After a week of debating whether to race in Kansas City, Elk Grove, or Marquette....I ended up racing the Ore to Shore with Cole and the Slingshot team.
The race went pretty well all in all--I achieved my goal of a top 10 overall finish and had a blast, of course.
48 miles doesn't sound like a long race after doing so many road races this year, but on the mountain bike, that's quite a lot of beating for one race! From the gun I stuck with the leadout train with the usual suspects--Matter, Schouten, Eppen's, Stanford, etc.--and fell off shortly after. Luckily, so did Eppen's tandem. I used the tandem's speed and draft to pace myself back up to the lead pack and stick it out for a while.
Then the SAND came. Wow, that is some deep, soft sand up in the UP of Michigan. Cole and I dropped of the lead 7 riders ASAP with 36 miles to go at the first major sand pit and rode tempo together for a few more miles. Finally, Cole suggested we wait up for the next chase group and pace off them. It turned out to be a good plan, and shortly after we joined up with the next group of ten riders on the course. From there on out, my goal was to simply stay at the front of the chase group and save as much energy for the finish as possible.
With about 8 miles to go Cole started attacking. I even chased him down once...hey, we're not on the same team here. With 3 miles to go a STEEP woodchip climb broke apart the group and I found myself riding alone, with Cole, Jesrin, and one other rider in front of me. I started to loose my rythym in the finishing miles until another rider caught me and we--almost--managed to chase back onto Cole's group. It was a sprint between me and two others for 9th place overall, and I took it by jumping early and motoring to the line.
9th place in Ore to Shore in the bag, now hopefully I can stay with the lead group at Chequamegon.....?