2019 Pro Women Preview

2019 Pro Women Preview

The 30th edition of the Bell’s Iceman Cometh is going to one of the most exciting editions of the race yet, and one huge reason for that is the decidedly unpredictable nature of the women’s Pro field. Just a single rider returns from 2018’s top five, which means we’re in for a wide open race in which tactics and brains will be just as important as the riders’ legs. From across North America, the top mountain bike talent will descend on Traverse City to vie for bragging rights, a big payout, and an even bigger bottle of Bell’s beer. The field of 22 just might be the most evenly matched to date, and we’re expecting some incredibly close racing for 2019!

The Favorites

A multi-time Czech national champion and Olympian in mountain biking and cross country skiing, Katerina Nash is a true legend of the sport. If we had to pick a favorite to win this race, it’s most certainly Nash. More than capable of winning any event she enters, the experienced Nash will look to take her second Iceman crown, with her last win coming in 2017 in dramatic fashion, just ahead of… well, see below!

Rose Grant takes up the line in the stead of her Stan’s NoTubes/Pivot Bicycles teammates Chloe Woodruff and Sofia Villafane. After having to write-off her 2018 season due to injuries, Grant has stormed back in style, winning the Leadville 100 in 2019. Grant came tantalizingly close to winning Iceman in 2017, where she was narrowly beaten by Katerina Nash. Based on her run of form in 2019, Grant has every chance to take the win when she and Nash renew their rivalry on Saturday.  

Haley Hunter Smith had a breakout year on the World Cup scene in 2019, becoming a fixture at the front of the races and getting plenty of camera time. This is her first Iceman, so be sure to give Haley an extra big cheer as she charges up Icebreaker – maybe for the dream scenario of a debut win!

She may be from Cadillac, but we’ve been calling her a local hero for years. Kaitlyn Patterson was a late entry to the race, but the perennial podium finisher is back! She’s not just here for the beer, either. She put in a dominant performance at Peak2Peak two weeks ago, and she’s seen everything Iceman can offer in terms of competition, course, and weather. 

The Dark Horses

Keep an eye on Leia Schneeberger from Wisconsin. She put on a show at this year’s Peak to Peak, coming in second place behind a dominant Kaitlyn Patterson and ahead of a bevy of exceptionally strong riders. She’s had some great races at Iceman in the past, but Leia looks to be on a whole new level entirely this season.

Maddy Frank is the pride of Grand Rapids, MI and she’s coming back to Michigan for a run at the biggest race in the Midwest. A student athlete at Lindenwood University, Frank has had a fantastic season of training and racing at the highest level in the collegiate ranks. Can she parlay that additional experience into a top five in 2019?

The Locals

Susan Vigland is as fast as ever, and this could be the year that she pulls off a huge win for all of Traverse City. She’s cracked the top in this race before, and she only needs a few things to go her way to take a big step up to the top of the podium. 

Vigland will have her equally strong teammate, Bridgett Widrig, available to play the role of foil, or win in her own right. Widrig has been training exceptionally hard and has the Iceman course dialed in perhaps better than anyone else in the state. Few riders in the Women’s Pro field will have the benefit of having a teammate in the mix, so this is an advantage the Hagerty women will be sure to exploit. 

The Pro field also welcomes Shannon Kochis to the mix for 2019. Kochis, having podiumed in her age group in every previous edition of Iceman, she’s looking to test herself against the very fastest riders in the event. That’s what Iceman is all about; setting ambitious goals, testing yourself, and seeing where you end up. We love to see people stepping up to the big dance, Shannon!

The Pro Women leave Kalkaska at 2:33 pm, so be sure to make some noise for them as the come in just behind the Pro Men. You can view the complete entry list for the 2019 Pro women here, and check out the results of the Pro women race from 2018 here.

Welcome the 2016 Pro Women’s Racers

The Pro Women’s field is shaping up nicely with some familiar names and some new ones.  It’s going to be a great race to watch!

Chloe Woodruff: 

Chloe is returning in 2016 as reigning Women’s Champ for 2015! We are so glad she is back defending her title and we love seeing kill our course.   Sheis no stranger to Iceman as took 2nd in 2013, and has been racing mountain bikes since 2002.  She races for Stans NoTubes and rides a 9niner. And if you’re wondering about the After Party at The View in 2015… yup, she arrived late but won that too.  Find her at http://www.chloewoodruff.com/ or on twitter @chloewoodruff 

Amy Beisel:

Amy is making the trip from Gunnison, Colorado.  After finishing 6th in 2015, she’s back and ready for another shot at the top step of the podium.   She races Team RideBiker p/b Sho-air |Isoride |LIV. She credits her brother, also a pro cyclist, with encouraging her to buy her first mountain bike.  Amy is also the reigning Fat Bike World Champion.  You can find her on Ice Society and Facebook. 

Erin Huck:

Erin is coming from Boulder, Co. Erin finished 4th last year and knows what she needs to do to get the Ice Trophy!  She rides for SCOTT-3Rox. She took 1st at the 1st US ProXCT #1, Bonelli. Contact  here on Ice Society, http://erinhuck.com  or twitter @EEHuck

Catharine Pendrel

No stranger to being a winner, Catharine returns to Bell’s Iceman this year.  She won the 2013 Pro Women’s race but even more impressive is her winning a Bronze Medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Not only that, she also won her 3rd Overall World Cup title this year.  She races for the Luna Pro Team. It’s going to be a pleasure to see her in our Northern Michigan Woods again. 

Haley Batten

Riding with Luna Pro Team with Catharine is Bell’s Iceman newcomer Haley Batten.  At only 18 years old and an already impressive resume, we look forward to watching Haley for many, many years to come.  Welcome to Bell’s Iceman Haley!

Riding with Luna Pro Team with Catharine is Bell’s Iceman newcomer Haley Batten.  At only 18 years old and an already impressive resume, we look forward to watching Haley for many, many years to come.  Welcome to Bell’s Iceman Haley!

Also in the mix are Local Michigan Favorites:

Mackenzie Woodring, a member of the USA Paralympic squad with her tandem partner. They’ve won 4 medals including gold.  We haven’t seen her at Iceman in a while but in 2013 she placed and impressive 3rd overall.  Welcome back Mackenzie!

Susan Vigland, is the quintessential local sweetheart.  She’s raced Pro Women before but she’s back and faster than ever.  Don’t be surprised if 99% of the crowd is cheering for her!

Kaitlyn Patterson showed up at her first Bell’s Iceman raced last year and made everyone take notice by placed 5th!  She moved to Ann Arbor but has been on the top step more times than we can count this year.  We can’t wait to see what she has in the tank for this year’s Bell’s Iceman!