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210 Race Updates & Rider’s Guide

Rider’s Guide
Here is the 2019 Rider’s Guide. The Rider’s Guide, for both the 210 and 100-mile races, is 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. You can find almost all of this information on the website or in the race updates below, but the guide simplifies it and organizes it in one place. If we have any more changes, we will likely communicate those by race updates.

Race Update #2 (June 20)
The day is almost here for the Coast to Coast and Coast Loop, presented by Salsa Cycles. 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 how little training you did or how the weather will be. Speaking of the weather, things could change but we should have mild temps, in the 50s, 60s and low 70s for much of the day, winds should be east to west (two years in a row) and the severe weather seems be more likely on Sunday rather than Saturday. Here’s the current outlook for the weekend from Weather Underground.

Thanks once again to all of our sponsors, partners and volunteers for helping us make this race happen! Sponsors of the race are Salsa Cycles, Grand Rapids Bicycle Company, Spindrift Cyclesports, Trailhead Bike Shop, Orange Mud, Velocity USA, Bike Law, Teravail, Train Out Pain, Ludington Pier House Motel, Three Toes Threadworks, Local Lines, Boeshield, Skratch Labs, Tim Parks LC, Jamie Geysbeek Photography and Rob Meendering Photography.

Thanks to Big Bend Campground, Point Au Gres Marina and Campground, Stearns Motel, City of Au Gres, City of Ludington, Gladwin and Marion High Schools, Dublin General Store, all the county emergency managers and county road commission crews who do such a great job with Michigan gravel roads despite challenging weather conditions.

Race/Bib Number Look-up & Check-in

  • Please look up your lucky number here and share that at check-in to get your number plate, bottle, buff, etc.. Please email me if anything is inaccurate. The default is the 210 tab so click on 100 at the top if you are doing that race
  • You can pick up packet stuff for your friends/teammates if they are running late (and let them know you have them).
  • 210 riders: It’s important that everyone attend one of the pre-race meetings to get weather and course condition updates, possible last minute changes, safety reminders, etc. If you absolutely cannot make a pre-race meeting, you can check-in Saturday morning at 5:20 am at the house next to the start line at Point Au Gres Marina & Campground. This won’t work if lots of you do this so please only for those who absolutely cannot get to Big Bend by 8;15 pm.
  • If you need to change your distance to the 100 or your age group/category, or you are dropping out of either race, email me as soon as possible. Heck, we’ll move you up to the 210 if you want to pay to do that.
  • It’s very challenging to have races starting in two locations, across the state. It may be that a merchandise item you bought ends up on the other side of the state. In that case, please grab it after the race. If for some reason we run out of an item you bought, we will give you cash back of course or do our best to get one to you after the race.

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.
  • If you drop out out during the race, please TEXT Greg VanTol at 616.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, Schedule

  • See the 210 and 100 sections below for check-in info and the full race schedule.

Chip Timing/Tracking

  • This year, we will have chip timing at all 3 checkpoints on the 210 (and Dublin for the 100) as well as the start and finish. We made this significant investment/upgrade for safety (to track missing racers in particular), faster flow through checkpoints and to allow family and friends to know when you have reached a checkpoint.
  • Place your number plate on the front of your bike. Please don’t bend your number. Your time and place won’t register if you do.
  • Athlete Tracker. Thanks to Epic Race Timing, friends and family (or you if you want to track another rider) can download an app and receive an estimated location for you based on your pace coming into the last CP.

Road Conditions & Markings

  • Links to the routes and cue sheets are on the website or in race update #1. We have made no changes to either course. Struggling with your bike computer? The cue sheets are very clear with all street names matching the actual sign on the street, mileages should be dialed (but may not match your bike computer).
  • Matt will be marking the two tracks and snowmobile trails on Thursday and Friday and will provide an update on road conditions at the pre-race meetings (we’ll pass on updates to Greg who will handle the 100). All road commissioners are aware of the race and we hope have adjusted maintenance to give us a fast course. But this is an adventure so be prepared for any conditions. With 450ish racers, some roads and tracks will get chewed up as the day goes by which is unfortunately for those struggling in the back, but will make your accomplishment that must greater.
  • Wooden stakes with streamer and reflective tape will mark turns on two tracks where GPX and cue sheets may not give enough clarity. There will be a stake on the corner where you should turn and a “confidence” stake a short distance down the correct track.
  • All roads are open to traffic. Follow the normal rules of the road. We’ll have a sheriff cruiser for when you cross US-23 to alert everyone of your crossing, but it is not a traffic stoppage so wait for a clearing.

Final Preparations

  • Still struggling with some final set-up details? Check out Matt’s blog posts on the website or ask questions on the Facebook Community page.
  • You’ll never regret going a little wider with your tire if you are still debating that.

Shuttle & Drop Bag Service

  • If you signed up for the shuttle and/or drop bag service with JDRF, please arrive at the parking lot between 3:00 and 3:30 pm so there’s time to tag your bags and load your bikes. The bus will leave at or before 4:00 pm.
  • The best address to input into Google Maps is: Stearns Dr & W Loomis St, Ludington, MI 49431. Park in the regular vehicle spots (not the boat trailer spots).
  • All the details are here:
  • If your support crew falls through, you can still take the shuttle. Write a check for $150 written out to Cindy Aley-Holzgen and follow the instructions above

Post-Race Food

  • We’ve hired renowned The Q Smokehouse to provide warm/hot pulled pork sandwiches (and jack fruit veggie option) and coleslaw for you and Trailhead Bike Shop in Ludington will be serving you from 3 pm to 3 am. We will do our very best to provide this for every racer, even those finishing at 3 am. That said, please have your favorite post-race food with your support crew or in your vehicle.
  • We’ll also have 700 pints of chocolate milk at the finish, provided by Country Dairy, a much loved dairy producer in New Era – not too far from Ludington, thanks to the United Dairy Industry of Michigan.
  • Also, Spindrift Cyclesports will provide hot coffee (and likely cider) at the finish for as long as possible (as well as Saturday morning and Sunday morning).

Sunday Awards Ceremony & Cold Breakfast

  • We have room if you would like to join us for the awards ceremony and cold breakfast will be in the Stearns Hotel banquet room downtown at 9 am.
  • Bring $3 for the breakfast foods. Spindrift Cyclesports will provide the coffee.

Grab 2020 210-Mile Lodging Now

  • For those who want to grab Au Gres area lodging for next year’s race, our best guess for the race date is June 20 (June 19 is Friday), 2020. There’s a walleye tourney in Au Gres on the same June 20 weekend so it’s important to beat them to the punch like we did this year.
  • May 16 is the back-up date, but that date works much better for my 24-hour Michigan Adventure Race and I still prefer to stay off Arcadia Grit & Gravel more than the paved Gran Fondo (area races).

210-Mile Racers


Friday, June 21, 2019
Check-in, Big Bend Campground, Standish (Lake Huron side): 2:00-8:15 pm (note 1-hour extension for those running late)
Pre-race Meeting, Big Bend Campground: 2:30, 5:30 AND 7:30 pm (note 2:30 was recently added)

Saturday, June 22
Final Race Announcements, Pt Au Gres Marina & Campground: 5:45 am
Start: 6:00 am (5:52 am sunrise)
Sunset Award Cut-off, Stearns Park: 9:32 pm
Cut-off, Stearns Park: 3:00 am Sunday  (21 hours)

Sunday, June 23
Awards Ceremony, Raffle, Bagels & Coffee, Stearns Hotel: 9:00 am (limited to award winners and next 300 who purchase a $3 ticket good for admission and bagel/coffee breakfast; we have room so you can just show up and pay the $3 at the door)

Start Area – click on image for details on support crew parking, starting line, timing.

210 Two-Person Relay Teams

  • You must switch your number plate when you are switching riders so that your chip timing continues. Don’t forget! There’s no formal hand off process. You are on the honor system with switching at 2 of the 4 CPs, any 2.

210 Course Notes

  • Your first 6 miles are barely above sea level. With all the rain we’ve had, be prepared for a few large holes, lots of water and mud right from the start. There are no feasible re-routes here.
  • Make note that there’s an off-road vehicle rally in the Leota area. It’s not on our course, but you could see increased ORV/ATV traffic around Mile 85 at intersections
  • Beware of the sand pits as you descend Koon Road at Mile 179 (66ish for the 100). We’ll have signs above the sand as a reminder.
  • All roads are open to traffic. Follow the normal rules of the road. We’ll have a sheriff cruiser for when you cross US-23 to alert everyone of your crossing, but it is not a traffic stoppage so wait for a clearing.

100 Mile Racers

Saturday, June 22
Check-in: Stearns Park Beach (or Stearns Hotel if weather is poor), Ludington, 7:00-8:30 am
Start Location: Stearns Park Beach, Ludington
Start Time: 9:00 am
Finish Location: Stearns Park Beach
Finish Cut-off: 9:00 pm (8 mph average speed)

Sunday, June 23
Awards Ceremony, Raffle, Bagels & Coffee, Stearns Hotel: 9:00 am (to racers who started either race; limited capacity to winners + 300 so reserve your spot online for $3; we have room so you can just show up and pay the $3 at the door)

See Race Update #1 below and the Rider’s Guide for the rest of the details.

Looking forward to it!

Mark, for Greg and Matt

Race Update #1

Thank you for being part of the 2nd annual 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 is not your everyday gravel race. It’s more of a journey, both physical, emotional/spiritual, mental. We’re honored to get you started on this journey and will do everything possible to make it a memorable, fun and challenging experience again this year and for many years to come.

This is a long-arse race update so grab some coffee. I’m of the opinion that more detail is better than less. Enduring through this note is good mental practice for enduring for 100 or 210 miles! 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.

As of May 19, 450 of you are tackling the 210-miler and 100 are taking on the 100. If you have friends on the fence, here are the upcoming deadlines:

  • Jersey Orders: Due June 3 (use the Guaranteed Fit process below)
  • 210-Miler Shirt Orders: Due June 9
  • Registration: June 19. We won’t reach the 550 cap for men in the 210 so if you have a friend on the fence, they have a bit of time.
  • Shuttle & Support for 210: We are renting a 55-passenger bus so we can accommodate last-minute needs, but the constraint is space for your bike to make the trip. We will be as flexible as possible; email us to see.


  • We have 5 staff and 11 volunteers so far to support 550+ racers, a shuttle and drop bag service, 21 hours of racing and 260 miles of courses. Right now, four key positions are empty. Please share this info or my next Facebook post with anyone who might be willing to help, have them email me and then they can learn more and sign up on here. Free swag (and possibly some race credits) if you refer a volunteer to us and up to $150 in race credits for them (or you if they are family members).
  • Biggest needs:
    • Sweeper vehicle drivers from Marion (CP 2) to Dublin (CP3) and on to the finish (knowing support vehicles will help with this but may be tied up with another rider). Requires AWD or 4WD.
    • Checkpoint monitors at Gladwin (CP 1) & Marion (CP2). Heads up especially to those from mid Michigan who might have friends or family near these towns.

Post-Race Food

  • We’re excited to offer you a pretty big upgrade in the post-race food this year. We’ve hired renowned The Q Smokehouse to provide warm/hot pulled pork sandwiches (and veggie option) and coleslaw for you and Trailhead Bike Shop in Ludington will be serving you from 3 pm to 3 am.
  • Who knew? We applied for and received a grant from the United Dairy Industry of Michigan that will provide 500 pints of chocolate milk at the finish, provided by Country Dairy, a much loved dairy producer in New Era – not too far from Ludington (and a favorite of mine).
  • Also, Spindrift Cyclesports will provide hot coffee and cider at the finish until 3 am (as well as Saturday morning and Sunday morning).
  • Lastly, we’ll have salty and sweet treats.

Meat or Vegetarian Survey

  • Whether you are a carnivore or vegetarian, please take the one question survey so we can determine how much pulled pork and jackfruit veggie option (it’s actually quite close to pulled pork IMO) to order. Your support crew and finish line bag are your best options if you have special dietary needs.
  • Survey Question

Shuttle & Support Service

  • We will take reservations (under Purchase Event Items on BikeReg) for the Shuttle & Support service almost up to race day. This is a fundraiser for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). JDRF will be renting a 55-passenger bus so we’ll have room for you if you need a ride over from Ludington.
  • If you have a ride to the start but just need drop bag service and rescue support, we’ll take a limited number of reservations for that as well for $50.
  • Details here including parking which will be on the south side of the boat ramp parking lot, just south of the Stearns Park finish.

Advice on Training, Bike Setup & Other Tips

  • 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.
  • Also read Matt’s blog articles located on the right side of the race website.

Route Info

  • The latest and likely final 210 Route files and 100 Route files are on the website.
    • Maps and links to GPX and TPX files (provided on both Strava and Ride with GPS sites)
      • 210: updated 3/19/19
      • 100: updated 4/23/19
    • Cue sheets. Mandatory for all riders; includes mileages and street names to match actual street signs.
      • 210 & 100: updated 5/14/19
  • Route: We reserve the right to make changes, but at this point both the 210 route and 100 route are final. Changes only likely due to major issues like a bridge out or newly discovered fault line.
    • The 210 re-route from 2018 skips the sandy Stark Rd two track, replacing it with less sand and an amazing overlook on Koon Rd followed by a white knuckle descent (watch for the sandy patch on the way down!).
    • The 100 re-route from 2018 detours around the infamous swampy section (flooded last year due to 3-4 inches of rain), replacing it with fast gravel roads with normal county maintenance. Lucky for you, you caught Matt in a good mood when he re-routed this!
    • Not sure if you have the 2018 or 2019 cue sheets or GPX? If the route goes west on Koon Road, you are set (at Mile 178 for the 210 or Mile 66 for the 100)
  • Signage: While the vast majority of the route will NOT be signed, Matt will add wooden stakes with streamer tape (and likely reflective tape) at intersections where clarity would be helpful, such as snowmobile trail and two-track entrances and exits. The stakes are on the side of the road where you will be turning (i.e., stake on left side means left turn). Then after the turn there’s a confirmation stake on the road you should be on. 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. Make sure you have battery back-up and cord.
  • 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 relatively short portions of sand (think dozens or hundreds of meters long, not several miles) if they occur within sections of spectacular riding and/or scenery or provide the best overall flow.

Rider’s Guide
The Rider’s Guide is currently being updated and will reside on the Race Updates & Guide page when complete. We will also send you a link in a future race update. It contains lots of details to help you and your support crew get ready. Most of the details in the 2018 guide are accurate so you can take a look at that under the 210 section; just know that some things will change including mileages, 210 pre-race meeting times, etc.

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

  • Bike/component swaps. 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/rescue vehicles. This is a self-supported race. You don’t have to be supported at any CPs but are required to have a vehicle 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 need to drop out or severe weather cancels the race mid-stream. We simply do not have the vehicles to haul 100+ racers back to Ludington.
  • There will not be an official support vehicle route but roads 61, 115, 55, Freesoil/8 Mile, and US 31 are the main thoroughfares across the state near to the course. Typing in the 3 checkpoints (Gladwin, Marion, and Dublin) in Google Maps will produce the fastest and safe “legal” route. Please stay off the bikers’ route except if they drop out or have a medical issue.

Drop downs, Transfers, Deferments

  • Edits (including category changes, relay or tandem swaps): 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. If you make a change and BikeReg charges you $10 because it’s not early bird pricing anymore, holler. I think I fixed this, but not 100% sure.
  • Transfers: Free. Please use BikeReg’s edit/transfer link to facilitate. Use your confirmation email or sign-in to your account. Figure out payment on your own.
  • 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!).
  • If you cannot find a transfer but can race next year, contact me and we’ll work something out.
  • If you cannot do the race and wish to receive a refund for your merchandise or shirt, we can provide 100% cash back if we have not already ordered them. If they have been ordered, we can leave them at GR Bike Company or ship them if you send us a pre-paid mailer. Or arrange to have a friend pick up.


  • See the Lodging page for Friday and Saturday night options.
  • Big Bend Campground, Point Au Gres Campground, and St. Marks Church ($5 for floor space) are affordable options for Friday evening at or near the start of the 210.
  • Cartier Park Campground is an affordable option in Ludington for Friday and Saturday, just north of the start. Rustic sites are $25, a little more for hook-up. Sponsor Ludington Pier House Motel has 2-night rooms available right across from the finish line.
  • Staying overnight in vehicle or tent is not allowed at Stearns Park (the start of the 100 and finish of both races). Cartier Park Campground might be your best option.

Post Race and Things to Do

  • Showers after the race. Lake Michigan is your closest shower. The hot water faucet is broken. Otherwise wherever you are staying overnight. I am not aware of any public showers.
  • 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).

Sunday Awards Ceremony & Breakfast

  • The awards ceremony and cold breakfast will be in the Stearns Hotel banquet room downtown at 9 am. We will try to move through the awards and raffle at a decent pace so you can get home.
  • Reserve your spot and breakfast for $3 under Purchase Event Items in BikeReg. If we don’t fill up, we’ll open it up to others who show up at the door.
  • Spindrift Cyclesports will provide the coffee and we will have muffins and other cold items.

Bike jerseys: orders due by June 3; go to your BikeReg account to add to your order. If you fill out Jakroo’s Guaranteed Fit Service Form now, you can return your jersey if it doesn’t fit. Select the “Tour” model in this form. We do NOT have much extra inventory at all, so please fill out this form or trade on your own using the closed group page.

Complimentary Shirt with Entry (see Designs Below)

  • 210-mile racers will get the Deer shirt as part of their entry fee. If you wish to get the logo shirt as well, it’s just $10 on BikeReg or at check-in (order on BikeReg to guarantee size).
  • 100-mile racers will get the Logo shirt as part of their entry (no date on it). We did not ask for sizes. There will be decent quantities in every gender cut and size. First come, first served. If you want the deer shirt, purchase through BikeReg merch.
  • For those who purchased the race shirt before the two designs had been created, the “default” shirt is the Logo shirt. If you do nothing, you’ll receive that shirt in the women’s or men’s/unisex cut and neck you selected as shown below. If you would prefer to get the “deer” shirt instead, please change that in your BikeReg account (or contact me and I can refund it so you can purchase the other). If you purchased a shirt not realizing that you would get a free one with your entry, please email me by June 8 and I’ll refund it for you.
  • How’s the sizing? The shirt is a better quality shirt, from a different manufacturer from last year’s shirt. I only have men’s mediums to compare and they appear to be similar to last year, maybe a little narrower in the torso than last year. My best guess is that it’s similar for the women’s shirt. Change it now in BikeReg if necessary. Once everyone gets the shirt they ordered at check-in, we can allow size swapping.

More Info
Check out the Community Forum on Facebook if you have additional questions. We’ll use this page for race details with email updates less frequently, summarizing info and clarifications.

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!

Mark (Matt and Greg too)






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