Hold on, I need to go get another beer…
OK, I’m back.
Yesterday was “sedate” enough that it doesn’t get its own post. Let’s just say my normal pre-race massage routine was replaced by going on a family trip to an iron mine/processing tour. After inhaling iron ore dust for an hour or two, we headed to Presque Isle and did a few leg-opening intervals to prep for the race.
Ore to Shore is a 48 mile point-to point that winds its way from Negaunee, MI to Marquette on gravel, pavement, and doubletrack. Because it’s mostly non-technical, and is more downhill than up, it’s FAST… like a miniature Leadville. The lead men finish in around 2 hours and 30 minutes. It’s also a very popular race. Rightly so- the payout is NICE. The men go 20 deep, and the women are paid equally for their top 5 spots. Because of those things, the field is stacked with strong road & mountain riders… and a lot of other riders:
We got to the start area early so that we could get a spot near the front. I’d applied for a “preferred start” position, but was denied, so we put our bikes in the “under 3 hours” seeding area. It kinda sucked not being able to ride around and warm up, but it was also nice to have the option of “saving” a spot near the front with your bike (some people had brought a backup bike or trainer for that very reason). After we did what we could to warm up (bodyweight squats, lunges, and various other dynamic stretching routines), we headed back to the corral to wait for the start.
We’d planned on working together, but once the race started, it ended up not working out that way. After the first few hills, Ryan was waiting up for me, and finally decided to just keep going. I don’t blame him… I was feeling great other than the hills. I’d generally rock the flats & downhills, but then I’d lose a place on the longer inclines. It sucked.
At one point, I was riding up one of the short/steep spots on one of the many doubletrack/powerline sections- it was sandy, rocky, and steep- when a guy who was pushing his bike stumbled and accidentally knocked me over. I was laying in the middle of the track, still halfway clipped in, when a guy riding up from the bottom started yelling at me to get off of the trail. I untangled myself from my bike, pushed to the top, and asked him if I was holding him up from getting 150th place or something. He didn’t have an answer.
There was also “Misery” hill. It was a steep, rocky, sandy, kinda long hill that everyone walked (I won’t call it “impossible” to ride, but I don’t know if riding in a granny gear would have been any faster or saved any more energy than hiking). After hike-a-biking several of the mountains with my SS in the Breck 100, I really think they should rename that section “Mildly Inconvenient” Hill, because “Misery” is somewhat of a misnomer. I hooked my saddle over my shoulder and booked it up the hill, enjoying the lavish amounts of oxygen I was able to extract from sea-level air. The next half mile or so was the only part of the race course that was the least bit technical. There were some short, steep ascents and descents and some rocks thrown in for good measure. By far, my favorite part.
The rest of the course kind of went by in a blur. I felt fine- my pace was good, I found guys to draft on the flat/downhill parts, ate & drank right, no cramps… I just was getting pwnt on the hills.
So, I ended up finishing over my 3 hour goal in 3:13, and all the way back in 16th place.
Side note- this is the 3rd time I’ve had this number this season. Yep.
I’m not sure how many women were entered, but there was a good dose ofÃ‚ horsepower there- including the gal who has won the last few years in a row, a former world champion from Priority Health, and Danielle Musto (not sure what I’d said that was so funny- probably something about being fat)…
It was a little disappointing. I’m kinda thinking I might drop down to the 50 for Fool’s Gold so that I won’t be dead once it comes time to race the SM100. Dunno- we’ll see what The Wizard think is best
EDIT/UPDATE: I looked at the results in the local paper, and turns out, I was 1st place in my age group (actually, the only woman who finished ahead of me in my age goup was Jenna, the winner. All of the other ones were older, of course. Older women are tough.