Moving Fast into March: No Hibernation for Iceman Cometh Nation

Moving Fast Into March: No Hibernation for Iceman Cometh Nation

Here at Iceman HQ, all this talk of March 1’s festivities has us itching for some riding. If getting signed up for the 30th edition of the Iceman Cometh Challenge doesn’t get you fired up to ride, then you’ve been cooped up inside for way too long!

Iceman athletes haven’t been hibernating. From Nordic skiing, fat biking, and even hopping on the trainer, our racers have been working hard to maintain and build fitness for a full season that seems to add more killer events every year. Remember the off-season? Well, that’s not really a thing anymore!

Around here, there is a fat bike race nearly every other week, and that’s a sport that’s grown to include races across the state. Some of the best Strava scores of the past two months have come from events like Fat Chance! at Crystal Mountain and the Big M Fat Bike Race near Manistee.

Activities on Zwift, TrainerRoad, and Rouvy count toward your Ice Society Strava score, and there are dozens of riders who have been raking in the points since November. New virtual events and races have made indoor racing a lot more fun and make it possible to ride with bike nerds from around the world.

Of course, some folks need to swap their pedals for skis to enjoy winter, and we’ve had a blast following the Michigan Nordic ski scene from Noque to Cote Dame Marie. This weekend, the 43rd Annual North American Vasa will start and finish in the same spot as the Iceman ends at beautiful Timber Ridge Resort. For Iceman racers, it’s got to be just a bit of a relief that they get to go down Icebreaker to start their 12, 27, or 50 km ski events, rather than finish up that short but cruel little slope.

There are also two fat bike races as a part of the Vasa’s Festival of Races, and it’s a testament to Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association that racing on their expertly groomed and simply gorgeous Winter Sports Singletrack draws so many rabid fat bikers. NMMBA also played a huge role in designing and laying out our 2018 Iceman course, and they do a great job incorporating their years of racing and riding in putting together a fun, fast, and exciting route that suits a wide range of abilities.

If you’ve had a hard time peeling yourself off the couch, we really hope that get yourself signed up for the 30th edition of the Iceman Cometh Challenge gives you the motivation to get moving, and maybe even try something new before winter fades into spring. The countdown to our 30th year starts in earnest in just a few weeks with events at 7 Monks in Traverse City and Bell’s Eccentric Cafe in Kalamazoo. More details to come, but make sure you’ve got a plan in place to make this year’s race your best yet!

2019 Iceman registration is open for everyone

2019 Iceman registration is open for everyone

The 30th Annual Bell’s Iceman Cometh Challenge will be held on Saturday, November 2, 2019.

Online registration for ALL Bell’s Iceman and Meijer Slush Cup riders opens Monday March 4th at 9 am.

A total field limit of 4,500 Iceman riders and 400 Slush Cup riders will be accepted. The March 4th online registration opening for all riders will operate on a “first come – first served” method.

The Bell’s Iceman entry fee for 2019 is $100.00 and includes the USA Cycling One-Day License and the online registration fee. USA Cycling members with an annual license will receive a $10 rebate upon showing their license at packet pick-up in November. The $10 USA Cycling annual license rebate is not available for riders in the Pro/Category 1 races.

2019 Meijer Slush Cup entry fees are $70.00 and include a USA Cycling one-day license and the online registration fee.

The 2019 online registration system utilizes your Ice Society account on the website. Thus, all registrants need to have an active account within the Ice Society. A new capability of the Ice Society is to allow parents to manage their children’s accounts with the same email address.

To eliminate confusion, tandem entries follow the one bike – one entry system. Tandem captains can enter their stoker’s name on their account page.

A free USA Cycling account number (not an annual license) is required for each rider. For riders without an account number, you can create an account with USA Cycling by looking for the “sign-up” button in the upper right-hand corner of the website.

Questions or concerns?


Call: 231-803-4259

USA Cycling Deal

Dear racers, 

Last year at the Bell’s Iceman Cometh you raced with us using a USA Cycling, one day event license. For many of you the Bell’s Iceman may be your only event planned in 2019 but if you are like many of returning racers, you enjoy racing all year long!

As a special thank you for your support of the Bell’s Iceman Cometh,  our partners at USA Cycling would like to offer to you a DISCOUNTED 2019 Annual Race license. (a savings of $30). There are many benefits to holding an annual race license:

  • You have access to all USA Cycling’s member benefits including a membership with Expert Voice (up to 70% savings on high end outdoor gear)
  • A complimentary one hour consult with a USA Cycling Certified Coach; and
  • Unlimited racing at any USA Cycling sanctioned event in the country including the Mountain Bike National Championships – Winter Park, Colorado. PLEASE note this license does not waiver your entry fees ONLY your license fees. )

This offer will expire on February 28, 2019 so take advantage of it now and race all year long!

Use Coupon code (case sensitive) ICEMANRACE2019 at check out and receive your $30 off your annual license.  It’s really like a $40 dollar deal too, if you already have a USA Cycling license you get $10 back on your 2019 Bell’s Iceman Cometh entry.

Click here to snag the deal.

Bell’s Iceman Cometh Challenge comes to 9&10 News Sunday @ 2pm

Bell's Iceman Cometh Challenge comes to 9&10 News Sunday at 2pm

On Sunday, December 2nd at 2 pm EST, television viewers in northern Michigan will get a chance to see what we experience every fall. 9&10 News will  repeat the special CBS Sports coverage of the Bell’s Iceman Cometh Challenge, celebrating 29 editions of the race and offering a great look at the final kilometers for the Pro Men and Women’s events. 

This has been a project on our radar for nearly three years, and there’s a lot of optimism on how this will highlight our cycling community, our region, and our sport to a much wider audience. 

Tune in Sunday and use #icemantcmi to let us know where you’re watching from. Once the show is over, it will be time to start training (and for us, planning!) for our 30th Anniversary Bell’s Iceman Cometh Challenge in 2019!

Post Race Reminder: Food & Bell’s Beer

Timber Ridge has 13 food vendors line up for after the race. Plan on racing hard, then using the Team Bob shower trucks, changing into dry clothes, eat some good food, grab a delicious Bell’s beer and wait for the most anticipated races all year…the SNOCONE and the Pros.  

Reminder all beer proceeds go to the Timber Ridge Foundation that donates money to trail development in conjunction with TART trails.  So drink for a good cause! The official beer list is:

Bell’s Porter
Christmas Ale
Amber Ale
Bell’s Lager
Oarsman Ale
Best Brown
Two Hearted Ale
Winter White
Expedition Stout

Just a reminder no outside alcohol is allowed in the Celebration Zone.  Security will be inspecting bags and if alcohol is found you will have 3 choices:

  1. Surrender the alcohol (this includes flasks!)
  2. Take the alcohol back to your car.
  3. Be unruly, get a ticket, and get kicked out by the police.

Sunset on the Season Party

Sunset on the Season Party

2018 Sunset on the Season Video

The Bell’s Beer Sunset on the Season Party is where riders can finally take the gloves off. Relax and share stories with someone you’ve been battling all season or raise a glass of Two Hearted with Gary Fisher himself. You may have a 54 year old Bell’s Iceman first timer on a bar stool next to the current National Champ. Perhaps a former World Champion is sipping from the Ice Trophy or a Tour de France finisher is letting out some long season stress on the dance floor. 

With the talent & energy The Orbitsuns deliver to every performance it’s impossible not to find one last late night interval in your legs. These hard working Detroit rockers are the Godfathers of MTB rock and promise to hit you with all of their ice melting anthems. 

Lets be honest, any sort of competition can expose egos and a little selfishness on occasion. But, on this night, it’s all set aside. The dance floor will be open & the Bell’s Beer will be flowing as we celebrate our beautiful sport and the people, brands & bands that make the ride of life worth livin’.

Good luck racers! We’ll see YOU all at the real finish line, The Bell’s Iceman Sunset On The Season Party. (21&UP Event)

Caffeine Soul

When? Saturday, November 3, 2018 at 9 PM – 2 AM

Where? Union Street Station, 117 S. Union Street, TC

Course updates from NMMBA

Course updates from NMMBA

As the Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association works to bring you the best Iceman Cometh Challenge course possible, we’re providing updates on current conditions through race day!

What a difference a week makes! Even with some warm temperatures, we saw just enough rain over the past ten days to have a huge impact on the course. In mid-to-late September, sand was the word, as it always is in early fall. This year was no different, and perhaps a touch worse; sections from Kalkaska to Dockery Road were, in the opinions of many, some of the slowest we’ve ever seen!

Luckily, a mix of cold nights and rain have gotten the course into great shape, and aside from the infamous sand pits that you just know are coming, there’s nothing out there that will make you feel like you’re at the beach.

Tom and the crew were out putting in the finishing touches on the new Water Bottle Hill Bypass. That new section of trail is bench cut and riding faster and faster every week. While it does criss-cross the old bypass, you won’t have any trouble staying on the right trail thanks to a few blue flags places at all the pertinent intersections. While the segment is too close to the previous trail to be accurate, this should give you a good look at where the bypass is on the course.

Another big confirmation from the weekend is that we’ll stick with the same Wall Bypass used in the 2017 edition race, taking a long, lazy bend left before the Wall and hopping on a few bits of two-track and singletrack before rejoining the 25km just about a half-mile from the infamous Boonenberg climb. That one-two punch is always tough, especially after a few fast miles from Williamsburg Road and onto the 25km itself.

Finally, the finale. While it’s unmarked and very tough to follow at the moment, you can count on a serpentine, sinuous sprint through some winding singletrack from the time you enter Timber Ridge, nearly leave it entirely, then come back to the line after going over and under two shipping containers!

While plenty of people were out enjoying the course, Melissa from Michigan Mountain Biking Association was at Timber Ridge helping put on the Iceman Clinic this past Saturday. 30 riders got a little instruction and a lot of confidence ahead of race day, and were treated to hot brats, chips, and a great time by MMBA and Keen Technical Solutions.

Support the MMBA today.

Support the MMBA today.

The Michigan Mountain Biking Association gathered their new board members and Chapter Advisory Council members for their 2019 strategic planning session on Sunday near the new DTE Energy Foundation trail in Chelsea, Michigan. It was an exciting day, spent talking about mountain biking in Michigan and planning about the future of the MMBA and the goals the group has for 2019.

The long-term future of the MMBA is bright, we have an energetic board with the ideas and vision to lead Michigan mountain biking forward and secure long-term funding for the organization. The short-term issue is cash flow…

The work the MMBA does is important to all of us. This summer MMBA executive director Melissa Werkman, the only employee of the organization, was instrumental in getting the obstructed license plate bill through the state legislature and signed into law. No longer can you be pulled over for having your license plate blocked by bikes on your hitch rack. Thank the MMBA for that one.

Now… you can’t specifically join the MMBA itself.

The MMBA wants you to join your local bike club, that money stays local and gets put to use on your home turf, providing your group with money for grooming, insurance and whatever else is needed right at home. Individual bike clubs like the Shoreline Cycling Club in Ludington and others listed at then choose to support the work of the MMBA by joining the Chapter Advisory Council. If your club isn’t supporting MMBA, talk to your board members, they should.

But what you can do is make a donation right now. Think about the work of the MMBA and how important it is to have an executive director with connections across the state and in our state capitol. Whether it’s the license plate law or negotiations with the DNR about trail access or E-Bikes, we need that representation.

Now take a minute and think about the price of a six pack of Bell’s Best Brown Ale, $10 or 12 bucks right? And worth every penny! Will you buy the MMBA a six pack to reward them for the work they’ve done this year? Is the work the MMBA does worth a six pack of Bell’s to you?

(Disclaimer: Melissa is not actually going to buy beer with the $10 bucks you send, she’s going to put it in the operating fund, you’re going to get a tax deduction as the MMBA is a 501c3).

We want everyone who opens this email to send the MMBA ten or twenty bucks, but we know everyone won’t, but if HALF of you follow through, then we can help the MMBA get through this year and give them some breathing room to do the work they need to do.



Transfer deadline is 10/12, MMBA Clinic for new riders on 10/13, Wave assignments on 10/19, Iceman Store closing on 10/26.

DTE Foundation Trail, two thumbs WAY up!

The Bell’s Iceman is Sold Out, now what?

The Bell's Iceman is Sold Out, now what?

For the 30th year in a row, the Bell’s Iceman Cometh Mountain Bike Challenge has sold out. What does that mean? Can you still sign up? How?

1. Iceman and his team run a heck of an event. It’s super fun and as popular as ever.

2. Yes.

3. When you sign up at this point, if there are transfers available, you get in and someone else gets out. Just like that. Should the number of transfers get to 0, then your entry is held in a queue, and you are not charged, until one of the 4,000+ riders decides they can’t make the party for one reason or another. When someone decides to get out, you get their entry and they get a refund. Minus a small fee, most of which goes to charity. We’ll stop with the transfer madness mid-October. Then we’ll get cracking on wave seeding.