Sunday, March 13, 2011

And We Finish 11th!

I write this from bed, feet propped up with plans of a nap in my near future. In fact the nap was so near in the future, I finished this Sunday night.

My eSpecially Ben teammate, Ryan, is watching ACC basketball on the sofa, nursing sore muscles and joints. After running through the streets of downtown Charlotte, we are wiped out. A day later, we are still recovering.

Clearly, this is a "before the race starts" photo. This is us looking fierce.
As we left the house and made our way to the starting point, our energy and enthusiasm was high. We had read about Charlotte history the night before and felt relatively comfortable answering trivia questions.

When we got there, we were happy to see 13 teams assembled. Many teams came wearing costumes and Ryan and I regretted not wearing our eSpecially Ben t-shirts with capes.

80's Girls
Caped crusaders

TR Pixies
Guys Just Trying to be Girls

Not sure what they were going for...

The race started with a pencil and paper Charlotte trivia test - with each correct answer shaving off one minute from our overall finish time.

At 9:15am, we were given a clipboard with our first set of clues. With a backpack full of snacks, water, cell phone, camera and extra camera batteries, we left to find the first clue - a school with a mosaic design of a band. Found it quickly and took the photo. Check.

Then we had to find the year a specific church was built. Found the cement block built into the structure. Check.

Next clue talked about a quote by the person who created the telephone, mentioned AT&T, and lots of other words I cannot remember now. Ryan and I were stumped by this one for several minutes. Then an epiphany came to us and we walked all the way to the Main Library - clear across the city. The Main Library has 20-30 quotes by famous people hanging on its columns, but none from the great Mr. Bell. We were wrong. Very wrong.

This mistake cost us a lot of time and energy. After many discussions with security guards and workmen on the street, we found the answer - a statue of Alex in front of a new AT&T building, standing next to a man pulling cable wire. (If you need to know where the old AT&T building is, we can show you.) By the time we finished this set of 4 clues and made it to the first checkpoint, we were 15 minutes behind the last team.

But we kept going.

If you have watched Amazing Race on television, you know the teams do argue. The stress of the competition tests their relationship. Our experience was no exception.

At some point, Ryan's attitude went downhill and I may have been a bit bossy. We did end up on opposite sides of the street. We got back on track at the next checkpoint when we moved to #12 and they took a team photo of us. Ryan got to stick his tongue out at me and that seemed to break up the tension.

We started gaining time by running and answering clues out of order. Then another group made a mistake and that landed us in the 11th place.

I thought I was so clever when I saw this random Avatar under a tree.  It turned out not to be a clue, just a random Avatar under a tree.
 After 21 clues, three hours of running and walking, learning a lot about Charlotte art and history, we made it to the end. We had celebratory bagels at a local shop and went home.

I think we will be more prepared for next year. I've already put together a training program. I am kidding, perhaps.


  1. so neat, loved hearing about your race.

  2. So glad you did - we had fun. It is a great way to raise money - very creative, I think.


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