Stumptown Challenge 2009
Last weekend, Star and I participated in the Stumptown Challenge, a Portland-centric scavenger hunt run. We were hoping to win the second-place prize: a year's worth of Dave's Killer Bread (which is the best bread ever!).
We were given clues describing 12 Portland locations, and we had to solve the clues and take pictures of ourselves at 11 of the 12 locations, traveling only by foot or public transportation. The three teams that returned to the starting point fastest won. We were allowed to use the Internet and/or phone a friend to help solve the clues. There was also a brief Portland-related quiz before the race, and correct quiz answers improved a team's total time.
We did pretty well on the quiz (thanks to a close reading of the Portland Wikipedia page the night before), and with Patrick's help we were able to solve all of our location clues correctly. We brought Patrick's iPhone along, and it came it very handy--we used it to see when the next bus/MAX/streetcar was coming, so we could decide whether to wait for it or run to the next destination. Our main weakness was that we tired quickly and weren't able to run the whole time, but I don't feel bad about that. It was a hot day, and a good portion of the running was uphill. I can run for long(ish) periods of time when it's a nice cool morning in Ladd's Addition, but in a race setting I run too fast and use up all my energy right away. I should work on that.
We were given half of the clues to start, and then we had to go to a check-in point to get the remaining clues. The first six clues were all in the Pearl district, so we ran between most of the locations, but then the second six clues took us to North Portland, so we had to take the MAX/bus to get there. Waiting for the MAX was tough, because we kept wondering if it would have been faster to take the bus (turns out it would have taken about the same amount of time).
When the race started, I was hopeful that we could win, but at the halfway point we found out that 20 teams had gotten there before us, and I think that discouraged us a little. But we persevered, and we ended up coming in 18th out of 71 teams, which I'm really happy about! And even though we didn't win the bread, we did get our very own Dave's Killer Bread magnets, which is almost as good!
Click here for the clues and unflattering pictures of us at each location. I definitely need to work on my self-portrait skills. The photo below (taken in Overlook Park) is my favorite bad picture of us.
I'm really glad we decided to do the Stumptown Challenge. It was lots of fun, and I hope to do it again next year!
P.S. In case you were wondering about the logistics of getting a year's supply of bread (we sure were!), here's the scoop: Each member of the 2nd place team received a punch card good for 52 loaves of bread. They have to go to the Dave's Killer Bread store (in Milwaukie, which is just south of Portland) to pick up the bread, and they can pick up four loaves at a time. It's a good thing their bread freezes well!
P.P.S. Later that day, Patrick and I went to see The Decemberists play (along with Blind Pilot and Andrew Bird) at McMenamins Edgefield, and it was possibly the best concert I've been to. It wasn't just the music (the Decemberists are always great), but the setting was perfect--a warm summer evening, sitting in a clearing watching the sunset while listening to music we love. Not only that--Patrick brought me an ice cream cone, and there was a cute baby wearing too-big hot pink protective ear muffs. After the concert, it took forever to get out of the parking lot, so the people in the car next to us cranked up their Decemberists CD, got out of the car, and danced, and a bunch more people came over and formed a big happy drunken dancing circle (we are not dancing circle enthusiasts, so we stayed in our car and watched from a safe distance). It was just an all-around good night.