Athletes of the Valley are probably used to navigating hazardous mountain terrain or dusty mountain trails, but could they manage climbing a 12-foot-high ramp covered with Crisco? Such obstacles await at the Phoenix Urban Adventure Race on Saturday, December 4, where -- in addition to almost 25 miles of running, hiking, orienteering and mountain biking along northeast Valley pavement and trails -- competitors must conquer several "mystery events" that promoter Rick Eastman is very hush-hush about. "I can't tell you what we're planning, but it's always challenging and fun to watch," he says, describing how past challenges, like blindfolded puzzles or balance beams, are designed to be overcome by teamwork.
Eastman's also tightlipped on the course itself, which isn't revealed until the morning of the race. Participants are provided with a topographical map with a series of numerical coordinates representing different checkpoints they must pass. Teams of up to four people must get there on their own, and there'll be no crossing against the light, since there are penalties for disobeying traffic laws. Similarly verboten is the use of GPS devices.
"That's a major, disqualifying no-no," says Eastman. The adventure begins at the REI retail store, 12634 North Paradise Village Parkway, with a mandatory pre-race meeting at 7 a.m., and the race following at 8 a.m. Late registration is still available for $85 at www.sierraadventuresports.com. -- Benjamin Leatherman
Trilogy hosts Fairway Frenzy for United Way
In its most clichéd light, golf is a sport pursued by the "haves" of society. As luck would have it, there are moments when this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Think charity, as in using the game to give until it hurts, à la the first United Way Fairway Frenzy, on Friday, December 3, at Trilogy Golf Club, 4415 East Village Parkway in Gilbert. This inaugural golf tournament eschews competition in favor of philanthropy in an all-day event that also features a luncheon, silent auction, raffle, and prize giveaways. Registration begins at 11:15 a.m., with an 11:30 luncheon prior to a 12:30 p.m. shotgun start. Donations of quality items are welcomed and appreciated. For details call Celeste at 480-461-7485.-- Craig Wallach