“No one starts mountain biking to compete in races,” said Noquemanon Trail
Network Committee single-track chair member Derek Anderson, “it’s a gradual
transition.” Most start mountain biking as a physical alternative to
running or as an activity with friends. It usually takes a couple years for
the casual rider to label themselves a biker, let alone a racer.
Though Anderson rides mostly for the experience, he also competes in races.
A race Anderson annually competes in is the MGHS Ore to Shore Mountain Bike
Epic (O2S). The O2S is a point-to-point race that starts in Negaunee where
iron ore was first found in the Superior region and ends on the beautiful
shores of Lake Superior. Riders are sure to be enchanted by the scenic
terrain of Marquette County.
The O2S started off as an idea between two riding buddies. “Jeff Juntti and
I wanted to create a point-to-point race that offered accessible terrain to
every skill level,” explained race director Scott Tuma. Putting together
the O2S was no easy task as everything had to be created from scratch. But
the effort proved worthy as the O2S now attracts top Midwest riders and
thousands of others.
The uniqueness of the O2S is what attracts so many riders. Including the
O2S, only three major point-to-point races are offered in the Midwest.
“Point-to-point races themselves are rare, and having one that is 48 miles
in length is almost unheard of,” Anderson said. Adding to its uniqueness,
portions of the O2S race track travel over privately owned land, meaning
the course is open to riders only once a year.
Besides the 48 mile event, the MGHS Ore to Shore also offers a 28 mile
course. To Anderson, the 28 mile event is a great way to take your riding
to the next level and try your first race. He also encouraged those that
have been racing the 28 mile to try the 48 mile this year as it is a
substantially different experience.
Youth looking to take their riding to the next level should consider the 4
mile junior rock event which is professionally timed. Winners from the
junior rock will take part in the official awards ceremony following the
race. A one mile and 50 yard event is also available for the younger
riders; parents love these events as they get to witness their child in
action. All youth riders are given a race T-shirt and ribbon for their
efforts. Designed so parents can race in the morning, than watch their kids
in the afternoon, the O2S is sure to be fun for the entire family.
Though a fun experience, there still is a level of competition. However,
the term competition is relative to the rider. Some compete to place and
win the cash prize, while others are racing to compete against a friend or
last year’s time. But it isn’t the competitive part of racing that
intrigues most riders. “I like riding and I like training; the race for me
is secondary,” said Anderson. Biking is one of the friendliest sports
around. It’s not uncommon to hear ‘competitors’ supporting each other’s
efforts throughout the race. Such support breeds a captivating atmosphere.
“The energy surrounding the race is indescribable. To be around hundreds of
people who are just as passionate about biking as you are is amazing,”
August 11th marks the 13th annual MGHS Ore to Shore. Create a unique
challenge for your body and mind; if nothing else, take part in the race
simply to enjoy the ride. In the words of Anderson, “What’s the worst that
To register for the Ore to Shore Mountain Bike Epic, click on the link: http://oretoshore.com/