The iceman 2010
The week leading up to the race had a forecast of somewhere in the neighborhood of 35 and something falling out of the sky. A forecast like that brought a smile to my face. The race is called the ‘Iceman’ for a reason. Another season of ‘Niceman’ weather was not to be. As the week went on, the forecast got colder, and lost the race day precipitation. We toed the line at about 25º. The race began with a singing of the national anthem, complete with flyover by a Coast Guard helicopter, giving a special feeling of legitimacy to the startline. I toed the line early to capitalize on mistakes that I made a few weeks ago missing my call ups in Louisville. A front row start led to a great position leading into the first section of dirt. Which was about a mile and a half into the race. But that was squandered when shortly after that I crashed on one of the first sections of sand. As what felt like 100 racers went by me, I finally got back on my bike. Down on myself for the next few minutes, I shook off the blues, and quickly got back on the gas. As the race went on I noticed a trend, on the flat sections of the course I was a little bit stronger than I had expected. So every chance I got I rode like we do in the flat lands of Chicago. Everytime I clicked into my big ring the legs felt great. Unfortunately, I also noticed on the hills, many of them passed me again, and that was not awesome. I used my advantages as well as I could and eventually found a few groups that worked well together and we traveled at a high rate of speed over the frozen forests of northern Michigan. My pacing was well reasoned and kept my feet on the pedals instead of on the ground pushing a bike up the last few climbs of the course. I have had trouble with these hills in the past, and I still do. This edition was less pain, and less cramps, even though drinking was less than possible due to frozen water bottles halfway into the race. As the end of the course got progressively harder I had saved just enough to get myself over the toughest climbs without loosing to much time. In the distance you can hear music and you know the race is over soon. Then you emerge into the finishing chute, and the race seems to be over almost as soon as it started. When the results went up I was surprised to see I had put in a 4th place ride, much better than I had anticipated.
This is such a great race year after year. There are huge crowds out cheering on the Pro men and womens races. The spectating was great, my dad and I hiked out to the last significant hill of the day with the Bonebell, and a couple of beverages and cheered on some of the biggest names in American MTB racing. Next year, I’ll be with them, probably a little behind, but that is my goal nonetheless.