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Join us on September 15 at Yankee Springs Recreation Area

Mountain bikers have been climbing up and careening down the legendary Yankee Springs bike trails for over 30 years. More recently, they’ve been joined by bikers hammering the nearby gravel roads of Barry County and the Barry Roubaix race. Never have the two merged together until now at the Lord of the Springs bike race. The 26-mile course has three sections:

  • Section 1: A 3/4 mile roll-out loop followed by 3.5 miles of fast, winding singletrack on the Deep Lake Trail, from the campground to Graves Hill Overlook (reverse from the traditional flow)
  • Section 2: 17 miles of gravel roads and two rugged two-tracks (Sager and Bassett Lake Roads).
  • Section 3: 5 miles of challenging, legendary Yankee singletrack on the Deep Lake Trail from The Pines to the finish (reverse flow).

A day may come when the courage of men fails, but it is not THIS day.

All activities begin and end at the Deep Lake Campground and mountain bike trailhead in Yankee Springs Recreation Area, home to one of the top singletrack trails in Michigan and the famous Barry County gravel roads.
Address: 2526 S Yankee Springs Rd, Middleville, MI 49333 (do NOT go to “Deep Lake Road” that may pop up online)


  • 26-mile singletrack+gravel race (ages 14+ due to riding on open-to-traffic roads but exceptions may be granted)
  • 6-mile beginner/youth race (any age, Deep Lake warm-up loop, 3 laps)
  • 2-mile kids race (free, under 14, medals to all, Deep Lake warm-up loop, 1 lap)
  • 1/4-mile kids push/balance bike loop (free, medals to all)

Start Format
This year we will use waves of 20-30 riders, spaced perhaps just 1 minute apart. This will allow each group to get into the singletrack without a back-up but allows for riders to stay close together so you can group up for gravel riding. Waves will likely be determined based on last year’s finish. New riders can submit finish times from other races.

Course Markings
All race courses will be marked with directional arrows. The 26-mile course will have volunteers or sheriff monitors at most or all intersections in addition to arrows but racers are still responsible for crossing when safe to do so.

Surface Type
92% of the race course is on dirt. Here’s the breakdown in surfaces.
Gravel: 54%
Singletrack: 31%
Two-track (Sager and Basset Lake Rds): 7%
Pavement: 8%

Bike Type
Mountain, cross, gravel, fat, tandem. Each bike type will have advantages and disadvantages on the 26-mile course. Traditional road bikes are not allowed due to rugged singletrack and two-track trails. If you are unsure about cross/gravel vs. mountain, we recommend bringing both bikes and completing a full course (Tues, Thur or Sat. to get correct race-day flow) on each under various conditions between now and race day. If you choose cross/gravel, just be prepared for a fairly punishing ride on the singletrack trails. If in doubt, we recommend the mountain bike for safety and comfort (with not too knobby tires and a locked out shock for gravel sections if you are looking to increase speed).

Biker Type
A first bike race can be intimidating. We hope to create a low-key vibe (like at our adventure and trail races) and encourage those of you who might not normally participate in a bike race to give this a try. We want to get more people bike racing (lower impact on your joints and it’s exciting), create a larger, unified group of trail lovers of all types so we can advocate for our trails, and grow membership in the West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance which creates and maintains most of our great area trails.

We’ll Help You Get Ready
We will offer an on-trail bike skills clinic on September 9 at Deep Lake to help you get ready for Yankee’s roots and rocks. Clinic waiver. We’ll also provide online tips on how to race, bike set-up, fuel and hydration and more.

See the registration page.

The board is set, the pieces are moving. We come to it at last, the great battle of our time.


  • Check-in: 8:00-9:45 am (no Friday/early check-in), Deep Lake campground playground (park where directed; likely in old ballfield just to the east)
  • 26-mile Start: 10:00 am (mass start), Deep Lake campground playground
  • 6-mile Beginner/Youth Start: 10:15ish, Deep Lake warm-up loop/mountain bike staging lot (where you entered complex)
  • 2-mile Kids Race and Push/Balance Bike Start: 10:25 & again 12:15ish, Deep Lake warm-up loop (so family members racing in the 26-mile race can finish and bike with/watch their kids)
  • 26-mile Awards: TBD, likely 1 hour after first finishers arrive

You are welcome to bring a tent for your group or team and set it up near the check-in/start area in the campground. No charge,  no reservations needed. No team competition this year but maybe in the future.

Pre-Race Support
West Michigan Bike & Fitness will provide pre-race neutral support at their tent near the start/finish. You are on your own out on the race course (although call us to arrange pick-up if needed due to mechanic or medical issues).


  • Deep Lake Campground: A limited number of beautiful campsites within a one-minute bike ride of the start/finish will be available through the Yankee Springs Recreation Area. Reserve them here.
  • Other options: search at another Yankee Springs campground, near Gun Lake (southwest) or in the city of Hastings (east).

State Parks/Recreation Areas Passport

  • MI State Parks require a passport on all motorized vehicles that enter a park. A non-resident annual passport is $32.00. A non-resident daily passport is $9.00.
  • Michigan residents can purchase their passport for $11.00 when they renew their license plate. More info.

Race organizers reserve the right to cancel the event in the case of extended severe weather or any emergency situation. The Deep Lake trail drains extremely well so we do not expect cancellation due to muddy trails. 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 (not to mention this is my full-time job so food on the table is important). We will offer a small discount for next year’s race if the race is cancelled.

Aid Stations
Aid stations will be available at the start/finish and at the 16 Mile mark (Whitmore at Chief Noonday Rd, at Yankee Bill’s/Blarney Stone restaurant). Ambulance and Metro Health Sports Medicine team on site, paramedic at aid station.

Roads will NOT be closed for the race. You are responsible for obeying the Michigan Vehicle Code as it applies to bicycles. We will provide police or volunteer monitors at most intersections but if limited with volunteers, some of the low-traffic intersections may not have a volunteer. All turns will have signs, although if a sign is stolen the morning of the race it is your responsibility to know the course. Bring the cue sheet from online or load the gpx file. Please follow their direction (but check for vehicles yourself).

This race is professionally chip-timed by Epic Race Timing. Results will be posted at finish line and on Epic’s website shortly after the race.


  • Road bikes not allowed due to rugged terrain.
  • No bike swaps mid race! 🙂
  • Music via headphones/earbuds is not allowed.
  • Other rules and guidelines to be sent in race updates as the race approaches.
  • No electronic or non-traditional bikes

Shirts & Merchandise

  • Lord of the Springs stainless steel pint $10. Available at the race.
  • Lord of the Springs bike jersey $85. Click for details, pre-order to guarantee; high-end.
  • Looking for our Michigan Adventure Racing gear (sweatshirts, shirts, pints, headwear)? Contact us and we’ll have it at the race for you.

Mountain Bike Jerseys
Jakroo Tour. One level down from highest end jersey. Men’s and women’s cuts. Design/cut is for distance/endurance riding but you can also choose slim, standard or relaxed style to further refine fit. May run a bit small if you are used to regular tech shirts. Consider ordering one size larger than normal shirt size. If concern is jersey will be too short, you may wish to order one size larger and then you could go with slim fit. Pre-order only and email me about pick-up options at the race, ideally, or Gazelle Sports (or you can mail me a postage-paid mailer). $85. Sorry, no returns/exchanges guaranteed but if we have inventory, we can swap.
Specs here:
Order here:…/…/other-payments

Food & Drink
The Yankee Springs Rec Area concessionaire will be on site with hot dogs, nachos, pretzels, yogurt, fruit, coffee, juice and soda pop. Cash only.

Because of significant legal complications of serving beer at a recent bike race, we will not have alcohol for sale and it is not permitted by state law at the Deep Lake campground. We encourage you to support local breweries and other establishments in the area. We HIGHLY recommend a drive up to our sponsor Founders Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids, ranked the #2 brewery in the U.S. recently by America’s home brewers with two of the top seven beers.

Post Race
Awards will be given out at a ceremony following the race. We may need to do this prior to everyone finishing so people can get home. We will likely do a small raffle BEFORE the race so you can pick up your prize at check-in. That way people still biking won’t miss out if the raffle was afterwards.

Charity Partner
Our charity partner is the West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance. 10%+ of race profits will go to the WMMBA for building and maintaining our great multi-use trails. Thanks to the WMMBA for consulting and volunteers. And to the MMBA for the bike clinic.

Questions? is a great place to ask questions and get answers so others can learn from your question. For questions specific to you, email Mark VanTongeren, race director.

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