Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Medina, OH
Bikes: confidential infromation that I don't even share with my wife
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The Iceman Cometh MTB race is in the books! The event lived up to its hype and reputation. The race is the largest US MTB race and is a point to point race with over 4,500 racers that is held in Traverse City MI, which is just under the UP. Race day saw an inch of snow covering the trees and ground in the areas closer to the finish line. We started in the small town of Kalkaska with 28 degree temperatures. The Iceman Race was staged in 45 waves of riders with waves starting every 4 minutes. I was in wave # 33 with 88 other race rookies aged 55+. Riders in the earlier waves were seeded by prior year’s race times followed by tandem, single speed, Clyde’s, then the rookie waves arranged by age with the youngest first. The waves behind mine were people who had seeded times that were more of the rec rider due to slow times in prior races. Each wave had 80+ riders with the Clydes being the largest in more than one way with 128 racers. I dressed with light tights over shorts, thick Under Armor base, thermal vest, LS jersey, skull cap and mid-weight gloves. I was shivering during staging but as soon as the race began I never thought about temperature until after finishing.
I got to the front at the start and hit the race much like a cross race. I very quickly was off the front even though I was not killing it. We were on city streets for the first mile of the race and before I got to the double track I passed someone from the wave prior to mine. The chase group was about 50 meters behind when the double track started. A few hundred yards off the road was a very small sandy hill that was littered with crashed riders and guys walking up the hill. My lead was gone as I maneuvered through the carnage and I saw two guys from my wave get ahead. From then on it was passing rider after rider for the next 2+ hrs. The race was mostly sandy double track and I found out mid-race the middle was a good option even though the grass and leaves made it look uneven.
The worst parts of the race were the single track sections. When we went to single track it became a log jam of slow riding as the whole line was held up in part by tandems and Clyde’s in cargo shorts and Chuck Taylors. It didn’t help to pass anyone due to there being guys directly in front of the guy who I passed. Those times provided some recovery but I could not drink or eat in those sections. Once back on the double track asserting “left, right or center” made me feel like a super rider as I buzzed by everyone. I was working with one guy from my wave early on but we got separated going up a sandy hill which had many riders walking. At the worst I was 4th in my wave and quite possibly higher. I was never passed after the first jam up. I also cleaned every steep hill on the bike except for one when I decided to walk the last 1/3 of it when walkers were passing me. I also had to stop for a few seconds about a 1/3 way into the race to tighten my front wheel. I have no idea how or why it was loose but will take personal responsibility for bad preparation. At the end of the race I was totally done in by my efforts that included so many micro sprints to get around and back onto the matted single track and pushing any hill where I could pass a dozen or more at one time. The bulk of the racing was on double track and some fire roads that were more like zigzagging 2-5” TT efforts with the short steep hills and single track separating the efforts.
My race goal was to finish in the top 20%. I finished in 2:31+ which was 15th/77 racers in 57-60 yrs which is 19.5%. Many have told me that racing with the rookie waves adds at least 15 minutes over those racing with seeded times, and that it isn’t until the 3rd year that one is racing with those of the same speed/ability. If I took 15’ from this year’s result my placing would be 5th. I now have next year’s goal, knowledge of the course, better understanding of training needs (2 hr Z3 single track riding won’t suffice), and will be much more aggressive during the first ½ hour in the race.
oldschool areodynamic brick