And it was the most fun I've ever had at a race.
I think that was due to the fact it wasn't like you're typical running race - where you're trying to beat a specific time goal or set a new PR. Instead, we just had fun and left our competitive spirits behind.
Thirty minutes before the start, we were given our maps to plan our routes. There was a running portion and a biking portion, but you couldn't mix the two. We decided to run first and then bike and plotted our routes.
Please note that the photos in this post are from Stellafly and Terry Johnston Photography and feature strangers, as I chose not to carry a camera during the race. I've never carried my camera during a race because that would be a disaster.
At each checkpoint you hole punch your passport with a unique hole puncher.
Some of the checkpoints have challenges you can complete for an extra hole punch. The goal is to get as many hole punches in the 4 hour time frame as possible.
Since this was our first race, we weren't sure what to expect or how to best attack the course. We ended up getting all but one of the running checkpoints, but spent about 2 and a half hours running, a little over 7 miles. After transitioning to the bike, we only had a little over an hour to bike and missed a lot of checkpoints. Good thing we didn't care.
Since this was themed around Grand Rapids' annual Art Prize event, many of the challenges dealt with the art. For one challenge, we were given a question and had to search for the answer in the artists' description of their work.
On another challenge, we were given a picture of an eye and had to find the art work that eye was located within.
The next challenge required us to count how many wooden monkeys were hanging right-side up on the blue bridge.
One messy challenge involved a sheet where our team number was written 3 times. In "paint by number" style, we had to locate all of our numbers and paint in the squares.
Another challenge was tied to a charity, and we purchased art supplies for WMCAT and then made get well cards for the kids at the Helen Devos Children's Hospital.
One of the more difficult challenges was a grid puzzle. Basically we were given a blank grid and had to fill in the scrambled grid pieces that were on a wall. When put together, it made a map that led us to the checkpoint.
That's actually a photo of Andy and I and my coworker and her friend. We worked together when possible, which is another fun aspect of the race. Overall, everyone is helpful and gave other teams tips or pointed them in the right direction if they were turned around.
One of my favorite challenges featured a hollow wooden tower.
The hole puncher was at the bottom, and you and your partner could only have one finger in the tower at a time. You had to work together to schooch the puncher up to the top and out so you could punch your passport. I of course found a way to injure myself and hole punched my finger when trying to get it up the tower.
Then came the most messy challenge.
There was a tube with many little holes in it. We had to fill it to a fill line using a bucket, which also had a bunch of larger holes in it. So I held onto the tube and tried to plug up the little holes while Andy ran back and forth to Reed's Lake to fill up the bucket and then pour the water into the tube. It took maybe 5 or 6 bucket loads until we filled up, and I had received a significant shower by the end.
Around that time, we saw we only had a half hour or so left and decided to call it a day. Did I mention that the race began and ended at our favorite brewery? That may have influenced us in deciding to end our journey and go drink some beer.
The next race on the agenda is a Winter Adventure Race at the local ski hill, and Team You Booze, You Win will be signing up for that as soon as registration opens.