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Race Updates

Race Update #2

If you have not read Race Update #1, please read it below first.

Looking forward to tomorrow! Fortunately, the overnight rain missed the course. I’ll try to report on road conditions based on today’s rain this afternoon or evening, after I put arrows up. The singletrack is pretty much bomb proof; benefits from rain. Watch for slick greasy spots (usually dark soil) and ride thru any mud, not around it please.

Racer List & Race Number Look-Up

  • Look up your race number and wave number and confirm all of your information is correct. If not correct, please e-mail me now. If you think we are wildly off on your wave for one reason or another, you may email me and I’ll try to address it late this evening. No guarantees though.
  • Tell us your race number at check-in. We’d like to get to know your name, but the number helps us quickly get you your number “plate” and shirt if you bought one.
  • Need to fix an error on race day? Go directly to Epic Racing Timing’s tent near the start/finish truss.

Post-Race Food

  • Change in the post-race food: The local Curley Cone food truck will have a from-scratch lasagna lunch (meat or no meat), with side salad and bread for $10. Instead of burgers and hot dogs. Great reward for a tough race. Bakery items, ice cream and ice cream sandwiches also available for purchase.
  • Fruit and cookies are the free items from us for anyone who registered to race.

Safety Notes

  • The part of the course with the most risk is the first half mile. The mix of adrenaline and tight curves on Briggs Road have the potential to cause riders to cross the double yellow line. You have 5 MILES until the singletrack; please do not go wide here.
  • Barry County Sheriff Posse will stop southbound traffic only. Northbound traffic will continue so you MUST stay on the right side of the double yellow line.
  • For 37-milers biking north on Yankee Springs after Sager, note that there very likely will NOT be a volunteer to help you turn left/west onto Duffy at the church. Here and throughout the race, please follow normal rules of the road and indicate turns to vehicular  traffic. We recommend a rear bike light to make you more noticeable.
  • Speaking of noticeable, just to be safe we recommend bright colors (and rear light) tomorrow due to a Youth/Hunters with Disabilities hunting day. Very few hunters will be in the rec area but it is possible.
  • Just a reminder that although BCS will attempt to stop all vehicles at major intersections, there are times when they might not stop and you may need to be stopped. Keep your eyes open for both sheriff deputy instruction and fast-moving cars as you approach intersections.
  • At minor intersections, you’ll have no help so heads up (although you’ll see very few vehicles there).
  • Due to liability policy, Camp Manitou-Lin doesn’t allow dogs on the camp property. Sorry about that. I did not know that until now.

Course/Signage

  • Mile markers are at 10 to go, 5 to go, etc. so that they make sense for both the 37 and 24 mile races. Might not match up perfectly with your navigation/distance tool but should be close enough to be helpful.
  • There will be a lead motorcycle (Robbie Koets) except at the singletrack. He will stay a ways in front of you. And we will have a sweep vehicle and sweep mountian biker behind the last biker.
  • Please have the cue sheets and trail map (links in update #1 below) with you just as backup in case arrow signs are stolen or fall down (unless you have the course memorized).

Dropping Out of Race? Mechanical?

  • Call the number on your number plate and we will call the appropriate vehicle to help.
  • If you have an issue on the trail, call 911 if serious or keep moving forward to an Emergency Access point or wait for Julie Whalen, the mountain bike sweeper. Please don’t walk backwards on the trail (off trail is okay if that gets you to an access point much more quickly).

9-Mile Race Schedule
I forgot to mention that 9-mile awards will be at about 11:30 am, depending on when top finishers arrive. Awards for top youth male and female (under 17) and top adult male and female.

Kids Ride loop
We can have multiple kids rides/races pretty much at any time for any kids that can’t race at about 10:30 and would like to ride and get a medal. We would love to have parents along the loop in case a kid goes off course or falls.

Results
If you need to leave the race before results go up on the board near the chip timing tent, you can access them at Epic Race Timing’s website.

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

Mark

Race Update #1
We hope you are looking forward to Saturday! The weather looks great on race day. Mid-week humidity will be gone but will come with rain. Unlike with most trails, the soil at Yankee is sandy so rain will pack it down on the singletrack and seasonal roads and create conditions for a fast race! Race time temps are forecasted to be in the 60s so hopefully that holds as well. Sorry for the long update here but want to explain the logic for how we’re doing waves and it should answer all of your questions so grab a cup of coffee or a beer and plow through it.

Registration Changes
If you are not ready for the 37-miler, you may drop down to the 24-miler. No charge or credit to change. Or you can jump up to the 37 for $6 more. Please make either change in your BikeReg account by Wednesday at midnight. If you need to make a change after that, on race day, go to the Epic Race Timing tent to request the change (drop off $6 at the check-in tent if jumping up).

164 of you are currently registered for the 37-miler, 88 for the 24-miler and 8 for the 9-miler. A special thanks to those that are traveling from far away (Louisville, Cincinnati, Cleveland, etc.). Safe travels.

Registrations are tracking the same as last year. Unfortunately, volunteer numbers are not, which is a general trend in races. We had 33 in 2017, 18 last year and are at 14 this year. We can pull off the race with 14 but fewer intersections will have volunteers and there may be a small delay at each aid station to get water. Please be patient with volunteers!

Sponsors
Thanks to our generous sponsors for prizes and other support.

  • West Michigan Bike & Fitness. Presenting Sponsor. WMBF is providing pre-race bike support, SAG (support and gear) van and prizes. Try out their great service and products at their Kentwood, Grandville and Holland stores.
  • Velocity USA. Top rim and wheel manufacturer based out of our hometown of Grand Rapids. They provide best-in-class, hand-built wheels for mountain, road and of course gravel road biking. Many in the field will be riding on Velocity wheels. And some really good people/friends work there. They’ll provide a wheel set as a raffle prize!
  • Train Out Pain Chiropractic. As mountain bikers, Dr. Jason and Dr. Eric understand the unique challenges of being on a bike and how to get you back to 100% health. Highly recommended.
  • Bike Law Michigan. Bike Law Michigan is part of a national network of bicycle attorneys who advocate on behalf of all cyclists. A critical resource if you ever need it. Financial support from Bike Law helped us provide some of the finisher awards and trophies.
  • Metro Health Sports Medicine for providing sports medicine and medical first responder services at the race. Stop by their tent if you have a need or just a question.
  • Founders Brewing Co. for $300 in gift cards to one of the best breweries in the world, right in downtown Grand Rapids (if you didn’t know). We can’t have a beer tent at camp so after the race you can head to Founders or a place that has Founders beer after the race.
  • Hastings Ace Hardware. A good place to go for last minute anything. They have a bike shop too with gear, food, etc. Open race day 8-8 for last minute needs.
  • Tim Parks LC. A great resource for promotional products and decorated clothing for your business or event. Tim has provided shirts for our races since 2011. He also crafted the snazzy barnwood trophies some of you will take home.
  • Rob Meendering Photography. You’ll see Rob out on the course so smile – or look really badass. There’s a good chance he’ll get a shot of you. You can buy a memory of the day from his website after the race and support Rob at the same time, a mainstay of bike race photography in the area. Rob specializes in concerts, sports, events, real estate and nature.
  • Clif Bar, providing Bloks energy chews for every racer, available at check-in while supplies last. Quick energy, delicious flavors, certified organic, no stickiness, easy to open.

Partners

  • West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance is our charity partner for the race and will have volunteers out there as well. A portion of race profits will support our bike trails via WMMBA.
    • If you enjoy area trails, we encourage you to become a member of the WMMBA or your local trail organization. Member dues are used for building new and maintaining Yankee Springs and other existing trails, including insurance for our trail workers and the trail building tools, tools and supplies for trail building, including winter grooming equipment and supplies, professional trail building consultation, feeding trail crews on workdays and legal consultation and representation for local land use and agreements.
    • Extra Free Pint! Bring proof of your membership in the WMMBA or similar trail organization and we’ll give you an extra Lord of the Springs glass pint. The easiest way to show membership is to just print out the page with your name on it from the member page.
  • Thanks to all our partners including Camp Manitou-Lin, Epic Race Timing; Barry Amateur Radio Association; Barry County Sheriff Posse; the Yankee Springs Deep Lake trail maintenance crew; and the Curley Cone Food Truck. Also thanks to Yankee Springs Rec Area and the Barry County Road Commission.

Volunteers

  • Thanks to all the volunteers who will be working a lot of hours to help this race go smoothly.
  • We have 14 volunteers and could definitely use a few more. We have just enough to cover some fairly busy intersections that the Barry County Sheriff Posse can’t cover and currently short (but frustrating) wait lines to fill your water bottles at the aid stations should be expected with the lack of volunteers. They can sign up here and email me to discuss roles available.

Waves
Waves were the most popular request in last year’s post-race survey so here they are. They will likely be made up of 40-45 racers to keep the singletrack from getting too clogged, likely one minute apart so racers have a chance to catch up to a pack ahead of them. To avoid having the fast 24-mile race get bogged down in the singletrack by slow 37-mile waves in front of them, we will send out wave 1 & 2 of the 37-mile race, followed by wave 1 of the 24-milers, then wave 3 & 4 of 37s, wave 2 of 24s, etc. This will keep people in the right place pace wise (twice as many 37-mile racers and they tend to be faster on average). This could change, but right now that seems the best way to avoid singletrack clogging.

Waves are based on past Lord of the Springs performance. For those who have never done the race, we are NOT making you pay a “seniority” penalty like Iceman. We love Iceman, but having really fast racers in the back of the pack passing people at high rates of speed is not safe and can be frustrating for all (although if you’ve ever started Iceman in Wave 30+, it does make you feel fast!).

If you provided a gravel or singletrack pace from a recent race, we have adjusted that up or down based on the average difference in pace between those races and Lord of the Springs for those who provided multiple times. For races like Barry-Roubaix 36 and Iceman, these differences were very consistent from rider to rider so your adjusted pace and resulting wave should be quite accurate.

  • I don’t think I included a pace and definitely am faster than 10-11 mph default (which would put you near the back of the pack). What should I do?
    • Check to see if that’s the case here and look at the tentative pace you’ve been assigned. For those of you I know, I took a first stab at a faster pace.
    • If it doesn’t reflect your expected pace, Email me now the name of a recent race you did and the pace in mph or indicate your training speed on gravel or trail if this is your first race.
    • The median pace in Lord of the Springs is 13.5 mph. If you generally finish middle of the pack, this is about where you should be. Fast (top 20%) male riders should generally have a 15+ mph pace wave. Fast female riders should generally be in a 13.5 mph wave or higher.
  • Can I be in a slower wave? When you receive your wave number on Friday and feel like you are in too fast of a wave, you may move backward. Do not contact us. Simply move back a wave or more. Your time begins when you cross the starting line mat; your wave # does not affect your time.
  • Can I be in a faster wave? Email me asap FRIDAY if when you get your wave # you feel like you are in way too slow of a wave by a significant amount. Provide your pace from Lord of the Springs, Barry-Roubaix, IceMan, Yankee TT, Ore to Shore, etc. Include the race name. It may be that we simply didn’t get a pace time for you or failed to enter it.
  • Am I screwed if I’m in too slow of a wave? The waves simply spread you out. Your time is based on when you cross the mat at the start. With waves just 1 minute apart, you can catch up to the wave in front of you and get with racers who are closer to your pace. If 100+ of you contact me, arguing for a higher wave, I simply won’t be able to process all those changes. So if you feel like you should be a wave faster, please consider sticking with that wave and, like with Iceman, next year your time this year will lock you into that faster wave next year.

Raffle

  • Thanks to Velocity USA, we’ll be raffling off a sweet set of their best-in-class, made in Grand Rapids wheels.
  • We want this to go to someone who really could use and enjoy this so if you’re interested, please share your name and email here. Only those who respond will be entered in the raffle.

Location

  • All activities begin and end at YMCA Camp Manitou-Lin, a few miles north of the top-ranked Yankee Springs bike trails.
  • Address: 1095 N Briggs Rd, Middleville, MI 49333. Directions.

Schedule (This Saturday, 9/14)

  • 8:00-9:45 am: check-in (no Friday/early check-in), Camp Manitou-Lin, main reception center
  • 10:00 am: 37-mile AND 24-mile start (waves): Camp Manitou-Lin
  • 10:20 am (approx.): 9-mile race/ride start (out and back)
  • 10:30 am: Kids loop, at start/finish field (as many loops as they can in 15 minutes)
  • 12:15 pm: Appox. cut-off at 17-mile aid station
  • TBD (1:15 pm?): awards ceremony begins (once several divisions have a full podium confirmed)

Parking

  • The blue arrows represent where to park and how to get to check-in. Red represents the start of the race (except we’ll start on the straight away).
  • Park at the Day Camp/Horse Camp entrance where Briggs curves, from north to west. Please do not use the Main Entrance. See map below.
  • Follow the hiking path to the Athletic Field for check-in and the start. Or ride your bike on the road, but traffic may be heavy so heads up.
  • There may be back-ups into the parking area after 9:00 or 9:15 am. Please come earlier or be patient.
  • Leave plenty of time to return your pint glass(es) and possible merchandise back to your vehicle.

Start/Finish Area

  • The A-Field in green on the map below is Race HQ.
  • Restrooms are located in the Cheff Lodge, just northwest of the start/field.
  • Showers are located in the bathhouse northwest of the start/finish. Only four showers total so we’ll have a hose at the southwest corner of the main Cheff Lodge if you want to do a quick wash off of you and your bike there.
  • You are welcome to bring a tent for your group or team and set it up in the grass field just south of the check-in/start area in the campground. No charge,  no reservations needed. No vehicles please. We need to leave plenty of room for the kids race course and hanging around.

Check-in

  • I’ll email your race/bib number to you by email on Friday to make check-in go faster. If you don’t remember it, just show up and look up your name and bib number on our check-in sheet.
  • Grab your number plate and fix it to the front of the bike. Please don’t fold it as you may not get a time as a result. We reserve the right to DQ you for a chip that is bent and does not read.
  • If you decide you want the shirt but did not order it, we may some extras available after the race for $10.
  • You MAY pick up number plates and shirts for friends as long as you coordinate who is getting them. Get their race # in advance or look it up on your phone or our posted lists at check-in.
  • All racers except the 15-minute loop kids will receive a glass pint and Clif Bloks. Kids get a medal.

Course Markings & Intersection Crossings

  • Intersections will be marked with black arrows on white 11×17 signs. Usually attached to a tree but some on stakes when a tree is not available. They will not say Lord of the Springs on them as they become a bigger target for theft (or worse yet, rotated the opposite direction). If you think a sign has been ripped down or flipped, consult your bike computer or cue sheet or wait for a rider familiar with the course. The 37-mile course is the same as last year.
  • We HIGHLY recommend you have a printed map and cue sheets as back-up in case you miss a turn or signs are stolen or altered (if you don’t have the course memorized).
  • A GPX/TCX file loaded on a bike computer is always a good idea if you have one. GPS files are on the website. Note that cue sheet distances are not completely accurate, likely because of the singletrack trails but the road names and turns are good (although some street signs are missing so bike computer or map are important). The 37-mile race has been measured anywhere from 36.4 up to 38.1 miles on Ride with GPS and Strava. This is primarily due to twisty, hilly singletrack under the tree canopy in the singletrack section.
  • Roads will NOT be closed for the race. You are responsible for obeying the Michigan Vehicle Code as it applies to bicycles. The courses will have volunteers or sheriff monitors at busy intersections in addition to arrows. Many of the low-traffic intersections will not have a volunteer. Wait for traffic to clear.
  • Although the goal is to stop vehicles so you don’t have to, it’s still your responsibility to make sure that the intersection is clear before proceeding. Always assume that a volunteer won’t be able to get the vehicle to stop.
  • A lead motorcycle will be in front of the leaders except in the singletrack trails where it is not allowed. When you get to the singletrack, do not follow the motorcycle, follow the arrow signs.
  • The 37-mile race is identical to last year. The 24-mile race follows the 37-mile race until the hike-a-bike at Gun Lake Road.
  • Where the first section of singletrack turns at Gun Lake Road (mile 11.25 approx.), you will need to channel your cyclocross skills, hopping off your biking and climbing the small hill up to Gun Lake Road. The Barry County Sheriff Posse will stop traffic while you cross over to the south side. 24-mile racers head STRAIGHT ACROSS AND SOUTH DOWN NORRIS, turning right on Yankee Springs (caution when you turn) and another right on Duffy to rejoin the 37-mile course. Note that previously I had the 24-milers heading east to Yankee Spring Rd and turn right there. That is no longer correct. The GPX files have been updated with this change as of 9/7. 37-mile racers turn left/east on Gun Lake Rd as usual.

9-Mile Race/Ride

  • We want you to be aware that the first 1.5 miles and last 1.5 miles of the 9-mile race/ride (and all races) are on Briggs Road which doesn’t get a lot of traffic but is 55 mph and virtually no shoulder so it won’t be appropriate for all ages. Check out Briggs Road on Google Maps Street View mode. Depending on their age and biking abilities, we can have younger kids start and finish at Bowens Mill, the first turn off Briggs, which is gravel and very little traffic. That would make it a 6-mile race/ride. I’m not opposed to them doing the out and back twice if 6-miles is too short, as long as we know. Parents could drive down to that intersection and start them as the adults and older youth arrive at that intersection (1.5 mile mark). Email me to discuss if appropriate.

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 (#s on back of number plate) and we’ll try to get them over to you or arrange pick-up due to mechanic or medical issues. They may not be able to access you if you are on Shaw or Sager. Please walk out to the nearest intersection.
  • On other roads, consider walking to the nearest major intersection where Barry County Sheriff Posse and/or Barry Amateur Radio members will likely be.

Aid Stations

  • Start/finish: Water and Gatorade, post-race food, Metro Health Sports Medicine team
  • Otis Farm Bird Sanctuary. For the 37-milers only. At Mile 17: Water. Get your cap off and we’ll refill quickly. We will have Gatorade powder or in a cooler, but that’s on you to mix/fill. It’s just too crazy to be filling more than water.
  • Long Lake Outdoor Center entrance (Graves Hill Trail, north of Gun Lake Road). For the 24-milers (Mile 14) and 37-milers (Mile 28). Water. Cap off. Gatorade powder available.

Cut-Off

  • We are setting a somewhat flexible cut-off time of 12:20 pm at the aid station/17 miles. That’s an average of 5-6 mph on singletrack and 8-9 mph on gravel. There is no refund if you have to get pulled at that point (I am fine with a partial credit to get you back next year, stronger and faster). The reason for the cut-off is so volunteers and paid sheriff officers can be done with their duties at a reasonable time. We will drive you back to the finish.

Race Experience

  • You may be used to races with huge start/finish trusses, lots of banners and sponsor tents. You won’t see much of that at any of our races. Our focus has always been on a well designed, well marked course, a laid back vibe, and good communication so our goal is to deliver on those. Hopefully we will do that!

Rules

  • No bike swaps mid race
  • Music via headphones/earbuds is not allowed for safety.
  • Rear bike light recommended.
  • If walking a technical section, please walk off to the side of the trail, not on it.
  • We recommend you carry a mobile phone in case of a mechanical, drop out or medical issue. Call the number on the back of your race plate if you need help. If you don’t have your phone, look for the SAG or sweeper vehicles for help. In an emergency, flag down another racer. Any racer who effectively ends their race (or has a major delay) to help another rider will get a credit for a free race or 50% off entry next year.

Singletrack Etiquette

  • If you are causing a back-up on the singletrack, whether on a gravel/cross bike or not, please be considerate of faster riders behind you. Move off to one side of the trail when the opportunity arises. Listen for riders behind you.
  • Those who are behind slower riders, please communicate kindly but with enough volume so the rider in front knows you are there. “When you get a chance, I’d like to pass” when there’s currently no room and “On your left/right” when there is room are common, polite ways to communicate intent.
  • There are many places to pass but communicate with each other, pick good spots, and leave enough space behind the rider in front so you can accelerate by them. All of this will help achieve decent flow in the singletrack, especially the first section of it. Waves should help but a few slow riders can ruin some of the benefit of the waves. Stuck for a minute? Catch your breath, take a drink, enjoy the moment. You are alive and riding your frickin’ bike for fun! 🙂

Post-Race Food & Drink

  • We’ll have complimentary cut bananas, oranges, watermelon, pretzels and cookies. Located at the start/finish (or Cheff Lodge if inclement weather)
  • If you want more food, you may purchase from the Curley Cone food truck based out of Gun Lake. Quality 1/3 lb. angus burgers, hot dog, veggies. We added this due input from you last year.
  • Alcohol is not allowed on camp property because this is a kids’ camp. But camp isn’t in session so there’s a little room to bend. Be discreet. At your vehicle rather than in the start/finish area, please.

Weather Policy/Safety

  • In case we get storms before or during the race, check out our Adverse Weather Policy and procedures to know what to do.
  • When in doubt, shelter in your car. During the race, shelter at the nearest house or volunteer vehicle.
  • Hunting is allowed in Michigan by youth and those with disabilities on Saturday. It’s unlikely but possible that there will be hunters near the singletrack trail in Yankee Springs. There have never been any problems in the past, but we recommend bright colors to be safe.

Results & Awards

  • Posted near the Epic Race Timing tent at the start/finish. Results will be on printouts on boards and via a receipt print-out system with your finish data on it.
  • Shortly after the race, you can also look up results on your phone or laptop. We’ll provide the link on Friday. We’ll also email a Race Recap with results by Sunday at the latest. Or find them on Epic’s site. Lots of options.
  • Awards will be given out at a ceremony following the race fairly soon after 1st through 3rd place racers have finished and placements are confirmed.
  • We don’t have a lot of raffle prizes this year because the 24-mile race required us to double the number of prizes. Anyone who can stick around to help with clean-up after the race will be in the raffle for any remaining prizes (or a pint or buff if prizes run out).

Look for one more (much shorter) Race Update on Friday with your wave number, race number (number plate) and final details. Email me if anything seems really screwy.

Looking forward to Saturday!

Mark, for Greg

Newer Racer Tips
Riding in sand. Keep in mind 3 S’s for floating through sand.

  1. Straight – keep your front wheel as straight as possible
  2. Steady – higher cadence. No mashing. Stay seated.
  3. Speed – hit that sand pit at a good speed to help maintain cadence and straight path. A wider tire and lower tire pressure will help, but maintain enough pressure for speed on the gravel.

Hydrating. You may like the idea of not having any weight on your back during the race but if you aren’t used to grabbing water bottles at race pace, a hydration pack might be best if you have one. Packs also allow you to sip smaller amounts more frequently which the body handles more efficiently than infrequent guzzling. Or try a Three Toes Threadworks frame bag with bladder inside and long tube.

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