Our training the week leading up to the race was disrupted by the significant storm damage to the Traverse City area that blocked the VASA trail with hundreds of downed trees. Some usual training time was instead spent clearing trails and finishing building Kaitlyn’s new race wheels.
A steady light rain on Friday settled the usual dust on the racecourse, but it also created some significant muddy areas scattered along the course. The rain cleared by the morning and Kaitlyn and I were joined by Terry Ritter and Chris Abston on the start line in Negaunee.
I had a strong start and was riding comfortably with the leaders until a slow tire leak forced me to stop just before the infamous “Misery Hill.” Fortunately, I was prepared by carrying a Fast Air tire sealant can, but the 90 second interruption was enough to lose the leaders. The remainder of the race was a mad chase in the attempt to catch that lead group. I was able to make up several places and finished 11thoverall in a strong field. I was disappointed I didn’t get a chance to see what I was capable of because of my mechanical, especially because my past several Ore to Shore races have been plagued with technical issues as well.
Meanwhile, Kaitlyn was battling for the win against Mindy McCutcheon of Salt Lake City. The two of them were clear of the other female racers after Misery Hill and raced together the second half of the race. Kaitlyn realized Mindy was too strong to drop on the climbs and Kaitlyn had little experience with tactical finishes. Both attacked multiple times, but were ultimately unable to shake the competition. Mindy was driving the pace in the final miles into Marquette, but Kaitlyn was right on her wheel. After the final bend, Kaitlyn sprinted for the line in a photo finish for the win. Nobody knew who had taken the win until the video was reviewed and Kaitlyn was determined the winner! Both of us thought she might have the horsepower to manage a podium finish at Ore to Shore, but a sprint finish victory was an unexpected and exciting culmination to the weekend.
Chris Abston rolled in 53rd overall after riding with the same group with Kaitlyn for much of the race. Terry cracked the top 100 with 99th overall. OAM newcomer Kathy Braginton was the first female fatbike across in the shorter Soft Rock race in her first mountain bike race ever. Overall, another impressive day for OAM at a great event!The post Patterson Takes First Women, Vanias Takes 11th Overall at Ore to Shore appeared first on Team Athletic Mentors.