The Coast to Coast gravel grinder, presented by Salsa Cycles, will not be known for its gravel (actually more dirt than gravel), ironically, but for everything that’s NOT gravel – the forest roads, the two-tracks, the snowmobile trails, even a little gravel-friendly singletrack. Much of the second half of the course is heavily forested, closed in, constantly changing. It’s a challenging roller coaster ride. Set your eyes on the glorious sunset over Lake Michigan or ride into the night to get to the finish line on time.
- Date: Saturday, June 26, 2021
- Start: Point Au Gres Marina, Lake Huron
- Finish: Stearns Park Beach, Ludington
- Distance: 208 miles
- Duration: 21 hour cut-off
This is a simple race. No fanfare at the start. No cheering crowds along the way. No fancy finish. It’s just you, your bike and a strip of dirt winding its way from one freshwater sea to another.
Except it’s not just you. The rider next to you shares that he just beat cancer and this is his victory ride. And another helps you with a mechanical. And then you open up to a stranger about your life and why you are doing this race. This isn’t a simple race. It’s a memorable, powerful experience.
Bicycling Magazine’s Selene Yeager captures the essence of this experience in her ode to this race.
We’ve teamed up with Matt Acker, co-course designer who knows Michigan’s gravel roads and gravel racing better than anyone, to create a course you will be sure to love. You’ll never forget the sunrise start on Lake Huron and the journey westward through farmland, wetlands, pine barrens, rolling uplands and magestic forest, toward the amazing sunset over Lake Michigan. Finish your race in one of the great outdoor towns in the country, Ludington, touching the waters of Lake Michigan and completing your amazing adventure.
I arrive at the finish a better person. – Rebecca Rusch, world champion mountain biker (and gravel road lover)
Ludington provides an ideal finish town for venues, lodging, breweries and love for the outdoors. Race Central for awards will be the historic Stearns Hotel, built in 1903 by lumber baron Justus Stearns and located downtown, near the finish and great breweries and restaurants. So that later finishers can join for the awards and raffle, we’ll hold it Sunday morning.
What Do I Get (A lot)?
- All 210- and 100-mile racers will receive a Coast to Coast shirt, water bottle and buff/neck gaiter.
- 210-mile and 100-mile finishers will also receive a top cap and sticker. 210 finishers will also get a barrel mug or tumbler.
- All checkpoints will be chip timed, along with the start
- and finish. Spectators can track your best-guess location with average speed tracking.
- Check out the finisher awards and top finisher prizes here.
You must have a rescue/support person or crew in your general vicinity throughout the race, either our paid service or your own. They do NOT need to be present when you arrive at the three checkpoints. Why do we use the word “rescue”? Let’s say there’s unexpected severe weather and 50-100 bikers need to quickly be removed from a dangerous situation or the race has to be cancelled. Or it’s a day of record heat and 30 bikers need to drop out. How do they get to Ludington? That’s the job of the rescue/support crews. Note that the Big M checkpoint requires a $5 daily use fee. Details on the two options:
Endurance is all about heart. — Bear Grylls
What Weather Can I Expect During the Race?
- Average temp at start, Au Gres, 6 am: 55 degrees
- Primary temp range: 65-70 degrees
- Average temp at finish, Ludington, 60-65 degrees
- Heavy shade in Manistee National Forest (during peak sun; miles 130-190)
- Wind direction: 67% of time wind is NOT out of the west on June 26
- Average wind speed: 6-10 mph during day (less early am and late pm)
Finish Rates (2018, 2019, no race in 2020)
- 210: 320 out of 375, 85% (2018: 199 of 238, 84%)
- 100: 139 out of 152, 91% (2018: 124 of 135, 92%)
If you’d like to experience the crossing of Michigan with a friend, you can each bike half of the route and drive the support vehicle the other half (keep in mind the support vehicle can only meet the racer at each checkpoint). You must switch at a checkpoint and you must each do any two of the four sections.
- Course directions are via GPS tracking file (gpx/tcx on Garmin, Wahoo, Strava, etc.) and cue sheets. ALL riders must have at least cue sheets.
- There will NOT be signs on the course except posts with streamer tape at two-track and snowmobile trail intersections where clarity is helpful. See the Route page for details.
Friday, June 25, 2021
Check-in, Pt Au Gres Marina & Campground: (Lake Huron side): 3:00-9:00 pm
Pre-race Meeting: Pt. Au Gres Marina (new location; NOT Big Bend Campground): 3:30 & 7:00 (times tentative; virtual if necessary)
Saturday, June 26
Final Race Announcements, Pt Au Gres Marina & Campground: 5:45 am
Start: 6:00 am (5:54 am sunrise in 2021)
Bike/helmet light recommended but optional at the start, mandatory at CP 3
Checkpoint #1 (Gladwin High School).
Fastest rider projection: 8:47 am
Cut-off: 11:30 am
Checkpoint #2 (Marion Junior/Senior High School)
Fastest rider projection: 11:13 am
Cut-off: 4:30 pm
Checkpoint #3 (Big M Recreation Area; requires US Forest day fee)
Fastest rider projection: 2:50 pm
Cut-off: 10:45 pm
Bike/helmet light mandatory after CP 3
Sunset Award Cut-off, Stearns Park: 9:33 pm
Cut-off, Stearns Park Beach, Ludington: 3:00 am Sunday (21 hours)
Sunday, June 27
Awards Ceremony, Raffle, Coffee, Stearns Hotel: 9:00 am
- Limited to award winners and tentatively next 300 who purchase a $3 ticket good for admission and coffee; breakfast is on your own (most places offer breakfast)
- Pending COVID.
- Note that the Coast Loop 100-mile Awards Ceremony will likely be at Stearns Park on Saturday evening
Check-in (and Optional Friday Night Lodging)
Point Au Gres Marina & Campground
2325 Green Dr, Au Gres, MI 48703
Search here for other Au Gres (your closest option, just north of the start) and Standish (west of check-in and start) lodging options. Bay City and Midland are the largest nearby cities and have lots of options.
See Lodging page for details, including St. Mark’s church if you just need floor space.
- Pt Au Gres Marina & Campground, 2325 S Green DR, Au Gres, MI 48703:
- You will start this race with bike tire touching Lake Huron and you will finish this race with front tire touching Lake Michigan. That pretty much HAS to be the case, right?
- Average temperature at the start: 57 degrees (45 degrees for 2020 race)
- Stearns Park Beach, Ludington
- Touch Lake Michigan to finish your quest (optional, but cool)
- Average temperature at the finish (sunset): 65 degrees (45-55 degrees in 2020)
Ludington Lodging for Saturday Night (let them know you are with the race)
- Silver sponsor Ludington Pier House Motel. Great option if you want to be really close to the finish or would like a pool. Many rooms have views of Lake Michigan.
- Convenient, historic Stearns Hotel downtown.
- If above are booked, try the Holiday Inn, further east. Mention race for discount (in process).
- Cartier Park Campground has sites for as low as $25/night, just 1 mile north of the start/finish.
- Logo (Michigan outline) and extra race (bear design for 2021) shirt $15. Unisex/men’s crew or women’s scoop. Short-sleeved, 65% poly/35% cotton. Order online with registration to guarantee availability.
- Barrel/Moscow Mule mugs. Double walled. $15
- Jersey, bib, and cap available through the Borah store, open spring 2021 for a few weeks. Mailed to you separately, before the race.
- Race organizers reserve the right to cancel the event in the case of extended severe weather or any emergency situation. We will do everything possible to get the event in, but refunds are not available if it is cancelled due to significant costs we must pay in advance of the race. In all likelihood, we would adjust start and finish times to dodge bad weather.
- Hazardous Weather Policy
Our charity partner is the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), the only global organization with a strategic research plan to end type 1 diabetes (T1D), a serious autoimmune disease that affects millions of children and adults. Type 1 diabetes has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle, and there is nothing you can do to prevent it. Currently, there is no cure. It requires constant carbohydrate counting and blood-glucose testing, and lifelong dependence on injected insulin. But insulin is not a cure, and it does not prevent the possibility of serious complications such as kidney failure, blindness, and stroke. With your help, JDRF’s vision of a world without T1D can be achieved! Visit their websites: http://www2.jdrf.org or http://greatlakeswest.jdrf.org/
Open Facebook Page
Check out our Facebook informational page for more general ride communication from the organizers.
Closed Facebook Group
Forum to connect with other riders, seek support crew, transportation to/from the start, and to have questions answered from veteran endurance riders.
Consider using #micoasttocoast tag for photos, posts, and tweets on social media.