Matt in North Carolina

I did two laps today at this trail called Warrior Creek.  I’ve heard from a couple sources that this trail is 12 miles long.  The published length is 9.5 but they’re continually expanding it and it took me over an hour to do the first lap, so I’m going with 12.  Yesterday I did two other trails that are part of this trail system, so completely cooked on my second lap today, I took the opportunity to snap some shots.
The pictures attached obviously don’t do it justice. I would say the entire trail is covered in the pictures, i.e. I could’ve taken about 100 more pictures that look almost identical.  The trail goes in a loop around a sort of mountainous penninsula, so the whole thing is bench cut into the ridge with every descent carried by switchback berms and you end up climbing to the top about 3 or 4 times.  The “Berms!” pic says it all.  The “lakeside” pic is pretty common too and only reminds you that you hit rock bottom and you will be climbing again very shortly. The only bad part of the trail is the roots.  Some sections were very rooty so it totally kills your downhill (and uphill) momentum. Arms were completely shaken up too. Really, you have no idea. The roughest trail in our neck of the woods is no comparison to this uneven washboard experience. The trail can be ridden backwards too, so uphill blind turn bermed and benchcut switchbacks are also a feature that makes it interesting.  Despite these drawbacks, this is the funnest trail I’ve ever ridden in my limited out-of-state experience. Definitely a higher degree of difficulty with the elevation changes and rock gardens involved.
One of the trails I did yesterday is called Dark Mountain, which is even more of an intense elevation and root infested experiece. It totally trashes your arms as much as legs. This is a shorter loop, about 7 miles, but climbs to the top and back three times for a total of over 800 feet.  They have a race at this trail called the “Burn 24 Hour Challenge” and the winning team this year had 38 laps. 250+ miles – Insane!!!  Check out the pictures in the link.  Judging by my Lumberjack experience, I’d wager I would conk out after a slow 10. Actually, the more likely outcome would be that my hands would go completely numb, lose my grip on the bar, and go headlong into a tree, thus ending my 24 hour burn at about 5 hours.
Stay thirsty my friends,
Matt

Founders/Alger Racing Iceman Re-Cap

Well after quite a few years of being absent the “Iceman” returned to Kalkaska and Traverse City just in time for the race. Lake effect snow showers made Friday pre riding a challenge. It was not so much the snow as the wind. The Founder’s race team had 16 members compete in an Epic Iceman! The combination of cold temperatures, snow, ice, sand and mud made it Epic. 4 riders made the podium with two winning their age group.

I took a casual spin in the woods on my brother’s property (we grew up in the area) just to loosen the legs. As a result of the temperature, sand, leaves, and snow made for a messy ride and I worried about what the conditions would be like in the morning.

The morning of the race I arrived in Kalkaska at 7:40 am dropping my bag in the truck at the middle school and then heading downtown to park closer to the start. Having local knowledge was definitely a plus! I found what I was looking for about a block from the start. The temperature was a Brisk 27 degree and at least the first few waves would not have to worry about mud, leaves and “packy-snow”. The conditions were perfect for an Iceman Cometh race.

THE COURSE

The new start which began last year from Downtown K-town and road roll-out seems to have cut way down on the number of crashes just out of the shoot. The Crashes in all the waves seem to wait until the first sandy area which is less than a mile into the first section of trail. In our wave almost twenty guys went down causing the first break in the group, this was followed by the second sandy section which had five more riders go down two very hard. Things then settled down on the two track sections and riders worked together well. The first single track section was snow covered and in many of the corners icy. This slowed the pace down considerably, I heard from riders who road later that this began to melt and became quite muddy. This was also the first section in which the tie ups began as the faster riders in the earlier Waves caught the slower riders in the waves ahead of them. The next 15 miles of the course were either snow covered or ice and snow covered making for some challenging bike handling. To add to the challenge my bottles and the other riders I spoke to in the wave froze solid. Not being able to hydrate really made the last section hurt! This section of the trail is shared by the slush cup and was snow and ice free so the pace compounded the pain.

What better way to recover than to have a Founders brew following and share war stories about the event around a campfire. Special thanks go out to Ernie Stafford and his family for setting up the campsite and to everyone who contributed to the feast for the Post race festivities!

-Wade

Here are the results of the Founders Riders who competed and completed the 2010 Iceman. Yes it was an Iceman and not a Sandman! Congratulations go out to all.

Jeremy Karel  2:00:32  3rd of 83 Men 25-27

Gabe Niehof  1:55:34  2nd  of 113 Men 30-32

Josh  Hogeterp 2:12:34 16th of 113 Men 30-32

Shawn  Crowley  2:21:23 28th of 113 Men 30-32

Matt Remelts  2:14:56 18th of 81 Men 35

Brian  Walquist 2:04:57 16th of 115 Men 41

Wade  Bagnall  1:53:42  1st of 87 Men 44

Scott Thenikl 2:10:32 15th of 82 Men 36

Dan  Jelens  2:36:34 40th of 82 Men 48

Tim Curtis  1:56:48  1st of 102 Men 51-52

Rick  Plite  2:09:59 14th of 102 Men 51-52

Martin Hall  2:15:50 26th of 102 Men 51-52

Dennis Murphy  2:32:26 49th of 102 Men 51-52

Paul Poplielarz 2:08:15 11th  of 99 Men 53-54

Ralf  Sharnowski 2:08:08 10th of 121 Men Clydedale 40+

Ernie Stafford 2:44:26 55th of 121 Men Clydedale 40+