Iditarod – an important dogsled race run annually on the Iditarod Trail
Urban Iditarod – a human-led shopping kart race run annually through SE, NW and SW Portland bars.
The insanity of Portland’s urban iditarod can be best described by that KATU quote. In my experience, it’s much more. The winners are those who feature the best theme and costumes. You could also state that people who are blasted-out-of-their-minds are also winners. The losers are the ones who missed out and didn’t participate in one of the most awesome events in Portland.
On an early Spring morning (this year it is Saturday, March 14th), hundreds of teams gather under the Hawthorne bridge to consume mass quantities of alcohol. You will see drag queens, 80′s rock bands, frat dudes, tennis pros/hoes, cavemen, tv/movie characters teams huddled together by their appropriately themed shopping kart. As the starting line is drawn and the competitors finish their beers, you are privy to one of the biggest shit shows I can only imagine exists in a Real World/Road Rules Challenge times 100. Once that gun sounds, teams race towards the first pit stop, the Grand Cafe. With each stop, humans are encouraged to pound beverages and guide their sled to the next stop.
As the race continues, teams become noticeable more sloppy and progressively entertaining. This is where the fun begins. Entire streets seemingly shut down for the race, due to the hundreds of people stumbling around downtown. Drinks are shared and carts begin to intermingle. The “Nickelodeon Double Dare” team invites other racers to compete in physical challenges. The tennis pros/hoes befriend the neon wig wearing team. Harmony.
For those of you who have not taken part in the urban iditarod, you truly are missing out on one of the most entertaining things Portland has to offer.