FAQs

How could I possibly race for three or four hours straight?
Who are you and why are you putting this race on?
I’ve never done an adventure race. Can you give me some tips?
Is there discounted lodging available in town?
What charities are you supporting? How can racers be involved?
Where can I get the gear I need for this race?
Can I race with any bike or does it have to be a mountain bike?
Can I ride on sidewalks?
I have clip-in pedals. Will I have the opportunity to swap into running shoes during a transition?
Can I use any other mode of transportation besides bicycle or on foot?
Do I need a teammate?
Can we participate with a group? Can we work with other teams on the course?
Is there an age limit?
Do you allow outside support or phone a friend?
Do you allow GPS?
Do you plan to hold this race every year?
I can’t participate, but I’d like to volunteer. What can I do?
What other adventure races or mountain bike races are there in the area?

How could I possibly race for three or four hours straight?
If you are in moderate shape or better, you should have no problem. Race at your own pace and don’t feel you have to get every checkpoint. Adventure races offer many opportunities to catch your breath, whether you are waiting for a traffic light, looking for a checkpoint, or filling up your water at a transition area. The variety of activities utilize different muscles and that helps too. If you have had enough, no worries – head in and cheer the other racers as they come in.

Who are you and why are you putting these races on?
We are Michigan Adventure Racing LLC, a group of adventure racers and mountain bikers who, so far, are having just as much fun creating a race as competing in one. The team consists of: Brian Fox, Nate Phelps, Greg Van Tol, Matt Veltkamp and Mark VanTongeren.

We think these races will be good for Grand Rapids and West Michigan. And we certainly want to get more people involved in adventure racing and mountain biking. Very few people know what adventure racing is so this race provides an entry into the sport that is low cost and fun. And for bikers, over the next few years this race will introduce people to some great new trails right within the city limits.

I’ve never done an adventure race. Can you give me some tips?
Successful teams learn to balance careful navigation and map reading with speed. Racers lose the most time when they become lost or miss a checkpoint because they were not checking their map. Strategy comes into play as well. Planning the most efficient route and knowing how many checkpoints teams can squeeze in before the cut-off time often allow “tortoise” teams to out-perform the “rabbits.” Consuming plenty of fluids and energy foods is also important, especially in longer races.

Visit www.infiterrasports.com and search for tips on other adventure racing sites for more help.

Is there discounted lodging available in town?
Hotels may offer special rates to racers and volunteers. For those of you out of town, keep in mind that registration will begin quite early in the morning. With a hotel, you can catch the early check-in and avoid the commute. Many allow bikes to be kept inside the room too.

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What charities are you supporting? How can racers be involved?
We select a charity partner for each race. Whenever possible we will incorporate a charity challenge element into the race so you can provide a few dollars in exchange for help in a challenge. Racers find the idea of giving while racing to be a very cool thing.

Where can I get the gear I need for this race?
We recommend Gazelle Sports, West Michigan Bike & Fitness, Central District Cyclery and Bill & Paul’s Sporthaus for gear. They have all the mandatory and recommended gear on the list or can order it. Very helpful staff! Please support our sponsors as they help make this race possible.

Can I race with any bike or does it have to be a mountain bike?
Any standard, self-propelled mountain, cyclo-cross or road bike is acceptable (no tandems). The thought is to eliminate barriers that would keep you from trying out adventure racing. Note that there will be some areas where using a road bike will be much more difficult than a mountain bike.

Can I ride on sidewalks?
City law states that bicyclists should ride on the right side of the road and obey traffic laws as autos do. Bikers may also ride on designated bike paths, which will be fairly obvious on the course. If you choose to ride on the sidewalk due to unsafe road/traffic conditions, slow way down and watch for pedestrians.

I wear clip-in pedals. Should I bring athletic shoes to swap into when we transition to the on-foot section?
Yes. You’ll either start in them or change into them after you finish the bike section. In most cases, you will not need to carry your running shoes in your pack but each race is different.

Can I use any other mode of transportation besides bicycle or on foot?
No. No rollerblades, scooters, skateboards, pogo sticks, big wheels, etc. No public transportation, taxis, hanging on to your friend’s car, etc. If you don’t have a bike, but do have a pet alpaca, show it to race management and we’ll see how friendly it is (spitting alpaca are strictly prohibited per City of GR Sanitation Department guidelines).

Do I need a teammate?
Yes! Every person must compete in a team of two. It’s one of many reasons adventure racing is so fun. And many of our challenges require two people to compute. Can’t find a teammate? Post a note on our Facebook page or email us. We’ll try to match you up with someone of similar ability (no guarantees).

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Can we participate with a group? Can we work with other teams on the course?
You sure can. You must sign up as two-person teams, but feel free to buddy up with other teams if you’re looking to have fun with a group of friends. And, if you are lost on the course, it helps to join forces to get un-lost! Each team must complete their own challenges and turn in their passport. You may not call, text or email other teams during the race.

Is there an age limit?
Racers generally must be at least 14 year old (10 in the winter race), although we may allow exceptions after talking with the parent of the youth. At least one team member must be 18 years old. Racers under 18 must have a parent or guardian sign their waiver during online registration.

Do you allow outside support or phone a friend?
You may ask for outside help, use your smartphone to access information to solve a clue (but not GPS), or phone a friend if you are lost. You may not be accompanied or met on the course by any non-racing friends/support crew.

Do you allow GPS?
In the spirit of adventure racing, we are not allowing GPS-enabled applications on your phone, watches, etc. It sets a bad precedent and gets racers in the habit of using a device that is banned in everyone other adventure race in Michigan. We can’t police this unless we banned phones completely, and we will never do that because phones are critical to getting help quickly in an emergency. If you choose to break the rule and fiddle with GPS, other teams will be blowing right by you as they use their pre-marked maps.

Do you plan to hold this race every year?
Yes! In fact, we hold one of these big adventure races at least three times a year, some urban style, some sub-urban, some wild and urban, some wild, you get the picture. Buy stuff from our sponsors. That will help to grow this race. And check out our trail and Zombie Dash races.

I can’t participate, but I’d like to volunteer. What can I do?
Thank you for offering! Volunteers are critical to the success of the race. Please email Mark at mark@miadventureracing.com. All volunteers who work the full race will receive a race shirt (and lunch, when provided) free of charge and 15% off a future race… not to mention a really fun day with some goofy racers.

What other adventure races or mountain bike races are there in the area?
Check out our race calendar page, www.graar.com and www.infiterrasports.com to access additional adventure races in Michigan and a community of racers who can provide lots of good advice.

Check out www.westernmmba.blogspot.com to support trail building, try out a mountain bike race and read the plans for the Grand Loop, a network of trails right here in GR.

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Still have a question? Contact Mark.

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