Grand Rapids Urban Adventure Race: Summer Edition
September 29, 2012
Start/finish: Ah-Nab-Awen Park, downtown Grand Rapids
Early check-in, Bill & Pauls Sporthaus, 1200 East Paris Ave: Friday from 4-8 pm
Same-day check-in and bike drop, Ah-Nab-Awen Park: Saturday from 6:30-7:20 am
Race briefing: 7:30 to 8:00 am
Plan your route, final prep: 8:00 to 8:25 am
Race start (all teams unless waves are added to reduce long lines at first challenge): 8:30 am (NOTICE CHANGE FROM 8:00 AM)
Race cutoff: 12:30 pm
Lunch: pizza is on us! Fruit, cookies too.
Award ceremony and raffle: 1:15ish pm
BEFORE THE RACE
We would encourage you to invite friends and family to watch the race. We will offer race maps to spectators so they can check out some of the fun challenges.
We will race rain or shine. In the event of a thunderstorm, tornado, or freak lake-effect blizzard BEFORE the start, we will postpone the race until conditions improve. During the race, please seek shelter during these conditions. The clock will not stop during a storm so you’ll need to get back if the storm is over and the four hours is about up. No prize is worth risking your life so please don’t risk it.
The closest parking (map) is at the Scribner Lot under US-131 or the Dash West Area 7 Lot just west of US-131. Both are between Bridge and Pearl. Try Scribner first as it’s right across the street from the bike corral. Both are free and just a minute or two from the park, which is between the Gerald R. Ford Museum and the Grand River.
Race day check-in
Bring your bike to the corral located at the north end of Ah-Nab-Awen Park. Check-in will be just a few yards south of the corral. View the layout here. Get your shirt, passport, and “bib” number if you didn’t make it to Friday packet pick-up. Attach your number on your backpack or wherever most visible. Make sure you keep your passport on you from now until the minute you hand it in! Also, put your names and mobile phone numbers on it in case you drop it so someone can call you and leave it for you to pick up.
Please bring a campchair if you need seating. Otherwise it’s the grass.
We’ll go over rules, answer any questions, explain the passport and hand out an instruction sheet and maps. Bring your passport with you. The passport is the waterproof piece of paper you’ll punch at each checkpoint to prove you found it. 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. At most challenges, you will punch the passport upon arrival and a volunteer will hand you the second punch if you complete the challenge successfully. Punch the letter box next to the number box you just punched.
The race instructions/clues will list the rules, describe the course and the challenge activities, and provide hints about where checkpoints are located.
The maps may be a mix of street, topographical, and/or aerial format. Most, if not all, checkpoints will be shown on them. It’s critical that you do not lose or destroy your passport, maps or instructions! You can waterproof your maps with packing tape or contact paper if desired (find at Meijer-type stores). We also recommend adding a hole punch to the corner of your passport and securing it to your pack with rope or heavy string. Reinforce the area around the hole so it doesn’t break off.
DURING THE RACE
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.
The race will have a run section and a bike section. We will not have a canoe section this time – way too much art to see on dry land. Each section will be “breakout” style. Within each section, you can get any checkpoint in any order and all are optional. You may not get run checkpoints using your bike or bike checkpoints while on foot (obviously). For those of you using clip-in pedals with bike shoes, note that there will be some on-foot searches/orienteering within the bike section but likely less than two or three miles total.
With the breakout format, teams will head out in dozens of directions. Ideally, this will greatly minimize lines. You may access your car to change gear in between the run and bike legs of the race. If you have time left, you may return to the first section you were on to gather any missing checkpoints. If you finish with the bike, you must return your bike to the corral before running to the finish. We do not have room to handle 200+ bikes piling up at the finish line. The corral will likely be directly on the way back from the bike leg and approximately 200-400 meters from the finish.
We HIGHLY RECOMMEND leaving 10 minutes of buffer time in your return to the finish. Plan your return for 12:20 am, not 12:29! We GUARANTEE that you are much more likely to underestimate the amount of time it takes to get back from wherever you are. It’s human nature. We are all greedy to get that last point.
You will NOT be eligible for prizes or part of the standings if you are later than 12:30:00 noon. You still finished the race but there’s no equitable way for us to sort you into the other teams.
Restrooms and water/Gatorade are available at the start/transition/finish. They MAY be available on each section. However you should plan your hydration refueling as if they are NOT available. We had coolers stolen the night before the Summer Edition so we don’t want to guarantee aid stations out on the course. We will communicate about this closer to the race.
Checkpoints may be out of view, tucked behind trees or a hill, but generally are not difficult to find. They will usually be located at eye level. Check your map to see where the point is located and consult your instruction sheet for the clue which will help you determine its more exact location.
Each checkpoint will have an orange and white (some also have a blue stripe) flag with a punch attached to it. Look for the checkpoint number attached to the flag/punch to confirm which checkpoint you are at and punch the corresponding box on your passport.
The goal is to maximize the number of checkpoints on your passport within the time limit. A team that gets 40 checkpoints in 3 hours and 59 minutes will finish ahead of a team that gets 39 checkpoints in 3 hours. That’s adventure racing. Strategy comes into play more so than any other timed race.
In an emergency, call 911.
Distances shown below are to CLEAR the course – to get every checkpoint. Most racers will not get all of this mileage in before time runs out.
You will be running and orienteering for 5-8 miles, both paved trail, downtown sidewalks and some light bushwhacking. Much of the running is broken up with checkpoints and challenges. A compass is required but teams skilled in reading maps will be rewarded with faster times. Most and possibly all checkpoints can be done without a compass but it may help for advanced points or if you get turned out.
Biking will be on a variety of surfaces included bike trail, singletrack, and roads. The distance likely will be 17-20 miles.
Amazing Race-type challenges
Mum is the word on these, but you’ll have several unique and fun challenges to overcome, some tied to ArtPrize and art. We will try to avoid making you sing or dance. We don’t want to hear or see that either.
AFTER THE RACE Gulp down some pizza, fruit and cookies. We’ll furiously count up the checkpoints so bring a chair and stick around for the post-race awards. We’ll pass out some great prizes to the top teams. We’ll raffle off a bunch of stuff too.
Our charity partner for this race is Hunt for the Cure, which assists with the funding to cure or control cystic fibrosis and to improve the quality of life of those with the disease.
Mini-poster (5MB, PDF) for promoting the race, if you desire. Thanks!
Questions? www.facebook.com/grUrbanAdventureRace 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.