Ice Man Race Report, a Story in Three Parts
Jesse the XC Legend
Brian "My cross bike is better than you!" Yost
Todd Hot Rod Smooth Balls
Team Active Squad
Adam "I am the guy who does the shocker for photos" York
Bill "2 fisted for 2nd Place"
Jeff "I am here to destroy you on the bike" Cachero
Part 2 of the Double D
Our Photo Journalist Tyler
Death by Sand and Chain Rings
Holly and I traveled to Traverse City Michigan this weekend for the Ice Man Cometh Challenge. The race is a 27.54 mile point to point XC raise that winds, climbs and powers through northern Michigan’s fire roads, two track and fresh cut twisty trail. The event is one of the largest single day races in the world with over 2500 entrants.
We met up with some friends for a pre-race ponderosa fueling before going to the expo for packet pickup. The Grand Traverse Resort opens up a banquet hall for industry gurus to showcase their products. Dirt Rag, Quiring Cycles, Titus, Kenda, Gary Fisher, MMBA and many others were in attendance. It is cool to drool over new products, score some schwag and rub elbows with some big names. (Jesse Lalonde, JHK, , Ned Overend, and many others.)
We went back to the hotel, watched some TV and I tried not to let my nerves get the best of me. I look forward to the hundies and ultra marathon races but there is something about a short race that gets me. It could be due to the pain, the thought that one mistake, one mechanical failure or one crash can ruin your day.
We woke up to frost on the windshield and 30 degree temps for our 9:30 AM start. The expert wave of around 200 riders would be the first riders to the virgin vasa single-track. I lined up next to some super fast kids and friends. Jesse Ward, Jeff Cachero, Reid, Hot Rod Todd, Bill G, DA, Adam York and others. I was stoked to be riding with close friends but not looking forward to the pain they would inflict. Three, two, one, we were off. The first mile was a blur of trees, mashing gears and sand in my teeth. Riders were crashing, mis-shifting gears and riding aggressive. Things settled in by mile two and it was a freight train pace line down the two track.
The racing was aggressive and passing was tricky. The two track trail had distinct lines to the side with loamy sand in between. If your wheel caught in the loose dirt things were going to get squirrelly and it was immanent for me. I tried to make a dumb pass and my front tire caught dirt, fish tailed a bit and slingshotted me over the bars. The fall was cushioned, no broken parts so I cashed in some chips to catch back to the group. I made it there and another rider did the same, taking me with him. That’s racing. I pushed on and caught back on. The rest of the race was a blur of cat and mouse racing, fast single-track descents, pain and short steep hills. With seven miles to go my engines flamed out from the early efforts and I drudged on to a 2:06
I had been training for two events since September. The first was this short course race; the second was the after party. After watching John D. Pretend to be Bill G at the awards we took to the rainy streets of Traverse City. Bells and Dark Horse both hosted microbrew love fests with live music and racer heads. The beer was cold, the music crappy and the fun never ended. By nights end the documented highlights included public urination, fireworks in the streets, a group hug with DA and Jason Lummis and getting tossed out of a pub.
Explicit details and incriminating photos available upon email request.
2007 Game Over
This season has had some ups and downs since March. I scored 2 ultra marathon wins, a top 25 spot in the National Ultra Endurance Series and a 4th spot in the Arkansas Endurance Series. It is time to wipe the slate clean, put away the heart rate monitor and settle in to some cross country skiing, frozen finger rides, weekends without bike racing and planning for 2008.
A very special thanks to my supporters
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