Mann Road is only fully open from March thru November to vehicular traffic, but open year-round for brave cyclists. The Cass County Road Commission closes access between Patterson Hill Road and M-40 each winter, making those sections seasonal. The Melting Mann Dirt Road Bike Challenge celebrates the seasonal opening of the road each year.
Mann Road East
The start of the race will descend on pavement, crossing Patterson Hill Rd. where you will be greeted by the loose sand, before the initial climb, it will be followed by a roller coaster of descents and climbs, crossing M-40 until reaching Sodaman Rd. HOLD ON! It will be congested and fast the first 3 miles.
Mann Road East - DirtStrava Segment
Don't waste all your legs on Mann Rd. Mt. Misery is located on the second leg of Mann, where you will climb close to a mile on the ever increasing grade with little relief. It is one of Southwest Michigan's highest natural points.
Now that your legs are warmed up, Bald Hill challenges you once again. After a sharp left turn, and cresting the peak of the climb, racers might exceed 30 mph, as they descend the steep, rolling downhill, beware of the 90 degree turn near the bottom of this descent.
There is a natural anomaly called The Rock (owned by the State of Michigan) just north of the jog on Bald Hill Road. It is quite possibly the true year-round home of the Melting Mann Yeti. The Rock is known to many, but only accessed through privately owned property.
Bald Hill EarthCacheGeocaching Profile
Kirk Lake Lungbuster
Just as you think the route is calming down, you take a turn onto Kirk Lake Road. It starts with a slight downhill to pick up the speed and boost your confidence... until you start the climb. Experienced racers know that last one is a doozy.
Kirk Lake Rd LungbusterStrava Segment
Starting in 2023, racers now make their way back to Swiss Valley by riding Mann Road in reverse, conveniently named "Dr. Nnam". All of those fun downhills are now grueling uphill climbs, making for a breaking point for exhausted riders. As you progress higher and higher in elevation, keep an eye out for the Yeti.
Dr. NnamStrava Segment
Swiss Valley Climb
There is only one way back to Swiss Valley to finish your race, and it is all uphill. There are no ways around it. Keep a little bit in the tank for the final climb and taste the sweet sweet victory of your accomplishment at the top.
Swiss Valley ClimbStrava Segment