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Classic Barry County Gravel Roads.
Legendary Yankee Springs Deep Lake Singletrack.

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.

You’ll experience some amazing terrain and scenery on this adventure including the glacial bowls and hills of the Deep Lake mountain bike trail, the hardwood forests in the Barry State Game Area, the beautiful Otis Bird Sanctuary marshes (a Michigan Audobon site), and classic Barry County gravel roads.

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

Saturday, September 15, 2018

All activities begin and end at Camp Manitou-Lin, just north of the top-ranked Deep Lake mountain bike trails. Camp Manitou-Lin provides us a check-in and awards facility and a 5-mile lead-out to the singletrack trails. No back-ups!


  • 36-mile singletrack+gravel race (ages 14+ due to riding on open-to-traffic roads but exceptions may be granted)
  • 8-mile beginner/youth race on gravel and paved roads (including Shaw Lake which is 55 mph but has a shoulder and is not a busy road).
  • Kids “race” (free, under 14, medals). Kids will do a short loop in the field at the start/finish as many times as they can in 15 minutes or so. Push/balance bikes welcome too.

Course Markings
All race courses will be marked with directional arrows. The 36-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
90% of the race course is on gravel roads and singletrack trails.

Bike & Tire Type
Mountain, cross, gravel, fat, tandem. Traditional road bikes are not allowed due to rugged singletrack and two-track trails. Those who raced last year generally discourage the use of cross/gravel bikes because the singletrack trails are quite rugged. 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 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). We highly recommend a tire width of at least 2″ (50 mm). Generally speaking, a little wider tire does NOT cause a reduction in speed. In fact, some research shows that there is a slight increase in speed.

Biker Type
A first bike race can be intimidating. We foster 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. That said, the Yankee Springs singletrack trails are challenging so you’ll want to check them out and practice if you are new to mountain biking.

See the registration page.

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


  • 8:00-9:45 am: check-in (no Friday/early check-in), Camp Manitou-Lin, main reception center
  • 10:00 am: 36-mile race mass start: Camp Manitou-Lin
  • 10:15 am (approx.: 8-mile Beginner/Youth race start
  • 10:25 am: 1.25-mile Kids and shorter Push/Balance Bike Start: across the street in the horse camp area.
  • 2:00 pm (approx.): awards ceremony (once all the podium spots have arrived)

Team Tents
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 and In-Race Support
West Michigan Bike & Fitness will provide pre-race neutral support at their tent near the start/finish and a support vehicle out on the course, sweeping back and forth to help racers. If you don’t see them, call us and we’ll try to get them over to you or arrange pick-up due to mechanic or medical issues.


  • Camp Manitou-Lin cabins. Contact camp to reserve.
    • $25.00 per person for a bed in a community cabin (male cabin and a female cabin)
    • $200.00 to rent a whole cabin for the night (up to 13 people)
  • Yankee Springs Recreation Area campgrounds.
  • Other options: Gun Lake Motel, Bay Pointe Inn, search Gun Lake (southwest) or in the city of Hastings (east).

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
Water and Gatorade will be available at the start/finish and at the 16 Mile mark, at the Otis Farm Bird Sanctuary (part of Michigan Audobon). Metro Health Sports Medicine’s team will be at the finish.

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.


  • We are setting a somewhat flexible cut-off time of 12:15 pm at the aid station/16 miles. That’s an average of 5 mph on singletrack and 8 mph on gravel.
  • If there are several people not quite to the aid station, we will let you keep biking if you’d like. If there are just one or two people and they are quite far back, we will give you a no-shame ride back to the finish. Sixteen miles on this course is a HUGE accomplishment.
  • The reason for the cut-off is so volunteers and paid help can be done with their duties at a reasonable time.


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

Shirts & Merchandise

  • Race shirt $15. Click to enlarge. Order online with registration to guarantee availability. Short-sleeved, tech/wicking, women’s v-neck or adult/men’s crew neck . women’s shirt specifications | men’s shirt specifications
  • Lord of the Springs stainless steel pint $10. Available at the race.
  • Looking for our Michigan Adventure Racing gear (sweatshirts, shirts, pints, headwear)? Contact us and we’ll have it at the race for you.

Food & Drink
We will provide cut fruit, bagels and other snacks at no charge. Alcohol is not allowed to be sold on camp property.

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 Camp Manitou-Lin’s youth scholarship fund. We will also provide some funds to the West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance for building and maintaining our great multi-use trails. And we’ll provide a small thank you donation to the Otis Farm Bird Sanctuary for their willingness to set up the aid station there.

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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