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.
As the weather changes and available daylight wanes with each passing day, it’s very tempting to hop on your indoor trainer. However, even if you have a solid indoor setup that can seemingly mimic hilly conditions, you’ll be hard-pressed to find an indoor environment that can truly simulate the Iceman course. We suggest logging in as many trail miles as possible – though not just on any trail.
“This race is full gas from start to finish,” cautions Johanna Schmidt, PT, DPT, a physical therapist at Mary Free Bed at Munson Medical Center who has completed Iceman six times. “You’re breathing hard the entire time so you’re not really prepping yourself properly on a single track.”
The avid cyclist – who also co-founded the youth-focused, cycling advocacy organization Norte with her husband Ty – recommends familiarizing yourself with the actual Iceman trail itself if you’re local. Still, the most optimal training can happen right in your own backyard. Schmidt says she owes her best race results (placing 6th) to combining both road racing and mountain bike training, including multiple treks up Wayne Street, a hilly road running alongside Ashton Park in Traverse City.
2. Train on Your Race-Day Bike
Just as important as replicating your environment is training consistently on the same bike you’ll be racing with next month. This will allow you to be comfortable and familiar with the fit, the gearing, and the control of your equipment. Another bonus? Training on your race-day bike may alert you to aches and pains, such as knee pain, that the bike itself may be causing. These physical warnings can signal a few needed tweaks, such as adjusting your saddle height. And if your own adjustments aren’t hacking it, you still have time to seek help from a professional bike fitter in your area who can better pinpoint any biomechanical issues.
3. Get a Tune-up
Perform a proper tune-up of your bike before the event. This includes checking the condition of the brakes, chain, and derailleurs. If you’re new to racing or just not mechanically inclined, it’s a good idea to have a professional do it.
4. Pace Yourself
It’s always critical to pace yourself according to your ability and the quality of your training. If you are new to racing or you are pretty certain you are not going to win the race or be in contention, then it’s probably not a good idea to start at the front of the line. “If you’re a first-timer or you’re not racing to win, seek out a group toward the back whose pace is more in line with your own,” says Physical Therapist Josh Thorington, PT, DPT, Manager of Rehab Services at Mary Free Bed at Munson Medical Center. “It will help you manage the race better. Plus, you don’t want to have to drop out of the race because you’re too tired from pushing yourself too hard at the start.” Regardless of your ability, remember that Iceman is a long race: don’t use all of your energy to the point that you can’t finish.
5. Dress Strategically on Race Day
It’s northern Michigan and you just never know what you’re going to encounter. Our advice? It’s easier to shed layers than it is to add them. Dress in clothing that you can easily peel off or slide down. Think vests that keep your chest warm but your arms cool, arm warmers (which you can slide down once you’re warmed up), and even clothing you don’t mind losing permanently should you need to lose a layer en route. Schmidt recommends underdressing, a tactic that has personally worked for her. “People tend to overdress,” she shares. “But when you’re overheated, it can be difficult to go fast. Even if it’s 40 degrees, a mile or two in, you’re already sweating.” In addition to a vest and arm warmers, Schmidt wears a jacket at the start line and gives it to a loved one right before start time. “Or bring something you don’t care to ever see again and discard it before you get going.”
6. Manage Injuries Now
As we mentioned above, pain can stem from something as simple as crank length. However, if you injure yourself or you’re experiencing pain such as a sore back or aching joints and muscles both on and off your bike, it’s important to manage your injury now. The rehab Team at Mary Free Bed at Munson Medical Center can evaluate you to determine the exact issue and provide interventions that will get you back in shape for race day. “Our goal is not only to get you back to racing pain free but to keep you racing pain free by creating a program that is tailored specific to you,” says Thorington.
Specialized, coordinated care is what you can expect through Mary Free Bed at Munson Medical Center. This unique collaboration gives our region’s athletes access to one of the largest and most comprehensive rehabilitation hospitals in the United States. Learn more here.
The Pros of today with the shredders of tomorrow! Last year’s runner up, Alexey Vermeulen, is back at the 2019 Bell’s Iceman Cometh Challenge, and he’s looking to do more than just hop up a step on the podium. This year, he’s gathered a few of his pals to lead a kids-only ride at Timber Ridge Resort from 3-4 pm to get the youngsters ready for the big day!
Geoff Kabush. Brian Matter. Katerina Nash. Alexey Vermeulen. With just a few podiums between these guys and a huge depth of national and international racing under their belts, it’s a flock of pros your kids won’t want to miss riding with. Join us on Friday, November 1 for a thirty-minute, 2.5-mile ride through the Bell’s Iceman Cometh Challenge finish venue. This ride is open to kids aged 9-15, and we’ll have a few volunteers to make sure the youths don’t drop the old guys.
Back at Timber, Geoff, Brian, and Alexey will hang out to answer questions and chow down on some healthy snacks provided by our friends at Clif Bar. We’ll also have some prizes to raffle off from Shimano, ESI, Iceman, and more! It’s a great chance to get your photo taken with these Iceman legends and get ready for race day. Get the kids excited about bikes, about getting outside, and about being healthy.
Alexey’s goal? To see kids fall in love with the sport and the race. In thirty years, we’re hoping these kids are bringing their kids to the same event and the same race and continuing the tradition of bikes, family, and great trails in northern Michigan. Let’s start something special this November!
To learn more, RSVP to the event on Facebook. Your child does not have to be registered to race to come ride, but make sure they’re dressed for the weather and have a helmet.
It’s not the hardest, most selective, or most brutal part of the Bell’s Iceman Cometh Challenge. In fact, it’s one most riders look forward to.
There are many, many tough segments on the Iceman Cometh Challenge course that feature every single year. They might be steep hills like Anita’s, challenging descents like the Water Bottle Hill By-Pass, or just really, really fast like Sand Lakes Road. But the one I’ve always focused on and looked forward to is RallyRoundTheRock.
Since GPS head units starting offering Live Segments, we’ve all probably starred a few segments to chase. In a race, the Live Segment feature is almost more useful in simply reminding yourself when the next climb or choke point might be. For me, Rally Round The Rock was always a bright, loud ‘ding’ that not only was I past Williamsburg Road, but I was also nearing home turf and the Vasa Pathway proper.
The segment is fast, and that’s definitely reflected in some of the top times posted over the years. Alexey Vermeulen set the KOM time by in 2016 at 2:51, a single second ahead of Alex Vanias on the very same day. Last year, Christy Keely took the QOM at 3:02, with a lot of riders coming in around that three-minute mark for the early waves and pro races.
That means hitting the 1.1 mile section at twenty miles per hour! The segment includes a long straight section of quasi-singletrack that parallels Sand Lakes Road. It’s a slight descent that’s punctuated near halfway with a sharp, sandy right that shoots you across the road to the north. It’s another straight stretch before another right turn onto the gravel two-track. For locals, that two-track is the final few hundred meters of the Power Section, and the return home to the Pathway.
For a lot of racers, hitting RallyRoundTheRock, whether they know they’re on it or not, mean you’re almost done with another edition of Iceman and another season of mountain bike racing. It’s often fueled by loud cheering at Williamsburg Road, and you’re often spurred on again at the Rock, where Sand Lakes hits the Vasa.
If you need a little something to look forward to on race day, make sure you’ve got this queued up and remember, when you hit this segment, there’s no point saving anything; you’re almost done!
As we roll into June, the days counting down to November seem to quicken pace. With better weather in the forecast and a full slate of fun rides and races filling up the calendar, there’s plenty to be excited about as we hit peak summer.
Here in northern Michigan, we’ve had a wet and chilly May. Those cold days are finally giving way to more seasonable and comfortable temperatures, and that’s gotten us all into the woods to explore the trails. We’re really to have miles and miles of trails, only a fraction of which feature on race day. Many of those trails are twisting, turning, hand-built trails, and that’s gotten a lot of us off our Iceman Cometh hardtail and onto something with a bit more squish.
Last week, Trek Bikes unveiled the 2020 Trek Top Fuel, and we really like what we see. The long-time consensus at Iceman has been that a hardtrail 29er is the proven way to go, and that’s probably still true. The line is a bit more blurred, however, with how light and efficient full suspension bikes have gotten in the past two or three years. We consistently see bikes coming out of the stand at 23, 21, even 20 pounds with 120mm front and 115 rear suspension.
The latest offering from Trek fits that bill. What’s got us even more excited is the number of builds. Whatever your budget, there’s a bomb-proof build ready to rock. With the right set-up, you’re definitely going to have way more fun, and not just on the first Saturday in November. As huge as Iceman is, getting a new bike that’s suited to the other 364 days of the year is the smart way to go, and for where and how we’re riding these days, full suspension is turning into a very viable option.
What are you looking for in your next bike? What tips would you give a rider looking to break two-hours at Iceman with a new rig?