Race Information

May 18, 2024
Cannonsburg Ski Area
Grand Rapids, MI
Up to 6 Hours

Experience beautiful trekking land, fun mountain biking trails, scenic bike paths, and fast gravel and paved roads just miles from the metropolitan Grand Rapids area. A fun mix of wilderness and urban racing. Your team will race by bike and on foot (no paddling in this one; see below), navigating roads and natural areas by map and compass. All checkpoints are optional so you can choose the route that’s best for your skills and fitness. We’ll gather after the race on the deck above beautiful Bear Creek and celebrate your accomplishment with delicious tacos, a raffle and awards ceremony.

We reserve the right to add up to one hour to the maximum duration if we feel the time would be helpful to get more teams to enjoy more of the course and get to the finish line in time.

Video of how the race works and racer testimonials

All set to register now? Click here.

Distances and Terrain

BIKING
Loop with singletrack trails: 25 miles
Loop with no singletrack trails: 15 miles

You’ll be biking on really fun mountain bike trails as well as scenic bike paths, gravel and paved roads. The singletrack bike trails are mostly beginner level with a few short intermediate stretches. The bike trails are all optional – you’ll miss out on checkpoints if you skip but this allows teams without experience on dirt trails to still race! Note that you will often be on the shoulder of roads with vehicular traffic (speeds up to 55 mph) and must negotiate at least one traffic light at what could be a fairly busy intersection. Participants should be ages 16 and above.

Your bike will be your primary mode of transportation from one area to the next. You’ll stop to do trekking and

TREKKING
Typical beginner routes (several checkpoints skipped): 3-5 miles
Typical intermediate routes (no checkpoints skipped): 7-8 miles

You’ll have two fairly large sections of trekking and orienteering (finding pre-plotted checkpoints with a topographic map and compass). Hike or run through beautiful, rolling forests with light to moderate vegetation and lots of trails interspersed to help you go faster, get closer to the off-trail checkpoints, and relocate if you aren’t quite sure where you are. Most checkpoints will be on defined terrain such as hilltops, gullies, depressions, valleys, etc. Super detailed LIDAR maps! You should not need to cross treacherous or extremely swampy terrain to reach checkpoints (one optional creek crossing!). All checkpoints will be optional and advanced checkpoints will be noted so you can skip them if you are short on time or decide you want to race for 4-5 hours instead of 6.

We’ll save one of the trekking sections for last so you should be close to the finish and able to make the cut-off. Hiking and taking breaks is totally acceptable – few teams run the entire on-foot sections.

Will There Be Paddling?
Because biking and trekking are excellent near Cannonsburg but paddling is not, we will not have a paddle section this time. This will give you substantially more time to explore some great trekking areas and enjoy some fun singletrack biking. When surveyed about this last year, 85% of racers approved of this.

Why Just One Duration Choice This Time?
If you’ve done our races before, you know that we usually try to often offer two durations – one for beginners and one for more experienced teams. This time, you get to customize your own challenge level and race duration in the six hour window. Some of the checkpoints will be labeled advanced, geared toward the experienced teams. Beginner teams may opt to skip those if they are not quite up for the difficulty level or extra time or distance they require. Offering one duration also allows experienced racers and beginner/intermediate racers to be on the same team – mentoring is encouraged! We also love the idea of everyone celebrating together after the race rather than separate awards and meals.

Divisions
Solo Females
Solo Males
2-person Females
2-person Males
2-person Co-eds
3-4 person Females
3-4 person Males
3-4 person Co-eds

Schedule

  • Friday evening: maps emailed to all racers
  • Saturday Check-in/maps handed out: 7:30-9:30 am
  • Pre-race announcements: 9:30-9:45 am
  • Start (waves): 10:00 am
  • Cut-off: 4:00 pm
  • Taco dinner: 2:00-5:00 pm
  • Awards, raffle: goal is 4:30 pm

Location
Parking and start/finish is at Cannonsburg Ski Area, 6800 Cannonsburg Rd NE, Belmont, MI 49306

BEFORE THE RACE

Navigation/Compass Clinic

Shirt

Gear

  • See the Required Gear page for details on what you need to have and then a list of additional suggested gear.
  • Road bikes (super skinny tires) not allowed due to moderately rugged singletrack.
  • Rental bikes are difficult to find this year; you may need to borrow one from a friend.

Lodging

  • Campgrounds: Wabasis Lake, Indian Lakes, Scalley Lake
  • Many hotel and home rentals in the area
  • Enjoy Frederick Meijer Gardens, great outdoor dining, Lake Michigan beaches and other area attractions before or after the race.

Spectators & Volunteers

  • Spectators and family members are welcome to cheer you on at the start/finish and transition area and can join you for the post-race meal – purchase it for them on the registration site.
  • Even better, have friends and family volunteer!

Transition/Aid Station Areas
We will have water and Gatorade at transition areas.

Merchandise
Shop and pre-pay online during registration and receive at packet pick-up or shop in person the day of the event.
Hoodie – $35
Skull cap – $20
Stainless steel pint, $12
Multi-functional headwear/buff (green or grey), $12
Sticker (classic oval or compass-cut), $3

Rules & Age Limits
Please read through our standard race rules. Special rules that apply for certain races will be listed in one of the race updates you’ll receive. Obey all traffic laws. This is an open course so you may encounter vehicles and pedestrians at any point. Racers must generally be at least 16 years old due to biking in traffic; a parent may discuss the possibility of an exception with race organizers. Racers under 18 must be accompanied by an adult and have a parent or guardian sign the waiver/consent form provided during online registration.

After the Race
We encourage you to hang out after the race on the deck overlooking beautiful Bear Creek and the ski hills. We’ll share stories of the day, hand out top finisher, “fun” and raffle prizes and gobble down tacos (3) and tortilla chips (picture is of actual meal). Beer and other drinks are available for purchase. Guests can pay for the meal under the Purchase Event Items on the registration site. After the event, you can stop in and trade your bib at Third Nature Brewery for a $1 beer (day of race only).

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For Beginners: How an Adventure Race Works

Adventure racing is like no other sport! It involves a mix of brains and brawn, individual effort and teamwork, speed and endurance. For such amazing rewards, it requires a little effort to learn how it works and get better over time.

The goal of adventure racing is for you and your teammate(s) to find as many checkpoints as you can in the time period. All checkpoints will be pre-plotted on topographic maps. The race will be broken up so that you’ll do one activity for a while, then another, etc. so your body (and brain) will get nice breaks. Usually your bike is the consistent mode of transportation from one place to another throughout the race, from start to finish. You’ll stop at various “transition areas” to leave your bike with a volunteer to trek/orienteer on foot before returning to your bike to continue on.

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). Check your map to see where the point is located and consult your race instructions sheet for the description which will help you determine its more exact location. Some points will require use of your compass, topographical map and an understanding of how to read that map. Others you can find from just looking at the map. Each checkpoint will have an orange and white flag with a punch attached to it.

The goal is to maximize the number of checkpoints on your passport within the time limit. A team that gets 25 checkpoints with seconds to spare will finish ahead of a team that gets 24 checkpoints with one hour to spare.

  • Check-in. We recommend arriving to check-in early as we will hand out maps then and you can get most or all of your route complete before the pre-race meeting.
  • Pre-race meeting. We’ll go over rules, safety issues, answer any questions.
  • Race instructions/clues. The race instructions lists key rules, describes the course and the activities, and provides hints about where checkpoints are located along with the numbers of each checkpoint corresponding to the map, passport and punch.
  • Passport. The passport is the piece of waterproof paper you’ll punch at each checkpoint to prove you found it. You must not lose it! You will turn this in as your scorecard when you finish racing.
  • Checkpoint flag (aka “control”) and punch. You are looking for orange and white 3-sided orienteering flags (technically called control markers). You must punch the correct box in the passport so we can verify you were indeed there. The punch will have a number on it corresponding to your passport. Check it to confirm you got the right one. Each punch has a unique barb pattern to prove teams made it to that flag.
  • Maps. The map(s) are topographic, showing the shape of the land and terrain details. Sometimes the map is lower resolution USGS. Other times it will be high-detail LIDAR. They are pre-plotted with the checkpoints on them. While not every trail in the area will be on the map, the vast majority usually are. You can waterproof your map with packing tape or contact paper and/or keep it in a waterproof map case or zip lock baggie.
  • Map reading will be critical. You should also know how to use a compass (baseplate or sighting – with a straightedge), although you may be able to manage without if you can navigate well with your map. Attend our free clinic (see details earlier on this page) or learn online here.
  • Order. Checkpoints are usually optional and often times can be found in any order within a section.
  • The goal. Maximize the number of checkpoints on your passport within the time limit. If you arrive after the time limit, you will either receive a severe checkpoint penalty or not be counted in the final standings, depending on whether the race is beginner level or not.

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.