Have you started training yet? What was your time last year? What wave are you in? What do you think the weather will be like? Have you heard about the finish? These and many questions like it seem to increase in frequency as the leaves begin to turn and the mercury begins to dip. For many, Iceman is not only the last race of the year but the most important and therefore taken quite seriously. Frankly, too damn seriously. I get it. It’s the effin Iceman! The Pros race there! 5,000 other people race there! It’s the biggest goddamn single day MTB race in the country! So yes, it is kind of a big deal. I used to stress about it for months. I could never seem to get enough training in. My diet wasn’t healthy enough. I was drinking too much beer…wait…what the #%!k did you just say? Forget that last part.
This year, as the “big day” drew near, I decided to just relax and try to have fun for once. I still found myself consulting with my personal trainer, mechanic, bike guru friend (Thanks Steve) concerning some minor fit issues. At the end of which he reminded me to “just go out, ride your damn bike and have FUN”. So I did. I ate pizza, drank beer and enjoyed the company of friends the night before. I went to bed too late. I didn’t drink enough water. I didn’t do a warm up ride. I didn’t line up at the front of the pack. I didn’t sprint through Kalkaska. I didn’t pass every rider like they were on MY trail screwing up MY race. I had FUN. Every now and then I would go by somebody and politely say “on your left please” and follow it up with “thank you” and maybe even a “your doing great!”. I smiled more than I ever have at this race or any race for that matter.
Sure, it was still a competition and occasionally I joined a pace line and got the heart rate somewhat close to the oh shit zone. But then I relaxed, took a deep breath, looked about me, enjoyed the fall colors and marveled at how quiet thousands of cyclists can be in the woods.
For once I concentrated on having a great time racing rather than having a great race time. The Iceman truly is a great race. A chance for a novice to feel like a pro. Also a chance for us mere mortals to watch in awe as the most elite athletes in cycling tear their way from Kalkaska to Traverse City.
The only thing that could make a party of 10,000 plus fellow cycling enthusiasts more enjoyable is sharing it with some very good friends and teammates whom just so happen to be pretty damn good at this race as well. I am sure by now that Bell’s Brewery is getting sick of seeing the wave of Founder’s Team members on the podium of “their” race.
And a huge congrats to our 2 elite racers who proved that they belong with the best of them.
Pro Men Cat
70th of 109 Jeremy Karel Time 1:51:42
95th of 109 Earl Hillaker Time 2:01:19
3rd of 42 Danielle Shaver Time 2:28:59
1st of 61 Marnie Tencate Time 2:14:47
2nd of 56 Josh Hogeterp Time 2:01:13
5th of 56 Shawn Crowley Time 2:07:04
15 of 56 Rob Meendering Time 2:19:53
2nd of 85 Gabe Niehof Time 1:57:37
23rd of 105 Scott Thenikl Time 2:11:53
8th of 118 Matt Remelts Time 2:00:45
10th of 108 Scott Tencate Time 2:04:07
4th of 140 Tim Curtis Time 1:56:50
35th of 140 Dennis Murphy Time 2:17:12
20th of 151 Paul Popielarz Time 2:11:51
11th of 229 Ralf Scharnowski Time 2:11:07
42nd of 229 Rick Plite Time 2:29:05
94th of 229 Ernest Stafford Time 2:46:03
Male Singlespeeds 39 & Under
7th of 81 Jeff Jacobi Time 1:59:36
12th of 81 Thomas Stolz Time 2:05:39
click on pictures for full size