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Race Updates

Race Update #2

We’re looking forward to a great race, snow or no snow. Losing all that the snow certainly will make the race a lot faster than postholing through 2-3 feet of the white stuff! You’ll be racing with 168 teams and 371 racers, 248 on two person teams and 123 on three-person teams. An amazing 150 of you are doing your first adventure race on Saturday! It takes courage to try something new, but for many racers who have taken that step, they’ve discovered a sport that’s fun and refreshing, still physically demanding and certainly mentally challenging compared to other races.


  • For those fretting over what to wear (don’t we all), the current forecast for race time is a steady 42 degree F. temp with a small chance of rain (a big improvement over earlier forecasts). Expect wind which will drop the “feels like” temp. You can leave extra gear in the changing cabins so bring multiple options in case the weather changes.
  • Remember that you will feel about 15-20 degrees warmer if you will be running much of the race. Start off a little cold. You’ll warm up quickly.
  • Traction is highly variable. The gravel roads around camp, the stairs down to Little Bostwick Lake, and heavily traveled trails are slick. Less traveled trails and the woods have very little snow left.

Team List

  • Here’s the team list with your team number.
  • Confirm that your team’s information is correct. Email me if it is not.
  • Shirt sizes can be changed once same-day check-in ends at 8:15 am Saturday (once everyone has a crack at the size they ordered).
  • Those who registered after Sunday get a pint or buff instead of a shirt; you can purchase a shirt at 8:15 if any remain for $15 each (we waive late entry fees so there’s no double penalty).

Early check-in: Camp Roger, Friday, 4:00-7:00 pm (west side of largest building on side of hill)
Same-day check-in: Take shuttle to Camp Roger, Saturday, 7:00 am to 8:15 am*
Race briefing: 8:30 am to 8:55 am
Race planning: 8:55 to 9:30 am
Race start: 9:30 men/9:37 women/9:44 am co-ed
Race cutoff: 12:30/12:37/12:44 pm
Lunch: 12:00-1:30 pm chili lunch in the lodge
Award ceremony and raffle: 1:15-2:00

Note that Race Update #1 listed pizza for lunch. That was an error. Lunch consists of Honey Creek Inn chili, noodles and other toppings, breadsticks, fruit and fruit snacks gummies. Clara Cookies on sale too. You may bring other food and non-alcoholic drinks with you.

Early & Same-Day Check-in

  • Early check-in is at Camp Roger tomorrow (Friday) from 4-7 pm. in the Ridge Hall (dining hall) at the top of the hill.
  • Directions for early check-in ONLY.  For early check-in ONLY, access the camp via Pottawatomie Trail just east of the Bostwick Bakery on Belding Road. Do not use the west, gravel road entrance.
  • Park in the guest lot to your left as you arrive (but not on Saturday).
  • We will be giving away 50 Merrell buffs/headware to the first 50 racers to check in (no, you can’t get one for your absent teammate). Sorry if you are far from Camp Roger on Friday. We’ll have lots of gear to raffle off after the race.
  1. (Saturday) Bring a gear bag and drop it off in the cabins to the left/south (after shuttle drop-off; look for the signs)
  2. Walk up the road/hill to Ridge Hall (farthest north building, look for the bell tower).
  3. Bring your team number from team list above — will make lines go faster
  4. Pick up your team/race numbers, passport (one per team) and shirts (for those who registered before Monday).
  5. Put your number on your hydration pack or an outer layer, front or back.
  6. You can pick up stuff for your teammate and friends since they signed the waiver online. Bring a bag with you if you are picking up stuff for several people.

Saturday Parking/Location

  • Get yourself to Young Ave. at Belding Road in Rockford (unless you are bringing a fatbike).
  • The shuttle will pick you up in front of the Lakes Elementary main entrance. If possible, please carpool with a teammate or someone from your area doing the race.

Area Maps

  • Refer to the camp map. Note that the new Ridge Lodge where everything is happening is south of the Sandpit. Not shown on this map. You may print and use this during the race (we will not have copies)
  • You may also print and use the Pickerel Lake Park map (we will not have copies). Not critical but could help you find your bearings if you get turned around and don’t know the area. Please stay off Pickerel Lake and Camp Roger property between now and the start of race.

Race Briefing & Start

  • The pre-race meeting will be held at 8:30 am. You’ll get your map and race instructions around 8:50/8:55. You will then have 35+ minutes to plan your route starting at 9:00 am.
  • The race instructions will be on BACK of the map (8.5″ x 11″) so you’ll only need one piece of contact paper if using it to seal the map. Each of you can have your own map and race instructions.
  • Please don’t trim your passport. It’s more likely to get lost while scoring.
  • Wave start like usual to reduce the chance of lines at the challenges.
    • Wave 1 at 9:30 (return at 12:30): Men (2 and 3 person)
    • Wave 2 at 9:37 (return at 12:37): Women (2 and 3 person)
    • Wave 3 at 9:44 (return at 12:44): Co-ed (2 and 3 person)
  • The start/finish will be at the bell tower in front of Ridge Hall. There will not be a chute. Look for volunteers in safety vests who will mark your time.
  • If you have the passport attached to looped string or a similar hanging device, please remove that on your run into the finish.

Fatbiking Loop/Challenge

  • Due to limited bikes, only one person will bike. That person will bike the north side. The other one or two teammates will run the south side. Switch at the halfway point with a teammate or just keep going around.
  • We have various size bikes but no guarantees you’ll get the perfect fit. Volunteers will adjust the seat if it’s way too high or low for you.
  • Please remove yak trax and any other removable traction before getting on the bike due to the chance of scraping the bike frame and other parts with the metal. If you have your traction screwed into your shoes, please consider being the runner.
  • Thanks to Amy Cockburn, Ed Nicholson, Christine Utter, the Jasionowicz’s, and Alger Bikes for the fatbikes.
  • I think we have 11 bikes. You should anticipate a possible wait of a few minutes depending on when you do this challenge. That’s part of the strategy of this race – figuring out how best to integrate challenges into your planned route. We don’t expect lines at other challenges because limited equipment is not a constraint like it is with the fatbikes.

Snowshoeing Loop/Challenge

  • Bummer that we lost most of our snow (although you certainly will run a lot faster!). The loop formerly known as the snowshoe loop will now be a quick run along the flagged course, NO snowshoes. Some logs along the route are slippery on top so either hurdle them or step easy.

A Few Orienteering Tips

  • Following the tracks of other teams like previous years will likely be difficult this year! Brush up on compass and map-reading skills if you need a refresher.
  • Don’t forget that if you and your map are facing south (as you often will be), you’ll need to rotate your compass dial back toward you so that north on the dial is facing north on the map (unless you want to go exactly the opposite way of where you want to go).


  • We would encourage you to invite friends and family to watch the race although it’s not the ideal spectator sport.
  • They may use the shuttle system throughout the event. If they arrive during the race and the shuttle doesn’t seem to be returning after several minutes, please have them drive up to camp. If there’s plenty of room in the guest lot, they can park there or they can alert the shuttle and both vehicles can go back to the shuttle lot.
  • We will offer race maps to spectators after the pre-race meeting so they can check out some of the fun challenges. Four challenges are relatively close to the lodge.

After the Race

  • With the lack of snow, we will likely have several dozen teams finish before lunch is ready. Please bring some food with you if you need something right away after the race (besides fruit which should be ready).
  • We’ll give out some great prizes for the fastest and luckiest (raffle) racers.
  • Please limit yourself to one bowl of chili until the last wave of racers have returned and gotten their first bowl.
  • If you need to leave before results and raffle, we’ll likely have the results to you on Sunday via email and the Race Results page on the site.

We hope you’re getting excited!

Mark, Greg, Matt (and team)

P.S. If you lost any cold-weather gear at last year’s Winter Edition or the Dirty Duel and recognize it here, please email me. Otherwise it will be donated.


Race Update #1

The Winter Edition
January 27
Camp Roger, Rockford

Thanks for joining us for the seventh annual Michigan Adventure Race: Winter Edition! You are now part of the largest winter adventure race in the U.S. with more than 350 racers. We’re so fortunate to have so many tough (and slightly crazy) people in this state and region.

Snow or no snow, the race is on. And without much snowpack, it should be a fast one! We always design the race assuming no snow. Only the snowshoe loop will be altered (to a run loop) if there’s not enough snow. It’s a week off, but the current forecast for next Saturday calls for race temps in the 35-40 range and possibly rain (boo). But 40 degrees with rain will feel like a tropical shower, right compared to some of those 2 degree days, right? Maybe not. Bring gear that will keep you dry and multiple layering options. You can swap into the ideal gear in the changing cabins.

All bodies of water are off limits for safety based on recent warm spells. I’ve placed checkpoints so that a lake crossing really wouldn’t be an advantage. If you do try to cross, you’ll likely end up wet as the ice is weak in all the marshy areas especially.

If you know of friends who are on the fence, remind them to sign up by midnight tonight to get the 1/4 zip shirt with their entry. And if you have a teammate listed as a pending entry, they have not yet registered so they must do so by Wednesday at midnight. Anyone who signs up Monday through Wednesday gets a stainless steel pint or buff/headwear instead of the shirt.

Here’s a list of teams with a teammate who has not yet registered. I have re-sent them the link to register. We don’t allow solos, so two-person team captains should especially make sure this gets done or find a new teammate pronto.

Kevin Aardema Pending Entry
Sibling Survival Pending Entry
SpaceballsTheFlamethrower Pending Entry
Team Dash Pending Entry
Winded Warriors Pending Entry
The 3 Snow Bunnies Pending Entry
TripleH Pending Entry
The Abominable Snow Bunnies Pending Entry
Robert Harmon Pending Entry
Threes Company Pending Entry

This race update pretty much covers everything you need to know, thus its prodigious length. However, believe it or not a few more details exist on the Race Information page if you are new to the race or are missing information.

We want to thank our generous sponsors for supporting this race.

  • Presenting
    • Spectrum Health. Providing financial support for our 2018 adventure races to keep entry fees reasonable. Thanks to their outpatient physical therapy team for being at the race for stretching and more.
    • Honey Creek Inn (along with Grist Mill and Cannonsburg Bottle Shop). Thanks for the tasty chili, noodles, breadsticks, cider, hot chocolate and coffee! The Village of Cannonsburg is just six minutes south of Camp Roger. Stop in before or after the race.
  • Gold:
    • Gazelle Sports. Providing lots of gift certificates as usual. Great shoe fitting expertise and all the gear you need for winter running.
  • Silver:
    • Bill & Paul’s Sporthaus. Great gear and expertise. Gift cards for top and raffle prizes. Get 10% any adventure racing gear in their store with proof of registration. See the Required Gear page for eligible items.
    • Salomon. A long-time supporter of adventure racing. Thanks for four pairs of shoes to the top finishers (one pair per top team in each division), provided through Bill & Paul’s Sporthaus.
    • West Michigan Bike & Fitness. Providing gift cards and gear. They will get you into the right bike. Great group of people.
    • Moosejaw. Located across from the Downtown Market, Moosejaw has great gear and staff. They are providing some sweet prizes too. Stop by their booth in the lodge for a chance at some free goodies.
    • Tubbs Snowshoes. Hopefully we’ll have some snow to snowshoe, but it’s looking doubtful. Either way, we’re grateful that Tubbs loans us a big batch of snowshoes for the race.
    • Tim Parks LC. A great resource for promotional products and decorated clothing for your business or event. Tim has provided shirts for our races since 2011. He also provided the snazzy barnwood trophies.
    • Switchback Gear Exchange. Located on Plainfield, just north of downtown. On a budget for your outdoor gear? Switchback has high quality used outdoor and bike gear at a great price. Win one of their gift cards and check them out.
    • Alger Bikes. Came through in a pinch with four fatbikes for us. Thanks! Centrally located on 28th ST, east of US-131.
    • Icespike. Race with Icespikes when traction is a challenge. More durable and effective than other traction options. Available at Gazelle Sports and online (and in the raffle).
    • Zanfel. A safe and effective topical solution for poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. You might not need it for this race, but you may later this year!
    • Jamie Geysbeek Photography. Jamie takes amazing photos of our race as well as weddings, portraits and other events. Smile as you run by him. If you can.

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, Camp Roger.

The race is at Camp Roger in Rockford, off Belding Road but parking at the camp is limited to volunteers and fatbike loaners due to the small lot there.

Please park in Lakes Elementary School lot or Bostwick Lake Congregational Church’s lot across the street on Young Ave. at Belding Road. Shuttle buses will only stop at Lakes Elementary because they don’t have to back up there, so hop across the street if you parked in the church lot.

Drop-offs at Camp Roger will only be allowed for situations like a parent dropping off two youth to race. All racers except those bringing fatbikes need to take the shuttle.

We will use two shuttle buses so you won’t have to wait long. Please help us keep things efficient by gathering at the Lakes Elementary front door pick-up spot (somewhat shielded by wind hopefully). Bring a bag of dry clothes and gear with you if you wish. You can leave it in the men’s and women’s cabins across from the check-in/lodge at camp. Look for the signs on your left (south) after you have been dropped off. Restrooms in these cabins as well, along with at the dining hall.

Review this camp map for location of lodge for check-in and cabins for leaving gear bags and changing clothes before and after the race. You MAY bring this map with you during the race along with the topographic race map. You may ALSO bring other maps with you during the race but you should not need any others.

If you have a fatbike or volunteer in your car (or you are dropping off spectators and returning to the shuttle lot), you may park at Camp Roger and use the volunteer parking lot shown on the map. Click or in Google Maps type 8356 Belding Road Northeast, Rockford, MI. The Sunny Hours Trail entrance off Belding Road, across from Bostwick Lake Inn, is closed. Continue east to Pottawatomie Trail, next to the Bostwick Bakery.

If you have friends or family who will be arriving later than 9 am, please email me and I can make sure the shuttle keeps running back to the lots.

Provided Gear
We will provide the snowshoes (provided we have snow!), fatbikes and helmets for those challenges.

Required Gear
We plan to check for at least one piece of required gear. We will subtract a checkpoint if it is missing.

  • Emergency/mylar blanket. One for each teammate. They cost under $5. Stores in the area often run out of it right before one of our races. Go buy one this weekend or order online.
  • Scratch paper and pencil/pen. Note that a month or two ago I added scratch paper and a pencil or pen that can write in cold weather (because many of you waterproof your race instructions sheet and it becomes difficult to write on).
  • Compass. Baseplate or sighting type. One per team.
  • Mobile phone. One per team. Powered up and turned off.

Recommended Gear

  • Zip-lock bag, map case, and/or contact paper to seal your map and race instructions and keep them dry. They will be double-sided on an 8.5×11 sheet so a pre-cut sheet of contact paper slightly larger than 11×17 will work. ALL racers will be given copies of the map and race instructions. How can you become a better navigator if you are never looking at the map, right? Share the glory, share the blame.
  • $5 if you want a clue/advantage at our “charity challenge.” Money raised will go to scholarships for kids who wouldn’t normally be able to afford to go to summer camp there.
  • Basic first aid items for cuts, etc.
  • Layers of clothing, one layer fewer than you feel comfortable in (you will warm up quickly unless we have heavy winds or precipitation).
  • Water-resistant gear if rain stays in the forecast. If you have gear that vents to reduce sweating and wet clothes, that’s ideal.
  • Hydration. Extra weight, but you will not perform as well without fluids.We will not have water out on the course but you can get water or Gatorade at the lodge during the race. If you are managing your temperature and clothing appropriately, you can get away with a fairly small amount of fluid. We do not require a certain amount for the winter race. If you are a person with low hydration needs (and dislike weight on your back), one option is to carry fluids in a small, flexible bottle such as the Salomon soft flask. Or make your teammate carry the fluids (just make sure you sip when you stop at checkpoints).
  • What shoes to wear and more tips under the Required Gear page.

You may access your gear bag in the changing cabins during the race, but be aware most of the race course is not near the cabins.

Fatbikes Needed
We are short on fatbikes which means the fatbike loop will likely have a line. Lines suck. If you have a fatbike you can loan us for the duration of the race, please email me. You can park in the volunteer parking lot, right near the start rather than take the shuttle. We’ll also provide you a $15 worth of Michigan Adventure Racing gear. This is a tame, flat loop so your bike will be safe!

Flag Retrieval
If you are interested in earning race credits for a future race and would like to extend your workout another hour or so by picking up the race flags, email me. We pay $30/hour in race credits. Because the snow is packed down into trails by end of race and more than one racer usually volunteers, it goes pretty quickly.

Orienteering Terms & Tips
You should also look up the following terms in our clinic presentation or online if you don’t know them (type in “orienteering” and then the term): depression, reentrant, saddle, hilltop, knoll, spur, ridge. These may be the descriptions given for some of the checkpoints you are looking for. Make sure you know how to identify these on the map by the shape of their contour lines. Note that I’ve attempted to track and import every trail in the area onto your race map. Even if snow covered, you will be able to move faster on these trails. Find trail junctions and other map features that allow you to plot a bearing with your compass closer to checkpoints that are off trail. From these CPs, either plot a bearing and/or follow obvious topography to other off-trail CPs or return to the trail.

You will likely need to cover 5-5.5 miles on foot to get every checkpoint. The goal is to maximize checkpoints within the three-hour time limit (penalties for every minute you are late up to 10 minutes at which point teams will be unranked), not to get every one. Each checkpoint has a unique punch that you will apply to a waterproof “passport” card we will give you at check-in. Top finishers may decide to go after some outlier checkpoints that will require the additional distance.

Try to balance the science of a good compass bearing with the art of using terrain and trails to get you where you need to go and you’ll move through many – if not all – the 20 checkpoints and 6 challenges/skills within the three-hour deadline. Read our Navigation 101/201 clinic presentation to learn how to use a compass if you don’t know how. It’s not difficult. Definitely try to follow the red line of the trails to get you closer to the checkpoints.

Four of the six challenges you face will be revealed only at the pre-race meeting. They will be similar to what you may have seen on the Amazing Race or Survivor, requiring some mental, physical or combination of skills, but definitely a lot less elaborate or painful than those on TV! Very rarely are teams completely stumped although you may have to try something multiple times before you solve the challenge. They are not too cerebral, not too corny. You won’t be eating food, you won’t be solving trigonometry problems, you won’t be dancing in tutus. Most racers find them to be fair and able to be completed in under 10 minutes.

All challenges are optional (you’ll just have one fewer checkpoint if you skip one). Like previous winter races, I have designed most challenges to be at least somewhat physical in nature to keep you moving and warm. For some challenges, teams of three will need to pick two people to complete the challenge. Teams get one checkpoint for arriving at the challenge (look for and punch the flag at the start of the challenge) and a second point/punch if they do the challenge successfully as verified by a volunteer (volunteer will punch your passport). At one challenge, paying $5 to our charity – a scholarship fund for kids camp at Camp Roger – is meant to help you complete the challenge faster or at less risk of failure.

The snowshoe loop, assuming we have enough snow, will be less than 500 meters and the fatbike loop will be less than a half mile. One teammate can bike the entire way while the teammate runs the opposite way or you can switch off when you cross paths. Due to the number of fatbikes we have, we would have long lines if all teammates biked the entire distance.

If you are not familiar with a fatbike, it’s a mountain bike with very wide tires that ride well on top of packed snow. We will provide the bike, helmet and also the trekking snowshoes for those two challenges. You may bring your own fatbike and snowshoes and stage them at the start of the loop but you must take with you, hide, lock, or return them to your car if you don’t want others to use them. You may wear your own snowshoes throughout the race if you think the conditions warrant it. No cross-country skis or anything besides snowshoes and “regular” shoes and boots allowed.

Early check-in: Camp Roger, Friday, Jan. 26, 4:00-7:00 pm (west side of largest building on side of hill)
Same-day check-in: Camp Roger, Saturday, 7:00 am to 8:15 am*
Race briefing: 8:30 am to 8:55 am
Race planning: 8:55 to 9:30 am
Race start: 9:30 men/9:37 women/9:44 am co-ed (waves)**
Race cutoff: 12:30/12:37/12:44 pm
Lunch: 12:00-1:15 pm chili lunch in the lodge
Award ceremony and raffle: 1:15-2:00

*At 8:15 am, once everyone has a chance to get the 1/4 zip shirt size they ordered, you may switch shirt sizes if yours doesn’t fit. Also, if there are any left at this time, late entrants will be allowed first crack at them for $15 each since they did not receive them with entry.

Due to a manufacturing shortage, we had to cobble together multiple colored shirts to have enough. Colors are first come, first served. They are concrete grey, (shown here), iron grey (the top two vote getters in a survey many of you took) and lime green.

**Teams that wish to pair up with other teams not in their division should complete a nearby challenge or checkpoint(s) and meet their other team to begin racing together when their wave starts. The team starting in the later wave can then do the challenge or checkpoint(s) that the other team started with at the end. Sorry, we cannot make changes to the wave start time.

The Camp Roger area and any wooded land within five miles is off limits to racers on Thursday and Friday. For Michigan Adventure Race and standard adventure racing rules, please consult the website.

Race/bib/team number: All the same thing. We’ll provide in an email late next week. Please bring to check-in. We’ll look you up by number. You MAY pick up teammate race numbers and shirts. Everyone signed the waiver online. Just make sure you coordinate with them.

It takes some time to count 5,000+ boxes of your passport punches. Hope you can stick around, get into some warm clothes, enjoy some food and share stories. Hopefully we’ll have the results with not too much of a wait. If you can’t stay for the awards, we’ll share results by Sunday via a race recap email and Facebook post and mail you a gift certificate.

To date in the 2-person divisions, we have 32 male teams, 27 female teams and 57 co-ed teams. In 3-person, we have 11 males, 12 females and 18 co-eds. We’ll go 5 deep in 2-person and 3 deep in 3-person for a total of 57 winners.

Two-Person Divisions (males, females, co-eds)
1st place: one pair Salomon shoes (certificate to Bill & Paul’s to try on), one more prize, trophy for each team member
2nd place: each person on team picks prize from table
3rd place: each picks prize from table
4th place: each picks prize from table
5th place: each pick a price from table

Three-Person Divisions (males, females, co-eds)
1st place: each person on team picks prize from table (overall 1st place 3-person team may pick Salomon shoes certificate in place of one of their prizes)
2nd place: each picks prize from table
3rd place: each picks prize from table

We won’t have a family division since there are just a few family teams, but all kids 13 and under will get a medal. Family teams will be merged into divisions above.

The top few teams composed of all first-time races will also receive prizes.

Everyone in the race has been entered into the raffle. We’ll have all the items on the table, first come first served. You must be present to win. We generally raffle off 40-75 prizes (gift cards, shirts from past races, $30 IceSpike traction devices, $39 Zanfel poison ivy wash and more).

After the Race
Change into dry clothes and join us in the lodge for Honey Creek Inn chili (veggie and meat varieties + Cincinnati chili with noodles and toppings) as soon as the race ends, followed by awards and raffle once we have tabulated results. We’ll have hot chocolate, hot cider and coffee this year. We’ll pass out some great prizes to the top teams in each division. We’ll raffle off a bunch of stuff too.

Clara Cookies will be there after the race with free cookie samples. Find one you like? They are $2 each or 3 for $5. All profits go to Team Orphans adoption grants.

Spectrum Health Outpatient Physical Therapy will be on site offering stretching, injury screens; kinesiotaping; recommendations on proper shoe wear; and a raffle for a free video running analysis at their East Grand Rapids location.

Stop by Moosejaw’s booth for a free giveaway while supplies last.

We’ll have our usual buffs, hats, pints and stickers for sale at check-in. Also our MI Adventure Racing tops and sweatshirt.

Sweatshirt – hooded, pockets $30
Short sleeve ($17) and long sleeve ($22) shirts
Buff headwear $10 ($18-$23 for most others)
Stainless steel pint $10 ($15 on most race sites)
Sticker (removable) $3

At least one more update to come before the race, likely next Thursday with your race/team number. Updates will be posted under the Race Updates page on the website for future reference. See the Facebook page for less critical updates. Feel free to email me with questions. To make changes to your team info, you can sign in to BikeReg and make the directly. After Wednesday, email changes to me.

You endured through the race update so enduring through the race will be no problem! Looking forward to seeing you all!

Mark, for Greg and Matt


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