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Race Updates

12-hour Race Update #1 & 3 at bottom of page; joint update #2 below 6-hour update #2. Got that?

6-Hour Race Update #2
We hope you’re excited for Saturday. The great thing about a race where every checkpoint is optional and can be done in any order (within a section) is that 400 people (6-hour race) of widely varied fitness and skill can all have a great experience, bond with teammates and create memories that will last a long time. And Michigan’s great land and water provides just the right amount of elevation, definition and variety for adventure racing… not insane but not too easy either. Maybe that’s part of the reason this race is the largest in the U.S. (along with the fact that you all are just a bunch of badassers).

See Race Update #1 quite a ways below for additional information. Immediately below is new information along with some key repeat info related to Saturday morning.

We will have 177 teams and 394 racers in the 6-hour race.
Team List

Please look up your race/bib number on this team list and provide that at check-in with your waiverEmail me if any information is incorrect or missing.

Schedule
Check-in, gear check: 9:00-10:45 am
Race briefing: 10:45-11:15 am
Race planning: 11:15-11:55 am
Race start: 12:00 pm (waves every five minutes; females, then males, then co-eds)
Race cut-off: 6:00 pm
Food: 5:45-7:00 pm, pizza, fruit
Award ceremony and raffle: approx. 7:00 pm

Directions & Parking
The start/finish is located at the Hamlin Lake picnic shelter in Ludington State Park. The address for the state park is 8800 W. M-116. Ludington MI, 49431. Click here for a Google Map. Stop in at the campground check-in building on your right if you have a campsite. Then, go further north. At the tiny ranger/payment station building (recreation passport or visitor fees required), turn right/east and follow the road all the way to the end near the Hamlin Dam and park in any of the lots surrounding the picnic shelter and concessions building. Avoid the boat launch area that is the farthest east. If all lots are full (unlikely),  turn around until you find the closest lot. There are several dirt parking areas along the main road or park in the lot near Lake Michigan – it’s a quick bike ride in from any lot (and a good test to make sure your bike is functioning properly!). Please don’t park along campsites in the campgrounds.

Please, please help us out with parking by:

  • Leaving your vehicle at your campsite if you are camping in the park and biking to the start/finish (corral will be in the grassy area just south of the shelter; please walk your bike into and out of the corral area as the grass is pretty fragile in this sandy area)
  • Parking close to the vehicle next to you and not skipping any spots where there are no parking lines
  • Avoiding parking in the boat vehicle area southeast of the shelter

Check-in

  • We will NOT have early check-in on Friday evening.
  • Check-in will be at the Hamlin Lake picnic shelter Saturday morning.
  • Bring all of your required gear with you. We are planning to check for gear at check-in. See the Required Gear page to remind you of what’s needed.
  • Temps are colder near the lake so plan for 10-20 degrees colder for much of the race. However, if you are generating lots of heat, you are offsetting these colder temps so dressing based on the actually inland Ludington forecast might be about right.
  • Waiver. Print. sign and drop off at check-in. Your teammate must provide you their waiver if you are picking up for them.
  • Get your passport, race/bib number and shirt (if you signed up before Monday).
  • You can switch your shirt size or buy a leftover shirt ($15) after 10:45 am after everyone has received the shirt size they ordered. Sorry, that’s a little late for you all but we may have some left after the race.
  • Everyone must use the provided “boot brush” at check-in and again when returning to the park later in the race to make sure your running shoes (and bike shoes if you use them) are free of invasive species.
  • Restrooms are located inside the concessions & boat rental building. Water is between that building and the shelter as well.
  • The Hamlin Lake picnic shelter will not have enough space or picnic tables for everyone. Bring a chair or blanket to sit on. Consider bringing a card table so you can set your maps out on it if you did not snag a picnic table.

Maps

  • You’ll get your maps as part of the race briefing before the race, not at check-in. You’ll get two maps on one sheet of 11″x17″ paper, in case you want to pre-cut a 22×17 piece of contact paper to seal the maps. You’ll also get a race instructions sheet, 8.5″x11″ and the passport you get at check-in is already waterproofed and 5.5″x8.5″.

Yucky Stuff

  • If there’s severe weather/lightning before the race, please stay in your vehicle. If you are at the shelter, head over to the boathouse. We’ll wait about 30 minutes to begin normal race operations. We can delay partway into the afternoon if necessary. Here’s the full adverse weather procedures.
  • Ticks. This part of Michigan has a lot. Consider pants and long socks, bug repellent and definitely check yourselves after the race. Better yet, form a 394-person grooming line.

Where Racers Are From (6 and 12 Hours)
While most teams hail from Michigan, we’ll also have racers from California, Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Pennsylvania (sorry if I missed anyone else) in addition to those shown here. Thanks for making the trip, whether it’s just a part of your visit or the primary intent. If you came just for the race and you’re from at least six hours away, email me and we’ll put you in the running for our farthest away special prizes (no, not all your gas money).

Salomon Speedcross 4 Demo Shoes
If you can handle wearing a new shoe for a race, you are welcome to try the awesome Salomon Speedcross 4 shoes which are perfect for off-trail running. Or, try them on before or after the race.

Local Sponsors

  • Todd & Brad Reed Photography is offering all racers a 10% discount on all in-stock items in their downtown Ludington gallery. Discount is good from Thursday morning to Monday at 6 pm. Show proof of registration/receipt or your name on the team list.
  • Spanky’s will be providing pizza, scrumptious bread sticks and fresh fruit for dinner – served at the end of each race. Check them out in Fremont and Ludington.
  • Spindrift Cyclesports will provide assistance at the start/finish area with any issues you are having with your bike before or during the race and will have some basic items in case you forgot anything.
  • Ludington Pier House Motel – all booked up but a great place to stay during your next visit (if you’re not camping in the state park)
  • At check-in, pick up a coupon for a free ice cream cone from House of Flavors to enjoy after the race (open til 9:30 pm Saturday or enjoy another day).

Buying Shirts & Merchandise

  • You can buy the race shirt for $15 once we know that all racers who signed up before the Sunday midnight deadline have received theirs Stop by at 10:45 am to see what shirts are left (I did order extras in most sizes).
  • We also will sell Michigan Adventure Race merchandise (sweatshirts, shirts, buffs, pints and stickers). Cash or a check to Michigan Adventure Racing would be best. We can try to take credit cards but the process is slower and wireless isn’t 100% reliable.

Results, Dinner, Awards

  • This race is not chip timed. We will have to count over 8,000 punches by hand. Enjoy the pizza, take in the view, and share your race experience with others. This year we’ll shorten things up by figuring out the top finishers first and do awards. Then we’ll go back after awards and finalize everyone else. If you can’t wait, we’ll get results out on Sunday or Monday. Or come back later in the evening. We should be able to get them done before the 12-hour racers arrive.
  • We’ll be giving “Major Awards” to teams that come back with the largest or most unusual trash. You can also submit nominations for a Good Samaritan award and Epic Fail award (canoe spill, bike mechanical, lost and ended up in Pentwater, etc.) at the awards table. Write on piece of paper and put in box. Feel free to remind me to award these – it’s pretty crazy at the end so I’ll do my best.
  • We’re looking forward to the Spanky’s pizza, breadsticks, fruit and Oreos.  You may bring your own beer or other beverage. We are only providing Gatorade and water (which you may be sick of by then!).

Earn Race Credits

  • If you would like to help us retrieve flags after you eat and recover and earn $25-$40/hour in race credits, please email me. You can pick between a batch that can be retrieved as early as Saturday evening and a batch that must be grabbed on Sunday (because 12-hour racers will be seeking some until 9:15 pm Saturday).

We’re looking forward to seeing you Saturday!

Mark and Greg

Race Update #1 (for 6-hour) and #2 (for 12-hour)

We hope you are excited to race at the Michigan Adventure Race: Ludington Edition on May 20! Here are some reasons to be excited:

  1. Ludington State Park and beyond. The terrain is amazing. But for first-timers, while it may feel like deep wilderness, you’re never too far from “home.” Lots of trails and fast-moving bushwhacking. Very little sand running, but great views of some amazing dunes and of course majestic Lake Michigan (no worries, you won’t be paddling or swimming in it – it is 44 degrees and way too fickle to be part of this race).
  2. 208 racers will do their first adventure race at the Ludington Edition! That blows us away. We’re known for drawing first-timers into AR through our races with Amazing Race-like challenges but it’s great to know that you don’t need urban races with man-made challenges to draw a large group of racers. Thanks also to those of you who recruited some of these new racers!
  3. The Ludington Edition is very likely the largest wilderness adventure race in the U.S. this year with more than 500 racers. You can tell it’s a niche sport when 500 is the largest in the nation! Nonetheless, we’re excited that Michigan has more adventure racers per capita than any state and is attracting new racers at an unprecedented clip. Larger races result in adventure race organizations with financial stability (FYI: no one gets rich putting on races) which means more races for you to choose from and more races closer to home, wherever that is. Will the race be crowded? Doubt it. Different start times, waves and the freedom to do the sections in the order you desire will spread you out. You’ll have company fairly often if you’re in the 6-hour race. Feel free to work together.

We are sharing as many race details as possible below in case it helps you plan your gear, logistics, lodging, etc. and to help the 208 of you who are doing your first adventure race.  It’s a bit overwhelming in detail but it should make sense and we’ll help you if anything doesn’t. 95% of the information is the same for the 6-hour and 12-hour race so this is a joint update. I have called out where there are differences. Week-of-race updates will likely be specific to each race.

Thanks to All of Our Sponsors

  • Spectrum Health Ludington. Our presenting sponsor. Their financial contribution helped us to freeze entry fees from last year for you.
  • Gazelle Sports. Our sponsor from day 1 in 2011, providing the majority of prizes for the race. They will get you into a trail or road shoe that is right for your foot and gait. Located in Grand Rapids, Holland, Kalamazoo, Birmingham and Northville.
  • Salomon. A long-time supporter of adventure racing. Thanks for four pairs of shoes to the top team in the 6-hour and 12-hour race.
  • Todd and Brad Reed Photography. These guys LOVE Ludington and it shows in their amazing photography of the area. We’ll be raffling off 14 copies of an awesome photo they’ve taken of Ludington State Park. Check out their gallery on your drive in before the race.
  • Spanky’s Pizza. Providing your pizza, famous breadstix and fruit dinner! Located in Ludington and Fremont.
  • Spindrift Cyclesports. Stop in to their downtown Ludington store before the race for gear. Spindrift will provide gift cards or gear as prizes.
  • Ludington Pier House Hotel. Near Lake Michigan and downtown. A great place to spend Friday and/or Saturday night if you’re not camping.
  • Bill & Paul’s Sporthaus. Knowledgeable staff. Offering 10% off most adventure racing gear with proof of registration. Located just east of Grand Rapids.
  • West Michigan Bike & Fitness. My hometown bike shop. Great service and products, located in Grand Rapids/Kentwood, Grandville and Holland. Thanks for the prizes.
  • House of Flavors. Treat yourself to ice cream after the race. House of Flavors will give away a free scoop of ice cream to all racers after the race (get coupon at check-in).
  • Jamie Geysbeek Photography specializes in wedding, corporate event, live music, and race photography, along with portraiture. Jamie offers services to racers at 20% off his normal rates and free high-res pics on our Flickr photo site if he captured you during the race.
  • Zanfel. Let’s hope the poison ivy is minimal. But if you get the rash, Zanfel can help you get rid of it. We’ll give away a bunch of tubes in the raffle.

May 3 (Tonight) Gear Clinic
Join us to tonight at 7 pm (better hustle!) to learn more about adventure race gear at Bill & Paul’s Sporthaus in Cascade (just east of Grand Rapids). Free. No need to RSVP. Learn more on the Facebook event page.

May 6 Navigation Practice/Clinic

  • RSVP if you would like to attend the Navigation 101/201 clinic at Pickerel Lake Park in Grand Rapids on May 6. Free. Bring a baseplate compass and print the clinic materials off the Learn More page of the website if possible.
  • If you can’t make it, check out the Navigation 101/201 clinic presentation on our Learn More page for tips. Search online using combinations of the words adventure race, orienteering, compass and tips.

Team List
12-hour race
6-hour race
waiver

  • Please email me if any information is incorrect or missing. I’ve highlighted where we are missing info.
  • If you are a family team but I haven’t listed the names of your kids, please send those names and I’ll put you in the correct division based on number of people on your team. As we get more family teams in future races, we’ll look into creating a family division.
  • We’ll add team/bib numbers to this list a few days before the race and email it out to you one last time with waiver (you can print now so you don’t forget), and final instructions. Write your bib # on your waiver and share it at check-in.

Schedule

12 Hours
Canoe and bike staging: Friday noon until 6:30 am Saturday, location TBD
Check-in, gear check: 6:00-7:30 am
Race briefing: 7:30-8:00 am
Race planning: 8:00-8:45 am
Bus to start: 8:50 am
Race start: 9:45 am
Race cut-off: 9:45 pm
Food: 8:45-10:15 pm, pizza, fruit
Award ceremony and raffle: approx. 10:15 pm

6 Hours
Check-in, gear check: 9:00-10:45 am
Race briefing: 10:45-11:15 am
Race planning: 11:15-11:55 am
Race start: 12:00 pm
Race cut-off: 6:00 pm
Food: 5:30-7:00 pm, pizza, fruit
Award ceremony and raffle: approx. 7:00 pm

Directions & Parking
The start/finish for both races is located at the Hamlin Lake picnic shelter in Ludington State Park. It’s a beautiful setting with scenic Hamlin Lake off to one side and the Big Sable dam and river on the other, re-starting the final leg of its journey to Lake Michigan. If you are camping Friday and Saturday nights, PLEASE keep your vehicle at your campsite so we can keep spots around the shelter free for other racers and the general public.

The address for the state park is 8800 W. M-116. Ludington MI, 49431. Click here for a Google Map. Keep heading north from here. At the ranger/payment station, turn right/east and follow the road all the way to the end near the Hamlin Dam and park in any of the lots surrounding the picnic shelter and concessions building. If necessary, head back to the west to the closest lot and bike in from there.

We will be tight on space. Please try to carpool if possible. The biggest risk to getting a permit in future years is the limited parking.

Michigan State Parks require a passport on all motorized vehicles that enter a park. Non-resident annual passport is $32. Non-resident Daily Passport is $9.00. Michigan residents can purchase their vehicle recreation passport for $11.00 when they renew their license plate. For more information visit www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport.

Lodging Suggestions

  • Camping at Ludington State Park. Use the reservations link to get your campsite if any sites are left. If you can get Friday and Saturday night, that’s ideal as you can keep your vehicle at your site, bike in and free up a spot for another team or the general public.
  • Ludington Pier House Hotel. One of our sponsors. Near Lake Michigan and downtown, less than 15 minutes from the start/finish. Check out their spring rates.  www.ludingtonpierhouse.com
  • Other Options.

Divisions & Prizes

  • Solo female and male
  • Two-person co-ed, females, males
  • Three-four person co-ed, females, males

The plan is to award 2 deep in most divisions (four deep in 6-hour co-ed because it’s so huge), because there are so many divisions. Total number of prizes (you pick from what’s on the table) will be 74 plus 36 trophies, one per person from each divisional winning team. In addition, the top overall 6-hour team and the top overall 12-hour team will receive two pairs of Salomon shoes (solo team gets one pair).

Required Gear

  • See the Required Gear page for details (and a list of recommended gear as well). Required gear will be standard adventure racing gear (bike helmet, hydration pack/containers, compass, emergency blanket and a few other small items).
  • We will not let you race without a bike helmet or fully charged mobile phone. Other items if missing will incur checkpoint penalties. Some basic first aid items will be helpful for bandaging cuts, etc. but are not essential to your safety so we won’t make it required. In a serious medical situation, call 911, then call race staff and get to the nearest road if possible (no deep wilderness in this race).

Rental Bikes

  • Spindrift has all their bikes rented by racers so two other options are Trailhead Bike Shop in Ludington or West Michigan Bike in Grand Rapids (Kentwood store).

Check-in

  • We will NOT have early check-in on Friday evening.
  • Race-day check-in will be at the Hamlin Lake picnic shelter in Ludington State Park. The shelter is just south of the concessions and boat rental building, just north of the dam.
  • Park in any of the lots in the area.
  • Bring all of your required gear with you. We are planning to check for gear at check-in. Sign the waiver and get your shirt, passport, and “bib” number at check-in. Your teammate must provide you their waiver if you are picking up for them.
  • Everyone must use the provided “boot brush” at check-in to make sure your running shoes (and bike shoes if you use them) are free of invasive species. When you are out of the park, you’ll need to use the boot brush when you return. Only takes a few seconds.
  • You can switch your shirt size or buy leftover shirts ($15) after 10:45 am after everyone has received the shirt size they ordered (which would be after the race for the 12-hour racers)
  • Bring your bike to the bike corral, likely just east of the start/finish picnic shelter.
  • Restrooms are located inside the concessions & boat rental building. Water is located on the side of the building.
  • 12-hour racers bringing their own boat(s) should stage them before checking in. See the April 21 race update for details, sent only to 12-hour racers

Hamlin Lake picnic shelter (start/finish)

  • The Hamlin Lake picnic shelter has no walls and will not have enough space or picnic tables for everyone. It is the only option available in the park.
  • Please bring a chair or blanket to sit on and have rain gear and warm clothes handy if the weather requires. Most of you will find parking in one of the nearby lots so you can stay in your car to keep warm/dry or access gear there.
  • Consider bringing a card table so you can set your maps out on it if you did not snag a picnic table.

Pre-race briefing

  • We’ll go over process, rules, answer any questions and hand out a race instructions sheet and maps. Bring your passport with you.
  • For those of you not familiar with adventure racing, here are the goals, elements and process:

Goal

  • The goal is to maximize the number of checkpoints (CPs) on your passport within the time limit. A team that gets, say, 30 checkpoints with seconds to spare will finish ahead of a team that gets 29 checkpoints with one hour to spare.
  • 6-hour teams should set an alarm on your watch for perhaps 30 and 15 minutes until the deadline and know that fatigue will cause you to take more time to get back than you realize. If you are 1 second to 10 minutes late, you will have one CP subtracted from your total for each minute you are late. After 10 minutes, you will be an unranked team.
  • 12-hour teams: No grace for you. Like 99% of adventure races, if you are 1 second late or more, you will be an unranked team. We will have a short-course option if you get pretty far behind to help you make the cut-off. There will also be many optional checkpoints near the end of the race that you can skip to make the deadline.
  • Unranked teams are still finishers; it’s just not fair to rank you against teams who arrived on time because they decided against getting that last CP to make sure they made the cutoff.

Race instructions

  • Race instructions will be on an 8.5” x 11” sheet. They will list the rules and explain the flow and sections of the race, telling you which checkpoints must be obtained by bike vs. paddle vs. trek (on foot).
  • The instructions also provide a list of all the checkpoints by number and a brief description of the terrain on which they are located.

Passport

  • The passport is a 5.5” x 8.5” inch waterproof sheet with boxes for each CP or transition area (TA). You’ll use the uniquely barbed punch hanging from the CP flags (aka control markers) to puncture the appropriate box to prove that you found the checkpoint.
  • It’s critical that you do not lose or destroy your passport. Some teams bring a hole punch, punch a hole in a corner of the passport, reinforce with tape, and tie a decent length loop of string so they can carabiner it to their hydration pack.
  • If you lose your passport and do not recover it by end of race any CPs you had found to that point do not count. You may run back to race HQ to see if we have any more passports.
  • Do NOT waterproof your passport. Our scoring markers do not write well on packing tape or contact paper. Your passport is already waterproof!

Checkpoint flag (control marker)

  • Each CP is marked with an orange and white box flag with the punch attached to it, usually hanging from a tree branch.
  • Checkpoints may be out of view, tucked behind trees or a hill, but generally are not intentionally hidden (except in public areas to minimize risk of theft in which case we will try to tell you this in advance). They are usually on some defined terrain such as a hilltop, depression (low spot), reentrant (gully), spur (land jutting out from a ridge), saddle (lower spot between two hills).
  • We recommend looking at how these terrain types look on a topographic map by reviewing our clinic presentation or another online source. Some points will require use of your compass, topographical map and an understanding of how to read that map. Others you should be able to find by knowing where you are on a trail or along an obvious feature such as a lake. Others you’ll combine methods. (“we just reached that bend in the trail – our attack point – now let’s take a bearing on our compass to find the off-trail checkpoint”).

Maps

  • The maps will be pre-marked with all checkpoints and transition areas. Transition areas are where you switch from one discipline/activity to another. You can go back and finish a section later if you have more time than you thought you would but it’s usually inefficient to do so (5-hour only).
  • The maps will be topographical (USGS format, 1982, the last time the land was surveyed). Some are 11″ × 17″, others are 8.5″ x 11″. Map scale will be 1:24,000 for macro-navigation and 1:12,000 for micro-navigation (orienteering) for the most part. Some may be of a different scale. If you have a centimeter scale on your compass, every centimeter on the map will be 240 meters on the 1:24,000 map and 120 meters on the 1:12,000 map in real life.
  • 12-hour races: Declination is 5.5 degrees west (difference between true north and magnetic north). Review the April 21 12-hour update for more on declination. 6-hour racers will not need to worry about declination as your CPs are closer together and inaccuracy will be minor.
  • I ran every possible moderately to well-used trail in the state park to get accurate trails on the map but can’t guarantee I covered them all. When in doubt, rely on your compass bearing.
  • Bike maps will have a street layer added so that streets are mostly accurate as of 2016, not 1982.
  • Maps are not waterproofed. Waterproof your map with a map case, double zip lock bags, packing tape and/or contact paper (make notes on the map before you seal them!).

Rules & Policies

  • Please read through our standard race rules. Additional rules that may apply for the Ludington Edition only will be listed in the race briefing, race instructions or on maps.
  • You must stay within 100 feet of your teammate.
  • You may NOT use GPS or any satellite-based means  to determine location, distance for any other use except to record data for after the race (keep your watch in your pack).
  • You may not rely on friends and family for directions, transportation or food/drink, just cheers.
  • Please do not visit any parts of the state park or any wilderness in the Ludington area from Thursday the 18th until the start of the race, except with permission. Email me.
  • Missing control/flag: please call us at one of the numbers on the race instructions, preferably after multiple teams have confirmed it is missing. If it’s missing and we can quickly replace the flag, we will do so. Teams that called it in will receive credit. If we cannot replace the flag, it will not count for anyone.

Planning

  • After the briefing, you will have time to figure out in which order you want to complete each section/activity and how you will travel from one CP to another within each section. These sections/activities are bike, paddle and trek (on foot). There will not be any surprise activities like ropes, Amazing Race-like challenges or swimming (although you may find yourself swimming in the 6-hour paddle section if you are careless in your boat; don’t worry, the water is pretty shallow throughout ). You will not be paddling on Lake Michigan.
  • You MAY bring any of your own maps to help you plan. You may NOT bring these maps with you during the race.
  • 6-hour racers will have about 45 minutes and 12-hour racers will have over an hour including travel time on the bus to the start. This is based on feedback that 30 minutes was generally not sufficient, at least for the 12-hour race.

Course Design
6 Hours

  • Checkpoints will all be optional and “score-o,” meaning they can be done in any order within each section. You  cannot use the “vehicle” (bike, boat, on foot) from one section to grab checkpoints that are on other sections (e.g., no biking on the state park trails which are all foot-only traffic).
  • The shelter/bike corral/boat launch area will be the transition area you return to after you finish each section but you will NOT be punching any flag when you transition to another section (any flags you see at the shelter are for the 10-hour race). Just go right from trek to bike or paddle or conversely.
  • Trekking: 7-8 miles. Some of the finest navigation in Michigan. Expect a variety of terrain, from hardwood forest to lakeside lowlands to Lake Michigan dunes and from epic ridge climbs and descents to fast-moving woods. Very little to no loose sand. Mostly intermediate-level difficulty with a few advanced and beginner checkpoints. A combination of very definable checkpoints and more subtle placements to test your ability to process many types of information (contour shapes, land and water features, vegetation types, trails and other man-made features, distance, direction, elevation, etc.). See the clinic presentation to help you with these types of info.
  • Biking: 18-23 miles. Singletrack trails and paved roads. Some amazing Lake Michigan views provided, free of charge. Road bikes ARE allowed for the 6-hour race EXCEPT for the singletrack trails. The singletrack trails are mostly beginner level with a few intermediate patches (rocks or roots). If you hop off your bike, make sure you are aware of bikers who may be coming up behind you at a high rate of speed. If you are worried about losing time to those on cyclocross bikes, rest assured the race almost always comes down to navigation, especially on the trekking section.
  • Paddling: 1.5 miles. We will provide the kayaks/canoes, life jackets and paddles. Because the paddle is only about 30 minutes long and can be done at any time, we do not need boats for every team. First, we have too many teams to find that many boats and, second, it saves you money. We have rented every kayak, canoe and tandem kayak in the state park (40 boats) and they will be first come, first served. The trekking sections and biking section all return to the start/finish at the Hamlin Picnic Shelter where the paddle also starts so there will be multiple opportunities to paddle and wait time should be short if at all. Solo racers may pair up with other solo racers if only a canoe or tandem kayak is available when you want to paddle. Personal boats are allowed if you want to transport them to and from your car during the race or lock them (otherwise they may get lumped in with the rentals).

12 Hours

  • Checkpoints are mostly optional and “score-o” – in any order within each section. Some will be point-to-point (only one logical way to go from CP to CP) and far apart so while okay to do in any order, it wouldn’t make any sense. Within one section you will have to get a certain number of checkpoints but it’s your choice which ones (this is to prohibit a team from skipping an entire section of checkpoints for some reason and getting ahead of our volunteers and canoe livery).
  • Transition areas and major sections will be done in order (to track teams for safety and allow volunteers to wrap up TAs). All transition areas will have the standard CP flags and will be mandatory. If you are running behind, you should still be able to get to all of these TAs. Check in (punch control/flag and share team number with volunteer) at every TA so we can capture split times and to keep track of teams.
  • Trekking: 15-17 miles. Great navigation. Expect a variety of terrain, from hardwood forest to lakeside swamp to Lake Michigan dunes; from epic ridge climbs and descents to fast-moving woods. Very little loose sand. Distances between CPs will vary from 250 meters to over a mile. Mostly intermediate-level difficulty with a few advanced and beginner checkpoints. A combination of very definable checkpoints and more subtle placements to test your ability to process many types of information (contour shapes, land and water features, vegetation types, trails and other man-made features, distance, direction, elevation, etc.).
  • Biking: 35-42 miles. Singletrack, two-track, gravel and paved roads. No advanced, technical riding. Road bikes not allowed. You will NOT need to carry your bike helmet or any other bike gear with you on the trek or paddle sections (you may want bike gloves for paddling). See the April 21 12-hour update for details on staging. One note: you may lock two bikes together if you are staging during the night when staff at the bike staging may be asleep. You’ll be putting your bikes behind a fence with very little risk of theft but we’re not promising. If you lock with a key, don’t forget to bring the key with you while you race!
  • Paddling: 6 miles. Short but beautiful river paddling. If conditions are safe, a paddleboard can be used (one racer asked, so thought I better let you know). See the April 21 12-hour update for details on staging.

Start

  • The start will be in a defined area near the shelter.
  • 6-hour racers: You will head out in waves by division, every few minutes. Just enough time to keep the start manageable and to create some separation so teams aren’t going after the same CPs in a large pack.
  • 12-hour racers will start as one group, after your bus ride (make sure you staged your bike and boat before the pre-race meeting!).

Checkpoints

  • Find each control marker/checkpoint flag within a section using the map and race instructions. The map will have circles to show the location of each checkpoint. Each circle will have a number next to it.
  • You may not go after CPs that are listed under a different section/activity (bike, paddle, trek).
  • When you arrive at the flag, you’ll find a punch with a unique barb pattern hanging from it. The punch on the flag will have the CP number on it. Verify that the number is the CP you were looking for.
  • Punch your passport in the corresponding numbered box for that flag. Punch the correct box in the passport so we can verify you were indeed there. If you accidentally punch the wrong box, then when you get to the CP for that box, punch it in the open box where your previous punch should have gone (just switch the two). Don’t punch twice in the same box and don’t punch off to the side. Punch with the barbs on top and make sure the barbs go all the way through.

Transition Areas (TAs)

  • TAs are where you switch from one activity/section to another. Water and Gatorade will be available at the 6-hour TA/start/finish and some 12-hour TAs but fill your bladders/bottles when you have the opportunity.
  • 6-hour racers: At the start/finish, your TA will be the bike corral. Leave your bike there along with a bag with food/hydration and clothing if you wish. Or, if your vehicle is nearby you can transition there and put your bike back on it.
  • Note: Bike shoes and helmets will never need to be carried, nor will paddle gear. You will be leaving these items at TAs

Finish

  • The finish is right at the Hamlin Lake picnic shelter. Look for the non-sweaty people shouting “passports!”
  • Even if you don’t want your race scored, you must turn in your passport after the race so that we can make sure all teams are accounted for.
  • You can’t chip time a race like this so please be patient with results. We have to count over 8,000 punch marks and enter in times and CPs for hundreds of teams.
  • Can’t stick around? Results will be emailed to you on or before Monday or can be found under the Race Recap page on the website at that time.

Safety

  • Call the number on the race instructions sheet for minor medical issues. In an emergency, call 911. Mobile phone coverage is not comprehensive. In an emergency, you may need to access the nearest road or house which generally are not far from wherever you are.
  • Obey all traffic laws. This is an open course so you may encounter vehicles and pedestrians at any point. Looking at maps, racing fast, and being unfamiliar with roads is a dangerous mix. Stop if necessary to review your map or race instructions. The ideal route has been designed to avoid major roads. However, shoulders are not often bike-friendly.
  • Ticks and poison ivy are possibilities. We recommend long socks or hiking pants and/or DEET if this concerns you. Please check your body for ticks after the race. We will give away Zanfel poison ivy wash so hopefully you win one if you go through poison ivy.

Weather

  • We will race rain or shine. In the event of a thunderstorm or other severe weather, we will postpone the race until conditions improve. During the race, please seek shelter during these conditions. You will be held at transition areas until the severe weather clears. Avoid areas where you are one of the tallest objects around. Read our complete Adverse Weather Procedures here.
  • 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. If possible, we’ll provide a small partial credit for a future race. The race clock will continue despite potential severe weather delays. You must still return within the five- or ten-hour deadline.

Post-Race Hangout

  • We encourage you to hang out after the race. Grab some awesome Spanky’s pizza, breadstix, and fruit, congratulate the top finishers (and yourself!), hopefully win a raffle prize, and share stories of epic successes and epic failures.
  • Family and friends should plan for their own food to ensure we have enough for racers.

Post-Race Flag Pick-up
Please e-mail me if you would like to pick up some of the flags right after the race or on Sunday in exchange for credits in a future race. We give $30/hour in credits for a mix of slow running and walking pace. You may need a small knife or scissors in case a flag has been zip-tied for security (often in more public areas); we can supply if necessary.

Shirt
Short-sleeved tech shirt comes with entry. Check your size and cut on the racer/team list.  Email me if you need to change size and cut. $15 after 6-hour check-in if we have any left.

Merchandise (available at check-in or after the race; cash preferred)
Short sleeve tech shirt, crew or v-neck, $20 or two for $35
Long sleeve tech shirt, crew or v-neck, $25 or two for $40
Sweatshirt – hooded, pockets, $30
Buff headwear, $10 ($18-$23 for most others)
Stainless steel pint, $10 ($15 on most race sites)
Sticker, $3 or $1 if you put it on your vehicle or bike rack on day of race

Hot coral women's croppedbuffpint 200hmar magnet 2 150w

Charity Partner
Our charity partner is Friends of Ludington State Park, dedicated to promoting wise use and conservation of Ludington State Park. The organization works to support and improve the park through the funding of projects, recreational equipment and interpretive programs and by volunteering to assist park staff on projects and trail clean-up.

Questions? www.facebook.com/miadventurerace is a great place to ask questions and get answers so others can learn from your question. For questions specific to you, email Mark VanTongeren, race director.

See you in two and a half-ish weeks!

_______________________________________________________

 

12-Hour Race Update #3

We hope you’re excited for Saturday. The great thing about an adventure race is people of widely varied fitness and skill can all have a great experience, bond with teammates and create memories that will last a long time. And Michigan’s great land and water provides just the right amount of elevation, definition and variety for adventure racing… not insane but not too easy either. Maybe that’s part of the reason this race (6 and 12 hour) is the largest in the U.S. with 520 racers and dozens more who couldn’t get in (along with the fact that you all are just a bunch of badassers).

See Race Update #1 quite a ways below for additional information. Immediately below is new information along with some key repeat info related to Saturday morning.

Staging Location for Bikes and Boats
River Run Canoe Livery
Address/Directions: 600 S Main St, Scottville, MI 49454.
Staging time: Friday noon through Saturday at 6:30 am (maybe 6:45 am if you’ve already checked in)
Where to put: behind the green wooded fence to the right/north of the livery building. Please put bikes and boats toward the back and don’t block the entrance. Cover gear if it shouldn’t get rain on it.
What to stage:

  • Bikes, with helmet and bike shoes attached. OK to lock one bike to another bike or drop off in the a.m. if you have concerns (but low risk of theft in area)
  • 1 bag, zipped or tied in some way per TEAM with food/gear, labeled with team number. You MUST take this bag and all the gear in it so pack only what you will need. Bins will NOT be allowed; our volunteers and livery can’t be dealing with up to 57 bins during and after the race. Keep in mind most 12-hour races do not have a bag drop, at least not those I’ve done.
  • Canoes and/or kayaks (if bringing) with sticker or tape on seat so another team doesn’t take yours
  • 1 trash/duffel bag with paddle gear per TEAM, tied in some way, labeled with team number.

When will it be returned: All boats and boat gear will be delivered to the finish line. We’ll pay to have this done so you can enjoy the meal and awards.

The livery will bring all the rental kayak paddles they have. First come, first-served. No way to do a reservation system efficiently. We will allow two paddles per rental canoe (for the three-person canoe teams) unless we have three available for all canoes. The livery still needs to count to see if that’s the case.

Questions? Please do not call River Run with questions unless it’s a last minute thing like you can’t find their location. Email me with all “normal” questions.

Aid stations
We will provide water and Gatorade at TA 2. TA 3 will also have water and likely Gatorade. Both TAs have restrooms. Lots of food and drink options nearby. Sheesh. Maybe we’ll throw in massages too…

We will have 57 teams and 121 racers in the 12-hour race.
Team List
Waiver

Please look up your race/bib number on this team list and provide that at check-in. Email me if any information is incorrect or missing.

Schedule
Canoe and bike staging: Friday noon until Saturday 6:30 am
Check-in, gear check: 6:00-7:25 am
Race briefing: 7:25-7:50 am
Race planning: 7:50-8:15 am + bus time
Bus to start: 8:20 am
Race start: 9:15 am
Race cut-off: 9:15 pm
Food: 8:15-9:45 pm, pizza, fruit
Award ceremony and raffle: approx. 9:45 pm

Directions & Parking
The check-in/finish area is located at the Hamlin Lake picnic shelter in Ludington State Park. The address for the state park is 8800 W. M-116. Ludington MI, 49431. Click here for a Google Map. Stop in at the campground check-in building on your right if you have a campsite. Then, go further north. At the tiny ranger/payment station building (recreation passport or visitor fees required), turn right/east and follow the road all the way to the end near the Hamlin Dam and park in any of the lots surrounding the picnic shelter and concessions building. Avoid the boat launch area that is the farthest east. If all lots are full (unlikely),  turn around until you find the closest lot. There are several dirt parking areas along the main road or park in the lot near Lake Michigan – it’s a quick bike ride in from any lot (and a good test to make sure your bike is functioning properly!). Please don’t park along campsites in the campgrounds.

Please, please help us out with parking by:

  • Leaving your vehicle at your campsite if you are camping in the park and biking to the start/finish (corral will be in the grassy area just south of the shelter; please walk your bike into and out of the corral area as the grass is pretty fragile in this sandy area)
  • Parking close to the vehicle next to you and not skipping any spots where there are no parking lines
  • Avoiding parking in the boat vehicle area southeast of the shelter

Check-in

  • We will NOT have early check-in on Friday evening.
  • Check-in will be at the Hamlin Lake picnic shelter Saturday morning.
  • Bring all of your required gear with you. We are planning to check for gear at check-in. See the Required Gear page to remind you of what’s needed.
  • Temps are much colder near Lake Michigan this time of year but most of the race will be away from it.
  • Waiver. Print. sign and drop off at check-in. Your teammate must provide you their waiver if you are picking up for them.
  • Get your passport, race/bib number and shirt.
  • You can switch your shirt size or buy a leftover shirt ($15) after 10:45 am after everyone has received the shirt size they ordered.
  • Everyone must use the provided “boot brush” at check-in and again when returning to the park after the bike section to make sure your running shoes (and bike shoes if you use them) are free of invasive species.
  • Bike “corral.” If you are parked close by, consider keeping your bike on your vehicle and transition to and from the bike there (as long as your car is not more than 300-400 meters from the start/finish. Otherwise, lean your bike up against anything (except the picnic shelter) between the start/finish picnic shelter and lake. We will not have a formal bike corral. You can keep a bag next to your bike with gear if you wish to access during the race. You can lock your bike while you are trekking or paddling if you have concerns. There’s been no history of theft and we will keep an eye on things, but we are not responsible for replacing your bike if stolen.
  • Restrooms are located inside the concessions & boat rental building. Water is between that building and the shelter as well.
  • The Hamlin Lake picnic shelter will not have enough space or picnic tables for everyone. Bring a chair or blanket to sit on. Consider bringing a card table so you can set your maps out on it if you did not snag a picnic table.

Maps

  • You’ll get your maps as part of the race briefing before the race, not at check-in. You’ll get six maps. They are on their own 11″x17″ paper, in case you want to pre-cut contact paper to seal the maps. You’ll also get a race instructions sheet, 8.5″x11″ and the passport you get at check-in is already waterproofed and 5.5″x8.5″. During the race you’ll get to look at a map with two checkpoints on it. You’ll need to transfer those to your version of the same map by pen or sharpie (we don’t want you doing these 2 CPs earlier in the race). You’ll also get an orienteering/trekking map sometime during the race. Lastly, you’ll each get pink tutus that you must wear throughout the race and post photos of yourselves on Facebook. Actually, let’s scratch that last one.

Yucky Stuff

  • If there’s severe weather/lightning before the race, please stay in your vehicle. If you are at the shelter, head over to the boathouse. We’ll wait about 30 minutes to begin normal race operations. If the race is delayed, we’ll cut some CPs out of the race and still finish at 9:15 to avoid darkness. Here’s the full adverse weather procedures.
  • Ticks. This part of Michigan has a lot. Consider pants and long socks, apply bug repellent and form a 121-person grooming line after the race.


Where Racers Are From (6 and 12 Hours)
While most teams hail from Michigan, we’ll also have racers from California, Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Pennsylvania (sorry if I missed anyone else) in addition to those shown here. Thanks for making the trip, whether it’s just a part of your visit or the primary intent. If you came just for the race and you’re from at least five hours away, email me and we’ll put you in the running for our farthest away special prizes (no, not all your gas money).

Salomon Speedcross 4 Demo Shoes
If you can handle wearing a new shoe for a race, you are welcome to try the awesome Salomon Speedcross 4 shoes which are perfect for off-trail running. Or, try them on before or after the race.

Local Sponsors

  • Todd & Brad Reed Photography is offering all racers a 10% discount on all in-stock items in their downtown Ludington gallery. Discount is good from Thursday morning to Monday at 6 pm. Show proof of registration/receipt or your name on the team list.
  • Spanky’s will be providing pizza, scrumptious bread sticks and fresh fruit for dinner – served at the end of each race. Check them out in Fremont and Ludington.
  • Spindrift Cyclesports will provide assistance at the start/finish area with any issues you are having with your bike before or during the race and will have some basic items in case you forgot anything.
  • Ludington Pier House Motel – all booked up but a great place to stay during your next visit (if you’re not camping in the state park)
  • At check-in, pick up a coupon for a free ice cream cone from House of Flavors to enjoy after the race (open til 9:30 pm Saturday or enjoy another day).

Buying Shirts & Merchandise

  • You can buy the race shirt for $15 once we know that all racers who signed up before the Sunday midnight deadline have received theirs Stop by at 10:45 am to see what shirts are left (I did order extras in most sizes).
  • We also will sell Michigan Adventure Race merchandise (sweatshirts, shirts, buffs, pints and stickers). Cash or a check to Michigan Adventure Racing would be best. We can try to take credit cards but the process is slower and wireless isn’t 100% reliable.

Results, Dinner, Awards

  • This year we’ll shorten things up by figuring out the top finishers first and do awards. Then we’ll go back after awards and finalize everyone else. If you can’t wait, we’ll get results out on Sunday or Monday.
  • We may give away a few “Major Awards” to Good Samaritans and Epic Fails if any (canoe spill, bike mechanical, lost and ended up in Pentwater, etc.) at the awards table. Write on piece of paper and put in box. Feel free to remind me to award these – it’s pretty crazy at the end so I’ll do my best.
  • We’re looking forward to the Spanky’s pizza, breadsticks, fruit and Oreos.  You may bring your own beer or other beverage. We are only providing Gatorade and water (which you may be sick of by then!).

Earn Race Credits

  • If you would like to help us retrieve flags Sunday and earn $25-$40/hour in race credits, please email me.

We’re looking forward to seeing you Saturday!

Mark and Greg
12-hour Race Update #1
We hope you are looking forward to the Ludington Edition, just one month away. I’ve included some shots from my scouting trips to help you figure out the entire course in advance, right? 🙂 I finalized the course design yesterday. Conditions are fast right now. The gravel roads, two-tracks, and singletrack trails are packed down, off-trail land is mostly dry despite heavy rains, and the river is flowing fast but safe. It’s possible that we’ll see some sand on the two-tracks and gravel roads but hopefully things will stay in this sweet spot between mushy and sandy.

One added bonus of selling out the race is we can finalize some logistics early. Please review the team list. Email me corrections; pay extra close attention to the personal or rental boat information. If you are bringing a canoe or double kayak, you do NOT need to email me which type. We just need to know if there are errors in rental vs. bringing boats and whether I’ve incorrectly guessed if you are bringing solo kayaks or a canoe or double kayak for your team. That would affect how many can be transported and with which trailer. Getting the numbers exact will help Muskegon River Canoe Rental plan for transporting your boats and bikes to the transition areas. I’m joking about the Muskegon River Canoe name of course! We won’t make you go quite that far in 12 hours.

Bike and Boat Staging
I wanted to share some details about staging now in case it affects your trip to and from the race. Staging your bikes and boats will be pretty easy. The $5 per boat you paid will go to the livery which will do all the transporting. Do NOT have your bike, boat and related gear with you before the race. You will be getting on buses and you will start on foot (or perhaps we’ll have you on cross-country stilts?).

  • Drop off location for bikes and boats. Location to be announced week of the race. It will be within 30 minutes of the state park and not too far out of the way no matter where you are coming from on.
  • Drop off time for bikes and boats. Between Friday, May 19, at noon and 6:30 am on race day. You’ll need to be checked in at the Hamlin Lake shelter in the state park by 7:30 am.
  • Pick up location and time for boats. While you are likely still racing, the plan is to have the livery drop your personal boats back off at the finish line so no one has to miss dinner or awards. Michigan Adventure Racing will pay the livery to make this happen.
  • Renting? If you are renting a boat, PFD, and paddle, everything will be there for you at the start of the paddle. Neither renters nor bringers will have to carry paddle gear with them after the paddle. I hate when races make you do that.

Staging Details
We’ll go over this closer to the race, but the plan for organizing your drop-off gear is as follows.

  • Bike helmets and bike shoes: Clip/tie securely to your bikes when you drop them off at staging AND before start of paddle so we virtually eliminate the danger of another racer accidentally taking off on your bike and we don’t have to use number plates on the handlebars. Faster transport too.
  • Personal life vest and paddles: In one duffel or trash bag with your team number on duct tape on it. This will make things easier for us and faster for you.
  • Personal boat: Please also “label” your boat so there’s no case of mistaken identity (it has happened before). Let’s go with a piece of duct or masking tape or sticker of your choice on a seat with your team number on it.

Navigation Preparation
The 12-hour race will test your navigation skills, primarily in the first quarter of the race. If you are lacking experience or confidence in navigating, we wanted to make you aware of some online tools and what things to brush up on before the race.

  • Navigation Lessons. Based on past Michigan Adventure Races, there are at least seven lessons on the race site with maps and analysis.
  • May 6 Navigation 101/201 Clinic. Fred Meijer Nature Preserve/Pickerel Lake Park, just northeast of GR, 9:00-11:15 am. RSVP here (or just show up if you don’t use Facebook).. Beginner to intermediate level adventure racing/navigation clinic, mostly about using your compass and map to take and follow a bearing from one checkpoint to another. If you don’t need the instruction, you may just head out and practice finding the checkpoints. I’ll try to have at least five out there (next time we’ll have a permanent o-course built at Seidman Park east of Grand Rapids so you can get in a longer practice session!).
  • Get Your Bearings 4-hour Adventure Race. May 6, Brighton. If you would like to practice during a race and/or are not near to the May 6 clinic, try the Get Your Bearings race. Now accepting experienced teams as well as teams with first-time racers. REGISTRATION CLOSES SUNDAY.
  • Balancing Nav by Features vs. Bearing. Now that we are holding races in more expansive public lands, we can increase the distances between checkpoints/controls (CPs), which increases the challenge (If that sounds fun, check out the Wilderness Traverse in Canada some day with 4-6 HOURS of wilderness between checkpoints). Ideally, you’ll take a bearing but navigate more by features as it will be very difficult to hold that bearing over 1200-1600 meters. Use the bearing as a rough guide and pay attention to the features, especially as you get nearer to the CP. You don’t have to be spot on with your bearing at that point. Let the features draw you in to the CP. Without exception, I always place CPs on defined natural or man-made features or very near one (of course they have to be on the map too and described in the race instructions, e.g. hilltop, depression, spur, reentrant, trail bend/junction, etc.)
  • Magnetic Declination. If you are focused on features it’s not critical to adjust for magnetic declination but you will increase the accuracy of your bearing. You can adjust with either a compass that has that feature built in (easiest), drawing magnetic north lines on your map or adjusting in your head each time you take a bearing. The magnetic declination in the race course area is minus 5-5.5 degrees – subtract). To learn more about magnetic declination, this web page is a good resource. If you are in the Grand Rapids area, you can call sponsor Bill & Paul’s Sporthaus to see if they have any of these compasses in stock.
  • Optional vs. Mandatory CPs. If you’re nervous about your nav skills after reading this, know that you will not be required to get all of the CPs in a section. You will be able to bail to nearby roads and trails if you cannot find a CP and “re-set” to go after the next one or head to the transition area.

May 3 Adventure Racing Gear Clinic. Bill & Paul’s Sporthaus in Cascade (east side of Grand Rapids), 7:00-8:30 pm. RSVP here (or just show up if you don’t use Facebook). Great for beginners but should be some good tips on clothing, shoes, compasses, hydration packs, etc. for everyone. I will lead the discussion but it’s really about sharing lots of options since there’s no one right answer. We’ll open it up to the audience often. All adventure racing gear at Bill & Paul’s is 10% off that night (and any time with proof of registration).

Ludington Lodging

  • Ludington Pier House Motel, a race sponsor, still has a few rooms available. This motel is one of the best reviewed motels in Trip Advisor and I stay hear on every scouting trip I take for the race. Very affordable and with great views of Lake Michigan and the sunsets.
  • Ludington State Park. A few sites left. Great campground.

Volunteers
We need more afternoon/evening volunteers. Transition times will be slowed without more help. Results and awards will be delayed. If you know of someone who will be at the race and could volunteer or invite some friends to join you for camping who can help us while you race. They can sign up here but have them email me as well so I can share options. Thanks!

More to come as the race gets closer.

Mark

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