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One of the longest running mountain bike events in the state, the knobby tired enthusiasts return to Yankee for the CPS kickoff. 

The twelve mile loop is an almost perfect mix of singletrack, wide open flats, technical turns and everything you can name. The course seems to have held up well over the long, wet winter, which means it should be pretty quick for the nearly 500 racers pre-registered. The race has become the unofficial kick off of the mountain bike season. Many of the best riders in Michigan have Yankee Springs circled, especially with the emergence of Mud, Sweat and Beers as a top race just two weeks after.

The loop is tough and intense, requiring a top end that many riders may not have dialed in quite this early in the year. The Men’s Elite is rather solid, including the mountain bike debut of North Country Cycle Sport’s John Cowan. The local favorite is Earl Hillaker, while the man to watch is Einstein Racing’s Jorden Wakeley who is fresh off a solid training block in preparation of a packed summer schedule. Jesse Gould and Ed Serrat and Randall Zajac will add some firepower as well.

The Women’s Elite race is a duel, as is becoming a bit of a trend in 2013. Freewheeler’s Kati Krikke takes on Jane Van Hof for the win and an important confidence booster ahead of the bigger races in the spring. Especially for Krikke, who is coming off an Iceman top ten, the race is a great chance to grab an early season result for the team.

Registration is still open, and will be until Friday.