Lake Bronson Adventure Race
Many races advertise as a great entry level event, but The Lake Bronson Adventure Race truly is. This race offers a unique opportunity to explore the beautiful, diverse, and historic landscapes of northwestern Minnesota all while racing together with your friends! Teams of two or three compete together in several disciplines. You'll navigate by bike on a variety of surfaces--grass, gravel, pavement, you name it--you'll trek through woods and prairies, you'll paddle canoes or pack rafts in prairie lakes and rivers, you'll orienteer, geocache, and face several outdoor-themed challenges along the way. In three short hours or less you will experience a true outdoor adventure, and you'll get to share the experience with your friends! This race is a balanced mix of first-timers and grizzled veterans. Everybody has a place here.
What is the Lake Bronson Adventure Race?
An Adventure Race is typically an event that includes multiple disciplines and generally takes place in some kind of wilderness area. Unlike a triathlon, these events usually consist of typical wilderness activities that you will be doing together with your teammates.
Is this like a Tough Mudder or Warrior Dash?
Mostly no. Adventure racing involves fewer constructed obstacles and more wilderness than either of those. You might get a little muddy and wet, but there won't be a mud pit for you to cross or fire to leap over. Instead of a course trod by hundreds of competitors you will be able to choose your own route. This race is strategic and every year is different.
Is this an individual or team race?
A team race!
How many people are in a team?
You can have a team of two or three. All things being equal we like teams of three because you get to share the experience with more people so registration cost is the same whether you are a team of two or three. There will be separate awards for each category.
So... what will we actually be doing?
You will be biking on trails and roads in and around the State Park, you will be trekking on trails and even sometimes through the middle of the woods, you'll be canoeing or pack rafting in prairie rivers, creeks and streams, you'll be navigating using a map and compass, and geocaching using GPS. Really, you'll do a whole lot in three hours! But don't worry if that sounds like too much. The course is designed for people of all abilities (and we're not just saying that!).
How far will we go?
Typically, teams travel between 9-13 miles during the race (between biking, paddling, and trekking), but that really depends on the route you take and whether you do all the checkpoints or not. It is usually possible to do much less or quite a bit more.
If you love stats, here are the average distances over the four years we've done this race, as well as some notes about each discipline.
Paddling: In 2015 and 2018 we did around a mile of paddling. In 2016 there was no paddling and in 2017 it was closer to a half mile. We have paddled in the open lake once and mixed river/lake twice.
Biking: Biking distances have ranged from 5 miles (2015) to 8.5 miles (2017 and 2018). The most frequent biking terrain has been grass, followed by pavement and gravel. We've even biked on sand a little...
Trekking: Often trekking is where teams can elect to do more or less depending on ability level. Total miles trekked by top teams has been between 2.5 and 4 miles each year.
Special Tasks: Each year we have had between 1 and 3 special tasks. These could be anything, but we have done tasks based on memory, reason, ecology, history, dexterity, and more.
Geocaching: Every year since 2015 (one challenge in three parts) we have had two geocache checkpoints.
Where is Lake Bronson?
Lake Bronson is a Minnesota State Park approximately 25 miles east of the North Dakota border and 20 miles south of Canada. It is a man-made lake (the largest in Kittson County), and it is popular for fishing, boating, and recreation. The park itself features historical structures (including the tallest observation tower in any MN state park) and some of the most pristine prairies in northern Minnesota.
Is this supporting some awesome cause?
Yes! The funds raised from this event supports youth mission trips through the Lutheran churches of Kittson County.
What is the schedule on race morning?
Bike Drop Off: 7:30 - 8:15 a.m. at Location TBA
Check-in: 7:45 - 8:30 a.m. at Lake Bronson State Park Visitor's Center
Required Race Meeting: 8:45 a.m. at Visitor's Center
Race Start: Sometime between 9:00 and 9:30 a.m.
What does a "3 Hour" Adventure Race mean?
It means that most teams will have completed the course in under three hours. The three hours is meant as a time limit, but there are some exceptions to the rules and, depending on the course, you may be racing for 2-3 hours or slightly more!
Do we need to do the whole course?
In order to be considered a finisher you have to check in at all the transition areas. However, teams may decide how many of the checkpoints they can complete.
How is the race scored?
Teams score a point for each checkpoint they reach. The final rankings are determined in this way:
1. Number of points scored
2. Fastest finishing time
Teams incur a 1 point penalty for each minute they finish over 3 hours.
Do we have to follow a given route on the course?
Most of the time: No. The course will include required transition areas and optional checkpoints. You must go to the transition areas, but the optional checkpoints are, you guessed it, optional. You can choose any route you want to get from point A to point B (unless stated otherwise). This might mean making a decision between a shorter trail or longer road, or bushwhacking versus following a trail.
When will we get course maps? What will they look like?
NEW in 2019: You may pick up your course maps the night before the race at Bean and Brush coffee shop in Hallock between 5-8 p.m.
Otherwise, you may pick up race maps at check-in (between 7:45-8:30 on race morning). If you get your maps first on race morning, we encourage teams to arrive earlier because that will give you more time to plan. Each team will receive a set of laminated maps. Race maps will be USGS topographical maps with certain features added.
I don't have a clue how to navigate with a map and compass, should I learn?
Yes! And it's not that hard! There are countless Youtube videos that teach basic orienteering skills, search them out. With that said, if you are truly terrible with a map and compass this race is still possible (you may just have to skip some of the more challenging checkpoints).
What do we need to bring?
Why do we need a geocache unit/app?
There will be geocaching in this event. We have a limited number of geocache units on-site for the event. This means that if you are relying on one of our units you A) may not be comfortable using it, and B) we will likely run out. Don't rely on our units. We'd rather you come with an app on your phone. We recommend "c:geo" as a free app for Android, or "Geocaching by Groundspeak, Inc" for iPhone. Whatever you use test it out ahead of time! All that's required is that your app can input coordinates
What kind of bicycle do I need?
Typically, the course is a mix of grass, gravel, dirt, and pavement. A mountain bike, gravel bike, fat bike, or cyclocross bike would work well, but any non-road bike would probably be fine.
What kind of weather can we expect?
It's Minnesota... in May. Be prepared for ANYTHING. It could be hot. It could be cold. It will likely be windy. The temperature this time of year could be anywhere from the upper 20s to upper 80s. It could rain or even snow! It could also be 60 degrees with a light breeze. We're not meteorologists: plan for everything!
Is this only for people who are in really good shape?
Not at all. It's really for anyone. Set your own goals. Try to get all the checkpoints or only the easy ones. It's up to you to set achievable, challenging goals. While some teams may be trying to win, this race is only as competitive as you make it. Feel free to treat it like a day at the park if you'd like!
Will there be water stations? Food stations? A meal?
There will be water in one or more transition areas. There will also be lunch following the race at the Visitor's Center.
What kind of help can we expect from volunteers on the course?
Volunteers will have walkie-talkies and will be able to communicate with the race directors in case of injury, emergency, or if you need to pull out. Some stations will also have first aid. One transition area will have a bike pump and tire changing tools available as well. Volunteers DO NOT know how to get to a checkpoint, so don't ask them.
Are there prizes?
Yes, there are prizes. We will have trophies for the teams who finish tops in each category and we will also have a trophy for the best team concept/name. This could include dressing up, team cheers, etc.
What's lunch going to be?
TBD for 2019. Spectators can eat for $8.
Questions, concerns? Wondering where to send a check?
Talk to: Frank Johnson
Register online at www.signmeup.com/lbar
Check out our related events!
Wednesday, May 8, 6 p.m.: A geocaching class at Bean and Brush (downtown Hallock), followed by a low-key Geocache race around downtown Hallock.
Friday, May 10: 6 p.m.: A 10k run/bike ride between Revelation Ale Works (downtown Hallock) and Far North Spirits (rural Hallock). Plus, get your maps the night before (for the first time ever) by checking in at Bean and Brush between 5-8 p.m.!
Saturday, May 11: Race day at Lake Bronson State Park!
Quotes from past years:
"This was one of the most fun races I've done. You have done a great job taking into account all ability levels. Thank you to everyone's effort. Our team will be back next year!!"
"I liked that it is a team race. I LOVE the canoeing. It was SO MUCH FUN. We were awful at it but that made it the best experience ever. We laughed so hard! DO NOT GET RID OF IT!"
"Do it more often! Loved this race!"
"It was crazy with the bikes on the sand."
"The ping pong ball drop from the tower was great!"
"Just keep on doing it!"
"This was a hard race that required 3 hours of steady effort yet at the end I was surprised that 3 hours had gone by."
"I wish we competed in the first two!"