Another week closer to November! Are you getting ready?

With a long three-day weekend,plenty of Iceman athletes were in the woods to enjoy some sun, warm temperatures, and a nice reprieve from being indoors. Spring is slowly turning into something like summer, and that means plenty of chances to rack up long days in the saddle and explore new places to ride. 

It’s also brought some changes to how we ride and who we ride with. Last week, northern Michigan and all of the Upper Peninsula were given the green light to slowly re-open, and that prompted the League of Michigan Bicyclists to update their guidelines. In these areas,they advise:

– Group rides should be 10 people or less

– Practice social distancing when stopped; give at least 30 feet (10 yards) of space when riding in a line

– Don’t share water bottles or snacks – bring your own

– No snot rockets! If you have to blow your nose, use a disposable tissue and throw it in the trash

– Ride two abreast only with other members of your household

– Wear a mask whenever there’s a chance you’ll come into close contact with others, because masks are the best way to protect them if you have the

If you do choose to ride with a few friends, consider keeping it the same crew to prevent further spreading. 

So, what sort of training should you be focused on? With so many races kicked back to August or September, many riders have essentially restarted their base mile phase, opting for longer,less intense rides to rebuild a solid aerobic base. The key is to work backward from your first event and incorporate something like three weeks of base, a rest week, three weeks of longer tempo intervals (think 10-15 minutes at this point in the season), and then shorter, race-intensity efforts leading into the target event. 

It’s also not a bad idea to use the first race or two of the year as a way to experiment with how hard or much you ride going into a race, making small tweaks to your nutrition, and even with how aggressive you are early on in the race, just to see where you’re at physically. “Training through” some events can have a big impact on your overall fitness and set you up to hit your bigger targets in prime conditions. 

Of course, some folks are already firing on all cylinders. If that’s where you find yourself heading into June,work in some race-type efforts a day or two per week to stay sharp. Focus on certain Strava segments that might give you something to really work for a mimic that race-intensity that is so hard to duplicate out of competition. In Traverse City, we’ve seen riders hitting the Speed of Light route, an 11 mile lap on the Vasa Pathway, at full tilt, mimicking a 35-40 minute race effort on their own, using Strava Live Segments to chase their best time or even the KOM. 

Whatever you’re doing on the bike right now, the most important thing is to enjoy it. Go fast, go slow, ride long, ride short. We’re incredibly lucky to have a tool that keeps us fit and healthy at a time when health is newly appreciated. Make sure you make the right decision on riding solo or group rides based on local guidelines and what’s safest for you. As long as you’re pedaling, you’ll be happy you’re out there!

Checking In – Pros & Locals

Without spring races, it’s been a prolonged season of base miles. So, when is it time to sharpen things up?

With many races now scheduled for August, we’ve finally got a target to work backward from. A lot of our Iceman riders put their training on a bit of a pause the past month or two, pulling back from their normal efforts and going for big, fun rides when the weather allowed or, every now and again, getting their competitive blood flowing virtually on Zwift. 

We checked in with some locals and pros on how the pause changed their training, and how they’re looking to restart. TC rider and single track legend Dan Ellis, for one, let himself come off the gas and simply enjoyed as many miles as possible with his son, Grady. Grady is making the jump from Slush Cup to the full dance this fall, and has been chomping at the bit to get riding as the weather improves. “I think being able to just spend time with him in the woods has been really good for us. I don’t need to worry about fitness now, and that will sort of come as we get closer to normal, safe riding conditions,” Dan explained. 

For pros like last year’s winner,Alexey Vermeulen, there’s a bit of a different perspective. Alexey races for a living, and that means he needs to be in race-ready shape whenever someone says, “Go!”. He’s been balancing big base mile rides, Zwift races, and plenty of quality time with his dog, Willy, in his backpack. “Since corona has taken hold, my coach and I have taken a more flexible view on training which has allowed more adventure rides and Strava hunts,” he let us know. He’s looking to make his first start of the season at the rescheduled Dirty Kanza, currently slated for September 12. 

As spring weather finally arrives,it’s going to be easier to get back to more normality on the bike, offering a chance to check out our favorite trails and explore some new stuff, too. We’ve already been out in the Pere Marquette Forest looking at your course for 2020,and in just a few rides have unearthed a few neat ideas that may or may not seethe light of day. The intel we can share is that while 2019 was all about the climbers, this one is for the rouleurs. Less climbing, more speed, and one of the fastest finishes yet! 

When Does The ‘New’ Season Start For You?

With fat bike races wrapping up and some big gravel events just around the corner, March seems like the perfect start line for cyclists in the Midwest. That’s why we are showing off a fresh website,opening registration, and hitting the road to get the world ready for another year of bikes, buds, and beer in the months leading up to the Bell’s Iceman Cometh Challenge.

The site upgrade is designed to make your iceman.com experience easier to navigate, offer more information, and make race day less stressful by putting everything you need to know in a tidy digital package. You’ll find information about the SRAM Ice Cycle Expo, the start line in Kalkaska, and how to get that beer once you’re in the BISSELL Celebration Zone after the race.

Our new website is just one of many tweaks we’re working on to make 2020 the best edition of the race yet. We’ve made some big changes to the traffic and parking plans at the Kalkaska Airport, plus already have tweaks in the works to the course, the finish venue, waves, and more. You’ll probably notice that much of the information on the site is from last year. Much of what you see still applies to this year, but we’ll make changes to the site as the information changes. As always, you’ll get even more Iceman goodness delivered to your door around Labor Day with this year’s edition of the Glacier Gazette.

Online registration for 2019 racers opens Friday, March 6; for the rest of the world, they’ll have access to open spots on Monday, March 9. Of course, everyone is welcome to celebrate the start of the new season over a pint of Two-Hearted on Friday at 7 Monks in Traverse City(2-6 pm), or the Bell’s Eccentric Cafe in Kalamazoo (2-5:30 pm). Swing by and kick off your weekend while you kick off your season.

Need a little motivation this spring? Make sure you’re following us on Facebook, Twitter,and Instagram, and join our Strava Club and see how you stack up against your pals.

2020 Registration Details

To view this information in the original email, please click here

Onsite Registration
Anyone can register at either one of our onsite locations for the 2020 Bell’s Iceman Cometh Challenge whether you are a first time rider, a 20th time rider, riding Meijer Slush Cup or racing in the 30 mile Iceman; all are welcome to come and celebrate with us. 

Come see us at the Bell’s Eccentric Café in Kalamazoo or 7 Monks Taproom in Traverse City on March 6.  Details are below:

Friday March 6, 2020
2:00 pm to 5:30 pm
Bell’s Eccentric Café
355 E Kalamazoo Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
 
Friday March 6, 2020
2:00 pm to 6:00 pm
7 Monks Taproom
128 S Union St
Traverse City, MI 49684
 
Online Registration
 If you raced in 2019, early registration will open for you on Friday March 6th at 9:00 am.  On Thursday March 5th, you will receive a link to the registration page and an early access code that you will need in order to register early. Online registration will be open to 2019 racers only until Monday March 9th.
 
If you are a new racer or if you raced any year other than 2019, online registration will open for you on Monday March 9th at 9:00am. 
 
Racing Age
Please remember when registering that your “racing age” is determined by your age on December 31.
 
Questions?
 Email us at icemaninfo@iceman.com or visit us on Facebook!
2019 Photos
Looking from some great photos of you on the trail in 2019. Check these out from Rob Meendering! 

New Year New Info

(To view this email in its original format please click here)
Happy New Year! 
 
A Note from your Race Director, Cody Sovis: 
For the Bell’s Iceman Cometh Challenge crew, there’s a lot of excitement in flipping the page to a new year, and we’re deep into planning the 31st edition of this legendary race. November 7 is going to be here in a flash. We’ve put together a few important dates to circle on your calendar, plus a couple of tidbits to chew on.

Registration
 Details 
You have to train for the after party somehow, so why not right when you sign up? On-site registration takes place on Friday, March 6, 2020 at Bell’s Eccentric Café in Kalamazoo and at 7 Monks in Traverse City (times to be announced).  New and returning riders can register for the 31st Iceman Cometh Challenge while enjoying some Light-Hearted fun and comradery.  Keep an eye on your inbox for additional information.

On-line registration for returning riders opens Friday, March 6th at 9:00 am; if you raced last year, you’ve got all weekend to jump into the race of your choice. For those who didn’t race in 2019,  registration opens Monday, March 9th at 9:00am. Get signed up, get committed, and get your riding buddy to register, too!

Registration costs for 2020:
Bell’s Iceman Cometh Challenge: $110 
               Junior Riders:     $70
Meijer Slush Cup: $80
               Junior Riders: $50
Meijer Sno-Cone: $5

Website & Registration Platform Overhaul 

Coming in late February 2020, we’ll unveil a new website and registration platform! If that sounds scary, don’t worry; it’s all good stuff.  What’s different? Here are some FAQs to let you know about what we have going on.

Where will my past results be held? All known past results will be uploaded to the new registration platform.  You’ll have to “claim” your information which can be done with your email and other identifying information.  In order to make this process smooth, please update your Ice Society Account on the current website (www.iceman.com) before March 1 so we have your correct information when everything migrates over. 

Will there still be an Ice Society? Yes…in our hearts. There will always be an Ice Society, just not a digital one on the Internet. Instead, we’ll be focusing our updates and information using the Iceman Strava Club, on our social channels (FacebookInstagramTwitter), and on the trails.

What about Strava Training Points?   You might have noticed the Training Leaderboard isn’t updating. Due to new Strava API settings and costs, we won’t be syncing data from Strava anymore. You can still see how you stack up against other Iceman athletes using the Iceman Strava Club

How will waves be determined? Waves will continue to be determined by your top three Iceman Cometh Races out of the last 5 years. We’ve thought a lot about the best way to place riders, and while there were a lot of perks to using the Strava algorithm, it did have some drawbacks. As a result, we’re taking out the other variables. Think you’re Wave One? Prove it; by taking times on the course, riders face the same hills, same mud, same traffic, and the same roll of the dice. First-time riders will be placed in waves based on age or race category.

What else will be new? New this year, friends and family will be able to track you on Race Joy.  With Race Joy, you can transmit your location and current speed in real-time to friends and family.  Race Joy will also help search and rescue better located you in an emergency situation.  Your spectators will be able to track you from home or from the finish line.  This does require an app download and racers will be required to carry their phones. 

Also, there will be some newly designed Light Hearted Ale merch and new merchandise items!
 

Along the way, we hope you’ll stay tuned to news and updates from of the woods, and enjoy every pedal stroke of training, racing, and riding between now and race day.

See you in the woods, 

Cody Sovis

CBS Viewing Party at ONYX Sports Bar – December 1

CBS Viewing Party at ONYX Sports Bar - December 1

We’re back on the airwaves Sunday, December 1 on CBS Sports! For the second year, the Bell’s Iceman Cometh Challenge airs across the country to highlight our racers, our winners, and our partners from sea to shining sea. And we’re inviting you to tune in with us! 

This year’s viewing party will be hosted by ONYX Sports Bar inside Turtle Creek Casino. We’ll be there by noon so we have plenty of time to settle in and loosen up before the Iceman program premiers at 1 pm EST on CBS Sports. The hour-long feature will highlight the history of the race, the perks of the region, and the demanding conditions of the 30th anniversary of this incredible event. Get a taste of the Bell’s and feel the chills of the Pro finish with all your pals, and get ready for 2020. 

Watch for drink specials at ONYX and take time to check out the casino during your visit. Can’t join us at 1 pm? The program re-airs for the West Coast at 9 pm our time, so you’ll have a second chance on that same day.

Famous Last Words: A Note From The Race Director

Famous Last Words: A Note From The Race Director

Three decades ago, 39 mountain bikers with nothing better to do on a Saturday morning gathered in Kalkaska. It was frigid; winter had swept in early, and for the first edition of the race, it piled up. That year, Steve Brown had put together something that was certainly competitive in spirit, while also offering a sense of adventure. It was an event that posed a rather simple question: what if?

What if we sent riders from Kalkaska to Traverse City? What if more showed up a year later, and even more the year after that? What if Iceman brought in riders from across northern Michigan, across the state, across the Midwest? What if we finished here; what if we started over there? What if we had beer at the finish venue? What if that microbrew festival turned into nearly a decade of Bell’s Brewery, and our very own ale?

Over two years ago, just before Christmas, Steve Brown gave me a book called Tai-Pan. It was about an ambitious trader in Hong Kong that built the largest, most ambitious trading company in the Far East called “The Noble House”. Just one book in an epic saga, it’s the story not of one person, but of an enterprise bigger than a single person, and about the commitment to carrying on the standards, the morals, and the idea for generation after generation. Before I was too far into the book, I started to get the idea. 

Last year, I showed up to the start line knowing that it could be the last time I race. It was quite the feeling; I’d been sick for two weeks leading up to it, but instead of being disappointed, it let me just relax and soak it all in. The nerves, the last-minute decision on what bike to ride, the long, agonizing wait for the Pro 2:30 start. Every second meant something, and that odd perspective stuck with me. What could possibly attract thousands of mountain bikers from around the country to travel to Traverse City, in terrible weather, to race bikes?

When you take that step back, what you see is that because of what Steve and Connie Brown have poured into this race, and the incredible people that they’ve tied in to make it happen, Iceman truly is more than a race. Competition is just one small ingredient of a recipe that combines tradition, hardship, passion, failure, resilience, success, and a quiet sort of relief that comes not at the finish so much as it does at the start. We have all faced challenges and sacrifices just to show up; we’ve put in the miles, we’ve traveled the hours, we’ve made it all come together for one special day in November. 

Looking at the race now, I don’t see a race by which my friends will judge my fitness or ability. I see riders that wake up at 3:45 am to ride their trainers in the basement before work so they can train and still make it to Junior’s soccer game that evening. I see a guy who lost 55 pounds riding bikes not to win his age group, but to just finish 30 miles of everything the Pere Marquette can muster. I see a woman who requested to move back fifteen waves to ride with her sister so they could motivate each other, no matter the weather. I see a dad who, though he could probably win his age group, enter the Pro race so that he won’t miss his son take on the Slush Cup. 

I’ve got two simple requests for you tomorrow. First, please appreciate those banners. Seriously. As a racer, I used to think they just appeared, already draped over the hard fencing and magically removed Saturday night. They’re not. Dozens of volunteers spend countless hours setting up the start and finish venue, and they do so in the rain, in the snow, and in the cold. Those venues aren’t just parts of the racecourse, they’re the stage for the biggest show in mountain biking. Behind every banner and sign is a volunteer and a sponsor; without them, this show wouldn’t go on. 

Finally, look out for each other. To preserve our natural spaces, to promote our sport, and to ensure that events like the Bell’s Iceman Cometh Challenge have a future for the next thirty years, it’s going to take every single one of us. If we do nothing else with this race, I hope we continue to grow the sense of community that is fostered by joining a local club or team, becoming a member of your local trail association, and by participating in and supporting events that have a larger purpose. 

Now go lose sleep about which tires you’ve picked out for tomorrow, and we’ll see you in Kalkaska!

Famous Last Words

Three decades ago, 39 mountain bikers with nothing better to do on a Saturday morning gathered in Kalkaska. It was frigid; winter had swept in early, and for the first edition of the race, it piled up. That year, Steve Brown had put together something that was certainly competitive in spirit, while also offering a sense of adventure. It was an event that posed a rather simple question: what if?

What if we sent riders from Kalkaska to Traverse City? What if more showed up a year later, and even more the year after that? What if Iceman brought in riders from across northern Michigan, across the state, across the Midwest? What if we finished here; what if we started over there? What if we had beer at the finish venue? What if that microbrew festival turned into nearly a decade of Bell’s Brewery, and our very own ale?

Over two years ago, just before Christmas, Steve Brown gave me a book called Tai-Pan. It was about an ambitious trader in Hong Kong that built the largest, most ambitious trading company in the Far East called “The Noble House”. Just one book in an epic saga, it’s the story not of one person, but of an enterprise bigger than a single person, and about the commitment to carrying on the standards, the morals, and the idea for generation after generation. Before I was too far into the book, I started to get the idea. 

Last year, I showed up to the start line knowing that it could be the last time I race. It was quite the feeling; I’d been sick for two weeks leading up to it, but instead of being disappointed, it let me just relax and soak it all in. The nerves, the last-minute decision on what bike to ride, the long, agonizing wait for the Pro 2:30 start. Every second meant something, and that odd perspective stuck with me. What could possibly attract thousands of mountain bikers from around the country to travel to Traverse City, in terrible weather, to race bikes?

When you take that step back, what you see is that because of what Steve and Connie Brown have poured into this race, and the incredible people that they’ve tied in to make it happen, Iceman truly is more than a race. Competition is just one small ingredient of a recipe that combines tradition, hardship, passion, failure, resilience, success, and a quiet sort of relief that comes not at the finish so much as it does at the start. We have all faced challenges and sacrifices just to show up; we’ve put in the miles, we’ve traveled the hours, we’ve made it all come together for one special day in November. 

Looking at the race now, I don’t see a race by which my friends will judge my fitness or ability. I see riders that wake up at 3:45 am to ride their trainers in the basement before work so they can train and still make it to Junior’s soccer game that evening. I see a guy who lost 55 pounds riding bikes not to win his age group, but to just finish 30 miles of everything the Pere Marquette can muster. I see a woman who requested to move back fifteen waves to ride with her sister so they could motivate each other, no matter the weather. I see a dad who, though he could probably win his age group, enter the Pro race so that he won’t miss his son take on the Slush Cup. 

I’ve got two simple requests for you tomorrow. First, please appreciate those banners. Seriously. As a racer, I used to think they just appeared, already draped over the hard fencing and magically removed Saturday night. They’re not. Dozens of volunteers spend countless hours setting up the start and finish venue, and they do so in the rain, in the snow, and in the cold. Those venues aren’t just parts of the racecourse, they’re the stage for the biggest show in mountain biking. Behind every banner and sign is a volunteer and a sponsor; without them, this show wouldn’t go on. 

Finally, look out for each other. To preserve our natural spaces, to promote our sport, and to ensure that events like the Bell’s Iceman Cometh Challenge have a future for the next thirty years, it’s going to take every single one of us. If we do nothing else with this race, I hope we continue to grow the sense of community that is fostered by joining a local club or team, becoming a member of your local trail association, and by participating in and supporting events that have a larger purpose. 

Now go lose sleep about which tires you’ve picked out for tomorrow, and we’ll see you in Kalkaska!

SRAM Ice Cycle Expo & Packet Pick Up

SRAM Ice Cycle Expo & Packet Pick Up!It’s (almost) what you’ve been waiting for!  The SRAM Ice Cycle Expo & Packet Pick Up for the Bell’s Iceman Cometh Challenge & Meijer Slush Cup and Sno-Cone is this FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1 from 10am to 9pm at the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa

SRAM Ice Cycle Expo Vendors & Details 
Swing by the SRAM Ice Cycle Expo (open to the public) and visit one of our many vendors on your way to pick up your packet or register your little for the Meijer Sno-Cone! You can also purchase your wooden tokens (good for one Bell’s beer each at the BISSELL Celebration Zone) at Timber Ridge Resort’s booth! Check out the full list of vendors: 

 45 NRTH                                                                 LIV Bikes
906 Adventure                                                     LMB
Adams Sports Medicine                                  McLain Cycle
Alpen Haus                                                               MEIJER – EXPO
Bearclaw Bicycle Company                            MMBA
Bells Beer                                                                  Michigan Mountain Mayhem
Bike Flights                                                               MSU – Grand Fondo
Bike Law                                                                     Munson Medical
Bliz Eyewear / Endurance Enterprises      NAT-URS-KEE
Blue Care Network                                                NMMB
Boogali Bikes                                                            NORTE
Borah Team Wear                                                   Northern Roots
BoShield                                                                       NUE Series
Boyd Cycling                                                              Orange Seal
Brick Wheels                                                             Powell/ Ride Science
Cherry Capital Cycling Club                             Quiring Cycles
City Bike Shop                                                          ROKA
CLIF Bar                                                                       Shoreline Fruit / Cherry Bay Orchards
Costco                                                                           Specialized
Defeet Socks                                                             SRAM
Einstein Cycles, LLC                                              Subaru
ERG! Bar                                                                       Suttons Bay Bikes
Floyds of Leadville                                                 Sweet Bikes
Gaylord Chamber                                                   Team RWB
Giant Bikes                                                                 Timber Ridge/ Kalkaska
GOREC                                                                          Trek Bikes
Grand Rapids Bicycle Company                    Turtle Creek Casino
Happy Trails                                                               UP-Bike
Heart Smart – Melting Man                               VanDoIT
Highway 2/Continental                                       VASA
HNM Wellness                                                         Village of Kalkaska
James Knight – Louis Garneau                        XC HQ
KOM Cycling                                                              Xmatic
Packet Pick Up – IMPORTANT INFORMATION 
You and you alone may pick up your packet! Seriously. Your government issued picture ID is required and will be checked.  Here is your one exception – if you are the parent or legal guardian of a rider under the age of 18 you may pick their packet up. Remember that if another rider races with your plate, you will both be banned for life.  

After you grab your packet, head over to the Iceman Merch table to pick up your pre-order and get some additional swag! Visit all of our amazing vendors at this years expo. See you on November 1 from 10am to 9pm at the Bell’s Iceman Cometh Challenge SRAM Ice Cycle Expo.