Thursday, August 16, 2012


Knocked another one off the bucket list. This this it was Ore to Shore or O2S as most refer to it. And again, it was another race I was going into blind so the expectations were mixed. Everyone always says how great of a race this is and now I know why. Between the unusually course, the great towns in which it starts and ends, and just an all around great atmosphere, I was happy to finally be able to take part. But what was it going to be like? Are the hills really going to be that tough? Can I go full gas for 48 miles? Will the course suit me as much as every keeps telling me? All this was going through my head. However, I just kept it all in perspective and went for a really hard training ride, and tried to beat the 3 hr mark. And this is how it went.

For the week leading up to it. Brad Lako and I talked a lot about the race, what to expect and the great towns in the area. We were both taking our families on vacation in addition to the race. So Brad gave me the run down on what to do at the start, where to hang out, where to eat etc. This was a big help. And we meet up at the start as well. We both arrived early, but not early enough to get a warm up in and a good starting spot. Everyone was already lining there bikes up in the grid. So by the time we got there, we were already 30 rows back. Not good, but then again, I didn't know what to expect. Brad and I were lined up side by side. The gun went and the mountain bike peleton was off! We rode through the city streets for a few miles before hitting the dirt. All you could hear was the high cadence buzz of 700 knobby tires. What a great sound! We then took a hard right hander, and bam into the dirt for the first time. A red dust cloud was every where and thick as riders started to jockey for position. I stuck to Brad's wheel. We then rode through an old iron ore mine and soon found ourselves climbing up a steep and long two track climb. This started to separate out the group a bit. At the top it was all flat bumpy 2 track for several miles. Brad and I turned up the gas, and began to play leap frog from group to group making up lots of time. Brad would bomb down the technical sections, and I would TT through the flats and straights. We traded pulls like this for the entire race. After an hour or so, we made it to the steep power line sections. As you approached it, all you could see was a wall of bike racers walking up this monster from about a 1/2 mile away. Brad and I made quick work of the hill, and picked our way around several riders through the technical rocky section. We hauled ass again at the bottom and then dumped out onto the paved road. I did another hard pull, and soon we were climbing the paved road. The section was hard, but looking back, if I knew the course I would have made my attack here. Never the less, we were able to make up some more ground. By the time we got to the last climb on this section. We splintered the group we were with, and put in a huge gap. Brad jumped up front again and smoked the downhills as I followed. As we made it through some very fast sections, we were starting to catch several guys that had fallen off of the lead pack that was ahead of us with about 10 miles to go. This was a huge morale booster to both of us, and we turned the pace up a notch. By this time I thought I would be dead and ready to blow up. But I was feeling awesome. I told Brad I had at least 2 hard efforts left in me. He said if I thought I had it to go for it. But I told him I would hang back since I did not know the course. So We kept on.

With about 5 miles to go, we got to Kirby Hill. It was steep, loose, and narrow! Brad was in front and took an inside line. There were 2 guys in front of us on the outside line. The problem was, both lines merged in the middle. Brad spun up the hill as hard as he could. I stuck right to his wheel. As Brad approached the first rider, he just barely got around him. I was not as lucky as that rider had to dismount his bike and run in front of me. This caused me to spin up the hill in easiest, and slowest gear I had. Brad knew what he just done, and went for it like a bat out of hell. By the time I made it to the top, he was 300-500 yards down the trail and sprinting. I put it in the big ring and began the great chase! I was slowly reeling him in on the flat 2 track. But just as soon as I would gain, the trail would get technical and his gap would grow. As we got down to 3 miles to go, I was slowing inching my way closer to him again. I was full on gas the entire time, and so was he. I began to take huge risk through the tighter fast single track sections, and making moves past other slower riders through the worst parts of the trail. As I got through the last section of sandy single track, it dumped us onto the pavement again. I looked up and saw Brad just ahead. Click, Click I put it into the big ring. Brad looked back and saw me coming! We had less than 2 miles to go, and all that was left was a long section of rail trail and the paved driveway into the finish line. I put myself into the red zone and caught and then passed Brad at the beginning of the rail trail. This was with 1 mile to go. My legs were screaming, but if I let up for just a second, I knew he would be right back up in my ass! I pedaled hard and passed a ton of people! I looked back as I went past the last corner. I could not see him. I crossed the line and gasped for air. Brad rolled in 30 seconds behind and gave me a high five. That was some of the best "wheel to wheel racing" I have ever been apart of!!! We both had an awesome race because we were able to work together and push each other to our limits. I beat my goal of breaking 3 hrs. with a time of 2:53:32. This was good enough for 102nd out of 595. Not too bad for my first time. And it was also good enough for 22nd out of 110 in the 30-39 men age class. Brad finished up 23nd. Great ride Brad. And way to beat your personal best time!

Other great rides. JTP, Jim Bonnel, Jay Click, Joran Wakely. You guys all crushed it and should be very proud.

Tough luck to Mark Parmelee and Jeff Poirier for flatting. I'm sure you both would have had great rides.

1 comment:

jbhancock said...

You have great ride reports...

Can't wait for your stories from 'cross.