Courtesy of Ore to Shore
August 11, 2012 is the 13th Annual Ore to Shore Mountain Bike Epic. For thirteen years this race has brought bike enthusiasts to Marquette County. In the beginning 480 racers competed for glory, and for 2012 the race committee expects to reach far over the 2300 registration mark.
Scott Tuma, O2S race director, attributes the success to a combination of factors. “First, I think it’s our geography. We have great terrain here in Marquette County. It’s not flat by any means, but it’s not as undoable as the Colorado Mountains either. With Lake Superior as a backdrop, magnificent views are provided as some racers descend practically 1,000 feet. Sometimes I know it doesn’t seem like it, especially at Kirby’s Hill, but from 20 or so miles out, you’re on a gradual decline towards the lake
for the duration.”
Tuma continues, “Secondly, we’ve designed a course that’s interesting to all levels of riders. We’re attracting some of the Mid-West’s top riders who enjoy the challenge of the 48-mile course, but we are also attracting riders for the 28-mile race who have never before entered any race. They feel comfortable enough knowing that there is support on the trail, that the trail isn’t too technical and that they can ride for their own personal enjoyment.”
The O2S is a point-to-point race, with riders gearing up at the start line in Negaunee, where in 1844 iron ore was first discovered in the Superior region. The long distance course travels through Ishpeming, past towering head frames from the heyday of underground mining, and then heads north into the beautiful wooded wilderness, crossing or running along side of the Dead River all the way into Marquette to the Lake Superior shoreline. The shorter race also starts in Negaunee, but immediately turns north and then east towards Marquette. The two courses merge six miles north of Negaunee and the soft rock riders get to experience the same Dead River and Superior overlooks as well as the same finish line.
In 2011, the 10-mile Shore Rock was introduced. The Shore Rock offers an entry-level distance for the rider looking to try mountain bike racing, or for kids wanting to expand beyond the Junior Rock. Starting at Lakeview Arena at 8am, the racers will travel towards Tourist Park, and along the last section of the Hard/Soft Rock. The course will circle around and finish back at Lakeview Arena. Trophies will be awarded to the top age group finishers.