As for the race, I was Surprised.
The Iceman race has been very good for me in the 4 years that I have done it. I have worked my way up from beginner to Expert and have never finished out of the top 10 in my first 3 years. But going into this year's race, I was not expecting much since 1, I was not training for it because my main focus has been on the Cyclocross series. And 2, it was my first year racing Expert so I figured I would get my "you know what" handed to me. So my goals were realistic and as follows.
Beat my personal best time from last year of 1:56 (even with a longer course)
Try to fall somewhere in the top 20
My stretch goal -- break 1:50
Waking up on Saturday morning, I felt great. Checked the temps outside and could not believe how warm it was. Since we were closer to the start this year, I procrastinated a little and got a late jump on getting to Kalkaska. 5 miles down the road, I realized I had forgotten my water bottles! Now the panic started to set it. Back to the house and about 30 mins before the start of the race. We got to Kalkaska Middle school with about 15 mins to the start. I got my bike and started sprinting toward the start line even though I did not know where it was. I found it with about 10 mins before the start. What a great warm up. This caused me to line up in the back row with 100 plus people in front of me. The raced started and I instantly started to make my way through the pack. As we approached the middle school, I was some where in the middle. The course then narrowed down to about 10 feet. This caused panic up ahead and clogged up the field behind due to a few crashes. So stopped and waiting to get through, my 4th Iceman was not off to a good start. Once I began to pedal again, it was back to picking people off. Into the woods and to the first sandy climb, more people crashing in front of me. This time I had to hurdle my handle bars to avoid the worst of it. I ran up the hill and remounted again. From here I put in a huge charge to make up as much ground before the big hills and to distance myself from the folks that appeared to be on a bicycle for the first time. And I was flying! By the time I made it to Williamsburg Rd, I had just felt like I was warming up. So I pushed even harder. Picking more people off. I finally settled into a small group that was putting in the same effort. I tired to pull away at one point but they were up for the challenge. This was a mix of Experts from 3 different age groups. I was able to push the entire way, and not kill my heart rate. It spiked on Anita's hill, The Icebreaker, and Wood chip but I instantly recovered within seconds and shifted back up into the big ring and carried on. With 1K to go. I was feeling strong as hell so I turned it up one more notch and flew all the way to the finish line. I rolled across the finish and check my computer and it showed 1:49 and some change! I did it, I actually broke the 1:50 mark!!! I could not believe it! When the final results were posted my time was 1:49:38. And this was enough to take 9th place in Expert 30-34 out of 70 racers!!! Again, I could not believe I had just cracked the top 10 in the Expert class what a day!
Congrats to all my team mates that raced and finished. There were some personal best times. Some first timers (way to go AKA) and some folks that "just finished" another great ride in the woods.
Special props to Adam Naish -- What a race 4th in Expert Men 30-34! WOW!
Chad Schut -- Breaking the 2 hour mark and finishing his 20th ICEMAN! Chad is one of only 6 people to have raced in all 20! This is amazing!
The day after the Iceman featured a cyclocross race at Timer Ridge where the Iceman finish is. So I could not resist the temptation to race again! The race was kind of cool. They used the Sno-cone course so it was very fast. The fields were small, but hey it was the first time this race was held. Remember, the Iceman only had 35 racers at the 1st one and this year it had close to 4000! I raced in the B class and finished 4th out of 10. Not bad for tired legs. JB Hancock made it out for the elite race and also finished 4th. There were a few more Tailwind CX faithful racing Mike Seaman 6th in elite, Terry Ritter 5th in elite, Randy A. taking a huge 2nd in the C race, and Derrek W. taking a 4th in the C race.
Well looking on the race weekend, these were just training days before I start my actual race period. So based on the results, I should be ready to rock at Stony Creek and Bloomer CX. I just got to stay away from all the sick people out there...