Race Information

Muskegon State Park Edition
May 21, 2022
5-7 hours (duration TBD; details forthcoming)

Experience intensely fun and challenging trekking, orienteering, paddling, biking and special challenges like you might see on the Amazing Race or Survivor over some of the most beautiful terrain around at Muskegon State Park along gorgeous Lake Michigan. You and your teammate(s) will race together to find as many checkpoints as you can in the time period. A nice mix of packed, marked trails and off-trail running, fast gravel and paved biking and scenic flat water paddling. 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 how the race works
Video of racer testimonials

Divisions

  • Solo: females, males
  • Two-person: co-ed, females, males
  • Three and four-person co-ed, females, males

What’s Included
See the Register page for prices. Entry includes tech shirt; post-race meal; and a chance at over $1,000 worth of top finisher and raffle prizes. Top finishers will also receive handcrafted wood team trophies and wood individual medals!

Course Design
7 Hours (tentative)
Trekking, paddling and biking sections AND the checkpoints within each section can all be done in any order (“score-o/rogaine” style). The ultimate flexible race format. You’ll return to the start/finish area (and your vehicle) after each section. This means you can race light – bring enough water, food and clothes (and a few additional pieces of required gear) for the section and replenish when you return!

  • Trekking/Orienteering: 6-8 miles. Some of the finest navigation in Michigan. Expect a variety of terrain, from hardwood forest to lakeside swamp to views of Lake Michigan dunes and from epic ridge climbs and descents to fast-moving woods. Mostly intermediate-level difficulty with several beginner checkpoints. Very little to no loose sand.
  • Biking: 18-22 miles. Some really fun singletrack along with paved roads. Some amazing Lake Michigan views. Road bikes are allowed in the race but NOT on the singletrack trails so you’ll need to skip those CPs if you have the super skinny tires (like 30c width or narrower).
  • Paddling: 1.5-2 miles. We will provide the kayaks and canoes (at no extra charge) but you may bring your own. Because the paddle is short and can be done at any time, watercraft will be first come, first served (a lot less expensive for you then everyone having to rent their own boat). You’ll likely have no wait for a boat but if you do it will be very short. Or, rather than wait you can do a trek or bike section and try the paddle after!
  • Special Challenges

 

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Schedule (ROUGH)

Check-in, maps handed out, gear check: 8:30-9:30 am
Race briefing:
10:00-10:20 am
Start: 10:30 am
Race cut-off:
4:30 pm
Food: 4:00-5:30 pm, pulled pork/jackfruit sandwich, mac & cheese
Award ceremony and raffle: 
approx. 5:00 or 5:30 pm

Directions & Parking

To COME

Lodging

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).

Kayaks/Canoes

Navigation/Race Preparation Clinic (TO COME)
Navigation 101/201 clinic, Saturday,  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
Short-sleeved 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 (purchase online or at check-in; receive at check-in)
Hoodie – $30
Long sleeve tech shirt, crew or v-neck (various colors), $15
Short sleeve tech shirt, crew or v-neck (various colors), $12
Stainless steel pint, $12
Multi-functional headwear/buff (green or gray), $12
Sticker (classic oval or compass-cut), $2

Hot coral women's cropped

 

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. Grab some dinner and fruit, congratulate the top finishers (and yourself!), hopefully win a raffle prize, and share stories of getting lost and found. Family and friends should plan for their own food to ensure we have enough for racers. We will have a small picnic shelter. Please bring a chair or blanket to sit on. Also bring rain gear or warm clothes if the weather requires.

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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.

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  • 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, explain the passport and hand out an instruction sheet and maps.
  • 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 (or write a letter/code on during COVID) at each checkpoint to prove you found it. Each punch has a unique barb pattern. You must not lose it!
  • Flag (control) and Punch. You are looking for orange and white 3-sided orienteering flags (technically called control markers). You must punch the correctSuunto-Control-Marker-3649 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.
  • 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 or learn online here.
  • Order. CPs 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.