Six stitches, a smashed finger, and a broken tooth.
In the UP, there are two ways to get those kinds of injuries. One would be after a really interesting night at Big Bon’s the opening day of deer season. The other?
If you’re a mountain biker.
This is the week over 2,000 mountain bikers descend upon Marquette County for the 24th annual Ore to Shore Mountain Bike Epic.
This is the biggest mass start race in the state of Michigan, and you owe it to yourself to head to Negaunee Saturday morning and watch a non-stop stream of riders roll past you.
In a way, the race–actually, the whole trend toward biking–is very emblematic of the way the UP has changed over the past 50 years.
If you had told city leaders in the 1970s that people would be moving to Marquette just for the chance to ride their bike every day after work you would have been called crazy. But you know what?
There’s a reason Bike Magazine named Marquette County as one of the 5 best places to mountain bike in the entire United States. We have an amazing set of trail systems up here.
If you’re into mountain biking there’s the RAMBA trails or the north and south Noque trails. If you enjoy something a little more mellow, there’s the Iron Ore Heritage Trail.
And if you just wanna ride to work every day or get your kids started on their bikes, the city of Marquette has a world class multi-use path system.
And it’s not just Marquette. You head to the Copper Country or Ontonagon or any place in the UP with hills, and you’ll find mountain bike trails. Summer or winter you can go for a ride, get as muddy or as icy as you want, and then join your friends for a beer, swapping stories about your ride and just which one of you has been banged up the most.
So, if you see a lot of people on bikes this weekend, say, “Hey!” Ask which trail system is their favorite. And if you’re curious, find out just how banged up they’ve been. Because they’re mountain bikers– they’re kinda proud of that.
By the way, those random injuries I mentioned at the beginning of this piece? Six stitches, smashed finger, broken tooth.
I’m Jim Koski, and that’s another slice of “Life in the 906.”