It was a great weekend to be in Traverse City for the 20th annual IceMan Cometh mountain bike race. With 4,000 registered entrants, this is by far the largest cycling event that I've been part of. The race starts in downtown Kalkaska and finishes 28 miles later at the Timber Ridge Campground just a short distance from Grand Traverse Bay in beautiful TC.
Going into this race I had my doubts about how I would do after fracturing a rib less than 2 weeks ago. The one thing that was a positive for me was getting to race my new 29'er S-Works Stumpjumper Hardtail in the race. One teammate calls it my high end commuter bike, but it also works well on a mountain bike course. I knew that the bike was going to help mask some pain, but just how much was something that I wouldn't know until the adrenaline was flowing once the race started. Once the race got going I was never bothered by my rib as I battled among the top ten in my race category. Towards the end after passing what seemed to be a few hundred racers from the earlier wave starts I found myself battling for the fifth and final podium spot. My race came down to the last five miles that I've always considered the hardest at the IceMan with a half dozen good climbs before the finish. Battling a local named Dan, I did my best to get away up a few climbs as I led him up them, but with just over a mile to go I had used up everything in the tank and started to feel the effects of my rib injury. Dan surged just before the last climb and I watched him cruise in 12-13 seconds in front of me leaving me to cross the line in 6th out of about 140 starters in the 45-49 Expert category. I'm always disappointed when I miss an award by such a small margin, but for this IceMan I was happy to just be part of it after a tough October.
Thanks to the Adventure 212/Specialized Team and all my sponsors who have helped me this season. You guys are all great! Pedal on...
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