Ore to Shore
by Michael Green • September 30, 2022
Over the past few years, I’ve tried to select destination events to combine a little R&R with a race. This year we travelled to Marquette in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to race one of the Midwest triple crown events - Ore to Shore.
A 48 mile point-to-point MTB event through the wilds of the UP through amazing private lands, past abandoned ore mines and fantastic views. The week leading up the event was amazing, warm with clear skies but come race day, overnight rain and drizzle on the start line changed the complexities of the course. O2S is a mass start event with some 800 racers and quite a spectacle as the race got underway. For the first mile or two I tried to improve my position through the wet blacktop roads of Negaunee, soon to be pushed onto two track back roads into the surrounding wilderness. A lot of climbing came early and after a decent start I was struggling with the pace. I don’t mind climbing but repetitive steep, race paced climbs are certainly not my forte. I fought for my place as the race strung out and found myself a group of racers who shared my climbing prowess.
Eventually, the climbing came to an end and was marked by the high point. We hike-a-biked Misery Hill, a rocky unrideable outcrop close to the mid-point of the race - thank goodness, downhill to the shores of Lake Superior!!
Grinding gears and squealing brakes was all you could hear. The drizzle was continuing even though we were now riding out of the low clouds. With a body covered in the red, iron ore tinted mud, the drips of water coming off of my helmet had a red tint like blood - it was certainly weird combined with that strange hint of blood when you swallowed.
The group shared pulls and as usual, I did my fair share. As we rode some of the more technical sections and wet downhills, I wanted to lead the group to select my own lines and avoid other crashing in the wet corners.
The final seven miles included a lot of singletrack, flat but rocky and full of roots. I took the front to lead our group and behind me someone clipped a tree and few went down: just as I’d predicted. The finish rolled through the campus of Northern Michigan University and finished at Lakeview Arena to the welcoming sounds of cheering families and beer drinking friends who’d got an early start on the day. I didn’t love the wet, but the course was challenging and fun. Marquette was an incredible host and Mrs. Green has already booked a campsite for next year. Top 10% overall for me, which I’m happy about given that the front of the race was fought out by big names pro’s. Top of my age group may give me a preferred starting position next year - fingers crossed.