Rib Mountain Challenge racers embrace adventure in Stevens Point, Wisconsin

June 8, 2023

Racers ranging from age 7 through 68 convened from 19 states to take on a secret course.

STEVENS POINT, WISCONSIN /ENDURANCE SPORTSWIRE/ – Racers ranging from age 7 through 68 convened from 19 states to take on the secret course that awaited them in the Stevens Point area in this past weekend’s Rib Mountain Adventure Challenge. Teams up to four people used a map and compass to trek, bike, and paddle their way to checkpoints placed along the unmarked course. Each year the course changes to provide a brand new adventure attracting many new participants to the sport while also challenging experienced racers. For the first time, the event took place in the Stevens Point area where racers paddled the Plover River and Lake Emily, biked on the Tomorrow River Trail, Green Circle Trail, and Standing Rocks mountain bike trails, and trekked at Steinhaugen Recreation Area, Jordan Park, Schmeeckle Reserve, and Standing Rocks Park. The race directors even wove in a special challenge requiring teammates to work together on a three-legged challenge. Although adventure racers often find themselves alone in the wilderness, this year the race directors integrated the course into the heart of Stevens Point with one checkpoint even at the Sculpture Park.

Racers choose one of the 3-hour, 8-hour, and 18-hour courses, which has grown so popular that the race sells out with 500 racers, making it the largest adventure race in the United States. Orchestrating an event of this magnitude requires the race directors to balance logistics for transporting canoes, arranging bike drops, shuttling racers, and coordinating a team of 70 dedicated volunteers.

“Working with the Rib Mountain Adventure Challenge year after year takes me to the most beautiful places in Central Wisconsin,” said Meagan Cihlar, one of several individuals that have volunteered every running of the event since its inception in 2015. “There is a spirit of kindness that travels with the racers and every ounce of it I’m infected which keeps me coming back.”

The racers recognize the effort put into coordinating the effort. One racer informed the race directors, “This year’s course was four times better than last year’s, and last year’s was awesome!” Each racer and volunteer leaves the event with plenty of stories and memories. During this year’s race, one racer discovered a fish in his pants while paddling. Another couple left the event engaged.

Twelve-year-old Leighton was thrilled to participate after a yearlong journey to the start line. She had withdrawn from last year’s event to recover, both physically and mentally, after being diagnosed with celiac disease. She wanted to prove to herself that she’s strong. “This race helped me look to the future and see what I need to work on and what I did good on,” said Leighton. “Overall, it was a great race and we will be back next year!”

Pictures and results available at: https://www.ribmountainadventurechallenge.com/results. Next year’s Rib Mountain Adventure Challenge will take place at a different secret location Memorial Day weekend. The Rib Mountain Adventure Challenge is part of the Wisconsin Adventure Racing Series, the United States Adventure Racing Series, and new in 2023, the Adventure Racing World Series (ARWS) – North America Circuit. In addition, the event is part of the IRONBULL series which includes trail runs, gravel bike rides, and other events, with the next event, the Solstice Summit, taking place at Rib Mountain State Park on June 10.


About IRONBULL: iRONBULL is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that promotes outdoor adventure sports in Central Wisconsin. IRONBULL aims to drive economic development, benefit community organizations, and attract and retain a talented work force through the production of high-quality races and events that promote healthy living in our community.

About USARA:

As the governing body of adventure racing in the United States, USARA’s mission is to ensure the enduring success of the sport by strengthening and supporting the existing community of racers, directors, and enthusiasts; creating pathways for new adventurers to enter the sport; and engaging with the greater outdoor community in the U.S. to highlight what an amazing sport it is. More information at www.USARA.com.