Ty and I made a little mini vacation out of our trip to Marquette Michigan for the Ore to Shore Race. We headed out late Thursday night and arrived just after 1:30 AM in a little town one hour from Marquette called Rapid Rivers. We stayed in a very old 1950's style Motel just off the HWY for about $40.00. When we rolled in, the light was on, the door was open and we had our name on the front door. Now that's UP hospitality. Now exhausted from the drive and time difference, we hit the sack in a flash. We were up and Adam about 10 ish the next day, refreshed and ready to head to the race site after relaxing on our little front porch drinking fresh Alterra Coffee we brewed in our own coffee maker.
We headed out to the course after securing our Hotel at the Holiday Inn instead of the Landmark Inn. The room we got was just off the back facing the quiet woods and our door was just around the corner to the car, which made loading and unloading bike stuff very easy. They gave us a handicap equipped room which was huge and comfy for the two of us. After we settle in our room we were off to check out the course. We stopped inside the arena to check things out and they were setting up registration. The hallway walls were lined with old photographs of all the great hockey players dating back to the 1800's. They even had an unknown women's hockey team back in the day, those girls looked tough. We also stumbled on the photograph of the famous Carlson brothers.
I love the glasses!
So we ran into some WORS peeps in the parking lot, Andrea and Brian and we headed off with Brian leading us to the trail head. Ty split off with the guys and I spinned the first few miles of the course to check out the terrain. This was my first experience at O2S so I had no idea what to expect. The course was in great condition, dry dirt, loose sand, gravel, grass and a few roots. Typical things you find on the earth in the woods. We got to the start area early Saturday morning and had ample time to set our bikes up in front behind preferred start line.
Ty and I set our Bikes up in the "think you will finish in 3:10 area".
Course map and elevation, not sure where Misery Hill (-"Misery Hill"-a long (400 meters) rocky uphill in which many riders are incapable of pedaling the entire way. However, the satisfaction and view are worth the effort) was in there, but that was a sight from a distance when approaching the climb. Tons of Bikers marching in line up the loose rocky climb. It would of made for a real nice picture.
The gun went off and I was on Ty's wheel as we hit the pavement. I had no idea what to expect the first 40 miles of the race and stayed focused on settling in and getting that rhythm and it was fun. After I split off from Ty, no reason to hold up his race, I found a guy who was really smooth off pavement and had a high cadence going on so I followed him through the crowds of riders in double track areas, and staying hooked with him for some time. One guy I rode with actually had a bell on his bike and it worked quite well for passing. I lost him somewhere on crazy fast single track and found another guy, named Rich who I basically paced most of my race with, we went back and forth up hill and down but would always end up riding together. He had his strengths and so did I, but some how we ended up together no matter who got ahead of each other for a good part of the race.
The terrain was beautiful and I remembered to take in the beauty of the experience as well as the race. I wish I had pictures to really show everyone its not all sand and logging trails. Anyway, somewhere in the middle of my race after downing a huge gulp of gel, I started to get sick to my stomach with nausea to the point I felt like puking. (dumping syndrome) I never felt this way before in a race and it was not a bonking type of feeling but a flu like sensation. I was starting to freak out that I was actually gonna barf. I adjusted my elastic around my shorts to see if that would help with the stomach pain. NOPE. Instead I started to get abdominal cramping to the point I thought I would have to get off the bike and visit mother nature in the the woods. I was deep into the race and in a forested area, there was no tissue and the thought of leaves disgusted me. What was I to do but wade out the storm. I dialed down myself to an endurance pace and layed off the juice. This was not fun watching peeps pass me, two girls I was going back and forth with and a few of my friends like COOP. At that point I could barely talk nor phantom finishing the race I was so ill. I pedaled on, just wanting this feeling to go away or just drop dead off the course and some lovely first aid person would save me.
I don't know where I was but I saw a one of the girls I was riding with earlier who had a mechanical and I stepped on the gas to catch her and I felt ok. I started to come around, and the stomach crap was fading. Each surge of the pedal became quicker and the snap was back. I picked up the pace and moved forward with still a bit of caution. I caught up to my friend Rich again, rode for a bit and then I was off. Just ahead one of the girls that passed me when I was feeling ill, was just ahead. I put on the gas at this point, trailed both girls in the single track, got out on to the pavement, put my head down and rode out to the finish catching those two girls. Luckily I was able to pull something out last minute, as one of those girls was in my age group and I scathed the last spot, third place for the day in my age and 26th overall. I will take that for my first O2S experience.
Ty and I will be back next year definitely. It was a great mini vacation and a very fun race. We had great weather and perfect race course conditions.
By the way, My gel bottle went to some poor soul on the course who was cramping. I won't be needing that stuff any more.
Michigan Trip Photos