WW, Stone and I loaded the van and left Thursday night. Got to the Angry Minnow about 8:30 and all breathed a sigh of relief once we had our first taste of ale. After dinner, headed to Phipps and setup camp. It is the perfect place to camp. Friday we rode Rock Lake and was fantastic. CAMBA does such a good job with the trails there. We rode for about two hours. We decided to stop then and save something for the race. It would have been fun to keep riding for another couple hours for sure. Only regret there is I was leading at the time and missed a sweet little beach spot that makes for a nice stop in the middle of the ride. Next year I think leave Wednesday, Ride for at least three hours Thursday at Rock Lake. Friday ride the fish hatchery and then head to the Shore. After Friday’s ride, we had some lunch. WW tried on all the shoe and pedal combos and rode all the bikes. Then we hit the road to MI. Stopped for pasties and everyone got a little shuteye in before hitting Marquette. Got our race packets and went searching for free Amino Vital. Found out they pulled the plug on the copious amounts of samples from last year (CRAP!!!), so we headed to dinner. The Pasta Shop was it and it was
perfect. Cheap, good and they let us bring in beers! This is about the time Stone started not feeling or looking right. Bummer! WW and I cleaned our plates, but Stone barely ate.
With a 48 mile race starting in about 12 hours, this was not a good sign. Got to the campsite and got all setup. WW and Stone discussed how fix my leaky Stan’s Karma. WW did a shake thing with an improvised bucket set and that did the trick. Time for bed. Right when we went to bed, it started raining. Interesting. Woke about 6:30. Looked out the screen and saw Stone standing in the field holding cold pre-made pancakes with cold syrup. His body language said it all. Damn! Not good. About an hour later he knew he was out. No food last night. No food this morning. No racing for TSP. Super tough decision, but the only one he could make. He shifted gears into Superfan mode and that was that. WW and I both knew how he felt and we both knew it sucked. The bright side (at least for Wallace and I) of it was Stone could get some sweet race video shots and he’d be able to meet us at the finish with the van. And let me tell you, it was fucking great! After last year, waiting for the shuttle all cold, sore and hungry. Having the van waiting by the big cold lake was perfect. After the race, we talked with Marko a bit, ate some mini donuts and swam in the big cold lake. It’s the best thing to do after a race. Drove across Wisco to Duluth, got malts. Got the low-down on the whacky WFBH action and headed home.
Ore to Shore is a fairly big race, but you wouldn’t know it at the start until about 5 minutes to go before the gun goes off. With an hour to go before the start, it down-poured. At first it was cold and we were thinking this race is now really going to suck. But, as it turned out, it was the absolute best thing that could have happened. I lined up right behind Marko. Finish in the top 99 the year before and you get a preferred start. So that’s where I was. First time racing for WW, so he was back in gen pop.
I’m a guy that’s likes to start close to the front and drift back a bit (or a lot depending). WW is just the opposite. We gave each other the nod and got setup. The start is pretty fast on paved roads for the first mile or so with about four turns before hitting dirt. I was right behind the leaders with about two blocks before the dirt and it was hectic and aggressive. I decided I wasn’t man enough to hang in the to the first dirt section so I drifted back a bit. WW on the other hand had moved up quite a bit and by the first main climb
on the course we both sat in the 60s. I felt good and was repeating my mantra of the day “use and abuse”. I drafted on anyone and everyone I could. I would need that energy later. Before the halfway point along some power line double track hills, WW passed me. I was at a point where I was not feeling to great. But, seeing WW got me going and I hung on with him and his group for a while. It was about a 7 man group with WW and I in the mix. We passed Stone about mid race and the pace was fast and I knew I couldn't hang with it for long. ¾ in and I popped off the back of that train. WW was smooth and strong and stayed with that group. I was hung out there with tired legs and 15 miles to go. I latched onto a BKB’r floating out there with me and we worked together for that remainder of the race. I got some energy back and we start picking off some rider and some started latching onto us. With about 5 miles to go, there a beach volleyball court the size of a football field on a steep downhill that you have to negotiate. Within the first 20 feet of it, there a huge hole you have to ride through. BKB guy face planted and the other guy with us went off course. I rode by them both and attacked. Was that nice of me? Nope. But, with 5 miles to go and legs that were starting to show their age, I knew this was it. I hammered and thought I had dropped them both….until the last mile. The course this year looked nothing like last year. It was pretty much the same trails and roads beginning to end, but the rain tamed the sand so well, that it wasn’t even a factor in the race. With that said, with the last ½ mile, there was a peat moss / grass / woodchip straight that almost made me cry. Fuck was it hard. This is where I looked back and saw BKB guy and the other guy about 100 feet back and closing. My legs were cramping bad and I was not going to be happy with these boys passing me. I put my head down, let out a rebel yell and dug deep. You’d of thought I was racing for 1st place, but it was just for 42nd and I got it. Marko rode a great race finishing 6th and WW came in hot at 34th.
Stone shot some great video included the start where the lady on the right side, walks out into the oncoming racers and gets nailed. Face-plants and gets up and walks back to the sidewalk. Crazy people in this world. Riding, racing, eating and drinking with good friends. Fucking rad.