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, with winding two-tracks, 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 24, 2023
- Start: Point Au Gres Marina, Lake Huron
- Finish: Stearns Park Beach, Ludington
- Distance: 213 miles
- Duration: 21 hour cut-off
Thanks Epic Race Timing for tracking riders all across the state!
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. And you bond with your amazing support crew who are helping you achieve your goal. 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 top Midwest endurance racer Matt Acker, 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 “ecological + elevation bell curve” journey westward through farmland, wetlands, pine barrens, rolling uplands and magestic forest and then back down, 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. Ludington provides an ideal finish town for venues, lodging, breweries and love for the outdoors.
Our design philosophy is to provide the best combination of scenery, dirt surfaces, safe roads and fun riding while minimizing sandy sections and paved and/or higher traffic riding (you’ll see very few vehicles on the course). We will do our best in the weeks leading up to the race to alert you to road surface conditions as they can change fairly considerably depending on recent weeks of rain or drought before the race. When in doubt, go with wider tires and bring extra water. Riders never regret this.
I arrive at the finish a better person. – Rebecca Rusch, world champion mountain biker (and gravel road lover)
Finish Rates (2018-2022)
- 210: 146 of 255, 57% (2021: 150 of 316, 42%; 2019: 320 of 375, 85%; 2018: 199 of 238, 84%)
- 100: 149 of 176 (2021: 179 of 200, 90%; 2019: 139 of 152, 91%; 2018: 124 of 135, 92%)
SWAG & Finisher Awards
- All 213-mile and 100-mile racers will receive a Coast to Coast shirt or SockGuy SGX racing socks plus an Orange Mud buff/neck gaiter (tentatively)!
- 213-mile finishers will also receive a sticker, a Salsa top/stem cap, and pick from either a “finisher” tumbler, beer barrel mug or more socks.
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. They may NOT meet you out on the course, consistent with many similar endurance gravel races with a self-supported ethos.
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 per vehicle (self-service kiosk).
No bike or wheel swaps are allowed during the race. See the Rider’s Guide under More Info for all the rules and more.
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 in late June
- Average wind speed: 6-10 mph during day (less early am and late pm)
Finish Rates (2018-2021)
- 213: 150 of 316, 42% (2019: 320 of 375, 85%; 2018: 199 of 238, 84%)
- 100: 179 of 200, 90% (2019: 139 of 152, 91%; 2018: 124 of 135, 92%)
The normal finish rate for the 210 is 85% but 2021 will forever be known for the incessant rain that left 58% of racers determined to get redemption in 2022!
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.
Ludington Lodging (for Saturday night)
See the Lodging page for suggestions.
Friday, June 23, 2023
Check-in, Pt Au Gres Marina & Campground, Au Gres (Lake Huron side): 2:30-8:00 pm
2325 Green Dr, Au Gres, MI 48703
Pre-race Meeting, Pt. Au Gres Marina: pick from 4:00 or 7:00 pm. 1 hour long.
Spaghetti dinner, St. Mark Parish. RSVP below. 5:00-7:30 pm.
Saturday, June 24
Final Race Announcements, Pt Au Gres Marina & Campground: 5:45 am
2325 Green Dr, Au Gres, MI 48703
Start: 6:00 am (5:54 am sunrise in 2021)
Bike/helmet light recommended but optional at start, mandatory after CP 3.
Checkpoint #1: Gladwin High School
1400 N. Spring St., Gladwin, MI 48624
Fastest rider projection: 9:00 am
Cut-off: 11:40 am
Checkpoint #2: Marion Jr./Sr. High School
2213 20 Mile Rd, Marion, MI 49665
Fastest rider projection: 11:25 am
Cut-off: 4:40 pm
Checkpoint #3 Big M Recreation Area
3500 Udell Hills Rd, Wellston, MI 49689
All motorized vehicles must purchase $5 US Forest day fee
Fastest rider projection: 3:20 pm
Cut-off: 11:10 pm
Bike/helmet light mandatory after CP 3
Finish: Stearns Park, Ludington
420 N Lakeshore Dr, Ludington, MI 49431
Faster rider projection: 5:00 pm
Ride into the Sunset Award Cut-off, Stearns Park: 9:33 pm
Awards: Saturday evening as podiums fill
Cut-off: 3:00 am Sunday (21 hours)
Check-in (and Optional Friday Night Lodging)
Point Au Gres Marina & Campground
2325 Green Dr, Au Gres, MI 48703
See the Lodging page for options, including St. Mark church ($5) if you just need floor space and a basic kitchen.
213-Milers’ Friday Night Spaghetti Dinner and Saturday Grab & Go Breakfast
- 5:00-7:30 pm
- Spaghetti dinner with meat sauce, garlic bread, salad
- Grab & Go breakfast foods are fruit, muffins, and granola bars so no timeframe; particularly for those staying at St. Mark overnight, but available to others who do not have good morning meal options.
- For any racers and support crew staying in the Au Gres area next Friday night, St. Mark church (4 miles north of our check-in/start HQ at Point Au Gres Marina)
- Donations graciously accepted.
- RSVP here if you (and any family members) will very likely attend the dinner or you will need the breakfast.
- A huge thanks to St. Mark Parish of Au Gres for hosting and charity partner JDRF for helping organize this!
- Pt Au Gres Marina & Campground, 2325 S Green DR, Au Gres, MI 48703
- For fun, touch your rear bike tire to Lake Huron before the start and front tire to Lake Michigan after you finish.
- Average temperature at the start: 57 degrees
- Stearns Park Beach, 420 N Lakeshore Dr, Ludington, MI 49431
- Touch Lake Michigan to finish your quest (optional, but a fun concept!)
- Average temperature at the finish (sunset): 65 degrees
- Extra Coast to Coast shirts and socks will be available for purchase online; pick up at the race. We will have limited quantities available at check-in and finish. Cash preferred due to limited cell service at the start.
- Jersey, bib, and cap available through the Borah store, open in the spring each year for a few weeks. Design to come. 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 website.
Forum to connect with other riders, seek support crew, transportation to/from the start, and to have questions answered from veteran endurance riders.
See our Facebook page for more general ride communication from the organizers.
Consider using #micoasttocoast tag for photos, posts, and tweets on social media.