I think this was my 6th Ore to Shore and it's still one of my favorite races to do. Marquette is always super pretty in August, and having a big (and equal) payout draws a really competitive field of women to race. I think we had about 80-plus in our field, but it was hard to tell where everyone was since the men and women start together.
I was really nervous about the start because I knew it was going to be a) fast and b) hundreds and hundreds of racers pounding down the pavement together. I knew I had the endurance but wasn't sure how my legs were going to handle the fast start.
After a few moments of shock (where I swear I was pedaling backwards) I started to pick people off once we hit dirt. I think I'm going to start training for next year's Ore to Shore start NOW :-)
I was in a pretty good position as we hit the first powerline climb but I could tell that my legs didn't have anything extra. It was one of those days where I felt like I had to do twice the effort just to get anywhere. What's the term...pedaling in squares? I felt like that's what I was doing.A lot of the Ore to Shore course feels like a road race, and you can lose a lot of time if you ride alone. Unfortunately that's exactly what happened to me this year. I popped off the back of a few guys that I was riding with, and pulled off the front of others.
For most of the race I was riding between 4th and 5th place, but got passed by 2 teammates working together in the last 7-ish miles. For some reason I hopped on the wheel of the guy that they were riding with instead of hopping directly on theirs. Dumb! They pulled away and I couldn't bridge up.
I ended up finishing in 3 hours, within a minute of my time last year. In my training plan my coach had planned for 3 hours of racing, and I guess I took her literally. Next year I'm going to ask her to write down 2:45 instead :-)
I placed 2nd in my age group, and 7th overall. It's always good to finish in the top 10 at this race, because there are so many fast women competing, but I was pretty mad at myself for some of the dumb mistakes that I made during the race. I know I mentioned this in my last post but next year I'm definitely going to do a few XC races and group rides before to get some group practice in.
The best part of the race is at the finish line. Incidentally, Ore to Shore is one of the first races that I ever competed in. I was in WAY over my head, but was completely sold on the race when I saw doughnut holes waiting at the finish line! And I'm still happy to see them today :-)
I had to wait at the finish area for an hour while Scott went to get the car, and I was sneaking up on these boxes from all angles...
This is a picture of Chris Peariso's tire after he finished. He did the entire race with this big nail stuck in his tire. This is why you use Stan's!
We did a quick coffee stop 2 hours after the race. The barista asked me if I had just gotten done racing and I was all, "how did you know?" Apparently I no longer see the need to clean myself off after races....It was a long day which turned into an early night. I was out by 9:00 p.m.
Next up is the Salsa two-four. I'm really excited for this race, and also really nervous! Last year I was all about the hundred milers, so this will be my first 24 hour race in almost 2 years.