Race Update #2, February 7, 2013 (Race Update #1 is below this)
This is a winter adventure race.
No crowds… you are not here to impress others.
No obstacles… nature provides plenty of them.
No set course… finding your own way just feels right.
We hope you are excited to take on the Grand Rapids Urban Adventure Race: Winter Edition, the largest winter adventure race in the U.S., thanks to all of you brave, crazy people.
This update highlights important and new information as you prepare for the race. Please also review the Required Gear page and make sure you have the gear. We will have a gear check during the race and you will lose a checkpoint for missing gear. Those less familiar with this race should also read/review the Race Information page and Race Update #1.
We have a great group of sponsors again: Gazelle Sports, The North Face, Patagonia Footwear, West Michigan Bike & Fitness, Central District Cyclery, 8th Day Gym, Founders Brewery, IceSpike, Tubbs and Zanfel. As most of you know, we have eliminated race bags and shifted sponsor offers to email. Some sponsors will provide virtual offers after the race. Pre-race offers are:
- Gazelle Sports: Come to early check-in at Gazelle, show your race number and get 10% anything. Look for a $5 gift certificate in our race recap email too.
- The North Face: Get 10% off any purchase at the Woodland Mall store between now and February 16 with a printout of this email or your race number.
- West Michigan Bike & Fitness: Stop by their tent to get entered into a raffle for a $200 shopping spree
- Central District Cyclery: register to win a sweet BMC road bike and a trip to Belgium to see the Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix. Also, demo Surly Pugslies $500 off. On sale for $1,200.
- 8th Day Gym: Intro Elements sessions & one month membership ($250 value) will be raffled off to at least three race participants. Email me to get in the raffle.
- IceSpike: Take 20% off your entire order. Click here to access the coupon code.
Look up your team on the preliminary team list. It is sorted by division and then team name, alpha order. Make sure the information is accurate. Write down your team number and your wave number and provide your team number at check-in. If you registered yesterday or today, you are not on this list. No worries. Just look it up at check-in. If you registered before Tuesday, February 5, and are not on the list, please email me. We can’t change shirt sizes until after the race unless the shirt size shown was an error on our part. Sizes are pulled directly from the online registration form.
We will have three equal waves to keep the challenges from developing long lines. The male/male teams will go in the first wave. Most of the co-ed teams will go in the second wave. The female/female and remaining co-ed teams will go in the third wave. There are advantages and disadvantages to each wave but it should all even out pretty well. If you are a co-ed team that signed up with another co-ed team to race together but have been split up into separate waves, please email me by Thursday and we will try to shift one of your teams.
Please review the gear list one more time. There will be a gear check and a one-checkpoint penalty will be assessed for missing gear. Quick summary:
- Map case, compass, mylar blanket, cell phone.
- Hydration: Each person needs 40+ oz. capacity. The only aid station (and “indoor” restroom) is at the ski area lodge. Bring extra fluids, stop at your car to re-fill, etc.
- $5 for a charity challenge to support the West Michigan Mountain Bike Alliance. I’m sure they’d love it if you would donate the $5, as many of you do even if you don’t need it to conquer the challenge. If you run or bike on a trail in West Michigan, there’s a very good chance that the WMMBA advocated for it, designed and built it, and maintains it. Please consider becoming a member and also help protect the trails, especially by staying off them when they are muddy. Find out more at www.wmmba.org.
Synch your watch to your cell phone’s time before the race to ensure you make cut-off time. We will announce this time at the start of the race. You will lose a checkpoint for each minute you are beyond the cut-off time, up to ten CPs/minutes at which point you will be unranked. It is human nature to get greedy and go after that last CP, but do you really want to slide to the bottom of the list as an unranked team? Leave yourselves several minutes of buffer to be safe.
Things change, but the forecast for Saturday is for race-time temperatures in the 20s with sunshine, over 20 degrees warmer than last year. You may access your vehicle during the race to grab or shed clothes.
Here’s an inspiring story from Cory Olsen, MLive reporter, who covers many of our races and recently took the first big step toward a healthier life. Cory will be racing and reporting on the race at the same time.
Gazelle Sports, 3930 28th St SE (at E. Paris)
4:00-8:00 pm: Early check-in
Early check-in saves you a little time and stress if there are lines in the morning. Plus you get free Red Bull (to the first 200 racers) and 10% off anything at Gazelle. If you live far from Gazelle, no worries. Check-in shouldn’t take long in the morning. Come before 7:30 am to be safe.
Grand Rapids Urban Adventure Race magnets will be for sale (if the post office doesn’t screw up). $4 each. Vehicle bumper-strength.
After Friday at noon, we ask that you not visit the ski area.
Cannonsburg Ski Area, 6800 Cannonsburg Rd NE, Belmont
6:45-7:45 am same day racer check-in
8:00-8:25 am race briefing, get map and race instructions
8:45/9:05/9:25 waves go off (back deck)
1:00-2:00 pm awards ceremony, raffle, food is on your own
Please turn left into the second gravel driveway to your left. Look for the sign. Same lot as last year. Please make sure you don’t block anyone in like a few people did last year! If the lot is full, park in the lot across the driveway. Please keep the main parking lot open for paying customers (we only paid $5 each for you).
Bringing your own fatbike?
Email me for directions on where to stage your bike. We recommend you come a little early and lock it to a nearby tree at the start of the bike loop. If you use your bike and then leave it for others to use, we will give you a discount on your next race (amount depends on how many more bikes we get). Email me if interested.
Don’t forget your passport
It is on waterproof paper so no need to tape it. 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.
If you have that eery feeling that something is following you, it’s probably a drone octocopter from EAI Aerials, taking photos of the race from a bird’s eye view. The drone will not be carrying Hellfire missiles.
One section of Cannonsburg will be open to racers only at the beginning of the race. You need to decide right away after the start of the race whether or not you will take it on. Once you decide not to do it, you will not have access to it. It has seven checkpoints, one challenge and about 3.5 miles of running. You will be able to see the map for 1-2 minutes before making the decision, but you really should make that decision with your teammate this week. If you are not really runners, you don’t expect to get more than 20 of the 30 checkpoints, and you generally want to hang closer to the ski hill, you might think about skipping this first section. We recommend that the majority of teams do the new section. It is NOT advanced or unusually hilly.
The total distance should be about 9-11 miles to get all CPs, including the optional section. There are six challenges.
Because the bike loop is longer and we only have 11 fatbikes for 350+ racers, one teammate will bike while the other runs and you can switch off during the loop. It’s either that or long lines and we despise long lines. By next year, all of you will have gone to West Michigan Bike or Central District Cyclery and purchased fatbikes so we won’t have this issue, right? Seats will be lower this year (we heard you) and the WMMBA will have hex wrenches if the seat height is bad. Tip: Sudden turns in snow don’t work, even on fatbike tires, so take turns slow and gradual.
Knowing how to read topography on a map and match it to real life will be important. Knowing how to use a compass may also be of value, especially if you don’t know how to read the map and terrain. Tip: You will often have the map turned to the south since the ski area land is primarily that direction so make sure you know which way is north on the map when you get your bearing. Review our clinic presentation and then try this helpful worksheet/quiz if you want to learn or need a refresher.
The trails may work to your advantage or they may confuse the heck out of you. The bike trails and a two-track trail will be on the map but there are older trails that won’t be.
Once the waves have started, friends and family can take a map and race instructions and follow you around, as long as they don’t help! We have a photographer, but we always love to get more photos. If your friend is a photographer, we’ll give you (or them) a discount on a future race if they provide photos that we use in the future. Email firstname.lastname@example.org before the race.
We are inside this year! We rented the Bear Creek room on the west side of the lodge from 1-2 pm for top finisher awards, a best/most trash award from Patagonia Footwear, raffle, lunch (on your own) and wrap up. Thanks to Cannonsburg for helping make it happen. Consider supporting Cannonsburg for hosting the race again by buying lunch there.
Mark, for Greg, Matt and Brian
Race Update #1, January 14, 2013
This is the first of likely two updates about the Grand Rapids Urban Adventure Race: Winter Edition. Thanks for racing with us. It’s amazing to think about the fact that more people will hike the entire Appalachian Trail in 2013 than will compete in a winter adventure race. You are a rare breed.
Rare, but not so rare that the race is small… it will be the largest winter adventure race in the U.S. again thanks to you crazies. 122 teams are registered so far for the race. Last year, we had 139 so we are closing in, which is good because it shows the race may have staying power over the long-term. As announced via Facebook, we are giving cash back to registered racers that recruit newbie teams (scroll down to bottom of page for details). There’s still time to bring them into the cult, I mean race.
Please see Race Information page for all the details. Some key points are highlighted below.
Navigation Clinic This Saturday; Instructors Needed
Those teams that have never used a compass or are unfamiliar with reading a topographic map should consider the free navigation clinic this Saturday, January 19, 10-11:30 AM, at Robinette’s Orchards. RSVP and details here. You can do a lot of the race without map reading and compass training but it will help you race faster and with less frustration. We never recommend following other teams or footprints!
We have about 30 RSVPs so far, but we’re missing Brian and Greg as instructors. If you have compass/navigation experience (through GRUAR or elsewhere) and would like to be a “guest” instructor, please email me.
I have been using a short sleeve shirt to show the design. I have no idea why. The shirt will be long-sleeved. It’s winter after all.
Please review the required gear if you haven’t already. Note: EACH person must have a container with 40 oz. of water or energy drink capacity (full at the start). We will very likely check for this or other required gear during the race and penalize if you are missing it. We recommend making the investment in a hydration pack. Gazelle Sports has several options to choose from. 10% off at early check-in. Clothing and training tips are now located on this page as well.
Fatbike and Snowshoe Challenges
If you are not familiar with a fatbike, it’s a mountain bike with very wide tires that ride well on top of packed snow. We will provide the bike, helmet and snowshoes. Both the fatbike and snowshoe challenges will be “sampler” loops of fairly short distances, determined based on availability of snow and amount of equipment we can rustle up. We would like to keep lines short as people wait for gear. You may bring your own fatbike and snowshoes but it’s your responsibility for getting it to and from the start of each loop. We may or may not allow you to stage it before the race. You may leave equipment at the end for other teams to use if you want to save time. You may wear your own snowshoes throughout the race if you think the conditions warrant it.
You may access your car during the race. At times, this will be somewhat convenient but if you do most of the course, there will be times when you will be far from your car or bathrooms so carry an extra layer, socks or whatever you might need in your pack. There are plenty of restrooms inside for before and after the race.Schedule
See the Race Information page for times.
Note that the award ceremony and raffle is outside on the deck again (not knowing how big the ski crowd will be that day) so bring dry, warm clothes for after the race. You can change in the lodge. Cannonsburg has invited us to use their Cedar Lounge after the awards to quaff down a few beers or root beers.
Feel free to email me with questions at mark@MIadventureracing.com.
Thanks all. At least one more update to come shortly before the race.
Mark, for Brian, Greg, Matt
Michigan Adventure Racing