Josh’s Iceman Saga

Iceman story #2
I’m quite positive the team could not have asked for a better 22nd annual Iceman Cometh!  The weather, the race conditions, the after-race party and the hurt on Sunday (interestingly not from racing…) all came together for one of the best race weekends I’ve ever had.

It all started out with a great team dinner the night before at the Jolly Pumpkin.  It gave everyone the chance to fill up on food and exchange strategies and wave times.  I’m not trying to toot my own horn, but I think that was probably Jeff and I’s first podium of the weekend after each putting down the rib and fish special.  And what do you do about the eve of the race nerves while trying to fall asleep?  Leave it to Shawn to bring a 14% “lights out” beer that cured any sleeplessness that might have wanted to creep in.

Race day began with a hearty breakfast (though I was still full from the previous night’s gluttony of food) and then a quick drive over to Kalkaska for the start.  It was pretty chilly in the morning at just under 30, but the sun was creeping up slowly, which meant that along with some rising temps in the next couple hours the race clothing choice was an easy one.  With about 15 minutes to go to start time Jeff Jacobi and I set out on our 3rd time together on his modified street/cross country Cannondale tandem to warm up before the start.  Though we’d only spent about an hour together on the tandem (about 40 minutes of that in race conditions) I was confident that as the best bike handler I know, Jeff would keep us fast and safe.  We pushed our way through the crowds to get to the starting line at the rear of the second wave and just as we were about to start, a coast guard helicopter went flying fast and lower overhead to buzz the starting line and at that mark, we were off!

Since Jeff and I were at the rear of the wave, we had some work to do as we tried to utilize our speed on the downhills and flats to march up to about the middle of the wave.  Jeff had instructed me to save energy for after Williamsburg road (roughly the middle point) so we settled into a rhythm and I conserved as much as I could.  After we reached Williamsburg road I was quietly disappointed to look down at my HRM and find the time about 7 minutes slower than I expected and I refrained from telling Jeff.  It felt like we were flying, but the time seemed to be telling a different story.  What I didn’t know however, was that Williamsburg road was quite a bit over halfway.  Thinking that we were behind pace and getting passed by what I presumed to be 3rd and 4th wavers I took that chanting fans’ “Tandem!  Tandem!” cries as we flew over Williamsburg as time to turn it up.  I told Jeff that I had conserved and that we can go for it.  We did!  The next 50 minutes or so was the most exhilarating and scariest time I’ve ever had on a bike. I closed my eyes for about 6 downhills that I was sure I wasn’t going to arrive at the bottom of in one piece, braced myself for more than a few tight corners not fit for a tandem and put out about as much effort as I ever have on hills where stronger riders on single bikes were struggling at walking up them.

Just as both Jeff and I had conceded to each other that neither of us have anything left in the tank we came up to the roaring crowds of the finish.  We were there!  But that was just a tease.  The course brings you into Timberidge in front of crowds and then takes you back into the woods for one more grueling climb.  We conquered every other hill without having to dismount the bike, but this last push was too much as we ground to a stop about halfway up and toppled over.  No!! We scrambled to get upright as fast was we could and pushed the tandem to the top with everything we had and jumped right back on for the last minute to cross the finish.  I looked again at my HRM and was astounded to see our time.  Willamsburg had deceived me!   Regardless of place, I was ecstatic to finish on a Tandem in 1:56:26 (though this did end up being the winning time in the tandem class!).  It was an amazing experience and we wouldn’t have made it without the precision handling of captain Jeff!

The rest of the day was a whirlwind of personal bests and podium finishes as team Founders Alger Racing put up when of the best race weekends that I know of.  It seemed everyone had a great time celebrating.  I know I had a great time and Saturday after dark is a bit of a blur as I somehow woke up on Sunday morning in my hotel room bed with a chipped tooth.  I’m not sure how that happened, but at least I remember the most important parts of Iceman 2011!

Congratulations to everyone on the team!   Times for all the riders are posted below…

EarlPro Open Category
47th Earl Hillaker 1:42:43

jeremyMen 28-29
2nd Jeremy Karel 1:51:01

ShawnMen 32-33
13th Shawn Crowley 2:02:18

GabeMen 34
2nd Gabe Niehof 1:53:08

Matt2Men 36
3rd Matt Remelts 1:55:17

scottsMen 37
9th Scott Thenikl 1:57:03

Men 42
15th Brian Walquist 2:00:12

WadeMen 45
2nd Wade Bagnall 1:49:46
Men 46
9th Scott Tencate 1:54:27
TimMen 51-52
2nd Tim Curtis 1:49:06

RickMen 51-52
22nd Rick Plite 2:03:54
68nd Dennis Murphy 2:26:34

Men 53-5429th Martin Hall 2:13

RalfClydesdale 40+
9th Ralf Scharnowski 2:02:12

ernie 28th Ernie Stafford 2:14:59

1st Jeffrey Jacobi / Josh Hogeterp 1:56:26

Money Marnie
Women 45-49
2nd Marnie Tencate 2:12:12

Team Podium
Lady SingleSpeed
5th Danielle Shaver 2:19:42