Race Information

August 3, 2019
Traverse City, MI
7 or 18 Hours


Experience the amazing northern Michigan forests and lakes of the Traverse City area by canoe, bike and on foot, navigating by map and compass. Choose from the not too difficult 7-hour (some teams will finish in 6 hours) beginner/intermediate race or the more challenging 18-hour race, starting Friday evening, racing overnight and through much of Saturday (reflective flags help during the night). Racers in both events will celebrate the adventure with a hearty post-race meal and award/raffle ceremony.

This is not an urban race through downtown Traverse City. It will instead feature incredible mountain bike trails, lakes and rolling land for trekking and orienteering in and near the Traverse City State Forest to the southeast. Explore the fun Traverse City area and scenic Sleeping Bear Dunes before or after the race!

Estimated Miles
Trek/On-Foot: 6-8 miles
Bike: 16-18 miles
Paddle: 2.5-3 miles
Most teams do not run or bike at a fast pace. Just be steady and navigate carefully. Most, if not all, checkpoints are optional so you’ll be able to get back to the finish in time. You can do this! We WILL have a paddle section. Canoes will be available at no charge (no RSVP needed) but please bring your own canoe or kayak if you have one to ensure you won’t have to wait for a boat (a wait is unlikely, but not guaranteed for those using the free canoes).

Trek/On-Foot: 15-18 miles
Bike: 55-60 miles
Paddle: 8-9 miles (2 sections)
For the 18-hour race, teams will do transition areas in the same order but most/all CPs in any order. Night navigation will have more reference points than last year and reflective flags.

Plan on biking on two-tracks, gravel roads, beginner and intermediate singletrack, and paved roads. The singletrack biking will be a highlight – fast and fun. Trekking will be on mostly rolling terrain. Most checkpoints (CP) will be on defined terrain such as hilltops, gullies/reentrants, etc. but some will be more subtle in the 18-hour race to test experienced racers. You will not need to cross treacherous or extremely swampy terrain to reach checkpoints, especially in the 7-hour race. Paddling (18-hour) will be on flat water. Unlike a river paddle, this section will test your navigation skills as there will be checkpoints tucked away on islands, lagoons, etc and you’ll need to keep track of where you are.

Solo Females*
Solo Males*
(solos should bring own kayak if possible or contact race director if you can’t)

2-person Females
2-person Males
2-person Co-eds

3-4 person Females
3-4 person Males
3-4 person Co-eds

Divisions with few teams may be merged into an “Open” category.
* Tracking device required for solo 18-hour racers.


Same-day check-in; maps handed out, Friday, Aug. 2, 5:00-6:45 pm
Race briefing: 6:45-7:30 pm
Additional planning, gear prep: 7:30-7:55 pm
Start:  Friday, Aug. 2, 8:00 pm
Cutoff: Saturday, Aug. 3, 2:00 pm
Dinner/Meal:  starts at 2:30 pm
Raffle and awards ceremony: 2:30-3:30 pm

Saturday check-in; maps handed out, Saturday, Aug. 3, 7:30 am to 8:50 am
Race briefing: 8:50 am to 9:25 am
Additional planning: 9:25-9:55 am
Start: Sat., Aug. 3, 10:00 am
Cutoff: 5:00 pm
Dinner:  starts at 5:00 pm
Raffle and awards ceremony: 5:30-6:30 pm

The start/finish is at 4754 Scout Camp Rd, Traverse City, MI 49696

Orienteering Practice/Clinic



  • See the Required Gear page for details on what you need to bring or carry.
  • Road bikes not allowed due to moderately rugged terrain in spots. Beginner and intermediate biking.
  • We highly recommend mountain bike tires (2″ or more) or 40c+ gravel/cross tires.
  • Required gear has been reduced to primarily safety items to keep your costs down. See the Recommended list below Required items for additional items you may want.


  • Reserve a bed in the bunkhouse/hostel, 4-person cabin or tent site at Greilick on Friday and/or Saturday night (18-hour racers will be racing Friday night) on the Greilick reservation site. Questions? Contact Nick at nkillian@greilick.org.
  • This is also a great opportunity to tie the race to one or several nights of camping and adventure in the Traverse City and/or the magical Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.


  • We would encourage you to invite friends and family to camp and then watch the race.
  • We will offer race maps to spectators so they can try to follow you. Even better, have friends and family volunteer!

Merchandise (pick up at check-in)

  • Buff headwear $10 ($18-$23 for most others)
  • Stainless steel pint $10 ($15 on most race sites)
  • Short sleeve ($17) and long sleeve ($22) shirts
  • Sticker (removable) $3

buffpint 200hshirt 275Pink Raspberrymar magnet 2 150w

Check-in, Pre-Race Briefing, Race Components

  • 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, answer any questions, explain the passport and hand out an instruction sheet and maps.
  • 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!
  • Flag (control) and Punch. You are looking for orange and white 3-sided orienteering flags (technically called the control marker). You must punch the correct box in the passport so we can verify you were indeed there. A card with a number will be attached to the flag. Check it to confirm you got the right one.
  • Race instructions/clues. Lists key rules, describes the course and the activities, and provides hints about where checkpoints are located.
  • Maps. The map(s) will almost always be topographical but may be aerial if accurate topo information is not available. Most, if not all, checkpoints will be shown. You can waterproof your map with packing tape or contact paper if desired (find at Meijer-type stores). Either way, we recommend keeping it in a waterproof map case or zip lock baggie at least.
  • Goal. The goal is to maximize the number of checkpoints on your passport within the time limit. A team that gets 25 checkpoints with one minute to spare will finish ahead of a team that gets 24 checkpoints with one hour to spare.


  • Transition Areas. Transition areas are locations where you switch between one discipline and another (trek/orienteer, bike, paddle). TA flags are almost always mandatory (and for the 18-hour race, in order so that teams are generally going in the same direction and volunteers can close out TAs and leap frog to others later in the race). They are almost always manned by a volunteer and will often have water/Gatorade or may have your team gear bin in the case of the 18-hour race. Always carry cash in case you need fluids or food at a store you pass by. It’s your responsible to punch the TA flag, often when arriving and departing so we can capture your split time and track teams. Teams often switch shoes and other gear at TAs.
  • Orienteering. In most cases, checkpoints will be optional and can be found in any order within an orienteering section. We will note which checkpoints are “advanced.” Teams that are not going at a fast pace should consider skipping these as they require going a significant distance or over dodgy terrain to obtain. They are meant to challenge the elite teams trying to obtain all CPs. Map reading will be critical. You should also know how to use a compass. Checkpoints may be out of view (especially to deter theft if they are in public places) but are not intended to be difficult to spot if you are in the right place.
  • Biking. Bike sections will be a mix of gravel, paved, two-track and singletrack sections (beginner to intermediate; no highly technical/ dangerous terrain). No road bikes allowed. Checkpoints are usually along side the route but may require racers to leave their bikes and trek or bushwhack with their bikes off-trail. Racers often wear clip-in bike shoes and then switch to running shoes for longer orienteer/trekking sections within the bike section (which is often the majority of the race). Sometimes CPs are not indicated on a singletrack trail on the map so that teams can’t bushwhack or ride backwards to get them. Sometimes it’s allowed. Safety often dictates which way we do this.
  • Paddling. Paddling will likely be for the 18-hour race only due to a scarcity of rental canoes in the area. It will be on a lake for the Traverse City race, requiring navigation to efficiently find CPs along the shore, hidden on island, tucked away in hidden lagoons. More fun than on a river actually! Our races try to keep paddling hours at a fairly low ratio compared to biking and trekking because it’s harder to train for and often less navigation-based and/or appealing to the average racer.

Join us after the race for the post-race meal and awards/raffle. Please no alcohol; it is not allowed on camp property. Can friends and family pay to eat the post-race food? For the 7-hour race, we’ll have to see how many racers sign up, due to fire code limitations. Friends and family will be allowed for the 18-hour race (contact me for payment). We’ll pass out some great prizes to the top teams in each division. We’ll raffle off a bunch of stuff too.

Charity Partner
Thanks to the Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association for helping us recruit volunteers and consulting on the singletrack biking trails. We’ll donate some $ to their trail building/maintenance efforts. If you live up that way, consider joining the NMMBA.

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,use the Contact form to reach Mark VanTongeren, race director.