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 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!
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+