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210 Race Updates & Rider’s Guide

 

Rider’s Guide
The Rider’s Guide (5 MB, PDF) is designed to be your all-in-one guide for racers and support crews. It contains all of the what, when, where, and how (you supply the who and why), including checkpoint locations, convenience stores, gear lists, and rules.

Race Update #4
210-Mile Coast to Coast

The day is almost here. Hope you are excited and confident. So much of endurance is mental so get yourself into a confident state of mind in these remaining days no matter your inadequate training or the weather. Speaking of the weather, the various forecasts change daily as you may have noticed. Some have lots of rain, some have little to none and of course it depends where you are along the route. Certainly bring lots of clothing options. One thing that’s been consistent is an east wind (knock on gravel). It might not feel like it because you’ll be biking so fast, but it will help. Last night’s rain and tomorrow’s should firm up the roads and cut down the dust.

Race/Bib Number Look-up
Please look up your lucky number here and share that at check-in. Please email me if anything is inaccurate. You can pick them up for your friends/teammates if they are running late (and let them know you have them).

If you need to change your distance to the 100 or your age group/category, email me as soon as possible.

Chip Timing/Tracking
Your race number will have a chip on it for timing. Front of your bike. Please don’t bend your number. We’ll also track you manually at each checkpoint so make sure you slow down at the first tent so the volunteer monitor can get your number.

Did Not Start/Did Not Finish

  • If you decide not to race but are still on this list, please email me so I can remove you from the tracking document. Otherwise we’ll be faced with covering up to 212 miles to make sure you are safe.
  • If you drop out out during the race, please notify the volunteer monitor at the checkpoint. Or, you or your support crew can text me your name and number at 616.460.9331 or Matt at 517.214.2606.

Check-in, Pre-Race Meeting

  • Big Bend Campground. Community Building (left as you enter campground) any time between 3 and 7 pm.
  • No morning check-in (we’ll of course have your race number ready if you have travel or other problems on Friday
  • You can order a pizza from Little Sicily for delivery or eat other food inside if you like. Alcohol is okay here, as well as at Stearns Park finish until 9 pm and at Graystone Event Center for the awards. It’s all BYOB.
  • Pre-race Meeting starts at 7 pm. We aim to keep it short (unlike my race updates) as we know some of you have some travel to your hotel and in the morning. Almost everything important has been said in a race update or Rider’s Guide. Plenty of time to read those as you travel.

 

Start Area (click to enlarge)

 

  • If you had issues and couldn’t pick up your race number Friday, find us in the office/house just to the left of the yellow bike shown below. Please arrive before 5:30 am.
  • Head to the north pier at the lighthouse at 5:50-5:55 am. We’ll do a ceremonial dipping of the back wheel in Lake Huron (if the wood planks on the docks are treacherous, then fake it as close as you can safely).
  • 6:12 am is sunrise and you’re off!

GPX/TCX Files/Maps
Please make sure you have downloaded the final files uploaded by Matt on May 2 for Strava (ignore the 2017 date creation) and an updated final Ride with GPS file on May 3. Final track and maps are on the Route page. Note that I had an April 14 file on Ride with GPS that I forgot to hide/delete. If you used that version, please download a file directly from the Route page on the race site.

Ride with GPS GPX error
Thanks Evan for pointing out an error at one intersection in the Ride with GPS GPX file (cue sheet is correct). This error was on the May 2 “final” file and fixed on May 3. Correct route is shown. If you downloaded it during these two days, please re-download to be safe or just make sure that your file shows a right/north turn on Hemlock at mile 90.4 instead of going straight on Wilson. Same distance but lots of lurking sand monsters if you went straight and it would add confusion to other racers.

Cue Sheets, Rider’s Guide, Signage

  • These files have not changed since May 2-3. Find the cue sheets and maps under Route. Rider’s Guide (includes Support Crew info) is under Race Updates.
  • Do NOT use the standard Strava or other cue sheets.
  • When you arrive at the two-tracks, forest roads and snowmobile trails, the cue sheet is less helpful and we will have stakes with pink flagging tape to provide extra confirmation of the correct direction to turn (will NOT include any race wording; this would make them more likely to be stolen). Maybe some white spray chalk too but that may not survive the rain. Nothing is reflective so pay close attention after dark. Visit the closed group facebook forum to see Matt’s videos from today that show how this will work.Or, you’ll first see them at mile 72/74 and then probably not until after mile 130.
  • Nothing is reflective so pay close attention after dark. Visit the closed group facebook forum to see Matt’s videos from today that show how this will work.Or, you’ll first see them at mile 72/74 and then probably not until after mile 130.

Checkpoint Tracking
If you have friends and family or support people not at each checkpoint who would benefit from knowing whether you’ve made it through a certain checkpoint, you can send them this Google Docs link which will show check-in times, provided wi-fi is working fine. Otherwise, we will only track offline and there will be no updates until the finish. Results will be available by monitor or at Epic Race Timing shortly after.

Checkpoints

  • See Rider’s Guide for details, location of water (no aid stations). This is just new information.
  • Checkpoint 1 Gladwin High School. Wifi access: Network name is BYOD, Username: presentergcs. Password: GreatBikes2018.
  • Checkpoint 3 Dublin. The Marathon station will stay open an extra half hour until  the 10:30 pm cut-off so that any of you pushing toward the final cutoff can use the restrooms and get food there. Thanks Marathon (and all the checkpoint locations)!  Reminder: water spigot on the east exterior wall of the general store AND gas station.

Volunteers
I think we are set. Enough volunteers to function at least! Thanks for passing the word on to help us fill in the gaps! Special thanks to Shoreline Bicycle Club for all their help. Please say thanks to a volunteer or three. If you have a frustration, please share with me, not them unless it’s something they might be able to solve right there. We think we’ve planned well, but it’s a first year, point-to-point, 212 mile race so the poo may hit the fan in ways we’re not anticipating.

Severe Weather
I have a briefing at 1 pm Friday with the National Weather Services offices in Detroit and Gaylord and local emergency managers so I’ll share their thoughts on the weather at the pre-race meeting. If we do have severe weather Saturday (doesn’t seem likely at this point) and have to hold people at a checkpoint due to severe weather just ahead, we reserve the right to distribute prizes in the way we deem best, which may be top 1, 2 or 3 (based on size of category) but may mean lumping them all into a big ol’ raffle if the race becomes a battle against the weather just to get the race in.

Final Preparations Blog
Check it out here if you haven’t already. It has some really helpful advice from Matt.

Updates #1-3 are on the website under the 210 and 100 sections if you missed them.

Safe travels! Looking forward to seeing you all!

Mark for Matt and Greg

Race Update #3
Matt and I did a final drive-through on Monday. The roads are looking so much better than two weeks ago! Spring is finally here and the flora is showing off its life and color. It should be a really beautiful time to bike across the state with all the new growth but enough open space so you can see deep into the woods. Gravel and dirt conditions are solid, a little on the dry side. The route will be getting some rain today and tomorrow and hopefully a little more before race day. There are plenty of soft areas on the two tracks but really only two or three sections of beachy sand of less than 150 meters that most will be walking.

The final cue sheets, Rider’s Guide, and route files are all on the website for download.

Cue Sheets
Our custom cue sheets, along with GPX/TCX files and course map, are under Route. Do NOT use the standard Strava or other cue sheets. Ours are so much more accurate to what you will actually be seeing, particularly matching actual street signs to cue sheet (and we note where there is no street sign with N.S.)

Apologies to those who have already prepped their 210 cue sheets. During our final ride-through Monday, we made enough tweaks to mileages and a couple street name clarifications to warrant a new and final version. If you’ve already made one, we suggest giving it to your support crew as a back-up at a checkpoint in case you lose the new one. Not a bad idea either way.

  • Make sure your final version starts at Point Au Gres Marina.
  • Mileages are based on a Garmin but should be very similar on other bike computers.
  • If cue sheets are your sole navigation device, you may want to walk through the cue sheet and Strava or Ride with GPS map.
  • When you arrive at the two-tracks, forest roads and snowmobile trails, the cue sheet is less helpful and we will have arrow signs and some type of marking on the ground (temporary paint, chalk or flour) to guide you. If there’s still confusion, zoom in on the map to see where you are.
  • One or both of us will drive most or all of the course ahead of you on race day so we are not expecting surprises. If it’s quite clear that signs have been stolen or there’s another problem, call Matt at 517.214.2606 or me at 616.460.9331. Don’t just immediately pick up the phone. Try to figure it out on your own first.

Rider’s Guide
The final Rider’s Guide is under Race Updates.

  • Detailed information on timing, locations, gear lists, rules, checkpoints, convenience stores, etc.
  • In addition to the convenience stores listed, select the checkpoint city in Google, click Nearby, Restaurants.
    • Marion: I will let Shananjac’s (231.743.6275) know they should order more pizza dough!
    • Dublin: Super Bad’s (231.859.4000) does not show in Google Maps but has pizza, burgers, subs, etc.

Course Route, GPX/TCX Tracks
Final track and maps are on the Route page.

  • The routes have not changed in the past two weeks but we recommend uploaded the GPX/TCX files onto your bike computer if it’s been several days just to make sure you have the latest and greatest.
  • If the 210 route on your bike computer is not 212-213 miles and does not start at the Point Au Gres Marina, then please update your bike computer with the current GPX/TCX.

Support Crew Contact Information
Just a reminder to add your rescue/support crew names and their mobile phone numbers to your BikeReg account – click on Edit/Transfer, scroll to questions. Takes 30 seconds. Please add this week so I can set up the mass text app for emergencies. www.bikereg.com/micoasttocoast

Parking a Vehicle at the Start?
Thanks to Pt Au Gres Marina and Campground, you can leave a vehicle in one of their rustic campsites on the far west side of their property at no charge. Please pick it up on Sunday.

Volunteers
We only have 8 volunteers to cover the entire state. That’s doable but tight in case someone doesn’t show up. If you know of anyone who might be interested in sweeping a section of the course, helping at the Dublin checkpoint or offering finish line support, please have them sign up on BikeReg and also email me.

Facebook Closed Group
If you want to hear how racers are setting up their bike, where their support crew is getting food from, etc., there’s still time to join the closed group page.

Latest Blog
Matt has just penned a really helpful blog on final preparations. Check it out here.

It’s a bit early to look at the weather on race day but the general trend is toward temps in the 40s at the start and 50s or 60s as the day goes on.

We’ll plan to send one more update next week with any final details. Updates #1 and #2 are on the website under the 210 and 100 sections if you missed them.

Mark

P.S.: Cycling-related World Record Attempts in Ludington
Shoreline Cycling Club is providing more than half of our volunteers for the race so here’s one way to say thanks! They are helping with a Ludington-Manistee attempt to break two cycling related world records on Saturday, June 9th. They need 1600 riders, so everyone is welcome and encouraged to revisit Ludington. More info can be found here

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Race Update #2 

It’s been a tough spring to train outside obviously but whether you have been on the trainer or braving the elements, we hope you are getting the miles in, toughening up your mind, and excited about the adventure that’s just three weeks away. As many of you have commented about on Facebook, tough training days help you handle tough race days. The good news is that the warmth has finally arrived in Michigan so while you may get a headwind or rain on race day, the roads and temperatures should be much better than they have been.

This is a pretty long read, but it’s a long race with complicated logistics. There’s less trouble if we over-communicate rather than under-communicate. Read when you have time. Please forward on to your support crew.

To make sure that all support crew people are aware of emergency issues, please add up to two rescue crew name(s) and mobile phone number(s) to your BikeReg account. We’ll add this contact info as well as your own mobile phone into a mass text app so that everyone is aware of important developments (e.g., the Dublin General Store has temporarily run out of jerky – shelter in place!)

Some IFs…

  • If you registered in the past several weeks (or missed it the first time), you can skip down to Race Update #1 for additional details.
  • If you would like to drop down to the 100, email me. The race is a separate event in BikeReg due to the separate start location so I’ll have to send you a credit code to cover the cost of the 100. You’ll need to re-register.

As of April 19, 277 of you are tackling the 210-miler and 98 are taking on the 100. We’ll accept registrations through May 9 if you know of anyone on the fence. Nothing wrong with just wingin’ a 210, right?

Starting Line Change
In short, our start was on private land which changed hands recently. The new owner doesn’t want us there. That’s good news though because Matt found a gem of a starting spot around the point, on the true sunrise shore of Lake Huron  at the small, family-owned Point Au Gres Marina. Complete with (mini) lighthouse, Atlantic Coast feel and actual sunrise over the big lake. So 210-milers will truly dip their back tire in Lake Huron at the start and front tire in Lake Michigan at the finish (thanks Clinton for the idea). It’s really Coast to Coast now… as well as lighthouse to lighthouse.

To accommodate the new start that’s further east, we’ve snipped out a 7 mile section that wasn’t essential and brought the miles back down to 212. Please adjust your training regimen to account for the added two miles.

By the way, one (well, two) amazing thing we saw south of Udell Hills during the test drive/ride last week: twin albino whitetail deer! Too dark to get a good shot (with a camera).

Updated Course Documents

  • Map and GPX files. You can find the updated 212-mile route and gpx/tcx files on the site. Access via Strava or Ride with GPS sites. I have not received any additional road issues from the county road commissions so we believe we are final.
  • Cue Sheets. Here are the cue sheets for the 210. Very likely final. Standard 4.25″ x 5.5″ quarter sheet. You print and seal. Cue sheets are required gear – invaluable if your GPS device fails. Note that mileages vary by GPS device/bike computer so use the mileages as a general indication of the distance to a turn. Remember: the only turns we will have signs at are forest service roads and snowmobile trails that could use added clarity. We’ll let you know what we decide on signs – probably chalk/flour/temporary paint or ribboned stakes on the ground and arrows at eye level where we can. This is meant to be an adventurous race, not an adventure race (map and compass).
  • Rider’s Guide. We’re going to wait and send out a final version of this several days before the race. Still adding a few details. The version in update #1 below should be accurate except for the start location.

New Lodging Options
We realize the lodging options are pretty limited near the check-in and start. Sorry that we don’t have better options. However, by moving the start to the east, you may want to take a look at a few new options, especially if you haven’t secured lodging or currently have a room in Bay City/Midland or another more distant area that you can cancel without penalty.

  • City of Au Gres. Just north of the new start. A longer drive on Friday from most parts, but just 15-20 minutes to check-in and 15 minutes to the new start. Cozy Cove Resort just east of town has several units available, $38-$58. A few scattered rooms left in town as well as of this past weekend when I called.
  • Point Au Gres Marina & Campground. Right at the start. Rustic camping for just $5 per site (discounted from $20 for our race). 23 sites open. They might have one 4-person cabin available.

Schedule

  • Note the change of the pre-race meeting time at Big Bend Campground from 7:30 pm to 7:00 pm, immediately following check-in.
  • If you are in a time crunch you can show up for check in close to 7 pm, attend the pre-race meeting and get back to your hotel so you can get to bed early to drive to Lake Huron for the sunrise start.

Friday, May 11
Big Bend Campground, Standish
Check-in: 3:00 – 7:00 pm
Pre-race Meeting: 7:00 pm (change from 7:30 pm)

Saturday, May 12
Pt Au Gres Marina & Campground
Drop-offs and Final Race Announcements, : 5:45 am
Ceremonial back tire baptism in Lake Huron: 6:05 am
Start: 6:12 am, sunrise

Ludington
Ride into the Sunset Award Cut-off, Stearns Park, Ludington: 9:02 pm
Awards Ceremony & Raffle, Graystone Event Center, Holiday Inn Ludington: 10:15 pm (after sunset is complete)
Cut-off, Stearns Park, Ludington: 3:12 am Sunday  (21 hours)

Checkpoints

  • Checkpoint locations and cut-offs, where to park, etc. are on the website and will be in the Rider’s Guide. All have water and restrooms. Some have a bike mechanic. Food is on your own/crew.
  • Wi-fi should be available at each checkpoint but maybe not 100% reliable. Consider adding a Hotspot to your phone as a back-up.
  • If you will not be meeting a crew at a checkpoint, make sure you know where the convenience stores are along the route. In Rider’s Guide.

Suggested Crew Route

  • Simply type in the start, 3 checkpoints and finish. Here’s a Google Maps link to make it easy for your crew. The great thing about a race on gravel roads is that the mapping apps will almost always avoid those roads.
  • A little overlap onto the race course is fine right at the checkpoint and on Lakeshore DR coming into Ludington.

Volunteer Needs
If you know of someone who would like to be part of this adventure without having to pedal for 212 or 100 miles, please have them sign up as a volunteer. We have a few critical needs left to fill:

  • Course clearer/sweeper from Checkpoint 2 to 3 and 3 to the finish (or both)
  • Checkpoint 3 monitor at Dublin
  • Medical volunteer, night shift (10 pm-3:15 am) at Stearns Park

Food
In a recent survey of many of you, here’s what you shared about the three food options, Friday evening, finish line, and awards. With such a low entry fee to the race compared to other similar races, we can’t provide three meals – at the start, finish and awards.

  • Friday evening. The vast majority of told us that you don’t need dinner/pizza so we’re going to go with snacks instead. Feel free to call Little Sicily pizza in Standish and have them deliver (we can still organize a small group order so the driver can bring several at once).
  • Finish line. The majority of racers asked for food here. Knowing that we would need to provide finish line food from 2 pm (first 100-mile finishers) until 3:30 am, the best option is likely a steady stream of Jimmy John’s subs or Hungry Howie’s to keep things fresh. Of course we’ll have lots of cookies, snacks and other comfort food. Spindrift Cycle Sports has graciously offered to provide hot coffee and possibly hot chocolate if temps are cold.
  • Awards ceremony. We’ll have some food here, but survey takers indicated fairly low demand for that since most of you will demolish food sometime between the finish and awards.

We adjusted our insurance coverage so you can bring alcohol in for the post-race hang-out and awards at the Graystone Event Center. You may also bring it into Big Bend Campground and have it at Stearns Park Beach at the finish. Stearns until 9 pm. They are pretty strict there so heads up. We asked if we could bring cans of Founders in but they said no. Founders is sponsoring the race and their world-class beer can be found at The Mitten Bar in Ludington so we recommend that place if you have time between finishing and awards. There are several other good options downtown.

Rescue/Support Crew & Safety
Some of you have asked whether other support crew arrangements are okay (e.g., two-person relay vehicle acting as rescue/support vehicle for 210 racers, large team with three vehicles as a driver and vehicle at each checkpoint, someone living near the course is available to rescue for one half of the course, etc.). All good. You just need someone within a reasonable distance to take you where you need to go (Ludington or home) in case the race is canceled due to widespread severe weather or if you have to drop out.

When it comes to safety and severe weather, our priorities are 1) life of racer 2) life of race 3) day of race. We’ll do everything we can to get the race in, but we’re not going to send you into the path of a tornado or massive lightning storm. It’s just not worth it, especially if we can delay for a bit to let hazardous weather go through. We can extend the end of the race if we have to. For a gripping read, find our Hazardous Weather Policy here. We’ll work with the National Weather Service manager who will help us monitor the weather that day and with each county’s emergency manager to keep tabs on any emergency road closures, forest fires, zombie outbreaks and other nastiness.

Reminder to please add up to two rescue crew name(s) and mobile phone number(s) to your BikeReg account.

Prepare for this journey as if you are on your own. At times your mobile phone may not even be able to call 911. The good news is that the gravel/mountain bike riders are a community much more so than competitors, especially in a race like this, so help each other as I’m sure you will.. We’ll recognize Good Samaritans who went above and beyond the call and will provide partial or full race credits for 2019 if you ended your race to assist another rider in need. Your support crew is there for you in emergencies and at the checkpoints along with local emergency/first responders all across the state who will be informed that the race is going on and where it’s going. Don’t hesitate to call 911. Mention you are with the race. They were given maps so that may help them locate you faster.

Raffle

  • We’ll do one raffle for everyone at the awards ceremony and then randomly give raffle prizes to those who won’t be there because they are still out on the course (between 10:15 pm and 3:12 am). This way you can pick a prize you like rather than assigning you one before the race.
  • We’ll be raffling off a Salsa Cycles Fargo for all finishers of the event! All you need to do is sign up to race, finish the event and your name will go into the raffle. Thanks Salsa! We’ll have to wait until after 3:12 am on Sunday to do this bonus raffle but it will be worth the wait! Grand Rapids Bicycle Company will arrange for you to get the right size Fargo.

Sponsors

  • Salsa Cycles. When a company’s tagline is Adventure by Bike, you know they are the perfect Presenting Sponsor for this race. We’re grateful for many types of support from Salsa including their help in getting the word out about the race, water bottles for all racers, stem/top caps for finishers, Fargo bike to raffle, inclusion in Chase the Chaise, etc, etc. They make bikes for adventures like Coast to Coast so check out their many offerings.
  • Grand Rapids Bicycle Company. GRBC was instrumental in helping us land Salsa as a sponsor. We’re also thankful for their clinics and talks which get people informed and excited about gravel racing and for prizes for top finishers and raffle winners.
  • Todd and Brad Reed Photography. Todd and Brad capture the beauty of Michigan and the Ludington area. They will provide three amazing prints of Ludington as top finisher prizes. Here’s one of them.
  • Spindrift Cyclesports, Located down the road from the finish. Thanks for providing prizes, volunteer support, connections within Ludington, pre-race adjustments for the 100s, and coffee at the finish. Check out their shop and Salsa (and other) bikes while you’re in town (The 100-mile racers will have the opportunity; 210 milers may have to check them out on a future visit).
  • Ray’s Bike Shop. In Bay City, Clare and Midland near the start of the race. Thanks for sponsoring and overseeing Checkpoint 1 at Gladwin. Huge selection of bikes and gear from top brands including Salsa Cycles, friendly expert staff, rentals, repairs and bike fit.
  • Teravail Tires. Thanks for providing a big ol’ box of tires as prizes/swag. We’ve got a bunch of Sparwood 29″ x 2.2 tires (think Cutthroat) and Cannonball 700×42 (think warbird). Matt has personally ridden the Cannonballs out on the C2C course with great success and at races like DK200.
  • Velocity USA. Top rim and wheel manufacturer based out of our hometown of Grand Rapids. They provide best-in-class, hand-built wheels for mountain, road and of course gravel road biking. Many in the field will be riding on Velocity wheels. And some really good people/friends work there. They’ll provide wheel sets as prizes.
  • Bike Law Michigan. Bike Law Michigan is part of a national network of bicycle attorneys who advocate on behalf of all cyclists. A critical resource if you ever need it. Financial support from Bike Law helped us provide some of the finisher awards and trophies.
  • TrainerRoad. Get faster with structured indoor workouts and science-backed training plans. Personally, TrainerRoad makes indoor training quite a bit more palatable and productive to me. Thanks for the three 1-year subscriptions as prizes. Congrats to Jason Bennett, Terry Steller and Darren Timmeney for winning those.
  • Clif Bar Clif Bar will provide a pack of Bloks energy chews for every racer. Quick energy, delicious flavors, certified organic, no stickiness, easy to open. My go-to fuel.
  • Founders Brewing Co. for gift cards to one of the best breweries in the world, right here in downtown Grand Rapids (if you didn’t know). Try their beer in The Mitten Bar in Ludington.
  • Train Out Pain Chiropractic. T.O.P. is the premier therapy and performance center in the Grand Rapids area. Matt Acker and I have both benefited from their expertise. They are die-hard bikers (Dr. Eric is doing the 210; Dr. Jason was signed up for the 100 but unfortunately tore his Achilles) so they understand the unique challenges of being on a bike and how to keep you or get you back to 100% health.
  • Local Lines A mountain bike guide service in amazing Marquette, in the Upper Peninsula (home of my favorite race, the Marji Gesick). Use Local Lines for an efficient, fun, safe mountain bike experience on a wide spectrum of amazing trails. Congrats to Kevin Clegg and Bryan Dew for winning the $75 gift cards in a Facebook raffle. Two more available at the awards ceremony.
  • Boeshield T-9. Thanks for drip bottles to everyone on the podium. Developed by the Boeing Company and made right here in West Michigan (Holland). Great product that many of us use – the leading corrosion protectant and waterproof lubricant for bikes and many other uses.
  • Jamie Geysbeek Photography. You’ll see Jamie capturing your memorable finish. He specializes in event photography, including weddings, live music, race coverage and corporate events.
  • Rob Meendering Photography. You’ll see Rob out on the 210 course, likely on his bike. He specializes in concerts, sports, events, real estate and nature.

Other Partners/Support

  • Jenny Acker for great graphic design.
  • All Occasions Floral & Events – Thank you for donating flowers for all the moms on this special weekend!
  • Epic Race Timing – For always going above and beyond to make sure timing and results are spot on. Thanks for letting us use your truss system as well.
  • Big Bend Campground and Pt Au Gres Marina & Campground. For welcoming us, discounts on sites and the community building.
  • The City of Ludington for their support
  • The US Forest Service for finally allowing us to use the Manistee Section forest roads

Next Year’s Race Date
If the permits and approvals all happen, and things look good so far, we will likely move the 2019 race later. This year has been one of the toughest for outdoor training but there will be others. And although many of you don’t mind the Mother’s Day weekend, it’s not our ideal pick. Plus one of our goals for the race is to extend the race experience beyond race day through pre-rides, bikepack trips, etc. I’ll announce the date if it clears all the hurdles. For now, just know it’s not the same weekend as Dirty Kanza or the Lumberjack 100.

Looking forward to the adventure!

Mark, for Matt and Greg

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Race Update #1

Thank you for being part of the inaugural 210-mile Coast to Coast Gravel Grinder and 100-mile Coast Loop! Racing point to point, from one Great Lake to another, mostly on dirt seems to have “captured (the) imagination” of many of you (as fellow C2C rider and writer Selene Yeager puts it). Maybe there’s something primal in this type of adventure – it’s a modern version of our ancestors’ migration across distant lands. If that’s a load of bull, maybe it’s just damn fun to challenge yourself to an epic adventure by bike, in a beautiful place, with other like-minded crazies. Either way, we’re honored to create this adventure for you and will do everything possible to make it a memorable experience this year and for many years to come.

There are always bumps in the first year of a race; to help smooth out as many as possible, we will be communicating fairly often and in detail via these race updates – so much detail that some of you will be fast asleep before the end… but that’s how I roll and it beats missing key info. This update has been sent to both 210 and 100-mile racers because many of the items apply to all of you. Some future updates may go only to racers of one or the other race. I’ve also included volunteers so they can understand the race better.

Community Forum
Consider asking questions, looking for a support vehicle, etc. on our closed community forum. For BikeReg changes, see below. For questions unique to you, email me.

  • For training guidance, go to Matt’s recent blog article on training strategies. If you are just starting on training, it’s pretty much the highly acclaimed RLH (ride like hell) program for you (but with proper recovery of course).

Route Info

  • Route: We reserve the right to make changes, but at this point both the 210 route and 100 route are “tentatively final,” to allow an oxymoron.
  • Maps and links to GPX and TPX files: On the website under their respective Route pages, both on Strava and Ride with GPS sites.
  • Cue sheets: Mandatory for all riders. In design stage. Will have mileages and be highly vetted.
  • Signage: While the vast majority of the route will NOT be signed, we will add blue sprinkler-head type flags at intersections where clarity would be helpful, such as snowmobile trail and two-track entrances and exits. Signs that shout “bike race” are at risk of being stolen.
  • GPS bike computer: It’s not required, but we do recommend one for ease of use, accuracy, and audio cues to alert you when you are off route. Make sure you test gpx file and usage before the race, especially if it’s new; have battery back-up and cord (I forgot cord at Marji Gesick – oops)
  • Sand and such. We’ll communicate what we know about sand and other road conditions as race day approaches. Our goal for course design is to minimize sand, not maximize it, but not to shy away from short portions of sand if they occur within sections of spectacular riding and/or scenery.

Rider’s Guide
The Rider’s Guide is now on the website under the Race Updates & Guide page. It contains lots of details to help you and your support crew get ready. We hope to update it infrequently but we will let you know when we do.

Rules, Support Vehicle
See the Rider’s Guide for a comprehensive list of rules. Clarification on two rules:

  • Bike/component swaps. To clarify/correct, you may not swap bikes/frames. You may ONLY swap wheels and tires in the case of irreparable damage (if you can make it to the checkpoint on your own). This is in keeping as much as possible with a self-supported ethos and challenge of determining the best set-up for varying conditions and surfaces.
  • Support vehicles. The intent is for a vehicle to be in the general area to rescue you in case of severe weather, medical issue or bike mechanical. For the 100 mile race, a support vehicle along the way is not required, but allowed at Dublin (the lone checkpoint for 100 mile riders). You must have some means of getting back to Ludington/home if you miss the 100-mile cut-off time or need to drop out.
  • There will not be an official support vehicle route. Roads 61, 115, 55, Freesoil/8 Mile, and US 31 are the main thoroughfares across the state near to the course.
  • For those of you still looking for a support vehicle, I will make some phone calls and inquire about whether any nonprofit groups want to organize support vehicles as a fundraiser. I’ll share any options on the Community Forum.

Drop downs, Transfers, Deferments

  • Edits: Change any of your contact or personal info via your BikeReg account. Easiest way is to find your confirmation email and click on Edit/Change/Transfer.
  • Drop downs: You may drop down from the 210 to the 100 at any time (just make sure you go to Ludington if you decide to do the 100 mile loop!). We will give you a credit so that you can cover at least your 100 entry fee.
  • Tandem/relay rider swaps: Free. You may swap riders if you are on a tandem or part of the two-person 210 relay. We just need to know in advance to collect waiver info, emergency contact info, etc.
  • Transfers: Free. Please use BikeReg to facilitate. Use your confirmation email or sign-in to your account.
  • Deferments: Contact me if you need to defer until next year. I will send you a code for a 50% credit off base fee. Most races keep all your money which seems draconian.

Travel, Lodging

  • Big Bend Campground (210-mile race). The campground has almost unlimited group tent space. They also have primitive non-group sites and sites with electric and water hookup. Use their campsite map to pick your spot in advance of the call. FYI: You may not hear back from Richelle for a while if you leave a message – this is off-season and she’s juggling family and business. Give it a day or two and then feel free to call back. If you simply need electric to charge your phone Friday evening, we’ll create “docking stations” at the community building or one or more sites with electric so you can save money by going primitive or group tent sites.
  • Standish and AuGres lodging (210 race). If you need a cushier bed the night before, search for area motels or other lodging. The key is to be close enough for the Friday check-in and pre-race meeting.
  • Holiday Inn Ludington (100-mile race on Friday night or either race on Saturday night). Call 231.845.7311 and let them know you (spectators and volunteers too) are associated with Coast to Coast for the discounted, refundable rate (online rate is a few bucks lower but non-refundable). For each room rented by someone associated with the race (via phone), a credit will go to helping us pay for the convention center where awards and post-race recovery and hang-out will be.

Post Race and Things to Do

  • Showers after the race. Lake Michigan is your closest shower. The hot water faucet is broken. Otherwise the Holiday Inn if you are staying there. I am not aware of any public showers.
  • See the website for a timeline of events. The post-race awards and celebration for both races is tentatively scheduled for 10:15 pm Saturday (sunset fades 9:30?)
  • For those with a little extra time for exploring, I’ve compiled a list of some favorite things to do  near the start or finish including Ludington, the Lake Huron coast near the start of the 210-miler, and Matt’s and my hometown of Grand Rapids (visit one brewery per day in the greater GR area and you’ll still be here deep into August).

Volunteers

  • Status: We’re doing well with checkpoint support thanks to our charity partner, Shoreline Cycling Club and to sponsors Ray’s Bike Shop and SpinDrift CycleSports.
  • Biggest need: sweeper vehicles who can follow behind the last rider to make sure we don’t leave anyone behind (knowing support vehicles will help with this but may be tied up with another rider). A sweeper vehicle could handle a sweep from one checkpoint to another or two sections, and then hand it off to another sweeper. If you know of someone who can’t help with the support vehicle timeframe but can help out for a 50-110 mile portion before heading home, please have them email me and then register on BikeReg under the 210-mile race.
  • We would still welcome support for all roles as there are a few gaps.

Merchandise
Bike jerseys: orders due by April 2; go to your BikeReg account to add to your order. Sorry, no returns but will help facilitate trades with another rider looking for your jersey size.

Share Your Story, Visuals

  • If you have a story that you would like to share about your experience/life journey that involves biking Coast to Coast, please email me. We’ll share it with media including author and Bicycling Magazine writer Selene Yeager who is joining us on this adventure and writing about it.
  • If you will be capturing video of your adventure, we would be interested in a few clips too (especially with stabilization such as GoPro Karma set-up). We may include them in a video to promote next year’s race.

More Info
Check out the FAQs or the Community Forum on Facebook if you have additional questions.

If you see anything here that contradicts the current version of the website or recent Facebook posts, let me know so we can correct or clarify.

Hope you’re getting out there (or at least down there to the trainer).

Looking forward to it!

Mark (Matt and Greg too)

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