Ore to Shoe a wonderful event for residents, visitors

On Saturday, some 2,500-plus cyclists are expected to hit the trails in Marquette County as the 14th annual Ore to Shore Mountain Bike Epic takes place.

We welcome all participants, those who traveled long distances to get here and those who live here full time.

Thanks to yeoman efforts on the part of organizers, the Ore to Shore has become one of the highlights of summer in the central Upper Peninsula.

A number of events are part of the epic. The Hard Rock, a 48-mile race, starts at 9:45 a.m. Saturday in downtown Negaunee, with riders heading through downtown Ishpeming, then back on the glorious trails in the woods, racing to Marquette, where the event finishes at Lakeview Arena.

The Soft Rock is a 28-mile race, with a mass start at 9 a.m. along the shores of Teal Lake near Lakeview School in Negaunee, with its first two miles on pavement. Riders then hit the dirt trails, about 4 miles in merging with the Hard Rock course.

An entry-level event, the 10-mile Shore Rock, begins at Lakeview Arena in Marquette at 8 a.m. Saturday, with racers heading toward Tourist Park, over a section of the Hard Rock/Soft Rock course, then returning to the arena.

Saturday afternoon, races for the younger set take place at Lakeview Arena. The Junior Rock – for ages 16 and under – begins at 4 p.m., with the 1-mile Little Rock at 5:15 p.m. and the 50-yard Littlest Rock at 5 p.m. Those last two are non-timed events giving kids a taste of what the races are all about.

The fun actually starts today. The Negaunee Lions Club will once again offer a spaghetti feed at the Lakeview Arena in Marquette from 5 to 9 p.m. today. Dinner includes salad, pasta, bread, drink and dessert. Tickets may be purchased at the arena and cost $7 per adult or $20 per family (immediate family members only).

Tonight’s a chance for racers to pick up packets, from 6 to 9 p.m., also at Lakeview Arena.

On race day, packet pickup for the Soft Rock will be at Lakeview School in Negaunee from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Packet pick up for the Hard Rock will be at the Negaunee Senior Center from 8 to 9:15 a.m. Packet pick up for the Shore Rock will be at Lakeview Arena in Marquette from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.

Organizers advise that unregistered riders are strictly prohibited and there is no registration on race day.

For more information, visit oretoshore.com.

We salute all of those who plan this amazing set of races along with the many, many volunteers who make sure the event is a safe and fun experience.

We encourage spectators to get out to cheer on the racers in this year’s Ore to Shore.