We knew where this was at, so off we ran. This one was listed as a "Divergent dare". Tom and Spencer had chosen a different route and were leaving this one as we arrived. They gave us a very nice hint on what we had to do (thanks guys). Turns out the volunteers read us some text which led us to a tree where we had to retrieve a red paper "flag". We traded the flag for a passport stamp and were out of there.

Our next clue was the "Nightwing" sculpture thingy. We were quite familiar with the location of this famous landmark, so we were able to run directly to it and snap a picture.

Chris guided us back across Lady Bird Lake to our next destination, which was Pizza Paparazzi. Too bad we wouldn't get to eat any pizza. We had some minor confusion at the final intersection but the locals were able to point us in the right direction to the restaurant, so we got our picture and were off again.

We had one scavenger clue that could be completed anywhere on the course, which was a two-parter. We needed a picture of one of us proposing to a stranger, and then we needed a second picture of a different stranger doing a cartwheel. Luckily while we were waiting to cross under the I-35 freeway I found a lady who was quite happy to get a proposal, so we were half done.

Chris had us continue eastward on 6th Street to our next clue location, which was Spartan Pizza. This was our first real issue at this race. We made it to the address that our crew gave us, but it was not Spartan Pizza. There was really no sign of it. We read the clue and it said the business name matched a Val Kilmer movie. The business at the location our crew gave us was called "Wonderland", which was also a Val Kilmer movie. We assumed that either our crew or Kevin the race director had made some sort of mistake with the clue wording, and snapped a picture and left.

Chris was not super happy with that decision, but since we didn't have any better idea where Spartan Pizza was we kept going. A few blocks away was the answer to our next clue which was a tattoo parlor.

A few blocks west was the carrot mural. As we ran up another team was there and they asked us to take their picture. I am always surprised that other teams are often not very good at taking selfies. It only took are few seconds so I snapped their picture for them and got our selfie.

As we started heading out of the area Chris asked us to go search for Spartan Pizza a bit more. Kip was reluctant but I wanted to try and was feeling great running so we backtracked to look some more. We checked all the food trucks in the area without success. We asked people and several folks gave us vague directions.

Then Chris saved the day by coming up with a new address for Spartan Pizza, and better yet it was only two blocks away. It turns out the pizza place had moved and reopened a week before the race. Google Maps had not been updated as of yet. Hmm, wish I knew someone who works for Google Maps that could fix that sort of thing. Great catch, Chris... thanks! The fact that the new business at the old Spartan Pizza address was also a Val Kilmer movie was just a bizarre coincidence.

At least we were able to figure all this out before Tom and Spencer arrived. So we returned their earlier favor and gave them the correct location. We had spent a good extra ten minutes on this one which meant that other teams could now very well be ahead of us (you can visit the points in any order, so it's impossible to know who's ahead during the race).

Nothing to do but run hard and hope for the best. Chris directed us up Red River to the Spirit of Learning statue. We snapped our picture and headed off.

Farther west we needed to get a picture with a WWII statue. We got that one done, along with another team.

As we ran back towards the finish line we went right by Wooldridge Square, where we'd already been earlier to get our first checkpoint. Whoops, looks like our route wasn't quite as optimal as it could have been... ah, well.

The only clue left at this stage was to get a picture of a person doing a cartwheel. Lucky for us Jason has a ballerina background.

We hit the finish line and were told we were the first team to arrive. All our pictures checked out fine. Tom and Spencer arrived and few minutes after us to grab second place.

A great second race of the day. Here's the top three finishing teams of the race.

And here's us posing with the race director, Kevin.