Race Updates

September 25 Race Update

While hundreds of thousands experience basically the same obstacle and mud races from city to city across the U.S. this year, no one will experience anything quite like the ArtPrize Edition of the Grand Rapids Urban Adventure Race. Except you!

Looking back at our five urban adventure races since last July, we don’t believe there’s a group of racers anywhere that can strike a better balance between having a fun time and helping others with racing your butts off on very challenging courses. We expect nothing different on Saturday.

This update highlights some important and/or new information as you prepare for the race. Please read through it as well as the entire Race Information page for additional details if you have not recently. We do not plan to send a second update.

“Yo. What up racers? I’ll be bitter if you don’t visit me by the end.”

We welcome a great group of sponsors: The North Face, Gazelle Sports, West Michigan Bike & Fitness, Central District Cyclery, Bill & Paul’s Sporthaus, 8thDay Gym, Health Motion Physical Therapy Services, Grand Rapids Boot Camp and Fitness, Body by Vi, Downtown Alliance, Founders Brewery, and Zanfel. Thank you all. Some sponsors will provide offers after the race. Pre-race offers are:

We also want to acknowledge some awesome ArtPrize curators and venues. Almost every one of them agreed to open just for us at 8:30 am instead of noon Saturday. I think that says a lot about our community, ArtPrize and how the race is viewed as part of the ArtPrize experience. We really wanted to share those venues with you but we are honoring their wishes to remain anonymous for now…

Early check-in: Bill & Paul’s Sporthaus, 1200 E. Paris, between Burton and Cascade. 4-8 pm. It saves you a little time and stress if there are lines in the morning. Free Red Bull and 10% off  hydration, compass, headlamp, and barefoot footwear products. If you live far from Bill and Paul’s, no worries. Check-in shouldn’t take long in the morning.

Find your team number on the sheets we’ll provide to help us be efficient with check-in. Please feel free to pick up shirts and bibs for your friends. Bring a bag with you to carry everything. You do not need to bring an order confirmation/ticket from EventBrite.

Same-day check-in and bike drop, north side of 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: 8:30 am (NOTICE CHANGE FROM 8:00 AM back in August)
Race cutoff: 12:30 pm
Lunch: 12:00-1:15 pm
Award ceremony and raffle: 1:00 or 1:15 pm is the target

Parking, Bike Corral. Here’s the “race central” map.  The Scribner Lot under US-131 is the perfect place to park – the bike corral is right across the street. Note that Scribner is one way (south to north). Get in the LEFT/west lane to access the lot. Please do not try to park in the bike corral lot on the east side of Scribner. That parking is for volunteers and sponsors only. See the Race Info page for details.

Restrooms. Portajohns are located at the bike corral. Because the park has restrooms about 150 yards south of us, we ordered two fewer portajohns than normal. Consider doing your warm-up jog down to the restrooms if there are lines.

You can access your car when you transition from one section to the other or anytime during race. You may also leave running/biking gear at the corral. We will watch the corral throughout the race.

Review the Required Gear list one more time. You may be penalized for missing items. Some key items are:

  • You NO longer have to bring eye protection. I bought enough for everyone to share during a challenge; that will eliminate confusion over what is acceptable. You can still bring your own if you wish and wrap-around bike lenses are fine. Don’t worry, you won’t be using a soldering torch or anything crazy.
  • Pants and a water-resistant jacket: Please throw in the car. We’ll only have you pack if we get an unexpected cold rain. We hate unnecessarily heavy packs too.
  • Hydration: Each person needs 40+ oz. on the bike and on foot. Two aid stations on the course plus at the park. Bring cash or a credit card as a backup.
  • $5 for a charity challenge to support Hunt for a Cure, an organization that raises funds for the fight against cystic fibrosis. I’m sure they’d love it if you would donate the $5 even if you don’t need it to conquer the challenge, as many of you do each time.
  • The passport is on waterproof paper. If you tend to lose things: 1. Reinforce the corner with duct tape, make a hole fairly deep into passport corner with a paper punch, loop a thin, strong rope and tie to hydration pack. 2. Include your cell phone number on the passport.

After Friday at 6 pm, we ask that you do not visit any ArtPrize venues.

During race
The bike section can be completed in about 17 miles. The singletrack mountain biking is not long but it’s steep and rugged and not appropriate for road bikes or inexperienced mountain bikers. You MAY run this section, but only if you follow the entire singletrack course, run in the same direction as bikers, and stay to the far side of the trail. Do not run against bike traffic and do not take short-cuts.

Biking in traffic while looking at a map is a high-risk activity. Please come with a frame of mind that safety is more important than shaving a minute or two off by racing at a reckless speed and ignoring traffic lights and laws. Usually you’ll fly right by a flag anyway so it will just have the opposite effect. If your teammate didn’t show you the waiver, he or she signed it for you so holler if you need a copy. Watch for pedestrians.

Should you bring a bike lock? Your call. There will be a few occasions on the bike where you and your teammate will need to go inside an ArtPrize venue for a few minutes. Make sure your bike is pulled well off the trail/road and away from parking spaces.

The on-foot section is 5-6 miles. Last year, many people chose to do the on-foot section before ArtPrize opens, but keep in mind that lines will be longer at the on-foot challenges as a result. Ideally, we’ll have about half of you choosing each section to start with.

The maps fit onto a single sheet of 11×17, front and back, in case that helps you select a map case if you own multiple sizes (I have a map case fetish). Due to vandalism, we do not have an orienteering section so no topo maps (snfff, snfff). Some CPs will require bushwhacking but the maps won’t help you with terrain. You will need to use other features on the map and good eyesight to pinpoint the flag.

I did not see any poison ivy on the course.

We’ll have Peppino’s pizza (mix of veggie and meat toppings) and fruit. Pizza is five times less expensive than a sandwich lunch so those who don’t want pizza can bring their lunch in a cooler. Please bring a water bottle for Gatorade or water to reduce waste. You can bring your own beverage if you desire.

There are many things for family and friends to do around the start/finish while they wait for you! At 8:00, they can take a map and clue sheet and follow you around, as long as they don’t help! We won’t have pizza for them, but they can bring lunch and eat with you. We have a photographer, but we always love to get more photos. If your friend is a photographer, we’ll give you (and them) a discount on a future race if they provide photos that we use in the future. Email mark@miadventureracing.com before the race.

Looks like we will finally race at a “normal” temperature (50s and 60s) after experience temps under zero or over 90 for all of our past races. Keep in mind that the temperature at the start will likely be in the 40s however.

We’re looking forward to seeing you Saturday!

Mark, for Greg, Matt and Brian

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