Sunday, November 7, 2010

ICEMAN COMETH!

For the 1st time in my 5 years of racing this event, I finally got to race in a "real" ICEMAN. And it was a classic one. With lake effect snow hitting Kalkaska and Traverse City for more than 24 hours before the race, the conditions were shaping up to be an epic 28 mile point to point mountain bike race. At start time, the temps were hovering around 18 degrees! the course had snow. A couple of inches in some spots. There was icy 2 track. Sand. Mud, and more sand. there were some new single track sections at the end, and overall the course was somewhere around a 1/2 mile to a mile longer than last year.

It was next to impossible to try and warm up before the start because it was so damn cold. I tried my best and took my spot in wave 2. I was absolutely honored to be racing in this group of fast guys. And I was hoping to use it to my advantage to do something special if I was feeling good. And Oh boy, was I feeling good. As the race started, I settled in near the back looking for as many wheels as I could to hang on to. I was calm and relaxed, and soon found a good strong pace I could maintain. through the 1st 8 or so miles. I just kept turning the pedals over as fast as I could. I knew from previous years, that the flater 2 track would be my biggest strength and I could make up almost all my time on it. Things were going well, Missed a few crashes and just kept driving. By the time I got to Williamsburg road I was rocking and feeling really strong. I turned the screws a little more, and was able to find a few riders to share the pace. Shortly after Williamsburg, the 2 track was a sheet of ice! I tired to ride as smooth and fast over it as possible, but decided to scrub my speed and not take any chances. A lot of the single track was slick too. Especially the ice covered roots. My bike squirmed underneath me for most of the ride, but was able to keep the rubber side down. As I got closer to the finish, the big hills began. I was not sure what the legs would do this far into the race, but they were full speed ahead! I mashed up all the climbs until I got to Anita's Hill. When I shifted down, my chain dropped. I jumped off the bike and ran up. And actually was as fast as the guys next to me. I did the cyclocross jump back onto the saddle and off again. I big ringing almost the rest of the course. As I got within 4 miles, I could not believe how much gas I had left in the tank. I decided to cash in and push myself as hard as I could to try the nail every second out of the clock. On the last climb I buried my head and pushed the cranks until it felt like my knee caps were going to pop out. I shifted back up in the big ring and sprinted all the way to the finish. I came across in 1:56. This ended up being a really good time considering the course conditions. It was also quick enough for me to earn my highest Iceman finish to date

3rd place! Men 35

I was very excited to say the least. All my eye bleeding intervals on the trainer this year has really paid off!

What a great day. I got to hang out with a lot of friends and the TSB tent was in full party mode thanks to Curt and his family, and Jason and Jackie. You guys are the best! The team had several racers all finishing up a very very tough day of racing on a very very tough Iceman course. I got a lot of respect for every one of you.

There were a lot of great finishes and personal best time out there yesterday. Actually almost too many for me to list here. But I will give a shout out to one of my favorites. And that is Adam Naish for taking the win in Men 34! Great job Adam. I know you have worked very hard for several years to earn this win. And you are an inspiration to me because of it.

4 comments:

Keith said...

Great job John!

Todd Shorkey said...

You are the man, John! Congrats on the incredible finish and great race!

bIgBrAiNoNbRaD said...

Podium Proven! Your hard work and dedication are paying off. Keep the dream alive...

Nathan Guerra said...

Nice Job! Amazing what the difference between 9 am and 2pm can make on a November day in Michigan. You were skimming over ice, while we were tearing up mud later that day!