August 12, 2007

On Saturday, after much anticipation and hours of testing and planning, Brian and I hosted The Amazing Race: San Francisco.

During the afternoon, we had teams go around Stow Lake twice in a paddleboat or rowboat, go through the Labyrinth at Grace Cathedral, search for the 2 pagoda-style phone booths in Chinatown, run up the steepest street in the city, and play some of the games at the Musee Mechanique, which is located at Fisherman's Wharf (and not Pier 39 as thought by many). Teams were given clues to go to these locations and complete the tasks. Being in San Francisco, we allowed teams to drive, as finding parking at these locations (or breaking down and paying $2.50 to park at a garage for 15 minutes) was going to be part of the challenge.

After a short dinner break, we had a few more competitors join us for the night race. We started by searching for statues at the very creepy Cayuga Playground. They had a short challenge running up and down the Mosaic Stairs in the Sunset, and then more stairs to get to the top of Grand View Park. That was followed by a few challenges in Golden Gate Park at the Music Concourse, the search for the elusive Big Purple Head, and a short treasure hunt at a playground. The darkness and the fear of being mugged probably encouraged all the night racers to really hustle. The finish point was at a bonfire at Ocean Beach, where we were more difficult to find than I had imagined.

A lot of the locations for the Amazing Race came from a book Brian was reading about secret spots around SF. Other challenges came about either because we thought it would be fun or because we wanted to see the strategies people would use in order to win.

Jason and Jenny dominated the first half by building an insurmountable lead at Stow Lake. They sped their way through all the other tasks and beat everyone by at least an hour. The team of Martin, Roger, and Winnie were actually the first to arrive at Ocean Beach, but were unable to locate our fire pit. (I'll admit, it was tricky because I invited a few strangers to hang out with me at my bonfire.) This allowed Jason and Jenny to also claim victory in the second half as well.

If you live in SF and haven't checked out some of these sites before, especially the Mosaic Steps or Cayuga Park, they're pretty cool places to visit. It was a physically grueling day (Stow Lake and all the stairs), but most people seemed to have a good time.

Our next event is already in the works: Half-marathon tag.

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