The third annual Miner's Revenge mountain bike race in Ontonagon county gave cyclists many challenges, not to mention a chance to experience a drastic temperature change.
Well over 100 cyclists started in two waves. The riders had the choice of two, three or four laps, ranging from 9 to 18 miles.
The entrance to the Adventure Mine is shortly after the first big climb. Miner's helmets and lamps are required, and it's easy to figure out why with the lack of daylight inside.
The mine section is about half a mile long and you have to make a couple left turns. The temperature inside the mine is about 48 degrees, 20-30 degrees cooler than outside the cave.
There's a quick right turn when you exit the darkness, and organizers improved one section of the course by building an overpass to prevent collisions. The overpass was completed Friday night (7/8).
Tom Carpenter of Marquette won the long race the first two years, but this year he's the runner-up behind Brian Motter of Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
Motter's time was one hour, 57 minutes and 50 seconds for four laps or 18 miles, more than six minutes faster than Carpenter. Houghton's Lorna Henney won the women's four lap race.Riders say it was, again, a pleasure riding the course. "It's a real mountain bike race. We don't have stuff like this in Wisconsin," said 2011 champ Motter. "It kind of reminded me of the old days of mountain bike racing when I used to go to Vermont and Quebec, Canada. Pretty serious stuff, and racing through the mine definitely adds a new element, too."The Adventure Mining Company added a new feature to the event. They held a downhill race on a recently completed course about half a mile north from the cross country course.
Thrills, chills and a few spills came with the new territory. Officials will find a way to tweak the courses for next year.