Skip to content

Race Updates

Race Update #1

We’re looking forward to seeing you all at the Michigan Adventure Race: Silver Lake Edition on June 1. Thanks for racing with us! Silver Lake provides a race course unlike any other in the United States. You can view majestic Lake Michigan to the west, turn sideways and it looks like the Sahara Desert, and make a quarter turn to see beautiful Silver Lake. Just a few minutes on your bike and you’re deep into majestic hardwood forest. And you’ll be conquering a sandboarding plummet down a monster dune (sit or stand; brownie points for standing) and paddleboarding on beautiful Silver Lake. 

Thanks for once again making the Silver Lake Edition the largest adventure race in the U.S. 260 of you BAs have signed up for the 5-hour and 135 of you for the 8-hour so far. Obviously, AR is a niche sport – but that just means that you have the courage, endurance and mental capability to tackle this race while 99% of people are content with 10Ks and such.

We have room for more since you’ll quickly thin out as you start in waves by race length as well as division. If you have friends on the fence, have them sign up by May 19 to get the high quality, long sleeve hooded shirt from Presenting Sponsor Michigan Awesome, normally $30.

Long update below so grab some coffee first. Most racers appreciate the detail but it does require some endurance! 

New to AR? An explanation of the standard adventure race format and elements is in a box at the bottom of this update for first-timers. Others can skip or skim it.

Thanks to all of our sponsors for prizes and discounted services!

  • Michigan Awesome. Our Presenting Sponsor. Thanks for the generous discount on the sweet shirts for all racers. Michigan Awesome celebrates everything that is awesome about Michigan. From t-shirts to tea towels, and handmade mugs to artisan food gift boxes, they’re proud to offer gifts and gear for anyone who loves our great state.
  • Gazelle Sports. Our sponsor from day 1 in 2011, providing the majority of prizes for the race. They will get you into a trail or road shoe that is right for your foot and gait. Located in Grand Rapids, Holland, Kalamazoo, Birmingham and Northville.
  • Salomon. Salomon offers industry leading trail shoes for adventure racing and trail running.. Thanks for four pairs of shoes for some of the top finishers, provided through Bill & Paul’s Sporthaus.
  • Silver Lake Pizza Factory. Thanks for great deal on some great tasting pizza!
  • Bill & Paul’s Sporthaus. Knowledgeable staff. Great place to get outdoor gear. Offering 10% off most adventure racing gear with proof of registration and gift cards at the race. Located in Cascade, just east of Grand Rapids.
  • Wave Club. For discounted paddleboards and complimentary sandboards. A great place to rent a boat or water sport equipment the next time you are here.
  • West Michigan Bike & Fitness. My hometown bike shop. Great service and products, located in Grand Rapids/Kentwood, Grandville and Holland. Thanks for the prizes.
  • Reebok Ragnar Michigan Road. With Reebok Ragnar Michigan Road, you’ll run with 11 other friends through vibrant fall foliage, picturesque towns and along the sand dunes of Lake Michigan on Sept. 27-28, 2019. Use code ADVENTURE19 for $80 off your team. No HS teams, Expires 8/20/19.
  • RiverTown Landscapes. With an expert team of veteran landscape designer and meticulous, bonded construction crews, be assured that your home’s landscaping will make a statement. No problems, no budget overruns, no surprises…just spectacular landscape designs.
  • Tim Parks Promotions/Gifts. A great resource for promotional products and decorated clothing for your business or event. Tim has provided shirts for our races since 2011. He also crafted the snazzy barnwood trophies some of you will take home.
  • Jamie Geysbeek Photography. Jamie takes amazing photos of our race as well as weddings, portraits and other events. Smile as you run by him. If you can. Jamie offers high-res photos free of charge. He can’t be everywhere at once, so we don’t try to capture everyone, but he does capture many.
  • Zanfel. The poison ivy should be minimal. But if you get the rash, Zanfel can help you get rid of it. We’ll give away a bunch of tubes in the raffle.

We only have 11 volunteers so far. This can affect safety, flow of the race and pre- and post-race activities. If you know of someone who might be interested, please let them know of our need. We have several roles and shift available. Volunteers get the hooded shirt, pizza dinner and a race credit for a future race for themselves or a family member. They can sign up here.

Bring Your Paddleboard & Save $25 Off Your Next Race

  • You will receive a $25 race credit if you allow racers to use your paddleboard during the race (sandy lake bottom so low risk of scratching). Email me if you would be willing to do this. The more boards we have, the lower the chance you’ll have to wait for one.
  • We will likely have about 40-50 paddleboards for more than 450 racers. How will that work? We have two different starting times, and up to 3 waves for each race. If the final permit allows, we will also allow you to paddleboard at one of two times during the race. All of this will help to thin you all out so that there won’t be long lines. We can also ensure that wait times are short, if any, by keeping the paddleboard a fairly short distance.
  • The Oceana County Sheriff will have a boat nearby for safety. If conditions are severe, the paddleboard section will be canceled.
  • When we have a large canoe livery near a race, we usually have a longer canoe or kayak section but there is no livery nearby and most racers seem to like trying something different in a race anyways so we hope you enjoy it! Bill & Paul’s in GR has a great section of SUPs for sale if you enjoy it and Wave Club has rental boards when you’re back at Silver Lake again.

Retrieve Flags for Credit After the Race
If you would like to earn $35/hour in race credits by picking up a section or two of flags after the race Saturday or Sunday morning, please email me.

Bike Shuttle

  • During the race, while you are trekking on foot, we will be shuttling your bikes fewer than 10 miles on mostly paved roads in a UHaul truck.
  • Bikes will be carefully loaded, packed together so they do not move around in transit, and unloaded. That said, we are not responsible for any damage done to your bike.
  • Belle’s Bikes of Hart will rent you a bike for the day and deliver it right to the starting line for you if that’s a better option for any of you. Email me if you have concerns.

Pending Entries Will Not Receive Shirt

  • About 15 of you have teammates who have not completed their registration including waiver. They will not be allowed to race on your team until this is completed. They must complete this by May 19 to receive the Michigan Awesome long sleeved hooded shirt. I have emailed all of the email addresses associated with pending entries.
  • The following teams are not complete as of Saturday: Triple C, L, Irish Duo, Roic’s Parents, Lynn, There’s a 99% Chance We’re Hungover, Chafing the Dream, Falcon’s, Shenanigoons, Pasty Mashers Remix, The Zig-Zagers, Dirty Ducks, Kammy Made Us Do It, Misfit Mams, and Quick Silver (2 teammates).

The start/finish and parking are at Grace Adventures Youth Camp, 2100 N. Ridge Rd., Silver Lake, MI 49436


  • Check-in will occur at Grace Adventures only.
  • We’ll email you your team/race number a day or two before the race. Please bring it with you.
  • You will receive your team/bib #, maps, passport and shirt at check-in. Coming a little early to check-in gets you more time with the maps, but you will not need a lot of time to plan your route for this race.
  • In the last update before the race we’ll let you know which required gear items you will need to show at check-in. It’s possible we’ll also do a gear check during the race so please have all required gear with you, unless we decide an item is not needed.


Same-day check-in; maps handed out, 7:30 am to 8:50 am
Race briefing: 8:50 am to 9:25 am
Additional planning: 9:25-9:55 am
Start:  10:00 am
Cutoff: 6:00 pm
Pizza dinner:  starts at 5:30 pm
Raffle-awards ceremony:  5:45-7:00 pm

Same-day check-in; maps handed out, 9:00 am to 10:25 am
Race briefing: 10:30 am to 11:00 am
Additional planning: 11:00-11:25 am
Start: 11:30 am (waves)
Cutoff: 4:30 pm (could be 5:00 or 5:30 pm*)
Pizza dinner:  starts at 5:30 pm
Raffle and awards ceremony:  5:45-7:00 pm


Please review the required gear if you haven’t already. We have shortened the list of required gear considerably. We have listed many tips on what to bring and wear under the Required Gear. Take a look or post a question on our closed group/community Facebook pageBill and Paul’s is offering 10% off selected adventure race gear from now until the race. See the required gear page for a list of discounted gear. Show proof of registration.

Course Design

  • Scroll down to the bottom of the Race Information page on the race site for distances and terrain info
  • You must do each section/transition area in order for this race (except the paddleboard).
  • Checkpoints can be done in any order within the trekking/orienteering sections.
  • You cannot use the mode of transportation (bike, boat, on foot) from one section to grab checkpoints that are on other sections (e.g., no using your bike to get trekking CPs)
  • 8-hour race: although most of your bike section is paved or packed gravel roads, there are a few miles of fairly rugged and sandy two tracks you’ll need to take to get 1 or 2 optional checkpoints. You can skip these CPs. We recommend 2″ MTB tires or the widest gravel/cross tire you can fit.
  • 5-hour race: the rugged two tracks in the 8-hour race are NOT on your bike section but there are a few shorter sections of sandy, uneven roads. We discourage skinny tires.

Navigation will be important

  • Using a compass with a map is a basic skill that can be learned in less than an hour. Join us for a free Navigation 101 Clinic at Seidman Park this Saturday, May 18. Large group instruction followed by small group in-field practice. RSVP on Facebook.
  • If you can’t make the clinic, you can walk through the clinic presentation yourself and then just practice using a Google maps printout – e.g., figure out how to take a bearing from your house to other nearby places marked on your map.


  • Call the number on the race instructions sheet for minor medical issues. In an emergency, call 911. Mobile phone coverage is not comprehensive. In an emergency, you may need to access the nearest road or house which generally are not far from wherever you are.
  • Obey all traffic laws. This is an open course so you may encounter vehicles and pedestrians at any point. This is a special Jeep Invasion weekend so while tourist traffic is low, Jeep traffic could be heavy in spots. Anticipate distracted, speeding vehicles. Looking at maps, racing fast, and being unfamiliar with roads is a dangerous mix. Stop if necessary to review your map or race instructions. The general flow/route of the race has been designed to avoid major roads and primary Jeep traffic areas.


  • We will race rain or shine. In the event of a thunderstorm or other severe weather, we will postpone the race until conditions improve. During the race, please seek shelter during these conditions. You will be held at transition areas until the severe weather clears. Avoid areas where you are one of the tallest objects around. Read our complete Adverse Weather Procedures here.
  • Race organizers reserve the right to cancel the event in the case of extended severe weather. We will do everything possible to get the event in but refunds are not available if it is canceled due to significant costs we must pay in advance of the race. The race clock will continue despite potential severe weather delays. You must still return within the deadline.

Rules & Policies

  • Please read through our standard race rules if you haven’t before. Most relevant rules are listed below.
  • You must stay within 100 feet of your teammate.
  • You may NOT use GPS or any satellite-based means to determine location, distance for any other use except to record data for after the race (keep your watch in your pack).
  • You may not rely on friends and family for directions, transportation or food/drink, just cheers. They may meet you at various points in the race. We will have extra maps and race instructions to help them find you. A call to let them know where you are once during the race is acceptable.
  • The Silver Lake sand dunes (pedestrian/south area) and any wooded land in the area is off limits to racers on Thursday and Friday (May 30-31) until the start of the race.
  • Missing checkpoint flag: please text us at the numbers on the race instructions, preferably after multiple teams have confirmed it is missing. If it’s missing and we can quickly replace the flag, we will do so. Teams that called it in and moved on will receive credit. If we cannot replace the flag, it will not count for anyone.


  • This area is known to contain ticks with Lyme disease, which can jack you up. Consider putting Permethrin on your clothes or at least DEET. Long socks and long pants help.
  • Please check yourself (or teammate) after the race. Google the proper way to remove embedded ticks.

After the Race

  • Please put your bikes on your vehicles as soon as you turn in your passport so teams can run to the finish without dodging bikes.
  • Even if you don’t want your race scored, you must turn in your passport after the race so that we can make sure all teams are accounted for.
  • We have to count thousands of punch marks and enter in times and CPs for a lot of teams so please be patient with results (e-punch is cost-prohibitive for large races – about $30,000). After the awards ceremony, we usually have all the results printed out and on laptop so if you are curious how you did, stop by before you head home to see if that’s the case.
  • Change into dry clothes (restrooms and locker rooms inside) and join us for Silver Lake Pizza Factory pizza and Country Dairy chocolate milk. You may bring a food item to share but there’s no obligation (note that beer is not allowed on site). We’ll pass out some great prizes to the top teams in each division. We’ll raffle off a bunch of stuff too.
  • Can’t stick around? Results will be emailed to you by Monday or can be found under the Race Recap page on the website at that time.

We’ll have our usual buffs, hats, pints and stickers for sale at check-in. Also our MI Adventure Racing tops and sweatshirt.
Sweatshirt – hooded, pockets $30
Short sleeve ($17) and long sleeve ($22) shirts
Buff headwear $10 ($18-$23 for most others)
Stainless steel pint $10 ($15 on most race sites)
Sticker (removable) $3

buffmar magnet 2 150w

Additional Updates
You’ll likely receive two more updates before the race. Updates will be posted under the Race Updates page on the website for future reference. See the Facebook page for less critical updates. Feel free to email me with questions at, for Greg

The following section is for those unfamiliar with how an adventure race works. Read it carefully. Others can review more quickly.


  • The goal is to maximize the number of checkpoints (CPs) on your passport within the time limit. A team that gets, say, 30 checkpoints with seconds to spare will finish ahead of a team that gets 29 checkpoints with one hour to spare.
  • Set an alarm on your watch for perhaps 30 minutes until the deadline and know that fatigue will cause you to take more time to get back than you realize. We haven’t finalized penalties for being late, but likely if you are 1 second to 15 minutes late, you will have one CP subtracted from your total for every 5 minutes you are late. After 15 minutes, you will be an unranked team. These are less severe penalties than any other race due to the more linear nature of the course design.
  • Unranked teams are still finishers; it’s just not fair to rank you against teams who arrived on time because they decided against getting that last CP to make sure they made the cutoff.

Race Instructions

  • Race instructions will be on an 8.5” x 11” sheet. They will list the rules and explain the flow and sections of the race, telling you which checkpoints must be obtained by bike vs. paddle vs. trek (on foot).
  • The instructions also provide a list of all the checkpoints by number (matches number on map, passport and checkpoint flag) and a brief description of the terrain on which they are located.


  • The maps will be pre-marked with all checkpoints and transition areas. Transition areas are where you switch from one discipline/activity to another.
  • The maps will be topographical (USGS format, 1982, the last time the land was surveyed). They will be 11″ × 17″.
  • Some navigators buy an off-the-shelf mapboard or make their own with a clipboard or other surface and attach it to their bike’s handlebars. The intent is to have a hands-free look at your map at all times while biking. Some memorize a ways ahead and then simply let the map/mapcase swing from their hydration pack, fastened with a carabiner.
  • Declination is about 6 degrees west (difference between true north and magnetic north) but if you don’t know what declination is, it will not make a significant difference in the accuracy of your compass for this race (checkpoints are relatively close together).
  • Maps will likely have a street layer added so that streets are mostly accurate as of 2016, not 1982. The one drawback to this is that the street layer covers the type of road. You may not be able to tell which roads are paved, gravel or two-track. Look closely next to the layer and you can often make out whether the road has dotted lines (gravel or two-track). Roads with lots of curves are almost always gravel/dirt. Straight roads are often paved or more maintained gravel.
  • Maps are not waterproofed. Waterproof your map with a map case, double zip lock bags, packing tape and/or contact paper (make notes on the map before you seal them!).


  • Find each control marker/checkpoint flag within a section using the map and race instructions. The map will have circles to show the location of each checkpoint. Each circle will have a number next to it.
  • When you arrive at the flag, you’ll find a punch with a unique barb pattern hanging from it. The punch on the flag will have the CP number on it. Verify that the number is the CP you were looking for.


  • The passport is a 5.5” x 8.5” inch waterproof sheet with boxes for each CP or transition area (TA). You’ll use the uniquely barbed punch hanging from the CP flags (aka control markers) to puncture the appropriate box to prove that you found the checkpoint.
  • If you accidentally punch the wrong box, then when you get to the CP for that box, punch it in the open box where your previous punch should have gone (just switch the two). Don’t punch twice in the same box and don’t punch off to the side. Punch with the barbs on top and make sure the barbs go all the way through.
  • It’s critical that you do not lose or destroy your passport. Some teams bring a hole punch, punch a hole in a corner of the passport, reinforce with tape, and tie a decent length loop of string so they can carabiner it to their hydration pack.
  • If you lose your passport and do not recover it by end of race any CPs you had found to that point do not count. You may run back to race HQ to see if we have any more passports but you would need to start from scratch. We cannot accept race instructions or maps with punch marks on them.
  • Do NOT waterproof your passport. Our scoring markers do not write well on packing tape or contact paper. Your passport is already waterproof!

Checkpoint Flag (control marker)

    • Each CP is marked with an orange and white box flag with the punch attached to it, usually hanging from a tree branch.
    • 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 in which case we will try to tell you this in advance). They are usually on some defined terrain such as a hilltop, depression (low spot), reentrant (gully), spur (land jutting out from a ridge), or saddle (lower spot between two hills). Because flags are difficult to see on the sides of spurs and ridges where foliage is thicker and you don’t know how far up or down to look, I often put them on the hilltop. Easier to find (in time and where to look). Harder to find (gravity sucks).
    • We recommend looking at how these terrain types look on a topographic map by reviewing our clinic presentation or another online source. Some points will require use of your compass, topographical map and an understanding of how to read that map. Others you should be able to find by knowing where you are on a road or trail or along an obvious feature such as a lake. Others you’ll combine methods. (“we just reached that bend in the trail – our attack point – now let’s take a bearing on our compass to find the off-trail checkpoint”).
  • Blog

  • Sponsors:

  • Sign up for MiAR e-news:

    * = required field
  • Connect:

    facebook link icon

  • Brought to you by:

    Mi Adventure Racing logo