Race Information – 2020

Aug. 15, 2020
Grand Rapids, MI
4, 7 or 12 Hours

Out of an abundance of caution and based on State of Michigan Phase requirements, this event will now be curbside/takeout in format. Grab your map and go! Race on your own. No large group start, no groups during the race, no award ceremony or group meal at the end, but plenty of adventure and challenge.

Experience some incredible mountain biking, trekking land, rivers and lakes just miles from the metropolitan Grand Rapids area. Travel by canoe, bike and on foot, navigating several natural areas by map and compass. Choose from the beginner 4-hour race which does not have a paddle section, the 7-hour beginner/intermediate race or the more challenging 12-hour race. The 4- and 7-hour race feature the same level of orienteering while the 12-hour will have some more challenging checkpoints. Most checkpoints are optional in all three races so you can make it back to the finish.

Video of how the race works
Video of racer testimonials

All set to register now? Register here!

Estimated Miles
Trek/On-Foot: 3-5 miles
Bike: up to 24 miles
Paddle: none

Trek/On-Foot: 4-7 miles
Bike: 35-40 miles
Paddle: 2.5 miles (start and finish are the same so no bikes in boats; drop off personal canoes/kayaks at the start of the paddle)

Trek/On-Foot: 8-12 miles
Bike: 45-55 miles
Paddle: 6-8 miles

12-hour racers will put bikes in their boats so a kayak is not recommended. You may bring your own canoe. We will provide guidance on how best to put your bikes in your canoe.

  • 3rd person on a 3-person team: please rent another canoe and paddle it solo with the 3 bikes in front for weight distribution. For more weight distribution, flip the canoe around and paddle from the bow seat like this.
  • Solos: either kneel in middle or flip canoe around and paddle from bow seat like this.

You’ll be biking on two-tracks, gravel roads, beginner and intermediate singletrack (most of it optional), and a few paved roads. Your bike will be your primary mode of transportation from one area to the next (if you wear bike shoes, plan to carry shoes for trekking). Trekking will be on mostly rolling terrain with light to moderate vegetation. Most checkpoints (CP) will be on defined terrain such as hilltops, reentrants (gullies), etc. but some will be more subtle in the longer race to test experienced racers. You should not need to cross treacherous or extremely swampy terrain to reach checkpoints. The paddle section for the 7- and 12-hour races will be on a beautiful, shallow, but not difficult river.

Divisions and prizes may be combined if small (e.g., 4 teams or fewer).
Solo Females
Solo Males

2-person Females
2-person Males
2-person Co-eds

3-4 person Open (except in 7-hour race where it will be gender-based)

Schedule (tentative based on MI Safe Start Plan)


  • Same-day check-in; maps handed out, personal boats dropped off at start of paddle section 6:30-7:00 am
  • Plan race on your own: 7:00-8:00 am
  • Start: 8:00 am
  • Cutoff: 8:00 pm
  • Sweet spot treats, pick up awards: approx. 8:00-8:45 pm


  • Same-day check-in; maps handed out, personal boats dropped off at start of the paddle section (7-hour race only):
  • Start: Curbside start time ranges based on gender division. Times TBD but between 8:30-11:30 am. No group starts.
  • Cutoff: 4 or 7 hours after start
  • Sweet spot treats, pick up awards: when you finish or will mail awards to you

The start/finish is at Cannonsburg Ski Area, 6800 Cannonsburg Rd NE, Belmont, MI 49306

Orienteering Practice/Clinic



  • See the Required Gear page for details on what you need to have and then a list of additional suggested gear.
  • Rental canoes available.
  • If bringing your own canoe or kayak, drop off at start and we will deliver to paddle section.
  • Road bikes not allowed due to moderately rugged singletrack.
  • Rental bikes are difficult to find; you may need to borrow one from a friend.


  • 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

  • We will offer race maps to spectators so they can try to follow you. Even better, have friends and family volunteer!
  • Depending on group size limitations, spectators may not be allowed at check-in and start/finish area (but okay to be in parking lot). TBD.

Merchandise (pick up at check-in)

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

buffpint 200hshirt 275Pink Raspberrymar magnet 2 150w

Check-in, Pre-Race Briefing, Race Components (changing due to COVID)

  • 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, answer any questions, explain the passport and hand out an instruction sheet and maps. Bring writing utensils (pen, pencil, marker, highlighter).
  • 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!
  • Flag (control) and Code/Punch. You are looking for orange and white 3-sided orienteering flags (technically called the control marker). You must write the code on the flag (or punch) in the correct box in the passport so we can verify you were indeed there. A card with a number will be attached to the flag. Check it to confirm you got the right one.
  • Race instructions/clues. Lists key rules, describes the course and the activities, and provides hints about where checkpoints are located.
  • Maps. The map(s) will almost always be topographical but may be aerial if accurate topo information is not available. Most, if not all, checkpoints will be shown. You can waterproof your map with packing tape or contact paper if desired (find at Meijer-type stores). Either way, we recommend keeping it in a waterproof map case or zip lock baggie at least.
  • Goal. The goal is to maximize the number of checkpoints on your passport within the time limit. A team that gets 25 checkpoints with one minute to spare will finish ahead of a team that gets 24 checkpoints with one hour to spare.


  • Transition Areas. Transition areas are locations where you switch between one discipline and another (trek/orienteer, bike, paddle). TA flags are usually mandatory. They are almost always manned by a volunteer. Always carry cash in case you need fluids or food at a store you pass by. It’s your responsible to punch the TA flag, often when arriving and departing so we can capture your split time and track teams. Teams often switch shoes and other gear at TAs.
  • Orienteering. In most cases, checkpoints will be optional and can be found in any order within an orienteering section. We will note which checkpoints are “advanced.” Teams that are not going at a fast pace should consider skipping these as they require going a significant distance or over dodgy terrain to obtain. They are meant to challenge the elite teams trying to obtain all CPs. Map reading will be critical. You should also know how to use a compass. Checkpoints may be out of view (especially to deter theft if they are in public places) but are not intended to be difficult to spot if you are in the right place.
  • Biking. Bike sections will be a mix of gravel, paved, two-track and singletrack sections (beginner to intermediate). No road bikes allowed. Checkpoints are usually along side the route but may require racers to leave their bikes and trek or bushwhack with their bikes off-trail. Racers often wear clip-in bike shoes and then switch to running shoes for longer orienteer/trekking sections within the bike section (which is often the majority of the race). Sometimes CPs are not indicated on a singletrack trail on the map so that teams can’t bushwhack or ride backwards to get them. Sometimes it’s allowed. Safety often dictates which way we do this.
  • Paddling. Our races try to keep paddling time at a fairly low ratio compared to biking and trekking because it’s harder to train for and often less navigation-based and/or appealing to the average racer.

Stop by Cannonsburg Ski Area’s Sweet Spot for refreshments after the race. We’ll provide a voucher for a few bucks toward your treat.

Charity Partner
Our charity partner is Camp Anew, a branch of Starlight Ministries, that provides support specifically to children and teens ages 7-17; it is a place where campers will experience the value of gathering with other children who have experienced grief. Campers share their stories, capture memories, discuss their feelings, and have fun! Camp Anew is a biblically based Grief Camp operated at Warner Memorial Camp.

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,use the Contact form to reach Mark VanTongeren, race director.