April 2011

Another blog. About Portland. And other stuff too.

about | archives | twitter | flickr | potma | iphone snapshots | facebook | yelp
rss feed | youtube | links | the burning log

Questions? Comments? Reservations?

Another Portland Blog

Sunday, March 15, 2009


And then a member of the Rocky team started punching Slimer

I showed up late to this year's Urban Iditarod. The details were vague and the official website didn't offer up much in the way of the whens and wheres. I figured I'd found the place when I was driving down a side street off SE Grand and spotted a few hundred costumed "dogs" running towards my car.

The annual event takes place every March and, according to an oft-quoted KATU soundbite, "there are no winners, there are no losers, there are only belligerent people." If you've never been, the Urban Iditarod is a drunken spectacle that replaces the hard-working huskies of more traditional iditarods with drunks and the sleds with shopping carts. My colleagues and I spent a few hours among the teams, learning their ways and studying their habits, but we never did figure out if there any actual rules involved in this race. At one point I found myself asking the same question that perplexed Hunter. S. Thompson during a long-ago trip to the Honolulu Marathon: "why do these mad buggers run?"

One theory: beer. Another theory: more beer. A third theory: boredom, spandex and still more beer.

That's not to say that this year's iditarod lacked any displays of genuine competitive spirit. As the dogs took off from the race's first break area in a parking lot next to Dutch Brothers, a team comprised of Rockys attempted to distract the leader of a Ghostbuster-themed team. Have you ever tried to navigate a group of inebriates attached to a shopping cart while dressed in a green spandex Slimer suit? It isn't easy, especially when you've got three Sylvester Stallone imitators slapping you upside the head.

There were many awesome teams and costumes on display during Saturday's race. No less than two teams dressed up as the Ghostbusters. There was a team of perverted Boy Scout troop leaders, a team comprised of butchers that kept screaming at spectators in broken Italian and, my personal favorite, the team that decided to drag around a functional Port-A-Potty instead of a shopping cart.

The Urban Iditarod isn't your traditional spectator sport. The race comes to a screeching halt every few blocks, allowing the dogs and their leaders time to pump themselves full of more alcohol. We followed the teams as far as the Green Dragon before a broken iPhone forced us to bag the race and make an emergency trip to the Pioneer Place Apple Store. So we didn't get to see any combination of drunken crashes, puking, public nudity, police intervention, or anything like that. But, hey, that's not to say that the afternoon was entirely free of highlights. I got sprayed in the face by one dog who was packing a dildo/squirt gun. Fun!

So if you go next year? You might want to leave the kids at home. You should have seen the expressions on the faces of random motorists that had to wait in traffic while the teams bombed down Belmont. As we followed them one spectator stopped to chat with a befuddled auto mechanic. Since carrying around an open container is still a serious no-no in this town, she offered him her beer, which he gladly accepted.

I figure there's at least one team still rolling through the streets of Portland in a drunken haze, madly searching for a finish line that's no longer there or maybe never existed in the first place. If I'm right about this, I figure it's the guys with the shark-cart made partially out of Pabst cans.

More photos? In a Flickr gallery? But of course. Just click here.


Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home




  • October 2003
  • November 2003
  • December 2003
  • January 2004
  • February 2004
  • March 2004
  • April 2004
  • May 2004
  • June 2004
  • July 2004
  • August 2004
  • September 2004
  • October 2004
  • November 2004
  • December 2004
  • January 2005
  • February 2005
  • March 2005
  • April 2005
  • May 2005
  • June 2005
  • July 2005
  • August 2005
  • September 2005
  • October 2005
  • November 2005
  • December 2005
  • January 2006
  • February 2006
  • March 2006
  • April 2006
  • May 2006
  • June 2006
  • July 2006
  • August 2006
  • September 2006
  • October 2006
  • November 2006
  • December 2006
  • January 2007
  • February 2007
  • March 2007
  • April 2007
  • May 2007
  • June 2007
  • July 2007
  • August 2007
  • September 2007
  • October 2007
  • November 2007
  • December 2007
  • January 2008
  • February 2008
  • March 2008
  • April 2008
  • May 2008
  • June 2008
  • July 2008
  • August 2008
  • September 2008
  • October 2008
  • November 2008
  • December 2008
  • January 2009
  • February 2009
  • March 2009
  • April 2009
  • May 2009
  • June 2009
  • July 2009
  • August 2009
  • October 2009
  • November 2009
  • December 2009
  • January 2010
  • February 2010
  • March 2010
  • April 2010
  • August 2010
  • September 2010
  • October 2010
  • November 2010
  • January 2011
  • February 2011
  • March 2011
  • April 2011

  • Clicky Web Analytics

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?