The 2018 Iceman Pro Mountain Bike race, it's hard to believe that it is already over and done. This event is THE best event for biking in Michigan in my mind. The atmosphere is unmatched, the fans are unmatched, the riders are unmatched, it is simply the best! This year did not disappoint, traveling up to Traverse City and hanging with friends and some of the best people on the planet. Here is an overview of the 2018 ICEMAN COMETH CHALLENGE through my eyes. As always, I started my warm up before the race with dynamic movements to prevent any back issues that had arisen the week of the race. I then jumped on my 2018 Giant Anthem Pro to warm up for 30-35 minutes before the race. I waved at friends racing, nodded at others, and banged on the van of some buddies that were racing as well! I went to the start line a little later than I had wanted to because I was having issues getting the front GoPro on the bike. Needless to say, I was not as far up as I wanted to be at the start. At the start I saw many familiar faces, and was not as nervous as I have been in the past, after all, I am about to get my ass kicked. The race starts and it's very fast, the group stays together for awhile speeding down the starting shoot and into the double track. Small gaps would form but as soon as we hit singletrack everyone would catch back up, this happened a few times. I felt like I was doing intervals the way we would all out sprint to catch up and then slam on the brakes to avoid crashing into each other because of the bottleneck. I made some mistakes by following the wrong lines through soft sand that cost me a few of my small matches. We were slightly behind the lead group when a crash involving Ben Sonntag and Dan Yankus happened, as we went by a guy from my train crashed with Ben yet again sending them into the soft sand. I made another mistake, I kept the gas on full as I tried pulling my small group back to the pack, when I should have let off, recovered for 45 seconds and grabbed on to Ben's wheel. Hindsight... That was when my train jumped on with Ben and I was already at my max so I was left alone for while until another group caught up. To my surprise it was headed by two Tour De France Riders, Floyd Landis and Dave Zabriskie. I jumped in and went along for awhile. It was pretty cool riding with them, thinking about how awesome they were, and how good they were still handling the bikes on the rough singletrack, but I had to leave them in the dust and try and move up in the race! Especially after Floyd said his legs were blown up. That's exactly what I did, moving from pack to pack, finally sitting in with a good group until Anita's Hill blew our group into bits! As we moved closer to the finish line, more fans lined the course screaming and yelling, I can't begin to tell you how awesome that feels! I can't begin to thank them for the encouragement when you feel like slowing down but somehow you dig deeper. I did end up placing 39th in the race, which is my best to date. This was even with riding on a rear tire that somehow went down to 8 psi towards the end of the race. It was super scary in the corners, and somehow I managed to not roll the tire off or lose anymore air and finished with a sprint! The only thing I wish different, that my front GoPro would have made it through the whole race, especially the end with the amazing people cheering you on!
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