Race Update #1
Thanks for joining us for the tenth annual Michigan Adventure Race: Winter Edition presented by Honey Creek Inn! About 275 of you have signed up so far which makes this race the largest winter adventure race in the U.S. every year since 2012. Thanks! We’re so fortunate to have so many badassers in this area, state and region. And we’re so excited that we can race again. Adventure racing is the ultimate physically distanced sport!
This race update should cover everything you need to know for the race all in one note, thus its prodigious length. Things are different this year due to COVID so please read these details carefully.
- Click on your division and then sort by team. The official team list will be emailed to you on Friday.
- Is your team incomplete (pending entry for one of your teammates)? If you are the team captain, make sure your teammate(s) have completed their part of the registration process. They received an email when you signed up if you their email address(es) and another email again yesterday. They must complete their part by Thursday at midnight for the final team list.
- Is your team information inaccurate (e.g., team name is a single letter due to an auto fill error)? Please go into BikeReg and add your team name or correct any inaccurate info. Contact me if you added a teammate but they have not been merged into your team or if there are other issues beyond simple text edits.
We want to thank our generous sponsors for supporting this race.
- Honey Creek Inn (along with Grist Mill and Cannonsburg Bottle Shop). Our Presenting Sponsor. Thanks for the tasty chili, noodles, fruit and hot drinks! The Village of Cannonsburg is just six minutes south of Camp Roger. Stop in before or after the race.
- Gazelle Sports. Providing lots of gift certificates as usual. Great shoe fitting expertise and all the gear you need for winter running/fitness. Worried about keeping your feet warm? Grab a pair of SmartWool socks from Gazelle.
- Salomon. A long-time supporter of adventure racing. Thanks for shoe gift certificates for some of the top finishers, provided through Bill & Paul’s Sporthaus.
- Metro Health Sports Medicine. Providing sports medicine and medical first responder services at the race. Stop by their area if you have a need or a question.
- Bill & Paul’s Sporthaus. Great gear and expertise. Gift cards for top and raffle prizes. Get 10% any adventure racing gear in their store with proof of registration. See the Required Gear page for eligible items.
- Tubbs Snowshoes. Snow or no snow, we’re grateful that Tubbs has a big batch of snowshoes for us to use during the race whenever we need them. Shop for them at Bill and Paul’s after the race.
- Tim Parks LC. 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 provided the cool barnwood trophies.
- Icespike. Race with Icespikes when traction is a challenge. More durable and effective than other traction options. Available at Gazelle Sports and online (and in the raffle).
- Zanfel. A safe and effective topical solution for poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. You might not need it for this race, but you may later this year!
- 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.
- Kaleidoscope Laser not a sponsor, but they gave us a good deal on wood medals so we can give out awards to all team members.
A big thanks to all our volunteers. Please thank them out on the course if you think about it. Volunteers include a team from our charity partner, Camp Roger.
Money raised during our charity challenge (pay $5 and get some help for one of the challenges) and a portion of the profits will go to a scholarship fund for kids to attend summer camp at Camp Roger who would not normally be able to afford to.
The race is at Camp Roger in Rockford (off Belding Road), but due to the small lot at the camp, parking is limited to volunteers and spectators in need of assistance. If spectators arrive after the race starts and do not see a shuttle bus at the shuttle lot after waiting a few minutes, they may drive to Camp Roger and inquire about the bus status or see if there are any spots left in the guest lot.
Please park in Lakes Elementary School lot (or Bostwick Lake Congregational Church’s lot across the street if the school lot is full) on Young Ave. at Belding Road. Shuttle buses will only stop at Lakes Elementary front door (X marks the spot) because they don’t have to back up there, so hop across the street if you parked in the church lot. We will use two shuttle buses so you won’t have to wait long. If you feel more comfortable walking, it’s a one-mile walk. Be careful on Belding Road. Here are directions (on-foot traffic only).
- Where to check in. Head up the hill from where the shuttle drops you off to Ridge Hall with the bell tower.
- Where to leave your gear. Bring a bag of dry clothes and gear with you. Pick a table in the Ridge Hall or Lodge next door or a bunk bed in one of the two cabins south of these buildings, just across the road (the same ones we used in past years for changing clothes)
- Where to change clothes. Rather than having men’s and women’s changing cabins, please use the bathrooms in Ridge Hall, the Lodge, our any of the five cabins in the area for changing clothes before or after the race. Review this camp map for locations of the cabins and halls. Sorry for the poor resolution (and ignore the fatbike reference). FYI: You MAY bring this camp map with you during the race along with the topographic race map.
- Where to park if you have a volunteer in your car. You may park at Camp Roger and use the volunteer parking lot shown on the map. Click or in Google Maps type 8356 Belding Road Northeast, Rockford, MI. Continue east to Pottawatomie Trail, next to the Bostwick Bakery.
- What to do with your pet. Please leave it at home. A few of you asked but Camp Roger (except service dogs) and Pickerel Lake don’t allow dogs, pack mules, yetis or other pets on property. Sorry about that!
During the race, we may check for at least one piece of required gear. We will subtract a checkpoint if it is missing.
- Emergency/mylar blanket. One for each teammate. They cost under $5. Just a heads up that stores in the area often stock these in low quantities and run out right before one of our races.
- Pencil/pen. Test to make sure pen can write in cold weather (because many of you waterproof your race instructions sheet and it becomes difficult to write on).
- Scratch paper so you can write down answers to one or two challenges, especially if you seal your race instructions.
- Compass. Baseplate or sighting type. One per team.
- Mobile phone. One per team. Not allowed for navigation. Powered up and turned off (photos okay).
- Water/fluids – we are not setting a minimum amount. Okay to have one person carry, but having your own is advised.
- *$5 cash for the charity challenge (only required if you want help with a challenge)
- Zip-lock bag, map case, page protector or contact paper to seal your map and race instructions and keep them dry. They will be double-sided on a single 8.5×11 sheet so a pre-cut sheet of contact paper slightly larger than 11×17 will work.
- Basic first aid items for cuts, etc.
- Layers of clothing, one layer less than you feel comfortable in, especially if you will be running some of the time (you will warm up quickly unless we have heavy winds or precipitation). If you have gear that vents to reduce sweating and wet clothes, that’s ideal.
- Hydration. Extra weight, but you will not perform well without sufficient fluids. We will not have water out on the course but you can get water or Gatorade at the lodge during the race. Heads up that hydration bladders may freeze during the race. Tips to keep water from freezing: Buy an insulating sleeve, remember to blow water back into tube to keep it from freezing, start with hot water, keep tube tucked inside jacket or just use water bottles instead.
- What shoes to wear and more tips under the Required Gear page.
- You may access your gear bag during the race, but be aware most of the race course is not near the cabins.
Orienteering Terms & Tips
Make sure you know how to identify a depression, reentrant, hilltop, knoll, spur, and ridge on the map by the shape of their contour lines as most of the checkpoint (CP) flags are located on or near these types of features You can look up these terms and how they look on a map on our clinic presentation or search online. Note that I’ve attempted to run/hike and import every trail in the area onto your race map (a few may be missing but all the main ones should be there). Even if snow covered, you will be able to move faster on these trails. Find trail junctions and other map features that allow you to plot a bearing with your compass closer (“attack points”) to checkpoints that are off trail. From these CPs, either plot a bearing and/or follow obvious topography to other off-trail CPs or return to the trail.
You will likely need to cover 4-6 miles on foot to get every checkpoint. The goal is to maximize checkpoints within the three-hour time limit (penalties for every minute you are late up to 10 minutes at which point teams will be unranked). You are NOT required to get all the checkpoints to be considered a finisher. Find at least one checkpoint and return within 3 hours and you are a finisher, but let’s hope you find more than one! Each checkpoint has a unique punch that you will apply to a waterproof “passport” card we will give you at check-in.
Try to balance the science of a good compass bearing with the art of using terrain and trails to get you where you need to go and you’ll find many – if not all – the checkpoints and challenges/skills within the three-hour deadline. Read the clinic presentation to learn how to use a compass if you don’t know how. It’s not difficult. Definitely try to follow the dotted line of the trails to get you closer to the checkpoints before hopping off trail (aka “attacking” them). It’s tricky to determine which teams are expert navigators and whether they are going where you plan to go, so try to trust your own bearing rather than blindly following the (maybe) blind.
All bodies of water are off limits for safety. Do NOT attempt to cross any ice or any open area that may be a swamp or lake. If you do try to cross, you’ll likely end up wet (or worse) as the ice is weak in all the marshy areas especially. Your life is worth more than saving a minute crossing a body of water.
Challenges will be similar to what you may have seen on the Amazing Race or Survivor, requiring some mental, physical or combination of skills, but definitely a lot less elaborate or painful than those on TV! Very rarely are teams completely stumped, although you may have to try something multiple times before you solve the challenge. They are not too cerebral, not too corny. You won’t be eating food, you won’t be solving trigonometry problems, you won’t be dancing in tutus. Most racers find them to be fair and able to be completed in under 10 minutes. At one challenge, paying $5 to our charity – a scholarship fund for kids camp at Camp Roger – will help you complete the challenge faster.
- All challenges are optional. Teams get one checkpoint for arriving at the challenge (look for and punch the flag at the start of the challenge) and a second point/punch if they do the challenge successfully as verified by a volunteer (who will punch your passport).
- I have designed most challenges to be at least somewhat physical in nature to keep you moving and warm.
- Solo teams: One or more challenges will likely not work for solos. You will have to complete a variation of the challenge. Let the volunteer know you need the solo instructions if not listed on your Race Instructions.
- 3-person teams: Teams of three may need to pick one person to do one task and the other two people help with the other task (or one of the three may need to sit out and tell the other two what they are doing wrong. Hah!). Let the volunteer know you need 3-person instructions if they are not listed on your Race Instructions.
- 4-person teams: If a challenge requires two people, 4-person teams must split up into 2 teams of 2 for the challenge and both sets must complete it before moving on.
Maps, team #, final info: Email to all racers Friday afternoon
Early check-in*: Camp Roger (Ridge Lodge), Friday, March 5, 4:00-6:00 pm.
Shuttle begins: Lakes Elementary, Saturday, 7:00 am
Same-day check-in + map if needed: Camp Roger, 7:30 am to 8:40 am
Shirt swap/trade: 8:40 am
Pre-race meeting: this email is your pre-race meeting – final announcements 5 minutes before each wave
Race start: men 9:30 am, women 9:37, co-ed 9:44
Race cutoff: men 12:30 pm, women 12:37, co-ed 12:44
Lunch: 11:45-1:30 pm (approx), outside
Award ceremony: will distribute awards in the days after race
*The Camp Roger area and any wooded land within five miles is off limits to racers Thursday and Friday. For Michigan Adventure Race and standard adventure racing rules, please consult the website.
- Please wear a mask at all times while indoors and when physical distancing is not possible outdoors.
- Early check-in is not critical but helps us make race day check in go faster. We’ll give away some random raffle prizes such as IceSpike traction cleats and Michigan Adventure Race gear on Friday to encourage early check-in.
- We’ll look you up by your team number provided by email Friday. You MAY pick up teammate race numbers and shirts. Just make sure you coordinate with them. Everyone signed the waiver online.
- Receive your passport (w/ your team number on it), one map per team (and by email Friday; you may bring copies with you during the race) and race instructions (back side of map) at early or same day check-in.
- You may NOT go out and look for checkpoints or challenges on Friday or anytime before the start of the race! Stay near the Ridge Lodge and cabins. Volunteers will be in the area and will record race numbers of those in violation.
- Unlike previous years, we won’t have clothes changing cabins. Instead, you can use any bathroom inside the Ridge Hall, Lodge next door, previous clothes changing cabins south of the lodge or the three reddish cabins to the west and up the hill. All of those locations can be used (masks on) for planning your route if you didn’t do this Friday. Please adhere to the following capacity limits in each space:
- Ridge Hall and Lodge: one team per table
- Cabins: 10 people per each side of cabin
- At 8:40 am, once everyone has a chance to get the shirt size they ordered, you may switch shirt sizes if yours doesn’t fit. Late entrants who received a pint or buff but wanted a shirt may trade for the shirt at this time as well.
- Metro Health Sports Medicine will be at the event. If you aren’t feeling well at any point (especially with breathing, chest area) or have a question, don’t hesitate to ask them.
- Normal waves/staggered starts based on gender since there is plenty of space to spread out. Stay within the area designated by the Michigan Adventure Racing banners up on the main plateau area. Please keep your mask on at the start. You may remove it once the race starts and you have spread out from others. Pop it back on at challenges if you will be within 6 feet of volunteers.
- Teams that wish to pair up with other teams not in their division should complete a nearby challenge or checkpoint(s) and meet their other team to begin racing together when their wave starts. The team starting in the later wave can then do the challenge or checkpoint(s) that the other team started with at the end. Sorry, we cannot make changes to the wave start time. It’s just too difficult to make exceptions with everything going on.
- We have chosen challenges that also allow you to spread out. No challenge inside the treehouse this year.
- We now know that transmission of COVID is extremely unlikely via contact points so we will return to punches hanging from the flags that you’ll use on your passport to indicate you found the checkpoint.
- Please still bring a pen or sharpie for writing down answers to challenges. We will also bring back Gatorade and water for those who wish to fill up on fluids. Feel free to bring your own of course.
- Change into dry clothes and join us for Honey Creek Inn chili (veggie and meat varieties + Cincinnati chili with noodles and toppings) as soon as the race ends. You’ll be served at the Ridge Hall kitchen and please eat it outside due to indoor capacity limits and to err on the side of caution. Not ideal, but we are elated that we can hold the race and hope you are too!
- Please start with one bowl of chili until the line is gone and everyone has received their first serving. If you didn’t get enough, let us know.
- You may want to bring your own drinking cup with a sealed lid to manage food and drink outside.
- Because of capacity limits and inability to physically distance inside, we won’t have a large group award ceremony or raffle. It’s possible top finishing teams will be known before you leave camp so feel free to stop by the scoring table (look for Greg at the laptop) and pick up your prize if it’s ready.
- If you weren’t able to pick up your prize, please contact me after the race to arrange to have it mailed to you or picked up at Gazelle Sports Grand Rapids, Holland or Kalamazoo or at Bill & Paul’s in GR/Cascade if it’s from them or Salomon.
- Final results will be emailed to you a day or two after the race. It takes quite a while to count up the thousands of punches on the passports.
Available at check-in and after the race (if you purchased during registration, remind us – should be on the team list also).
Sweatshirt – hooded, pockets, trimmer than normal fit $30
Short sleeve ($20) and long sleeve ($25) shirts
Buff headwear $10
Stainless steel pint $10
Sticker $3 (or $1 if you put it on your car)
Likely just one more update to come before the race, on Friday with your race/team number, map and instructions. Updates will be posted under the Race Updates page on the website for future reference. Please review the Race Information and Required Gear pages if you have any questions. If you can’t find your answer there, ask our adventure racing community (group Facebook page) for advice from other racers or email me for race information.
You endured through the race update so enduring through the race will be no problem! Hah! Looking forward to seeing you all. So great that we can race again!
Mark (and Lin) and Greg