I don’t watch The Amazing Race very often, but when I do, I am always intrigued by the puzzles and the obstacles that the teams have to work through. I also root for “team old people”. Go figure. It all looks like so much fun – until somebody has to bungee jump or walk a rope bridge dangling over a crocodile infested river. Count me out. I’m not that much of a thrill seeker.
So, when I saw an opportunity to participate in a CityScape Challenge Urban Adventure Race, an Amazing Race type event right here in Portland, I thought “Why not? How hard can it be?” I signed up and told hubs what we were about do. Sometimes, it works better that way. He calls it “just shut up and get in the car.”
On Sunday morning, Team JustaBackpack checked in at 11:00 a.m., received our race packet, sized up the competition, warmed up with a Bloody Mary for luck and then, just as the clock struck high noon, tore open our envelope to reveal the challenges before us.
The race was on!
Each team had to complete 12 challenges. There were clues, riddles and puzzles that required us to hunt for a location and then complete a challenge and capture it with a photo. Speed was key. We’re definitely not speedy!
The Challenges started like this…
Challenge # 1 – Find the 42 ton locomotive named Peggy and take a pic of your team in your best lumber jack pose.
Challenge # 2 – Winnepeg has the title of being this frozen drink capital of the world selling over 188,883 of these each month. Drink one with your team and document with a pic.
We raced 129 other intrepid teams all over Portland – from the waterfront to the zoo, from the Japanese Garden to the only 7 Eleven in downtown Portland (Slurpee was the correct answer to Challenge question #2). We walked, we ran, we took the light rail train, we squeezed into a city bus, and we ran some more. We also stopped atStarbucks to refuel and figure out the answers to six anagrams and a riddle that led us to purchase a can of Evo or Wellness pet food and return to the start where we collected our last three clues.
For the next 3 hours and 31 minutes, we played a game of cat and mouse – trying to out compete, out strategize and out wit the other teams using only a smart phone, pen, $10 in dollar bills, and our own two feet and public transportation.
The first three teams across the finish line won cash. We were not one those teams. We finished 64th. But we gave it every bit of strength, experience and wisdom we could muster. We were an awesome team!
We returned home totally spent but exhilarated.
Team Backpack and Rollie will definitely be back next year.
CityScape produces urban race adventures in cities all over the country. If they come to your town, I say go for it. We had a blast and I’m sure you will too.