The Grand Rapids Urban Adventure Race: Winter Edition will be held February 9, 2012, at the Cannonsburg Ski Area in Belmont. Last year's race drew almost 300 participants, making it the largest winter adventure race in the nation based on an internet search.
Two-person teams will set out from the ski area at 8:45 am, running to hidden checkpoints pre-marked on a map, collecting as many points as they can within 3 ½ hours. They'll encounter Amazing Race-like challenges on the slopes and throughout the ski area. While some challenges will be kept secret until right before the race, race organizers are revealing some of them: a snowbiking course using wide-tired "fatbikes," a short snowshoe run through the woods, and the infamous monster tubing run. Fatbikes and snowshoes will be provided.
Newer racers find that the challenges and checkpoint hunting give them just enough of a break in between the running sections so they can move along at a good pace. Experienced adventure racers looking for a greater challenge will be rewarded with an orienteering section where checkpoints will be hidden in the woods, requiring good map reading and possibly basic compass skills (training provided) to find.
"West Michigan has a culture for challenging outdoor sports like adventure racing and trail running that does not exist in most other areas in the nation. These races draw more people than Chicago, Indianapolis and other larger cities do to similar events," says Mark VanTongeren, race director. "We're expecting a large turnout because of this along with a great venue - Cannonsburg Ski Area - which gives us snowmaking capability and an energetic setting with hundreds of skiers and snowboarders checking out the action."
Friends, family and the general public are welcome to experience the race. Spectators can get copies of the race maps that will direct them to the challenges, all within easy walking distance. Some sponsors will have booths and discounts on gear and services for racers and others to check out.
Sponsors of the race to date include Gazelle Sports, The North Face, West Michigan Bike & Fitness, and Central District Cyclery.
The charity partner selected for this edition of the race is being finalized.
Michigan Adventure Racing LLC developed the Grand Rapids Urban Adventure Race to add to the growing variety of cultural and recreational experiences for West Michigan residents. These races showcase new or relatively unknown biking, running, and walking trails and other recreational spots in the area and aim to make more people aware of the sport of adventure racing.
For more information about the race and to register, go to www.grUrbanAdventureRace.com and visit www.facebook.com/grUrbanAdventureRace to join a growing community of adventure racers.