RIB MOUNTAIN – After surpassing expectations for the inaugural Rib Mountain Adventure Challenge – Winter Edition in 2021, it returns on Jan. 22.
Racers navigate with a map and compass on the secret unmarked course on foot and bike that is revealed shortly before the start of the race. As the name implies, the day is full of challenges, including a secret mystery challenge. Last year, racers needed to bring a sled to slide down a local sledding hill which was featured on the cover of Silent Sports Magazine.
Tracy Anderson braved the subzero temperatures volunteering at a remote transition area last year since an injury prevented her from racing.
“Races can’t happen without the help of others, and what better way to see what the race is all about if you aren’t actually racing than to volunteer?” Anderson said. This year she returns as a racer.
Last year’s event was headquartered at Doepke Park in Rib Mountain and featured local bike paths, Sandy’s Bark Park and four private properties exclusive to the event.
“The area offers so many beautiful places to explore in the winter months,” said Andrea Larson, co-race director. “Once again, we are grateful to local landowners who have offered up their properties for this event.”
Robert Szczesniak comes to Wausau for whitewater releases and will be making the winter trip from Chicago for the race.
“It’s in a known great location, is a great chance to see a different side of the area, and looks like a great introduction into the sport,” Szczesniak said.
The winter weather may pose a unique challenge to racers, with the event held on the historically coldest day of the year in Wausau. Last year, nearly half of the field were brand-new to adventure racing with 10 teams in the family division, ranging from ages 1 to 71. Last year, the subzero temperatures didn’t deter racers, with 87 percent of racers visiting from outside of Marathon County. This year, racers represent more states than last year. To create a beginner-friendly race, minimal gear is needed. Snowshoes are optional with rentals available to racers and any bike type may be used.
Registration closes on Jan. 15. The race will be held even if there are low snow conditions. For more race information on the Rib Mountain Adventure Challenge – Winter Edition go to the Rib Mountain Adventure Challenge – Winter Edition Facebook page or https://www.ribmountainadventurechallenge.com/winter.
Proceeds benefit local nonprofits, UW Wausau Campus Foundation and Ironbull.
Ironbull’s next event, the Last Hurrah, offers a winter-ending event with snowshoeing or fat tire biking at Erbach Park in Athens. Free snowshoe rentals and a non-competitive snowshoe option is available along with the competitive races. More details can be found at https://www.ironbull.org/last-hurrah-details.