Marquette County, located in the heart of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, is often referred to as a mountain biking mecca. The area attracts thousands of bikers each year who want to challenge their skills or just soak up some mud. Bikers have so many trails with varying degrees of difficulty to choose from; most notably, the Noquemanon Trail Network (NTN) singletrack trail system.
The NTN is a network of paths winding through woods, over undulating topography and by unparalleled scenic vistas. Parts of the system are 20 years old but they have been upgraded and expanded to meet IMBA (International Mountain Biking Association) standards.
The singletrack system has received national acclaim as a premier mountain bike destination in several publications including Bike Magazine, Silent Sports Magazine and others. As of August 2014 the NTN Singletrack trails have received EPIC Trail Status from the International Mountain Biking Association. One of two in Michigan and 16 nation wide.
In addition to the number and quality of trails, mountain biking events are attracting pro and novice mountain bikers by
Mid-August, up to 2500 mountain biking enthusiasts will be flocking to Marquette to participate in the Annual Ore-to-Shore Mountain Bike Epic (O2S).
The name of the event is garnered from the fact that the race begins where iron ore was first discovered in the Upper Peninsula in 1844 (Negaunee, MI) and travels through the back woods to the shores of Lake Superior (Marquette, MI).
“The long distance course travels through Ishpeming, past towering head frames from the heyday of underground mining, and then heads north into the beautiful wooded wilderness, crossing or running along side of the Dead River all the way into Marquette to the Lake Superior shoreline.” according to the Travel Marquette website.
“The shorter race also starts in Negaunee, but immediately turns north and then east towards Marquette. The two courses merge six miles north of Negaunee and the soft rock riders get to experience the same Dead River and Superior overlooks as well as the same finish line. ”
The Red Earth Classic and Bikers, Burgers, Beer and Bluegrass Festival just completed its third year offering 32, 19, 12 and 3 mile single track races. The event is held mid-July and attracts over 500 competitors. This event also starts in Negaunee and takes the racers on a staggered start, single-track course through old mining sites.
So if the thought of careening down a mountain or splashing through some mud get your juices flowing, they by all means, check out Marquette’s mountain biking mecca. The 906 is the best place to get dirty!
The Yooper Goddess is a regional celebrity chef and lifelong Yooper! Follow her on facebook or find her at www.yoopergoddess.com