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.
Looking forward to it!
Mark, for Matt, Greg and Brian