The Urban Bike Adventure Tampa 2013

February 24, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Yesterday was super fun.

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I met up with my friends Nicole and Michelle…

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and we loaded up our bikes onto Nicole’s car and headed to Tampa for The Urban Bike Adventure.

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Aren’t the t-shirts awesome? The jerseys were super cute as well…

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but since they were $60 I was pretty happy with my black t-shirt.

The Urban Bike Adventure (TUBA) began at Pour House in the Channelside neighborhood of Tampa.

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It was a great place for a home base for this size of event. There were 30 teams, each with 2-4 people, so probably about 90 people total.  We got signed in, were given out t-shirts and numbers, and then hung out a little while as all the teams arrived and got signed in.

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Finally each team was given an envelope but told to not open it until they finally said, “Go!”

At which point we tore into our envelope and began reading the clues.

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The three of us didn’t know exactly what the day would entail other than biking, but we knew it was some sort of scavenger hunt around Tampa involving challenges and obstacles. Here’s what the paper said:

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We sat down at one of the patio tables and began going through all of the clues with the help of our smart phones and Mr. Google.

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We figured out all of the clues and narrowed them down to a street address for each one. Then we looked up all of the addresses and figured out which neighborhood they were in. We realized that there were a chunk of clues involving locations in Ybor City, a few downtown and near the Hillsborough River, a few in Hyde Park, then one in Channelside not far from the beginning location at Pour House. We quickly devised a strategy to hit up the neighborhoods in that order.

First up was Ybor City:

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The first location we headed to was actually #8 on the clue sheet:

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We actually off-roaded through a field at one point and then spotted a couple of other bikers at the monument we were looking for. We promised them, truthfully, that we were NOT following them.

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From there we hopped onto 7th Avenue which is the main drag in Ybor City and it was blocked off for pedestrian traffic due to one of their many festivals…I think somebody said it was the “Flan Festival” or something. 7th Avenue was totally congested with people so we biked carefully through the people…

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at one point stopping to try to get a photo with the three of us and a trolley, which was one of the tic-tac-toe squares.

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The next clue we solved was #4 on the list, finding a monument to the Rough Riders.

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I didn’t even realize until I was editing the photo below that there were trolleys behind us, so that first bad trolley photo was not even necessary (and we ended up not needing that square for tic-tac-toe anyway).

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Then we bid adieu to Ybor City…

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and started heading towards downtown.

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On the very outskirts of Ybor we found our next clue, which was #1 on the clue sheet:

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This mural was recently restored and is unbelievably vibrant and beautiful!

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We didn’t see other bikers there, but there were two nice young ladies there taking photos of the mural and they kindly took our picture.

Next we headed to our next destination, clue #5:

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That’s McFly – (McDonalds – TheDonald) + BAR = Fly Bar. Duh. In case you can’t tell in the photo below, we are “flying” at the Fly Bar because we are so cool.

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We also managed to knock off a couple of other clues at this stop thanks to some friendly random strangers.

Clue #2:

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Another tic-tac-toe square for clue #11 (conga line):

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Did you notice that all of the people, including the kids, in the above two photos are wearing race medals? Yesterday (Saturday) was day one of the Gasparilla Distance Classic. Saturday was the 15K and 5K and we saw people all over the city with their medals. Today (Sunday) was the 8K and half marathon…congrats to all of the finishers and especially to my IRunMommies friend Ali and Nikki who completed the 15K + 8K challenge!

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So, back to TUBA. Our next destination was on the Hillsborough River, so we had to navigate through downtown and then we rode past Curtis Hixon Park with the University of Tampa’s minarets visible in the background.

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Finally we made it to our next stop for clue # 6, MacDill Park:

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This was our first “challenge” stop, and foolishly Nicole and I picked up the ping-pong paddles while Michelle took photos.

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There were several other teams there trying to complete the challenge, and we could see that it was not easy. We had to bat the whiffle ping pong ball back and forth across the cones as we moved down the line…

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trying to finally get the ball into the cardboard box at the end…

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without letting it hit the ground.

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We had to start over about ten times. Finally…

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with the help of this face of determination…

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we managed to get it into the box (more quickly than some of the other teams who had arrived at that challenge before us).

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Then we were on to the next stop which was across the Hillsborough River.

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We spotted a guy with a tie on our way and knocked off another tic-tac-toe square for clue #11:

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The guy told us he was a celebrity and when we asked who he was he said, “The guy with the tie.” He was very nice and we told him to take his tie off and not talk to any other bikers (not really).

We were on our way to the Hyde Park neighborhood.

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Clue #10…

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which just happened to be CineBistro.

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We decided to make our “Shakespearean performance” be as the witches from Macbeth, stirring our cauldron.

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Being moms, we knew that we could find a swing set in the park at Hyde Park, so we headed there to complete tic-tac-toe for clue #11:

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From Hyde Park we headed to South Howard to look for what was formerly known as “Luna Park”…

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where we asked some kids to take our photo re-enacting the statue of the water dancing ladies.

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The other ladies look very graceful and I was really just trying not to fall into the fountain. I love our shadows!

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From Berns Park we turned a corner…

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and suddenly found ourselves on Bayshore Boulevard.

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I remarked to Michelle ahead of me that it was much more fun to bike down Bayshore than it was to run down Bayshore. I did the Gasparilla 15K last year, and it was so HOT and LONG running those five miles out then five miles back to downtown Tampa, almost all of it on Bayshore. There were many signs of the morning’s race along Bayshore.

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Back over the Hillsborough River, this time on a different bridge:

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We were headed to Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park which is right behind the Tampa Bay Times Forum on the riverfront. Last November I was at that park for the SWFBUD Bicycle Bash when the boys and I biked through downtown Tampa with mayor Bob Buckhorn, so I sort of knew where we were going.

Clue #9:

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I took photos while Nicole and Michelle tried to get a Frisbee to land inside a hula hoop.

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After only a couple of tries by both of them, Michelle made the winning toss:

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Then we were on to the final challenge back in Channelside.

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It was Nicole’s turn to be the photographer while I humiliated myself with a cup on my head and Michelle one again showed off her bulls-eye skills.

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From there we were just around the corner from the Pour House, where we checked in and found a cold beverage. Done!

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We were told that we were the sixth team to check in, and that there were 30 teams total. Not bad! We sat around for over an hour as all of the other teams trickled in, like Team Orange (or whatever their names were).

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We sat out on the patio for a while…

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until finally they called the course closed and gave out raffle prizes and awards. It turned out that we actually were the 5th place finishers as one of the teams that finished ahead of us hadn’t completed all of the clues and challenges. All of the top 10 teams were supposed to receive medals, but there was some mix up and they had received medals from some Hawaii race instead. We would have taken the Hawaiian medals, but they gave us “place holder” plastic medals to tide us over until they get the correct medals and can mail them to us.

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We were very proud of ourselves since we had no idea what we were doing and none of us really knew our way around Tampa all that well, being St. Petersburgers.

Nicole and I also both won a raffle prize of three free rides at Pura Cycling Studio in Wesley Chapel. That’s quite a haul from St. Pete, but I may try to get up there some time because I have friends who work there and who work out there (sometimes it does feel like I know everybody who is into fitness in Tampa Bay). It will be an adventure!

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It was a really great day with some awesome ladies. Nicole and Michelle, you guys made it so much fun. I felt like it was truly a team effort and I enjoyed every minute of it. We’re all going to do it again when The Urban Bike Adventure comes to St. Pete in November…we already registered as Team Wonder Wheels and signed Nikki up to be on our team as well. I can’t wait to do TUBA on our own turf! It’s super cheap to sign up now and will only get more expensive, so get signed up. I promise you will have a blast.

Cya.