Submitted by reader, Robin Rongey
What a beautiful day it was today and I have no idea what I could have done to make it an even better day, EXCEPT compete in the St Louis Urban Assault Race. The Urban Assault is in my opinion the most fun anyone can have on a bike.
Rock Racing, which would be me and Chuck, have been waiting for this race all year, and we must have been really excited about it, because we were race number 7. We think that means that we were the 7th team to sign up for the race, even if it’s not the actual reason we got lucky number 7, we are sticking to that story.
We had picked up our race packets on Saturday, so on Sunday we arrived at the race start, ready to go. The bikes were piling up fast, we picked what we thought was going to be a great place to stage our bikes, but soon started to rethink our plan. After seeing the number of bikes being staged, I think there was twice the number from last year’s race, and the way that the bikes were arranged, we decided that our original plan would take us into the mass of bikers during the start and it could get ugly. The new plan meant moving our bikes to the opposite side of the starting line, but it gave us a better route to follow, that we didn’t think would be as crowded.
As we waited for the start of the race, we scoped out the competition, everyone was racing, the biker chicks, the country girl, a couple girls with really good karma and of course Lori and her teammate Michele. This year’s race appeared to be the biggest and fastest race ever in St Louis.
We lined up on the starting line for a lemond start, which means we have to run to our bikes. I wish I had a really good starting line picture, but this year our personal photographer, Lori, who is Chuck’s wife, decided to compete. After a couple years of watching us have all the fun, she decided it was her year to join us, which is really great for her, but really bad for Chuck and me, now we have to take all our own pictures. It is really hard to stop and take pictures when you are trying to finish in the fastest time possible.
We were up front in the first row at the starting line, in the first wave. We had to take a quiz of 32 questions a couple days before the race and we got an 84% on it, which put us in the first wave. There were 3 waves total each wave started two and half minutes apart. The first wave is the only place to be and since that’s the way Rock Racing rolls we were right there. Our first stop was at the Planetarium, where we picked up the mystery clue. It was a picture of a sculpture of an old fashioned bike, and we had NO idea where to find it.
I called a couple friends hoping for some internet search help, but luck was not with us, no one was answering. We decided to just follow the route we had mapped out while we tried to figure out the mystery point.
We hit the café Ventana first, for a quick round of big wheel racing.
Next we hit Bike Works, where we had to build a tower on an oval sled out of foam brick puzzle pieces that spelled out the Cliff Bar logo, then lift it over our head. We put the puzzle together, but when lifting it, it fell apart, so we had to start over. I guess the second time was the charm, we grabbed our bead and moved on.
We still didn’t know the mystery point, so we stopped and called another friend, as he was doing an internet search for us, Chuck got the answer from another racer. The problem was, we had already passed the point and it was not a good move to back track at this point, so we made the decision to follow the loop as planned and then go back for the mystery point.
The next stop was the Bug Store, where we had to tie our legs together with an old inner tube and run through an obstacle course. It was fun watching Chuck climb through a hulu hoop, I made it right through without problem, see there are a few things I do better than Chuck.
We took off heading for the Brentwood swim club, and let me tell you, there is no way to get there without being sucked into a vortex of hills. After working through those hills, we hit a bike path that brought us into the back of the swim club. Oh and I have to tell you this, while we were rolling through the hills, Chuck told me that I had gotten much better at hills this year, now that was the best compliment he could have given me and even though I was gasping for air and so tired I was about to fall off my bike, I think I actually smiled. We jumped off our bikes and were told to jump in the pool with our helmets still on and swim to the bottom to collect 3 cans of beer and it had to be 3 different kinds of beer. Chuck jumped in shoes and all, I kicked my shoes off and jumped in, by the time I headed for the first can Chuck came out of the water with all three cans. So out of the pool we climbed and of course I had to put my shoes back on.
The next stop was Mesa Cycles, we made it there quickly and found out that one teammate had to ride the other teammate on the handlebars of a little trick bicycle and the teammate getting the ride had to grab two flag football flags off volunteers, and the volunteers were moving around, plus the area was on a hill. It was way tougher than it sounds.
Now we were off to the mystery point, which ended up being at a bar called the Handlebar lounge. We found it pretty quickly, but it added an extra 10 or 15 minutes to our time. There was no use getting upset, I mean we were having fun and just the fact that we aren’t from St Louis was a disadvantage to us, unless we frequented bars in the city we would have no way of knowing where this point was. I’m sure there were many other teams that had the same disadvantage as we did, so I’m am by no means complaining, this is why it is called a competition.
We made it to the finish, showed them our beads and headed to the sprinkler for some cooling off. This race director really knows how to treat its competitors, there is always a sprinkler available to cool off under after the race.
As Chuck and I stood under the cool water a guy came by and asked if I was the girl with the race blog, I said yep, you found me, he said that he read it all the time. That is so cool, that someone recognized me from my blog. Chuck took a picture of the guy while he was walking away, so here’s to you, number 164, otherwise known as the caped man, I thank you for reading my blog.
We ran over to our vans to get our IDs so we could get a couple free beer tickets and on the way back I came across Leo, a very interesting spectator. I asked if he would mind getting a picture with me, at first he seemed a little afraid, I really don’t think I’m scary, of course maybe he is related to me because all my brothers are afraid of me.
We hung around and checked out the different tents, ate some chips from whole foods and Chuck had a beer, while I sucked down a couple bottles of water. We chatted with some fellow adventure races and found out that we didn’t make the top 3, we figured that would be the case after the mystery point fiasco, but it’s all good, I wouldn’t miss this race for anything.
Before we knew it, we turned around to see Lori and Michele finish the race, they had a really great time and I’m sure we have now lost our personal photographer forever.
We can’t wait for next year, maybe we should start frequenting the city in hope of finding the mystery point faster next year.
Be sure to visit Robin’s blog, Rock Racing, at rock-racing.blogspot.com