Monday, April 8, 2013

End of Season Race Recap

The clue-solving race season has come to an end in Phoenix. I'm so sad! I might have to look at some summer travel to do a few more races. :)

CityScape Adventures - March 16
How we did: First and Second Place in the race. Pat and I were a team and Brian/Irene were a team. We worked together but my team crossed the line first, so technically my team won. :)
What we wore: No costumes this time. The plan was for me to be a waitress and Pat to be a short order cook. That morning I went to the restaurant supply store to get him an apron and a hat, just making it back in time to get dressed and leave for the race. Alas, I had bought him a plastic dishwasher apron instead of a regular apron and it was WAY too hot for that.
Race Recap: I have done 2 out of the 3 CityScape Adventures that have come to Phoenix. We won both of those races. (We missed one because it was the same day as the 12Ks of Christmas and my dogs would have been very mad at me if I skipped taking them to that race!) Pat was my partner for the last CityScape so he got the nod for this race as well. He's not as fast as Christy but he has heart and he follows direction well.
Clues: Better than they have been in the past. Previously there were crossword puzzles and letter-solve puzzles all put on the same page so that the font was so small you could barely read any of the words. This time they gave a few clues on paper, a few clues via a scanned QR code and then the remaining clues after your bring back a scavenger item. Some of the clues were interactive where you text your answer and then you get a return text with the location. I liked receiving the clues in these different formats, it livened things up.
What went right: When we solved the initial set of clues, we saw that more clues would follow when we brought back a scavenger item. We did the scavenger item first off so that we would have all our clues from the start. This was very good since the second set of locations were near many of the first set of locations and we prevented a lot of backtracking. Generally I don't like working together as a team because keeping track of more than 2 people can be frustrating, but when we race as couples I think it helps alleviate some of the bickering that spouses can do when they are alone. It also helps you solve clues faster when there are 4 people working on them simultaneously.
What went wrong: One of our boys solved one of our clues wrong. We caught it before the end of the race so that was good, but we did have to backtrack a half mile to get the checkpoint.
Challenges: There weren't any challenges but there was a variety of finding scavenger items, interacting with strangers and checkpoints that required photos with certain poses. Previous races included challenges but they must have traded out the challenges for the interactive format of the clues.
Distance: It was pretty short and we didn't take any public transportation. I think our total distance was 3 miles.
Prizes: They did it right with the prizes. 1st place - Cash and a free entry to a future race. 2nd place - Less cash and a free entry to a future race. I don't recall the denominations of the prizes because we pooled them together and split them.
Overall Grade: B+. Overall a very decent race though I would like it to be just a bit longer.

Urban Dare - March 23
How we did: 4th Place in the race, no placement in the costume contest.
What we wore: We were lazy and went back to our Assault and Battery costumes. We got a hearty laugh from the crowd but were beaten out by some pirates.
Race Recap: We were originally registered to do the Scavenger Dash by Bike this day but when Urban Dare ran a Groupon, we changed our plans in an effort to win a cash prize. We've done a few Urban Dares previously but the past few years we have had conflicts with vacations and 10-day migraines so it's been a while. It was a gorgeous day for racing so we were just happy to be out and about!
Clues: All google searches.
What went right: We aren't very good in Scottsdale since we very rarely go there, but we got lucky that some of the destinations were places we had been in recent clue-solving races.
What went wrong: Our Scottsdale inexperience showed for most of the race. We had to put almost every destination into Google Maps. One of our destinations was a very popular sushi place right on Scottsdale Road. Everyone knows where it is...except us. We kept walking back and forth thinking we had passed it but we hadn't gone far enough down the street. We did the same thing looking for a sports memorabilia store. Google Maps had it pinpointed at the mall, but we just didn't think that an experienced race director would put a checkpoint in the mall because that would be a nightmare with security. Well, despite all our stupid attempts to find it by avoiding the mall, it actually was in the mall and as we thought, it was a nightmare with security. Security guards were chasing teams and yelling at teams all over the place. We also had issues with reading...a basic skill we supposedly mastered 35 years ago. We had to read one clue literally 10 times before we could understand it was a business we were looking for and not a statue. :)  I am still laughing about this!
Challenges: Ugh. My first clue-solving race was an Urban Dare 5 years ago. 5 years later, the race director is still using the SAME challenges! So lazy! It's not that hard to come up with new challenges every year.  And you'd think that after 5 years, he'd have them figured out. For the "scrabble dare" you have to search an area for sticks with letters on them. Each letter is assigned a value and you have to add up the value of your assigned word. Our word was "Celebratory". After searching for way too long and not finding a C, we went to the volunteer and asked what was up. "Oh there is no C. It's value is 31" she said. WHAT?! Don't you think you'd tell people that when you see them searching forever? Don't you think you'd make a replacement "C" and put it out there for all the people who had a C in their word? We finished 14 seconds behind the 2nd place team and 7 seconds behind the 3rd place team. Do you think the extra time wasted looking for a letter that wasn't there made a difference? I do! The team that placed 2nd also had "Celebratory". They were there at the same time we were and they gave up on the C before we did. They told us later that they just made up a number value to offer to the volunteer. It sounds like the volunteer was accepting any random answer because of the C issue, so the time we spent doing the math was also wasted. Luckily we were way behind the 1st place team or we would have seriously had an issue with this!
Distance: 4 miles all on foot. Public transportation is difficult in Scottsdale so the distance was good.
Prizes: 1st place - $300.  We qualified for next year's Super Dare with our 4th place finish.
Overall Grade: C-.  This grade gives him the benefit of the doubt and assumes that the scrabble dare challenge was correct to begin with and assumes that someone stole the missing letter. However, an experienced race director should be able to get his over-used challenges correct and he should also appear to care that there is an issue when it is reported to him. And seriously, what is up with using the same challenges year after year?! 

No comments: