Race Information

Croton/Hardy Edition
(featuring the Dragon Trail)
May 20, 2023
6 or 14 hours

Registration to open in December 2022 (waiting for venue contract). Race information to be fully updated then.

Get ready for some of the best mountain biking in any adventure race in the U.S. Dreamy, roller coastery singletrack. Lots of it. Gorgeous flat water paddling. Challenging but fair trekking – not too severe, but defined, runnable terrain and some two tracks interspersed to help you move faster and relocate if you are having trouble finding a checkpoint. Start and finish at Camp Harvest, less than 40 minutes north of Grand Rapids. Lodging on site.

Experience classic northern Michigan terrain while you trek, orienteer, paddle and bike in and around the majestic Manistee National Forest and the Croton/Hardy waterways. Navigate through some of the best orienteering land in the Midwest with great “curvy” terrain, multiple route options, lots of forest, and super-detailed LIDAR maps. Paddle a gorgeous water section that while not difficult, will reward teams that read the map well. Bike flowy, moderately challenging singletrack on the ridges along beautiful Hardy Pond, the backwaters of the Muskegon River. We’ll celebrate after the race with tasty food, awards and raffle.

You and your teammate(s) will race together to find as many checkpoints as you can in the time period – or come in early if you’ve had enough and rest up for the post-race feast and awards. Don’t let the duration keep you from an incredible experience. Just adjust your pace, maintain a positive attitude and make sure you know how to follow a topographic map and use a compass to find off-trail checkpoints.

If you are new to adventure racing, scroll down to the bottom of this page for a short tutorial.

Video of race experience
Video of racer testimonials

Divisions

  • Solo: females, males
  • Two-person: co-ed, females, males
  • Three and four-person co-ed, females, males (3-4 person open for 12-hour race)

What’s Included
See the Register page in the drop-down menu above for entry fees and discounts. Entry includes:

  • Canoe rental (1 canoe for 2-3 person teams, 2 for 4-person teams, kayak for solos)
  • Tech shirt (short sleeved), stainless steel pint, or buff/headwear
  • Post-race food
  • Chance at over $1,000 worth of top finisher prizes and dozens of raffle prizes.
  • The first place team in each division will receive handcrafted wood team trophies and a prize (gift card or gear). All top finishing teams will receive wood individual medals and a prize (depth of placements determined by number of teams in each division).

Approximate Mileages

  • Orienteering/Trekking: (14 hour: 8 miles; 6 hour: 3 miles). Detailed LIDAR maps. A combination of very definable checkpoints and more subtle intermediate/advanced placements to test your ability to process many types of information (contour shape, elevation, vegetation types, man-made features, distance, direction, water features, etc.).
  • Biking: (14 hour: 60 miles; 6 hour: 30 miles).  Incredible singletrack and lots of it, two tracks, gravel roads, and paved roads. Road bikes with super skinny tires (like 30c or narrower) not allowed.
  • Paddling: (14 hour: 8 miles; 6 hour: 2-3 miles). Beautiful flat-water paddling. Rental canoes and solo kayaks (no tandem kayaks) are available; it hasn’t yet been determined if we can allow teams to bring your own canoe(s), tandem kayak(s), or solo kayaks.

Schedule

14 Hours
Check-in, maps handed out (Camp Harvest): Friday evening 6:30-9:00 pm (?) OR late arrivals can check in Saturday, 6:15-7:30 am
Stage personal canoes & kayaks (location TBD): TBD (if personal allowed)
Race briefing: TBD
Start: 7:00 am
Finish by:
9:00 pm
Food: dinner
Award ceremony and raffle:
9:00 pm

6 Hours (may add bonus hour)
Check-in, maps handed out (Camp Harvest): Friday evening 6:30-9:00 pm (?) OR late arrivals can check in Saturday, 8:00-9:30 am
Stage personal canoes & kayaks (location TBD): 8:00-9:00 am
Race briefing:
10:00-10:20 am
Start: 10:30 am (parking lot)
Finish by:
3:30 pm (or 4:30 pm) (Skyview Lodge)
Food: 4:00-5:30 pm, catered dinner
Award ceremony and raffle: 
approx. 5:00 or 5:30 pm

Directions
Camp Harvest, 6829 E 72nd St, Newaygo, MI 49337

Lodging

  • Camp Harvest
  • etc

Required Gear
See the Gear page for details. Required gear will be standard adventure racing gear (bike, hydration pack/containers, compass, emergency blanket and a few other small items).

Canoes & Kayak Rental
Logistics require us to only allow rental canoes and kayaks for the 14-hour race. For the 6-hour race, you may bring your own canoe or kayak if you wish.

You’ll rent 1 canoe for 2-3 person teams (cushion provided for racer in the middle) and 2 canoes for 4-person teams. Solos will rent a solo kayak. They will be ready for you along with paddles and PDFs at the start of the paddle and you’ll leave all paddle gear there when you’re done. Rental kayaks will not be available to 2-4 person teams through the canoe livery we are contracting with.

6-hour rental ONLY. Because the paddle section is an out-and-back and some teams will finish before others arrive, we can rent fewer canoes (and kayaks for solos) than there are teams. We pass this savings on to you with lower rental fees. In past races there has been either no wait at all or just a wait of a few minutes, but be aware there could be a wait so if that’s unacceptable, consider bringing or borrowing a boat or do the bike or trek section and come back later to paddle.

Aid/Water Stations
We will have water and Gatorade at multiple locations. You will need to carry all the gear you need but we’ll have plenty of fluids.

Navigation/Race Preparation Clinic
Navigation 101/201 clinic, Saturday,  May 6 (tentative), Seidman Park, Grand Rapids. RSVP here. Includes in-field practice. 1.5 hours. Free. If you can’t make it, check out the Navigation 101/201 clinic presentation and other sources on our Learn More page for tips.

Shirt
Tech shirt, pint or buff comes with early or regular entry (late entrants get pint or buff). Men’s/adult crew or women’s v-neck, same shirt as our other races.

Women’s shirt specifications
Men’s shirt specifications

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
Multi-functional headwear/buff (green or gray), $12
Stainless steel pint, $12
Sticker (classic oval or compass-cut), $2

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 14 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. Your entry includes a full banquet dinner with two entree options, 2 sides, a salad and dinner rolls. We’ll have top finisher and fun awards, a raffle, and share stories of the day. Guests can pay for the meal under the Purchase Event Items on the registration site.

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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 paddle and 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.