The 2016 Bell’s Beer Iceman Cometh Challenge is a point to point mountain bike race held traditionally on the first Saturday of November. The race starts in downtown Kalkaska, Michigan and finishes thirty miles later at Timber Ridge RV & Recreation Resort on the eastern edge of Traverse City, Michigan. The course consists primarily of dirt roads, two-tracks (the majority of the course), abandoned railroad beds and the world famous Vasa Nordic ski trail. It crosses only one paved road (Williamsburg Rd at mile 17) as it winds through the breathtaking terrain of the Pere Marquette State Forest in Northern Lower Michigan. In 2015, 5329 athletes participated!!
The Bell’s Iceman events attracts competitive cyclists from Canada (British Columbia & Ontario) and 36 states including Alaska,Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Ages range from 1.5 years to 80 years of age. Their ability levels vary from first time racers to Olympians who participated in the London games.
The Meijer Slush Cup offers beginning riders with a half frozen version of the Bell’s Beer Iceman. Approximately 8 miles long, the Slush Cup starts at Timber Ridge, follows the Vasa 10K ski trail, and then merges with the Bell’s Beer Iceman trail before winding up back at Timber Ridge.
The Meijer Sno-Cone is geared for riders 10 & under who want to discover the thrill of bike racing. Each participant receives a medal, number plate, and stickers.
The Iceman Course
Starting in downtown Kalkaska, the Bell’s Beer Iceman trail consists of paved roads, dirt roads, two tracks (the majority of the course), abandoned railroad beds, and the world famous Vasa Nordic ski trail. Approximately 29 miles long, the course crosses only one paved road (Williamsburg Rd. at mile 17) as it winds through the breath taking terrain of the Pere Marquette State Forest in Northwestern Lower Michigan. Course highlights include “Steve’s Secret”, “Lombard’s Luge,” “Cassle Cliffs,” and “Ice Breaker” (the last hill to climb). The finish line at Timber Ridge, just east of Traverse City, will be a welcome sight to all Icemen and Icewomen. The course can be best described as a road race on dirt.
COURSE MEAUSRED IN KILOMETERS
This year the course will be marked using Kilometers (to go) so we have have a more accurate idea of where any accidents or injuries happen so we can respond that much more efficiently.
GRAND TRAVERSE CYCLE FEED STATIONS
Grand Traverse Cycle is once again sponsoring the Feed Stations! Watch for their catchy signs on the course as you approach the three designated feed stations. The Ice House, Oasis, and Ice Station Zebra are located at about eleven, twenty-seven and thiry-six kilometers into the course, respectively. Volunteer crews will be serving up loads of CLIF products, cookies, fruit, and water for all!
The Oasis at Williamsburg Rd., has been moved two miles to the east in order to reduce the confusion at the Williamsburge Road crossing and to facilitate transportation to Timber Ridge resort for riders who abandon the race at Broomhead Road. Williamsburg Road will still be a real happening with its own announcer and PA so the entire crowd can hear who’s made it that far. Slush Cup riders will use the last Iceman feed station, Ice Station Zebra, located on the Vasa Trail. As always, there will be a huge recovery center at the finish line.
Meijer Slush Cup Course
The Meijer Slush Cup course jumps onto the Vasa Trail just southeast of Timber Ridge and follows the 25K ski trail east to the Vasa 10K trail. Utilizing the southern portion of the 10K, the trail turns north & east before it merges with the Bell’s Iceman course at the Ice Station Zebra feed station. At Ice Station Zebra, the course turns west and begins the trek back to Timber Ridge Resort. Climbing Icebreaker Hill is always the biggest challenge for Slush Cuppers but upon getting to the top, riders know it is not far to the finish line.
Meijer Sno-Cone Course
The Meijer Sno-Cone course(s) are fun loops within the Timber Ridge Resort trail system that are sure to bring a smile to every young rider’s face. Three different courses are offered for age graded events. There’s a 2+ kilometer course for boys & girls eight and over, a slightly shorter route for five to seven year old girls & boys, and a very short course for children 4 & under. The highlight of each course is that they all merge with the Iceman and Slush Cup courses so everybody gets to finish underneath the big finish line!