Marji Gesick: The hardest single-day mountain bike race in America
For endurance athletes everywhere, picking one main event or “A race” during your season is a common occurrence. For KOM employee and Dirty Chain Podcast host, Trevor Gibney, that event was the infamous Marji Gesick - a 100 mile mountain bike race starting in Marquette, MI and ending in Ishpeming, MI. Known as “the hardest single-day mountain bike race in America”, Marji has brought the like of Jeremiah Bishop and Tinker Juarez to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to take on the world-class trail systems that include the Noquemanon Trail Network (NTN), and the RAMBA (Range Area Mountain Bike Association) trail system.
Several highlights of the race include: a LeMans style half mile running start (because, why not?), mandatory checkpoints along the way where you must grab a "token" to present at the finish line, a hand-forged buckle for the very few riders who can finish in under 12 hours, and countless climbs and difficult trail segments with names like "Top of the World", "Scary Trail", "Sissy Pants", and ".38 Special".
The climbing was constant and relentless!
While a select few tackle the event in hopes to "buckle" in under 12 hours, the majority of the participants are hoping to finish under the 25 hour cut-off time with a working bike and a healthy body. And after you experience the rough, rocky terrain and the constant climbs, you quickly realize you may need every minute of the 25 hours to complete the event.
Checkpoint "tokens" this year consisted of Fireballs and Dum Dums, with the true wooden tokens awarded at the finish.
Hear Trevor's journey, from starting line, to sag stops, to finish, on Episode 94 of the Dirty Chain Podcast.