Race Review: Iceman Cometh

<em>Photo: Justin Steiner,</em> Dirt Rag Magazine

I'm sure many of your have heard of the Iceman Cometh in Traverse City, Michigan. Attendance is staggering. For instance, 2,286 individuals finished the race this year. For years I've been wondering what attracted so many people to northern Michigan. So, Eric and I loaded up the van, pointed it north and west, and headed out to see what the hubbub was about.

Now, 2,000-plus people for a single stage, 27.5-mile race held in November in Michigan is impressive, but it gets better. This year's race registration was filled up entirely by January 3rd of this year, a full 11 months before the race date. I don't know about you, but I find that to be astounding. With the sheer number of racers involved, I was wondering what sort of madness we may have signed up for, but things went very smoothly. Friday the 9th was packet pickup for racers as well as a vender's exhibit at the Grand Traverse Resort. Thanks to all the folks who stopped by our booth to say hello.

As the morning of Saturday the 10th rolled around, it was time to race. Eric and I started in the first wave, which as you might expect, left both of us scrambling to the starting line only moments before the start. As we stood there assessing our starting position--last two guys all the way in the back--the gun went off and it was time to hammer down.

The race was interesting to say the least, unlike any mountain bike race I have ridden previously. The pace was fast--plenty of opportunity to do some drafting, assuming you had the fortitude to tuck in behind a total stranger at 25ish mph on a twisty, sandy fire road. Singletrack would have been fun and flowing if you didn't have a herd of roadies (who blew your doors off on the last fire road and will do the same on the next) in a nose-to-tail chain in front of you.

Despite a few hairy situations in the sand traps, Eric and I made it through without casualty, managing to finish within seconds of each other. With racers starting in waves only a few minutes apart throughout most of the day there was plenty of proper spectating opportunity.

All things considered, the Iceman weekend was a total success. Not only did we meet a ton of nice folks at the vendor exhibit, but we had a blast racing to boot. If you're interested in attending the Iceman you can find more information here at www.iceman.com.

For Dirt Rag's photo gallery from this year's event, click here. Note that the 2008 race entry of 2,500 was determined by a lottery system. Registration closed February 29, 2008.

Dirt Rag is an independent magazine with an open-forum format that allows readers and writers alike to participate. Dirt Rag has been immersed in cycling culture since 1989 and has remained true to grassroots, independent coverage of what really matters to mountain bikers: what, where, how and why we ride.

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