Autumn in Northern Michigan: Races and Rides

Crystal Mountain Cyclocross 2013 154 With so much going on, it's time to lay out your calendar, get out your most dramatic red pen and start circling the following dates. 

Northern Michigan is a mecca for cycling year round, but there's something about autumn that turns is up a notch. There are few places on earth that offer as many beautiful trails, roads and amazing events once school is back in session and the weather turns playfully unpredictable.

Rock Road 50/50 The first big event of the fall is right in Traverse City. September 21 brings the first running of the Rock Road 50/50, a gravel road race in true up north style. Using parts of the Vasa 25km and great gravel routes just east of the shop, it's a challenging event right in our backyard at Timber Ridge. Choose from a 50 mile or 50km race to get your legs ready for everything else yet to come.

Michigan Mountain Mayhem Gravel Grinder Gravel is definitely the fastest growing discipline in the area, as confirmed by the addition of October 4th's MMM Gravel Grinder. This is going to be a very tough test as, in true Mayhem fashion, the race takes on over 3,000 feet of climbing in the 60 mile distance, with 40 mile and 20 mile options also available. If you ever needed an excuse to explore Boyne City and the low-traffic, meandering roads surrounding it, this is certainly it.

Gears and Beers Iceman Cometh Practice Ride October 11 starts the mania. For the second year, get ready for Iceman with a practice ride led by Einstein Racing, Jason Lowetz and Cody Sovis. The ride includes an optional shuttle service or Out and Back ride, taking in the 2014 course with a crew of experienced racers. After, head out to the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa for a Bell's Brewing Dinner, complete with food, beer, and bike-talk with Ec. To find out more, head over for ticket and ride details. 

Peak2Peak Mountain Bike Classic Thompsonville takes center stage in the mountain biking universe one day a year, and in 2014, that's October 18. Peak2Peak has become a can't miss mountain bike race at Crystal Mountain, perhaps the most beautiful setting for a race anywhere. Under the fire-streaked canopies and on the slopes of one of the best resorts in North America, the good and the great are all at Crystal Mountain for this tough, thrilling and fun race. But the fun isn't just one day...

Crystal Cross presented by Einstein Cycles Stick around! Crystal Mountain's weekend of two-wheeled revelry rolls on with Crystal Cross, the biggest cyclocross race in Northern Michigan. Registration is open for the most fun you'll ever have on a bike, with raffles and awards capping off a great weekend of bike racing. The course, too, is worth the trip; technical, twisty, and perhaps the most authentic circuit we've put together.

Iceman Cometh Challenge The biggest one-day mountain bike race in North America. There really is nothing like it. If you haven't witnessed the chaos and beauty that is 5,000 mountain bikers blitzing their way from Kalkaska to Traverse City, it will put goosebumps on your arms. And if you have seen it, well, you are probably already planning on coming back. The race is November 8, and if you aren't signed up, you'll have to watch for Iceman transfers.