Saturday, April 24, 2010

Urban Assault Race Report

I bought a bike!  What better way to break my new bike in than doing a twenty-five mile road race around Tucson!  Right?  Right?

An hour before the race, Josh and I still needed to pick up our race packet so we said goodbye to Bridget and headed over to the start line, a mile away from her brother's house.  Cruising down fourth avenue, I felt a little nervous about the twenty-five miles of biking that lay before me.  Obviously, I wasn't paying attention to the trolley tracks running down the middle of the street, because my wheel caught in the groove and I went down.  I went down hard.  With my palms and elbow bleeding, I sat on the corner shaking for two minutes, got back on my bike and we went to check in.  Here's my hand a week later, not pretty and still hurts!

Other than that, Urban Assault was awesome!    My friend Bridget talked me into doing it sometime back in February.  The event goes a little something like this.  A few weeks before the race, the locations of checkpoints were released on the website.  The race is completed in partners (Josh and I being a pair.)  Our goal was to hit all seven checkpoints around Tucson, traveling along a route of our choice.  Each checkpoint has an obstacle which the team needs to successfully complete before they a earn a bead.  You have three hours to complete all the checkpoints and make it back to the start line.  Once you are back, you get to indulge in free food and New Belgium beer.  Most awesome event ever! We started with a run to our bikes.

Josh and I are about 10 people back in that start mob.  From there, Bridget, Bobby, Josh and I rode to Fairway Bikes, about 2 miles away and the site of a checkpoint.  The week prior to the race, we questioned if it was smart move to do the closest checkpoint first.  Our worry was that most people would do that and we would waste valuable time waiting in line.  Well, we did waste some time waiting in line.  The obstacle was to complete a giant tangram puzzle.  Since Josh is very spatially oriented, I let him take the lead on this one.  Josh finished the puzzle in 10 seconds.  That is not even an exaggeration.

From Fairway, we rode through the U of A campus to Himmel Park, about 4 miles away.  Himmel was a mystery checkpoint, meaning that the Thursday before the race we were given clues in the form of a crossword puzzle to figure out the location.  At Himmel, we got the clue to our second mystery checkpoint.  Our clue: a picture of a waterslide.  We would have been completely lost not being Tucson locals.  Thankfully, Bridget and Bobby immediately thought of a park that just got a new waterslide.  Whoo hoo!

Taking back streets, we traveled another 4 miles to Summit Hut where we were met with Human Bowling.  I wish I had pictures of us doing this event, but for illustration purposes, here is someone else doing it:

I was on the skateboard and Josh pushed me down the lane.  He later told me he thought this obstacle would take a while because he was sure I would fall off.  I am incredibly uncoordinated so I can't really blame him for his vote of un-confidence.  For the record, I knocked down those pins the first time.

Now, we had our first long ride.  About 8 miles up to Sunflower Market.  We took the Rillito River walk which was gorgeous and unpopular with the other racers (score!).  About this time, we were an hour into the race.  Being the only one without bike shorts, I started to hurt.  Getting used to a bike saddle is a gradual process, and I had only had my bike for a week.  At Sunflower,  Josh experienced being a paper boy.  Hard job, apparently.  He threw papers from his bike and my job was to catch three of them in my box.  Took us 10 minutes and in the end I only caught one of Josh's throws.  Fortunately, everyone else threw badly as well so my other two papers were errant throws by other teams.  Again, someone else completing the obstacle:

From there, another long ride to Edison Park, where we did piggy back polo:

Unfortunately, here is where we had to say Good bye to Bridget and Bobby.  Bobby's bike was having major problems i.e wouldn't switch gears anymore and Bobby had to struggle to keep it going in a straight line.  Josh and I mangaged to make it to one more obstacle, where I swam the length of a pool fully clothed, before our time ran out.

Back at the finish line, a giant slide awaited us:
Actually us going down the slide!

We had a great time at the after party, drinking beer and watching funny prize winning antics.   Around my neck, you can see Josh and my beads.  We made it to six out of seven obstacles which was definitely not shabby.  Here's Bridget and I at the after party.

Josh participated in a mustache contest (that beard needs to earn its keep somehow!)  He won a t-shirt as a "participation prize."
Amazing day biking around Tucson!  Nice break from all the running :-)


  1. You are a brave woman, Jo! If I were a few years younger...I'd try it. I didn't know Tucson had trolley tracks hehehe.

  2. Good job Joann! You did great! It sounds like fun. If I get a new bike I'll have to join you...maybe. :)

  3. I think anyone who has ever biked in Tucson has had a similar run-in with the trolley tracks... Sounds like you had fun anyway!