It’s no secret that Michigan is home to some top-notch racing. Well, auto racing, that is. But that doesn’t mean there is any shortage of excellent cycling races across the state. Whether you’re cheering on riders from the sidelines or gearing up to race, cycling races in Michigan are truly a thrilling event. Stretch out your hammies and go find your helmet, because it's time to check out nine great bicycle races in Michigan!
Not far from Grand Ledge, there's an impressive triathlon that takes place annually called the Grand Adventure Race. Featuring an 11.5-mile road bike race along with a 5K run and a two mile paddling loop, the event will test even the most powerful of athletes, so be sure you're ready for this one.
Featuring not only a massive trail—about four to six miles, depending on how far you go—but also a set of challenges described as “Amazing Race-style,” and a snowshoeing event, this could be one of the biggest challenges a biker will face. Bikers here will engage in a “fatbiking” trail, which is a kind of bike with particularly fat tires specially designed for difficult terrain like sand, mud, or yes, snow.
It doesn't really need to be a race unless you want it to be, but Bicycling Magazine called this one of the 10 best multi-day rides in the United States, so consider this one a little more closely. Pick your choice of tour lengths: Two, six or eight days. And while you’re at it, check out some of the best trails, beaches, rivers and even brewpubs in Michigan.
A Michigan November can be a cold affair bested only by a Michigan December, January, February, March, and in some sad cases, April. The Iceman Cometh Challenge, starting in downtown Kalkaska, takes this notion and laughs in its face, running a bicycle race in the meantime. Running all the way to Timber Ridge in Traverse City, a distance of about 30 miles, the event ends with an after party sponsored by Bell's, well known in Michigan for its beer selection. Shorter races are on hand for those who don't want to run the full challenge, however, including the eight-mile Meijer Slush Cup and the Meijer Sno-Cone for the younger set.
One of the few bike races around with an acronym for a name, the Dick Allen Lansing to MACkinaw—DALMAC—is another one of those “it's really only a race if you want it to be” events. An end-of-summer bike tour from, as the name implies, Lansing to Mackinaw City, this four to five-day event offers a look at Michigan's central passage all the way up to the Upper Peninsula. Particularly adventurous cyclists, meanwhile, are welcome to go right on into Yooperland by way of the nearby Mackinac Bridge.
Ludington offers this impressive bike race, running two sets of races on the same day, and allowing users to choose which race they'd rather run. One race is a short race, about 12 miles through the School Forest in Ludington, while the long race will instead cover 17 miles, or about two laps. That's a strange set of figures, but entirely possible depending on how the laps are laid out. Those who want to enter will get an exciting ride through the forest, as well as your choice of a water bottle or a pint class if you pre-register with the $35 entry fee.
While it's a USA Cycling event and thus requires licensing, those who just want a ride are still welcome, as the organization will cover the one-day license fee for those who sign up. They'll be limited to certain races—the Beginner Men Category 5, the Beginner Women Category 4, Juniors, or Single Speed races—but the options are still there for anyone eager to try.
The annual Frigid Fondo event in Fennville features two separate races: The 18-mile and the 30-mile route, though both have the same entrance fee of $30 ($35 on race day itself). Sponsored by Velo City Cycles and Virtue Cider, the Frigid Fondo event will offer a fairly long ride around Fennville, and for their efforts get a food and drink ticket good for one free drink.
Another acronym-based name, the ODRAM event features a true challenge for cyclists right in its name: The One Day Ride Across Michigan. That may sound ludicrous given Michigan's size, but the good news here is that the “across” will be from left to right, not up to down. The total ride is 145 miles, going from Montague and heading over to the Bay City State Recreation Area. Cyclists get a free lunch as well as a celebration picnic at the end, so cyclists will at least be well-fed in their rather lengthy travels.