A misty morning could not slow down over a thousand mountain bikers who rode in the Ore To Shore race from Negaunee to Marquette.
Ore To Shore 2022 – An Unexpected Adventure
We had no idea there was a mountain bike race from Negaunee to Marquette called Ore To Shore until we drove up to Marquette to see the world’s largest rubber ducky. We booked a long weekend in Marquette to see the Festival of Sail. Since we weren’t sure how much time the Festival of Sail would take, we figured we’d wing it with a weekend of hikes and, of course, beer.
The giant rubber ducky and the tall ships entertained us for a bit on Friday morning. We filled the rest of the day with a tiny walking tour of Marquette and visits to local breweries such as The Vierling, Blackrocks, Cognition (in Ishpeming), and Drifa (more to come on this adventure). While walking around in Marquette, we noticed a poster for Ore To Shore race and thought, what the hell, maybe we’ll watch the race.
Where to View Ore To Shore – Ask Your Friends
During our Friday Funday in Marquette, we ran into Andy Langlois at Blackrocks. We asked him for recommendations on where to check out the Ore To Shore race. He said that the start in Negaunee is always fun. He then mentioned someplace called Misery Hill, the bridge over the Dead River on County Road (CR) 510, and over at Forestville Road as good viewing spots.
After a few beers at Blackrocks, we strolled to Downwind Sports and found Bill Thompson. He seconded Andy’s recommendations and said he would be visiting the 510 bridge and Forestville as well, given the great views of the riders. I couldn’t help but have a flashback to Bill giving us an adventure map years ago when we snowshoed along the Yellow Dog River near Big Bay.
I wasn’t quite sure how to get to Misery Hill, so we made a game plan to hit the start in Negaunee, run over to the CR 510 bridge, then check out Forestville before the finish in Marquette. You’ve got to love it when a plan comes together. Thanks, Andy and Bill!
Misty Morning in Negaunee
Our game day decision on Saturday morning was to follow the Soft Rock 28-mile race, which starts at the Lakeview Elementary School in Negaunee at 9 am. Ore To Shore features a 48-mile Hard Rock race which starts in downtown Negaunee an hour later (10 am), and a 10-mile Shore Rock race (at 8 am). Later in the day in Marquette are the 4-mile Junior Rock and the 1-mile Littlest Rock races. Regardless of your riding level or age, the organizers at Ore To Shore have you covered.
A light rain fell overnight, and the morning in Negaunee was soggy. A misty drizzle tried without success to cool the excitement for the upcoming race. We tucked our car into a sidestreet and dashed over to the start. I wasn’t racing but felt the rush as we watched riders prepare for their journey.
After some brief announcements for racers and our national anthem, 1013 riders of all ages were off on their adventure. The Ore To Shore Soft Rock course includes a brief section of road before hitting ORV and rail trails which take the riders from Negaunee, where iron ore was first discovered in 1844, to the shores of Lake Superior in Marquette at Lakeview Arena. The course description indicated that riders would be enjoying scenic forested trails. I know from riding out on the Potawatomi Trail in Pinckney that you typically are so focused on the trail that you forget the trees. In any case, it sounds like a beautiful ride with plenty of hills to kick your butt.
Bombing Down to the 510 Bridge
As the last riders made their way out of town, we scurried to our car. The rain was tapering off as Google gave directions to the 510 bridge. We pulled into a side road less than a quarter mile from the bridge. Walking down to CR 510, we could hear the lead motorcycle coming off the trail. We made it just in time to catch the lead pack as they raced toward the bridge. A peek at our watch showed these guys and gals were moving!
The parade of expressions had me smiling as I crouched down to take some photos. There were high fives, hand waves, thumbs up, throwing of horns, hanging loose (aka Shaka) signs, and assorted hoots and hollers as riders rode past. While a bit wet and somewhat muddy, everyone appeared to have a great time, regardless if they were 8 or 80. Speaking of 80, one rider in the race was 83 and has done every Ore To Shore since it started in 1999.
Fast and Furious at Forestville
The riders busted a move between the bridge on CR 510 and Forestville as we parked. Once again, we barely made it in time to catch the lead pack as they came off Forestville road. The road crosses railroad tracks, and the riders make a fairly sharp turn to pick up a single-track trail back into the woods.
Faces started to show the miles and the mud. Yet, there were still plenty of smiles and hand waves from the riders as we cheered them on. I heard someone yelling “Charlie! Charlie!!!” and saw our friend Gytis as he made the turn on the trail. I also caught sight of our buddy Kevin from Michigan Brewery Review looking festive in his bright Hawaiian shirt.
Soggy Finish in Marquette
The lead pack moved so fast that we missed their finish at Lakeview Arena in Marquette. By the time we made it to the finish line, the drizzle had become rain. We caught a few folks making the last push for the finish before packing up. We had a great day following the racers at Ore To Shore. Having ridden at most 14 miles of trails in Pinckney, I have a ton of respect for the riders completing 28 miles. I can’t even begin to imagine riding 48!
I got a little carried away taking pictures. I filled a 128 gig card with over 2000 photos. Sadly (or maybe happily), I weeded out the keepers to 725. You can find them in our gallery. Check them out, share them, and then share this post. There were so many great faces in the race, but here are a few more of our favorites. Be sure to let us know if we got a photo of you.
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