How could I possibly race for so many hours straight?
If you are in moderate shape or better, you should have no problem. Race at your own pace and don’t feel you have to get every checkpoint. The goal is to get as many as you can. Adventure races offer many opportunities to catch your breath, whether you are waiting for a traffic light, looking for a checkpoint, or filling up your water at a transition area. The variety of activities utilize different muscles and that helps too. If you have had enough, no worries – head in and cheer the other racers as they come in.
I’ve never done an adventure race. Can you give me some tips?
Successful teams learn to balance careful navigation and map reading with speed. Racers lose the most time when they become lost or miss a checkpoint because they were not checking their map. Strategy comes into play as well. Planning the most efficient route and knowing how many checkpoints teams can squeeze in before the cut-off time often allow “tortoise” teams to out-perform the “rabbits.” Consuming plenty of fluids and energy foods is also important, especially in longer races. See our other pages in this Learn More section.
What charities are you supporting? How can racers be involved?
We select a charity partner for each race. Whenever possible we will incorporate a charity challenge element into the race so you can provide a few dollars in exchange for help in a challenge. Racers find the idea of giving while racing to be a very cool thing.
Where can I get the gear I need for this race?
We recommend Gazelle Sports, West Michigan Bike & Fitness, and Bill & Paul’s Sporthaus for gear. They have most or all of the mandatory and recommended gear on the list or can order it. Very helpful staff! Please support our sponsors as they help make this race possible.
Can I race with any bike or does it have to be a mountain bike?
Any standard, self-propelled mountain, cyclocross, or gravel bike is acceptable. Some races allow road bikes.
I wear clip-in pedals. Should I bring running/athletic shoes to swap into when we transition to the on-foot section?
In most cases, yes. You’ll either start in them or change into them after you finish the bike section.
Can I use any other mode of transportation besides bicycle or on foot?
No (unless we have a paddle section). No rollerblades, scooters, skateboards, pogo sticks, big wheels, etc. No public transportation, taxis, hanging on to your friend’s car, etc. If you don’t have a bike, but do have a pet alpaca, show it to race management and we’ll see how friendly it is (spitting alpaca are strictly prohibited per City of GR Sanitation Department guidelines).
Do I need a teammate?
It depends on the race. Can’t find a teammate? Post a note on the group/community Facebook page.
Can we participate with a group? Can we work with other teams on the course?
You sure can. Feel free to buddy up with other teams if you’re looking to have fun with a group of friends. And, if you are lost on the course, it helps to join forces to get un-lost! Each team must complete their own special challenges if there are any and turn in their passport. You may not call, text or email other teams during the race.
Is there an age limit?
Racers generally must be at least 12 year old (no age limit in the winter race), although we may allow exceptions after talking with the parent of the youth. At least one team member must be 18 years old (two 17-year olds is fine for some races). Racers under 18 must have a parent or guardian sign their waiver during online registration.
Do you allow outside support or phone a friend?
You may ask for outside help if it’s unplanned and from people you don’t know, but you’re not allowed to phone a friend or use a smartphone except where it is stated as allowed. You may not be accompanied or met on the course by any non-racing friends/support crew other than as a cheering section.
Do you allow GPS?
In the spirit of adventure racing, we are not allowing GPS-enabled applications on your phone, watches, etc. It sets a bad precedent and gets racers in the habit of using a device that is banned in everyone other adventure race in Michigan. We can’t police this unless we banned phones completely, and we will never do that because phones are critical to getting help quickly in an emergency. If you choose to break the rule and fiddle with GPS, other teams will be blowing right by you as they use their pre-marked maps.
I can’t participate, but I’d like to volunteer. What can I do?
Thank you for offering! Volunteers are critical to the success of the race. Please go to the Volunteer page of any of our races to sign up. All volunteers who work the full race will receive a race shirt (and lunch, when provided) free of charge and often also receive a credit off a future race… not to mention a really fun day with some nice, crazy racers.
What other adventure races, trail running races or mountain bike races are there in the area?
Check out our race calendar page to access additional adventure races in Michigan and a community of racers who can provide lots of good advice.
Check out www.wmmba.org to support trail building, try out a mountain bike race or print a trail map.