Race Information

September 28, 2024
Silver Lake State Park
Mears, MI
3 or 6 Hours

The Silver Lake area and Silver Lake State Park provide perhaps the most amazing adventure race course in the Midwest if not beyond. Few places in the world offer Sahara Desert-like views to the north and south, an inland ocean to the west, and beautiful Silver Lake to the east. You and your teammate(s) will race together, from a treeless, other-worldly area with massive vistas to lush Michigan forest just minutes away. The dunes orienteering section is a highlight of the race; like nothing you’ve ever navigated before. The dune flats and ridges are wind-swept and hard-packed in most spots.

The race will feature fast two-track, gravel and paved biking; orienteering; and trekking. You’ll spend time around beautiful Silver Lake, sand dunes, and lush area forests. Everything is optional so that you can make it to the finish on time.

Video of how the race works and racer testimonials

All set to register now? Click here.

Distances and Terrain

BIKING
You’ll be biking on two-track, gravel and paved roads so get ready to feel fast (just paved for the 3-hour)! There are no singletrack trails nearby so if that’s a concern, you don’t need to worry. The biking in this race is about getting you to the most amazing trekking/orienteering you can imagine.

6-hour: 25 miles
3-hour: 10 miles

TREKKING
You will experience two world class trekking/orienteering sections in the 6-hour and one in the 3-hour. It will be like nothing you’ve ever experienced! Super detailed LIDAR maps! 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 head back early. Hiking and taking breaks is totally acceptable – few teams run the entire on-foot sections.

6-hour: 6-8 miles
3-hour: 3-4 miles

Will There Be Paddling?
The only nearby canoe livery closed Labor Day weekend. The great news: this will give you substantially more time to explore the amazing trekking areas. When surveyed about this last year, 85% of racers approved of this. (We will have paddling in 2025 in case you are wondering.)

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

6-Hour Schedule

  • Friday evening: maps emailed to all racers
  • Saturday packet pick-up/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
  • Post-race pizza: 3:00-5:00 pm
  • Awards, raffle: goal is 4:45 pm

3-Hour Schedule

  • Friday evening: maps emailed to all racers
  • Saturday packet pick-up/maps handed out: 9:45-11:30 am
  • Pre-race announcements: 11:30-11:45 am
  • Start (waves): 12:00 pm
  • Cut-off: 3:00 pm
  • Post-race pizza: 3:00-5:00 pm
  • Awards, raffle: goal is 4:00 pm

Location
Parking and start/finish is at:
Golden Township Park, 8711 W Silver Lake Rd, Mears, MI 49436.

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.
  • Rental bikes are difficult to find this year; you may need to borrow one from a friend.

Lodging

  • There are a plethora of campgrounds, vacation rentals and hotels. Silver Lake State Park is just across the street.

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 12 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 at Golden Township Park. We’ll share stories of the day, hand out top finisher, “fun” and raffle prizes and gobble down pizza. Guests can pay for pizza 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 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.