Specialized pro rider Howard Grotts won the 2016 Bell’s Beer Iceman Cometh Challenge with a time of 1:23:36 on a day that saw perfect “niceman” conditions.
He knows he got lucky with the weather but plans to return this year.
“No matter what the weather,” he added.
“I’d always heard about the race. Never had a chance to make it out, it’s kind of a fun time of year,” he said.
Coming at the end of the season he said conditioning is always varied amongst the pro riders, but the $6,500 payday for winning ensures the pros give it everything they’ve got when the tires hit the trail.
“Everyone is treating it as a fun race, but they put in a hard effort,” he said.
Grotts recently returned from South Africa and the Cape Epic stage race. He and his partner rode in support of Specialized Bike’s “A team”. They are allowed to help with a spare tire or bike in case of a mechanical failure. The team they were in support of finished the 7 day race in second place, 8 minutes down to the leaders.
Grotts is looking forward to a year of domestic races this year after racing UCI World Cup events in preparation for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
“It’s a good time to step back from hunting UCI points,” he said.
He’s headed to events similar to Iceman to mingle more with fans in the United States.
“It’s an important aspect of being a pro racer, interacting with all the folks that are buying the bikes that I’m riding,” he said.
Entering his 6th year as a pro he’s still having fun and looking forward to races he plans to do for the first time this year, the Leadville 100 and the Breck Epic as well as the Epic Rides Off-road race series.
Grotts enjoys the early part of the race season.
“You constantly see results from training,” he said.
His weekly schedule includes two rest days, Monday and Thursday generally, sandwiched between rest days are an interval training day, tailored to whatever the next race is followed by a longer endurance day. For Leadville he’ll work on longer (30 minute) intervals, shorter races mean shorter intervals he said.
And yes, his job is still fun.
“Getting to explore new trails, whether they are in Africa or California, that’s probably the best part of this job,” he said.