My Ore to Shore Story
The Ore to Shore Epic is set for Saturday. My wife and I went up to Marquette, Mi. last year so I could do the 48 mile mountain bike race. We didn’t realize at the time how much we both would enjoy the trip. So this year we arraigned to have more vacation time for relaxing and site seeing. We planned to spend two nights in Marquette followed by two nights at Gray Wolf Motel in Manistique. Unfortunately our plans would need adjustment shortly after we arrived in the U.P.
Our trip to Marquette held no surprises. It was an easy and relaxing drive up. We had packed everything up the night before so all we had to do was load the truck and go. This, as it turned out was our first mistake. As I was taking our bags up to our hotel room I realized my gear bag was not among them. Disappointment was quickly followed by determination to not let this long awaited event pass me by. So off I went to one of the local outdoor supply stores. I was able to get all the new gear I needed, at least I thought I had gotten everything.
After getting the new gear, I went directly to the Lakeshore Arena to pick up my entry packet for the race. I got in the already long line and realized I hadn’t bought cleats for the new shoes I had just purchased. There were a few vendors at the arena, so I walked around a moment and quickly found the very cleats I needed. After finding the cleats I began to think I was actually going to pull it all together. I then went to another vendor and bought an official Ore to Shore jersey. I got back into line which hadn’t actually gotten much longer. The line moved very quickly after that and I was on my way back to the hotel.
Saturday morning, race day, my wife and I spotted a large group of Red Cross volunteers at the restaurant we chose to go to for breakfast. I said something along the lines of “I hope that’s as close as I get to those guys”. That was the biggest mistake I hope to make in a very long time!
After breakfast we go back to the hotel, I get into my riding clothes and we went over to the start venue. I rolled on into the back of the pack and spotted some friends just in front of me. I went up to them and we shoot the breeze until they started "The Star Spangled Banner”. After that, the count down began. 2000 cyclist all ready to go at once is quite a sight. The gun went off and slowly the riders in front of me begin to pull away. I begin to roll, but someone’s chain fell off. Riders begin to swerve and my front wheel was no longer under my control. I knew I was going down. We were moving less than 10mph, so how bad could it be. As I tried to get up I realized there was something wrong with my left arm, it didn't work right. When I looked at it I could immediately see the arm was broken. I heard a voice yell out “Stay down; we’ll be there as soon as the bikes clear out.” With that one statement I knew I was not alone and help was already there. Something like that means a lot when you’re 450 miles from home and don’t know anyone in the area. Within a few seconds there were people all around me and every one of them doing something to help. They took care of everything from calling my wife to getting my bike to a safe place. I know I asked about the bike a bunch of times. I was reassured it was being taken care of. I must have asked about the bike a few more times because someone brought it over so I could see it, I gave the guy a nod and then was able to see it against a building before it left for the bike corral. Yes, I was probably over concerned about the bike, but I had just dropped a lot of money on that thing so I would have a new bike for that race.
As I laid there in street, I got very disappointed. So many things had lined up for me, and everyone else, to have a truly nice race day. It had rained the day before, so the dust wouldn’t be too bad. The temperature was going to be comfortable. There were only a few clouds in the sky. I had all new gear, and most of all I had real good bike. So as I complained about what a bummer this was, I got the impression everyone thought I was referring to the broken arm. That was a small part of it, but mostly I was thinking about how I blew race day and some of our vacation.
When the ambulance came for me, my arm was already wrapped and had ice on it. The two gentlemen in the ambulance did all their stuff, collect vital signs, paperwork, and notified the hospital and we were on our way. It wasn’t a long ride to the hospital, but along the way the gentleman attending to me was filling me in on some of the local attractions which was nice. When we got to the hospital the ambulance operators got me right into a room and the emergency room staff took over.
Once the x-ray was read it was decided that the bone needed to be reset with surgery. So I was admitted and scheduled for surgery first thing Sunday morning. I had been assuming they would reset the bone, put me in a cast and send me on my way. Since that was not going to happen I now had to figure out how to get my bike picked up before the bike corral closed at 4pm. I called the only phone number I could find on the race’s website and left a message and hoped for a quick call back. That call came a week later. The only other option I could come up was calling my friend Stravos who I met at the start of the race. He responded and had my bike picked up right away. Not only did he pick it up for me, he took it home for me.
Shortly after talking with Stravos I was moved to my room on the 8th floor. From there I could see the Lakeshore Arena where the race was to end and just beyond that I could watch sailboats in Lake Superior. I must say, it was a nice view. Sunday morning came after I got about 2 hours sleep. I had never been put out for surgery and I’ll admit I was a little nervous, which might have contributed to my lack of sleep. When I was in pre-op, I meet the surgical team and everyone seem to be top notch, not that I would know, but I lost any concern. Shortly after the IV was started I was moved to the surgical room. The last thing I remember there was helping them move me to the surgical bed. It seemed like only a few minutes later I was waking up in recovery. I wasn’t in recovery long either.
After I got back to my room, I got the good news that I would be allowed to leave in a few hours. I called my wife and told her. We had brought our dog along for our vacation, so she had to stay with him as much as possible. After I told her I was getting out she came over anyway. She had to change reservations at the hotels, so we stayed at Marquette for another night before going to Manistique.
We got an early start on Monday morning, had breakfast and headed to Manistique. When we got there, we walked on the beach and just hung out for a while. From there we had a very nice day. So we still managed to salvage one day of our vacation. It will be a while before I can ride again but I know I have a nice new clean bike waiting for me.