Riders Hit The Trails of The 2015 Ore to Shore
“Only 5 flat tires and a broken arm so far,” riders called out as we stood on the Lucy Hill Luge Track cameras clicking as Ore to Shore Hard Rock competitors pumped past.
“Add a broken chain to that list,” said another rider pulled off on the side of the trail patiently trying to repair a busted bike chain.
This was the beginning of the grueling uphill climb that makes up the first half of the Ore to Shore 48-mile course. A winding trail ride that starts in the small mining town of Negaunee and takes riders 1,600 feet above sea level west into the neighboring town of Ishpeming before snaking its way back down about 800 feet in elevation to the shores of Lake Superior for the finish line. Sound like too much work? Not to worry, it’s just one of six mountain bike courses of varying lengths held annually as part of the Ore to Shore races, one of the U.P.’s biggest events each summer. The race has drawn about 2,500 participants for the past two years and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.
Marquette has continuously groomed and grown its mountain biking trails as well its reputation as a bicycle mecca over the years but there are a few more unique features of the Ore to Shore race that keeps putting smiles on the faces of its riders year after year. First off, the Hard Rock and Soft Rock race courses cross over many private properties that are normally inaccessible. Participants ride trails and experience scenic views only available for this one day of the year. Second, it’s Michigan’s largest mass start point to point race with an energetic combination of seasoned racers and weekend warriors alike. Third, these are fantastic family events with race options for riders of every age and ability. Race events include:
- The Hard Rock, a 48-mile adult race
- The Soft Rock, a 28-mile adult race
- The Shore Rock, a 10 mile adult race
- The Junior Rock, a 4-mile race for those 16 and under
- The Little Rock, a 1-mile non-timed and non-competitive race for children only
- The Littlest Rock, a 50-yard non-timed and non-competitive race for the smallest riders
With all the summer recreational activities available in the U.P. many folks come from all over the Midwest to make the Ore to Shore race the highlight of a long weekend full of kayaking, hiking, sailing, rock climbing, and camping adventures for the whole family. Not to mention touring Marquette’s awesome selection of micro-breweries!