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Race Updates

Thanks for racing today. Not many people will tackle a 4-hour race with an unknown course and unknown challenges so just showing up and racing is impressive. We’re trying to grow adventure racing in Michigan (not just our races) and we hope you’re along for the ride.Thanks to: 

  • The fantastic volunteers (copied on this note) including the teams from  Degage Ministries, West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance and Grand Rapids Community College. Degage will love the bus tickets for those they serve who need rides to job interviews, medical appointments, etc.. We’ll send some race proceeds their way as well as some cash to the WMMBA, which builds all of the great public bike/run trails in West Michigan. Thanks to the VanderPloegs for loaning us their ranch and bike trail.
  • Our generous sponsors: Gazelle Sports, Sight Optical Boutique, Founders Brewing Co., Bill & Paul’s Sporthaus, Peppino’s Pizza, 8th Day Gym, West Michigan Bike & Fitness, Health Motion Physical Therapy and Let Us Design/Build. Check out what they have to offer and If you buy from them, tell them their sponsorship of the race is worth it.
  • Thanks to our vendors for discounted products: Peppino’s Sports Grille, Kingma’s Market, D&D Printing, and Baker Tent Rental.

Here are the preliminary results. Thanks for your patience. We really had hoped to have these on site. Our scoring website was hacked just before the race so we had to re-build scoring in Excel. That, combined with scoring 200 passports and confirming the top finishers, was more work than we had hoped. If you finished in the top five but were not there for the awards ceremony, please email me and I will mail it to you or pick up at a Gazelle Sports store. Please email me if you think there’s a significant error on our part.

Nice job to all on a tough course (as usual). We design almost all of our courses so that most or all teams cannot easily get all of the checkpoints. 90% of racers have asked us to keep it that way so that strategy, time management and route selection are critical to maximize checkpoints. A special nod to the top finishers including overall winners Bryan and Kristin VanderArk (who got all 45 checkpoints), male winners Tyler Buitenwerf and Kyle Herrington (44 CPs) and female winners Anna Coles and Haley Kammeraad (42 CPs).

Please complete our two-minute survey. This helps us improve our races.Photos
Thanks to Jamie Geysbeek Photography for the awesome photos. Check our Facebook page for more. Eventually we’ll have a large batch on Flickr. Stay tuned to Facebook for that.
We have some race shirts left. They can be delivered to the Gazelle Sports GR, Holland or Kzoo stores upon payment by check. We have a few shirts left from many of our past races too if you need one. All shirts are $7 or 2 for $10. Email me.Lost & Found
Found: Detroit Tigers hat, bike glove, Nautica pullover, West MI Uniform travel mug. Email me if one of these is yours. I’ll leave items in the Found box at Gazelle Sports Grand Rapids or have them delivered to Gazelle Kzoo or Holland.
What’s Next
The Winter Edition registration is now open. This one is more about running and orienteering, but we’ll give you a taste of snowshoeing and fatbiking too (if we get the equipment and snow), along with fun challenges. Stay motivated with your training as the weather gets cold. The race moves to Camp Roger this year for some fresh terrain and we own the facilities now. Feb. 7, 2015.Next year’s spring race at Silver Lake State Park will have crazy Sahara desert-style orienteering, sandboarding, and paddling. June 6. Likely 6 hours as we slowly pull people up the ladder to longer races. Other races below.Race Calendar
Oct. 25  The Zombie Dash, 5K, sunset, downtown Grand Rapids
Nov. 15 Dirty Duel trail race, 5K vs. 6K, Robinette’s, Grand Rapids
Feb. 7, 2015 Michigan Adventure Race: Winter Edition, 4 hours, Camp Roger, Rockford
April 25, 2015 Hurt the Dirt trail race, quarter, half, and full marathon, Luton Park, Rockford
June 6, 2015 Michigan Adventure Race: Silver Lake Edition, 6 hours, Silver Lake/Mears
Aug. 8, 2015, Michigan Adventure Race: Epic Edition, 8-10 hours, Belding/Smyrna (30 minutes east of GR)

Thanks again for racing. We hope you had a fun experience.

Mark, for Greg, Matt, Brian


Race Waiver

Race Update #2 (see below for Update #1)

Michigan Adventure Race: ArtPrize Edition
Ah-Nab-Awen Park, downtown Grand Rapids
September 27, 2014
Thanks for joining us for the fourth annual Michigan Adventure Race: ArtPrize Edition!Get ready for the ride (and the run) of your life. It’s a crazy, intense, smile-generating experience with 400 others who can balance the brain with the brawn. While other urban adventure races sissify things with just a few miles of biking and/or running, you’ll be tackling the toughest urban course around with nearly 30 miles of ground to cover to get all the checkpoints. Don’t worry – we make it fun, there are opportunities to catch your breath, and every checkpoint is optional so advanced and beginner racers can both have a great experience.Sponsors
We want to thank our best-in-class sponsors for supporting this race.

  • Gold: Gazelle Sports and Sight Optical Boutique
  • Silver: West Michigan Bike & Fitness, Let Us Design/Build, Founders Brewing Co., Peppino’s Sports Grille, Health Motion Physical Therapy
  • Bronze: 8th Day Gym and Bill & Paul’s Sporthaus

A big thanks to all our volunteers as well. Please thank them out on the course if you think about it. Volunteers include a team from our charity partner, Dégagé Ministries. Serving over 400 individuals daily, Dégagé Ministries offers help and hope to homeless and disadvantaged individuals in downtown Grand Rapids. Dégagé’s priority is to foster dignity and respect while providing hygiene facilities, meals, overnight housing for women, and a variety of other services. You’ll have an opportunity to donate $6 toward Dégagé at our charity challenge.

Early check-in, Gazelle Sports GR:  Friday, Sept. 26, 4:00-7:00 pm
Same-day check-in, Ah-Nab-Awen Park:  Sat., Sept. 27, 7:00-7:45 am
Race briefing:  8:00-8:30 am
Plan your route:  8:30-9:00 am
Race start:  9:00/9:05/9:10 am waves (based on co-ed, male and female divisions; order TBD)
Race cutoff:  1:00/1:05/1:10 pm
Lunch:  12:30-1:45 pm
Raffle and awards ceremony: 1:30-2:15

Early check-in is at Gazelle Sports, 3930 28th ST, from 4-7 pm this Friday.

  1. Bring your team number from our email on Thursday or look it up on the wall.
  2. Sign and turn in your waiver. We will have waivers there if you forget.
  3. Pick up your race/bib number, passport and shirt (for those registering before 9/22). You can pick up stuff for your teammate and friends, but only if you trade us for their waivers. Bring a bag with you if you are picking up stuff for several people.
  4. Show your bib and get 10% off anything in Gazelle’s store, Friday only.

If you want to buy any of our Michigan Adventure Racing gear, consider doing it at early check-in (or on race day you can leave it in a bag at the bike corral).

  • Tech shirts – $17 for short sleeved, $22 for long sleeved. Sport-tek brand. Men’s, women’s cuts. 25 available. Limited sizes.
  • Buffs - $10, full length head/neckwear ($18-25 for national brands)
  • Pints – MAR logo on both sides, $8 ($15 at most races; older GR Urban pints for $4 each)
  • Stickers – removable, $3
The closest parking is at the Scribner Lot under US-131 or the Dash West Area 7 Lot just west of US-131. Both are between Bridge and Pearl. Try Scribner first as it’s right across the street from the bike corral. Both are free and just a 1-2 minute bike ride from the park, which is between the Gerald R. Ford Museum and the Grand River. Other free parking can be found in the core downtown area – here’s a map of those lots.Race day check-in

  1. Give yourself enough time to park and check in. You will not want to be messing with your gear or the portajohn when the race briefing starts at 8 am.
  2. Bring your bike to the corral located at the northwest corner of Ah-Nab-Awen Park. We don’t have triathlon corrals this year so just lay your bike on your teammate’s in the rows of orange cones
  3. Head to the same-day check-in tents just a few yards southeast of the corral.View the layout here.
  4. Get your shirt, passport, and “bib” number if you didn’t make it Friday. Attach your number on your backpack or wherever most visible if you won’t be carrying a pack (not underneath a jacket).
  5. Put your name and mobile phone number on your passport in case you drop it so someone can call you and leave it at a checkpoint for you to pick up.
  6. Please bring a campchair if you need seating for lunch. Otherwise it’s the grass.

Please review the Required Gear page. You are on an adventure on an “open” course. No race officials, no closed streets. As a result, we require you to have some basic safety items.Here are a few things to note about SOME of the required or suggested items:

  • Pants/tights and rain jacket/poncho: not required anymore unless conditions change drastically. Your call.
  • Road bikes: allowed on all sections except for the singletrack bike trail, which can be run. If you are debating between a road and mountain bike, feel free to bring both and decide after the pre-race meeting. You may NOT put both bikes in the corral. Go with your best guess and then bike to your car to get the other bike if you change your mind.
  • Shoes: please do not wear shoes with spikes because of the ArtPrize venue floors. Bike shoes with recessed cleats are fine. Please do your best to kick mud off before entering venues.
  • Gear bag: You can leave gear that you will need during the race in a bag at the bike corral or access it from your car. Those of you with bike shoes/clipless pedals can leave running shoes here while you are on one of the bike sections (and conversely, bike shoes here while you are on foot). You must return your bike to the corral when transitioning to on-foot sections. Your car is for gear access only.
  • Lock?: If you are concerned about theft, lock your bikes together in the corral and/or to a tree out on the course while you venture into woods. Checkpoints are almost always close to the bike path/road. We will keep an eye on the bike corral and we have never had a bike stolen but we can’t guarantee its safety (by replacing it if it is stolen). We don’t make enough money to do that!
  • Poison ivy protection: Several checkpoints on the bike section will involve encounters with poison ivy (mostly low to the ground but some is wrapped around trees). Wear long pants or knee high/compression socks if this is a concern. A few prickers here and there. Consider throwing in some basic first aid for cuts and scrapes; your choice.
  • Map cases/waterproofing your maps: The maps are a maximum of 11×17 inches. The passport is waterproof but the maps and race instructions are not. Consider contact paper (housewares department at Meijer) or clear packing tape to seal your maps along with a waterproof map case or zip lock bags.

The current forecast for race day looks great (a ways out but the trend is good), maybe even a little warm. We will race rain or shine. In the event of a thunderstorm, we will postpone the start of the race until conditions improve. Hunker down in your car. During the race, please seek shelter during these conditions. If you arrive at a challenge or the transition area during severe weather, you’ll be asked to take cover there if it’s available. Because we have no way of communicating with all of you, the clock will keep moving and you will need to be back within the four hours. We will likely throw the top finisher prizes into the raffle pile to discourage racers from racing during the thunderstorm while others wait it out. No prize is worth risking your life.

Race organizers reserve the right to cancel the event in the case of extended severe weather. We will do everything possible to get the event in, but refunds are not available if it is canceled due to significant costs we must pay in advance of the race. Depending on how much racing was done, we may offer a partial credit for a future race.

We would encourage you to invite friends and family to watch the race. We will offer race maps to spectators after the pre-race meeting (first come basis) so they can check out some of the fun challenges (but no assistance). Spectators can reach much of the race course by car. Some downtown checkpoints and challenges can best be reached on foot.

For those of you new to adventure racing, details on the race format can be found on the Race Information page of the website. Note: You will lose a checkpoint for each minute you are beyond the 4-hour cut-off time, up to ten CPs/minutes at which point you will be unranked. It is human nature to get greedy and go after that last CP, but do you really want to slide to the bottom of the list as an unranked team? Sync your watch to the official World Clock race time (very likely your cell phone is synched already) before the race to ensure you make cut-off time. Leave yourselves several minutes of buffer to be safe and set an alarm when it’s time to head to the finish.

The Course

  • The bike section is 16-18 miles on a variety of surfaces and about 20 checkpoints. Advanced checkpoints will be labeled.
  • The run section is 7-9 miles and about 20 checkpoints, all in the ArtPrize boundaries downtown. Based on your feedback from previous years, we are avoiding most crowded venues. For teams that bike first, the run should be easier than last year. The run section contains no advanced checkpoints.
  • There will be 6-8 challenges; you receive one checkpoint for finding the location (don’t forget to punch the flag) and one for finishing the challenge (volunteer will punch).

After the Race

  • As soon as you turn in your passport, please, please bring your bike back to your car (don’t forget a lock if your rack doesn’t have one). Ellis Parking needs the lot clear as soon as possible after 1:10 for ArtPrize parking.
  • We’ll give out some great prizes for the fastest and luckiest racers including Gazelle Sports, Founders Brewery, Bill & Paul’s Sporthaus, Peppino’s, 8th Day Gym, and Health Motion PT gift certificates and gear from Sight Optical Boutique (Smith Optics sunglasses), West Michigan Bike and Michigan Adventure Racing.
  • Devour Kingma’s fresh fruit and 150 pizzas from Peppino’s, arriving around 12:30 with batches coming through 1:15 or 1:30. Please start with two pieces; once we make sure the last wave is back and eating, feel free to have more. We ordered four gluten-free cheese pizzas for those who need it. Bring your own beverage if you don’t want Gatorade or water. Here are the veggie toppings ordered in case you are looking for a favorite: lots of mushroom and pineapple, a few tomato, green pepper, green and black olive (normal meats ordered).

Sponsor Offers

  • Gazelle Sports: Come to early check-in Friday at Gazelle, show your race number and get 10% anything.
  • Bill & Paul’s Sporthaus: Select adventure racing gear is 10% off with proof of registration. See the Required Gear page for details.

Questions? Email me at, preferably before Friday.

Look for the team list and team number on Thursday.

Are you ready?! Just showing up and trying means you are doing something few people in the world ever do: a mentally and physically challenging adventure lasting 4 hours. It’s as tough as you want to make it and a blast. See you soon.

Mark, for Greg, Matt and Brian

Race Update #1

Thank you for signing up for the Michigan Adventure Race: ArtPrize Edition! We’re still five weeks away but we wanted to let you know a few things now.

You likely know that the race is split into two sections, an on-foot/run section and a bike section. You can do them in either order and every checkpoint (CP) and challenge within each section can be done in any order as well. The only thing you can’t do is bike to any of the run section checkpoints. It’s fine to run to the bike section CPs. Good luck with that!

The on-foot/run section will be in downtown Grand Rapids. You’ll see a lot of cool ArtPrize art and venues. It is expected to require 7-10 miles to get every CPs. The bike section will be outside of downtown for safety (you and pedestrians). The bike section is currently 17 miles to get all CPs and I will likely add 2-3 miles more – 90% of racers prefer to have a course where it’s very difficult to get every checkpoint as this makes your route choice and time management a critical part of the race.

Even though you’ll bike away from the heaviest traffic, a biker was hit a few years ago and there have been several close calls, primarily due to over-aggressive biking. Please be careful as your life is more at risk during this race than almost any day of the year. You’ll start at the north end of Ah-Nab-Awen Park (map to come) like past years. The majority of the bike section will be on paved surfaces. Some roads will have bike lanes. Others will have narrow shoulders. A bike light is not a bad idea even in a daytime race.

The course will feature an intermediate/advanced mountain bike section that may not be done by road bikes. Cyclocross bikes with appropriate tires will be allowed. See the Required Gear page. Road bikers can drop their bikes and get the CPs on foot. The distance will be less than 2 miles.

Other sections of the bike course will contain some gravel roads and trails. Some road bikers will handle those fine. Others with less experience may not. We will let you know generally where the gravel roads are in the pre-race meeting so you can determine whether to bypass them as you plan your route. We recommend that road bikers that wish to complete these gravel areas have tires with “flat protection” and you may also wish to get wider 700c x 28mm tires (ask our sponsor West MI Bike or your local bike store).

The bike section will feature several checkpoints that require you to get off your bike and venture into the “wild” for 10-300 meters. This is normal for an adventure race. At least two CPs require intense bushwhacking to reach. We will label these CPs as advanced. There is some poison ivy so protect your legs if this is a concern.

If you wear bike shoes with clipless pedals, you may want to stick with that set-up but if you do not like walking or running at all in bike shoes, consider switching to flat or toe-clipped pedals and running shoes. We will not have a clinic to prepare for the race since finding the checkpoints requires only basic map reading skills. Compass use for most will be limited to confirming the direction you are going. To brush up, review our Navigation 101/201 presentation.

Check out the Race Information and Required Gear pages for other details about the race. We will send Race Update #2 within 1-2 weeks of the race.

Looking forward to it!

Mark, for Matt, Greg and Brian

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