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Race Updates

Race Update #2
Hope you are looking forward to tomorrow. What’s great about mountain and gravel biking is that shade and a self-generated breeze will help when things warm up in the back half of the race. No hurricanes here so hard to complain.

Please read Update #1 below if you haven’t or need a refresher.

Racer List & Race Number Look-Up

  • Look up your race number and confirm all of your information is correct. If not correct, please e-mail me now so we can fix it before race day. Need to fix an error on race day? Go directly to Epic Racing Timing’s tent near the start/finish truss.
  • 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.
  • Just a reminder to order yourselves at the start/finish based on how you usually finish in a race. All it takes is a few slower people too far in front to cause safety hazards. No waves.

Volunteer Shortage

  • We have about half the volunteers as last year. Not sure why. This means that for many low-traffic intersections, keep your eyes peeled for vehicles and the arrow signs as there will not be a volunteer.

Aid station

  • We’ll use pitchers to refill your bottles and bladders. Mostly water but we’ll get you Gatorade if you need it. If you just want a cup, you may have to bike up to the table.
  • If you don’t need any fluids, please stay off to the left.
  • We only have three people to refill your bottles and bladders (assuming all three make it!). Please be patient. They will use pitchers so it should go fast but if you are coming in as a group, it may take a bit for them to refill. If you know of anyone who would be interested in helping at the aid station, please have them email me.

Check-in/Start/Finish Venue

  • Facebook still had last year’s venue address. Make sure you go to Camp Manitou-Lin, 1095 N Briggs Rd, Middleville, MI 49333. See update #1 for all the details.

Start

  • 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.

Safety

  • 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).

Course/Signage

  • Here’s what the arrow signs look like. Black arrow on white 11×17. The Yankee Springs singletrack is well-ridden so the trail is easy to follow (if you are paying attention at least). There is only one arrow sign within the trail system (at the Devil’s Soup Bowl connector). Arrows will be primarily on the Emergency Access and trailhead posts so you know where to enter and leave the trails.
  • On the roads, these arrow signs will primarily be on trees or h-stakes if there are no good trees.
  • Mile marker signs at 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and probably 2 miles and 1 mile to go. Might not match up perfectly with your navigation/distance tool but should be close enough to be helpful.
  • The lead vehicle as you exit Yankee Springs Rec Area (Gun Lake Rd at Hastings Point) to the fun Bassett Lake road climb at M-179 will be a motorcycle (Ward Wilson who leads out Barry Roubaix, Iceman, etc.).
  • 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?

  • Call the number on your number plate. If you also need a ride back, call the second number for the SAG van.
  • If you have an issue on the trail, call 911 if serious or keep moving forward to an Emergency Access point or wait for Matt Acker 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. At $10 and with 20 participants, it’s more of a just for fun event but we want to recognize top efforts too. Everyone gets a glass pint.

Kids Ride loop
We can have multiple kids rides/races pretty much at any time for any kids that can’t race at 10:20 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.

Velocity Wheel Set Raffle
Dan Korienek is the winner of the Velocity Wheel Set! Made right here in Grand Rapids. Velocity’s wheels and rims are incredibly durable and high quality, customized to your tastes and desires. You can pick up the grand prize at check in.

GoPro
If anyone will be shooting their race with a GoPro or similar camera and plans to make a short video, I would be interested in obtaining rights to use it in exchange for a free entry next year or gear. Email me if interested.

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! If you’ve pre-ridden the course, you know this is more difficult than last year in mileage and terrain. It will be challenging but fair; a good test of your skills on many different surfaces.

We are currently at 210 of you in the 38-miler and 13 in the 9-miler. Although this is year 2, the new start/finish means that almost everything is new so we’re repeating a lot of what’s on the website below to make sure everyone is in the loop.

Weather Forecast
The entire week leading up to the race (and after the race in case weather shifts) looks fantastic. Race time temps will likely be in the mid to high 60s with zero rain predicted. Hard to complain about that.

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. Stop by their booth for $10 anything in their store on your next visit. 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 wheel sets as prizes.
  • Train Out Pain Chiropractic. As mountain bikers, Dr. Jason and Dr. Eric (racing on Saturday) understand the unique challenges of being on a bike and how to get you back to 100% health. Both Matt Acker and I go to T.O.P. for injury treatment and maintenance.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Local Lines mountain bike guide service in Marquette for two guiding certificates as prizes. Use Local Lines for an efficient, fun, safe mountain bike experience on a wide spectrum of amazing trails. Good prep for the Marji Gesick and other area races.
  • Clif Bar, providing Bloks energy chews for every racer. Quick energy, delicious flavors, certified organic, no stickiness, easy to open.

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 help maintain this trail and others, build new trails and advocate for bike and trail use. Consider becoming a member of the WMMBA if you benefit from the trails we care for.

Thanks also to our partners Epic Race Timing; Barry Amateur Radio Association; Barry County Sheriff Posse; Ward Wilson for lead motorcycle; Matt Acker for lead/sweep biking; Terry Sensiba, Mark Spore and the Yankee Springs trail maintenance crew; Full Circle Coffee; and Camp Manitou-Lin.

Raffle
Thanks to Velocity USA, we’ll be raffling off this sweet set of wheels. It’s a 27.5” Blunt SS Comp build laced to Velocity Boost Hubs! MSRP $675. We want this to go to someone who really could use and enjoy this so if you’re interested, please share your name here. Only those who respond will be entered in the raffle.

Volunteers

  • Thanks to all the volunteers who will be working a lot of hours to help this race go smoothly.
  • We could use a few more. We have just enough to cover some fairly busy intersections that the Barry County Sheriff Posse can’t cover. They can sign up here and email me to discuss roles available.

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, 9/15)

  • 8:00-9:45 am: check-in (no Friday/early check-in), Camp Manitou-Lin, main reception center
  • 10:00 am: 38-mile race mass start: Camp Manitou-Lin
  • 10:10 am:  9-mile race/ride start (out and bike)
  • 10:20 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
  • 1:15 or 1:30 pm (approx.): awards ceremony (once all the podium spots have arrived)

Parking

  • 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.

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 Cheff Lodge if you want to do a quick wash off 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.

Check-in

  • I’ll very likely email your race/bib number to you by email to make check-in go faster. If I can’t, 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.
  • Shirts. Shirt orders are due today via your BikeReg account. If you decide you want the shirt, 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 38-mile and 9-mile racers will receive a glass pint and Clif Bloks.

Course Markings & Intersection Crossings

  • Roads will NOT be closed for the race. You are responsible for obeying the Michigan Vehicle Code as it applies to bicycles. The 38-mile course will have volunteers or sheriff monitors at busy or tricky intersections in addition to arrows. Many of the low-traffic intersections will not have a volunteer.
  • 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.
  • All race courses will be marked with directional arrows. They will not say Lord of the Springs on them as they become a bigger target for theft to someone who doesn’t like to see races in the area.
  • We HIGHLY recommend you have a printed map and cue sheets as back-up in case you miss a turn or signs are stolen (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).
  • 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.
  • Where the first section of singletrack turns at Gun Lake Road (mile 11.25 appox.), you will need to channel your cyclocross skills, hopping off your biking and climbing the small hill up to Gun Lake Road. Volunteers will stop traffic while you cross over to the south side.


9-Mile Race/Ride

  • We’ve been discussing with parents the safety of kids/youth doing the 9-mile course. We want you to be aware that the first 1.5 miles and last 1.5 miles 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. Please contact me if you have a youth signed up for the race. What we can do is have them start and finish at Bowens Mill which is gravel and even less 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.

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.
  • If necessary, walk to the nearest major intersection where Barry County Sheriff Posse and/or Barry Amateur Radio members will be.

Aid Stations

  • Start/finish: Water and Gatorade, post-race food, Metro Health Sports Medicine team
  • On Course, Mile 17 (Otis Farm Bird Sanctuary): Water and Gatorade, volunteer medical first responder

Cut-Off

  • We are setting a somewhat flexible cut-off time of 12:15 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. The reason for the cut-off is so volunteers and paid help can be done with their duties at a reasonable time.
  • 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. Seventeen miles on this course is a HUGE accomplishment.

Race Experience
You may be used to races with huge start/finish trusses, lots of banners and sponsor tents, and fancy finish chutes. You won’t see 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.

Rules

  • Road bikes not allowed due to rugged terrain.
  • No bike swaps mid race
  • Music via headphones/earbuds is not allowed for safety.
  • We recommend that everyone carry their mobile phone as there are long stretches in between some major manned intersections.
  • Rear bike light recommended.
  • Please call “on your left/right” or “on your left/right when you can” to pass on singletrack trails. The person being passed can then move slightly to one side if possible.
  • If walking a technical section, please walk off to the side of the trail.

Post-Race Food & Drink

  • Located at the start/finish (or Cheff Lodge if inclement weather)
  • Complimentary cut bananas, oranges, watermelon, bagels, pretzels and cookies.
  • Alcohol is not allowed on camp property because this is a kids’ camp. But camp isn’t in session. Be discreet. At your vehicle rather than at your team tent please.

Weather Policy

  • Just 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.

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 full screen (computer) or your phone. We’ll provide the link on Thursday or Friday. We’ll also email a Race Recap with results later in the day or 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 once 1st through 3rd place racers have finished and placements are confirmed.

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.
  3. Speed – hit that sand pit at a good speed to help maintain cadence and straight path. Of course a wider tire and lower tire pressure help but you have to balance that with the gravel roads you’ll face after the sand!

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.

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