If only I had known riding through the mine would be the easy part.
I actually made the drive in nice weather, but drove into rain again just as I arrived at the race site. I set up my tarp in the drizzle
|Why every girl should know how to tie a trucker's hitch.|
I'll spare you the details and just say this- the mine was definitely the easy part. What really terrified me was the rest of the course. Wet rock on steep hills is my worst nightmare. Trust me- I dreamt about this all night:
Big E can fix anything, right?
Of course, he said what any rational person would say. "Calm down and try again in the morning when it's not so wet."
I'd like to say I listened but the calm down part was hard. What I really did was freak out all night. I did, however, get up in the morning and try again, after removing a slug that I'd apparently picked up the night before.
|Turns out I also slept with one that I found in the car later.|
Unfortunately, I was completely humbled by the course yet again in the morning. After pushing my bike around half of it, I realized I wasn't ready to race on this course this year. I'll admit, I was a bit crushed by having to make that decision, but I also strongly believe that it's important to know your limits. I love that hard races like this one exist. I just wasn't quite ready for this one yet.
Thankfully, I was in Michigan, which meant I was surrounded by some of the friendliest people you'll ever meet. Within in an hour, the race director had given me my money back without me even asking, a local had given me a tip on some trails in nearby Houghton and I was back on the road and ready to salvage the trip.
By noon I was in the bike shop in Houghton picking up a map of the area and becoming convinced by the employees that after my ride I should get back on the road and head farther north. As they put it, "If you're this close there's no way you should miss the trails at Copper Harbor."
So, after a ride on some trails that were much more my speed at Michigan Tech
|Ok, fine, I didn't actually ride this feature...|
Honestly, I don't even know exactly how to describe Copper Harbor. It feels cozy and completely wild at the same time, which is something I only ever really feel on the Great Lakes. Maybe it's because I grew up on one of the lakes, but there's something special about that water, I swear.
In what was probably a stroke of good fortune, the trails were closed for a run in the morning. While I waited for them to open, I ventured north on the bike, eventually riding a half mile down some fun singletrack to the beach.
Just over an hour later, once the trails were open, I ended up here:
That pretty much sums up Copper Harbor- one minute you're on the beach, the next you're on the edge of a mountain...or swooping down in on some awesome flowy trails.
I guess, in the end, that thunderstorm wasn't a bad omen, but perhaps just a reminder to go with the flow and make the best of things. You might not always get what you want in life. Sometimes you get something even better. That's the sweetest revenge of all...