The phrase "urban adventure race" might conjure the image of a drunken frat boy dropped in the Bronx and told to walk south to the tip of Manhattan. But that's more like an episode of Survivor. Urban adventure racing -- the real sport -- involves teams of honed athletes maneuvering on foot, bike, scooter and canoe through the meandering and disorienting scapes of cities like, well, Houston. This year's Quest Urban Adventure Race offers coed and single-sex teams the chance to tromp their way from Minute Maid Park to the Dome and other landmarks throughout the city.
Depending on each team's collective psychosis (which should be pretty high, given that the event is outdoors in August), members will participate in either a four-hour race or a 12-hour race, vying to see who can best out-strategize, outpace and out-hydrate the others. Registration is closed, but you can watch these urban adventurers hit the streets before the Astros game this Saturday. Just be sure to stand clear of their path. 6 p.m. Saturday, August 7. 501 Crawford. For information, call 512-873-1204 or visit www.terrafirmapromo. com/urban.htm. Free. -- Eric Norvell
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Okay, so you didn't make the U.S. Olympic beach volleyball team heading to Greece this month. But here's your chance to spike some game-winning shots and hang out on an island -- minus the crystal-clear Mediterranean waters, of course. The appropriately named Hot as Hell Classic in Galveston is open to two-person teams of all ages and experience levels. (Hint: If you think beach volleyball is dodgeball played in the sand, the lowest competition level is your best bet.) Or, if you'd rather not bust your butt in the blazing sun, you can just park your chair and admire the athletic skills of young hardbodies in their, uh, uniforms. 9:30 a.m. Sunday, August 8. Stewart Beach, 701 Seawall Boulevard. For information, call 409-765-5023 or visit www.gcva.net. $40 to participate; $7 for parking. -- Greg Barr