Sunday, November 6, 2011

ICEMAN Cometh!

Another great Iceman weekend in the books. It's always great to see so many people in place place enjoying their bikes out in the woods. And there is nothing like being able to test yourself against and other mountain bikers in a national level race in fields that are 70-100+ deep! The Iceman has been a very good race for me every year that I have done it. So I usually look forward to it every year. And with it falling in the middle of my CX season, I seem to be fit enough to give it my all. So this year, my goal was simple even though I didn't announce it to too many folks. I was going to try and win it. Plain and simple. But it wasn't going to be easy.

I was lucky enough to be starting in wave 1, because of my 3rd place finish and time from the year before. So this would surely help out my plan. Especially with the caliber of riders I could ride with such as Jarod, Selle, Brad, Tom Clark, Adam, Jason Lummis, Tom Payne, Dan Krajcovic, etc. The list went on and on. Its an awesome feeling sitting in wave 1 looking around as the national anthem is being played to realize that you are in a very select group of guys that are some of the fastest and best mountain bike racers in the state. Truly an honor!

The count down began, the whistle blew, and we were off in downtown Kalkaska! The start was fast and steady. The group all stayed together until we hit the dirt and then it started to string out. I soon found myself off the back a little, but did not panic as I could see the folks I needed to be riding with just ahead. I fought through the pack and soon found myself with Dan (Last years All Men 36 winner). I knew this would be a good wheel and someone I need to keep in reach. A few touch of brakes, bad lines, and traffic, Dan started to get a gap on me especially in the short single track sections. Again I did not panic, because I knew my strengths and made sure I had a smart race. I caught Brad and hoped to work with him through the pack. Shortly after, I was chasing Dan and the group ahead and closing fast. On the longer double track section, I made my move. I hammered and could see the guys I was after. It was a large group containing jarod, Dan, Selle, and a few others. I got on the tail end and recovered for a bit. The groups pace did not seem to be very strong, so I decided to pull around and go on the next climb. Jarod made the jump and at the top of the hill as Selle, Jarod and myself were all side by side, Jarod said with snot and spit hanging from his face, " this is for bragging rights bitches!" I laughed my ass off and he pulled away. I followed but soon got gaped a little in the next single track section by slower riders. Selle stuck on my wheel, and we dropped Dan. As we approached Williamsburg road, I knew I was going to have a great day. Legs felt strong and I was full of piss and vinegar! I began to sprint up the rest of the hills after to try and take away as much time as possible. As we got closer to the end and into the short punchy series of hills, Selle came around and pulled. I stayed with him, and would pull around and power as hard as I could through the flats. We got to Anita's hill, and slowly started my spin up. But the legs were not filling up with lactic acid like I thought they would at this stage of the game! OH YEAH. I sprinted the rest of the climb, went past Selle and said "hop on Rob" and went. That was the last I seen of him. I sprinted up the rest of the climbs and was closing in on the next group. I kept telling myself to push, push, push! By this time I knew I could be coming in around a 1:45 plus on the clock, and the possibility of 1st place was becoming a reality! I could feel the adrenaline pumping and could no longer feel any pain in my legs and went as hard as I could go. I finally caught the group that was ahead of me, and went right past. 2 of the guys went with me, and I just pedaled, and pedaled. Through the last section on single track I rode smart but took risk. Then the last challenge of the day, Wood Chip hill. I attacked 1 more rider I believe was in my age group, couldn't take any chances. I got to the top and he was gassed. I clicked up into my big ring and sprinted home. I looked at my clock before the last corner and realized I had a chance to beat my personal best time and go sub 1:49! I round the last corner and sprinted as hard as I could! 1:48:57! Personal best by over 40 seconds on a longer course. And I ended up taking 2nd place, missing 1st by only 54 seconds! I just had one of the best races of my life! I didn't win, but I can't say I didn't try.

Congrats to Tom Clark, Andy Weir for awesome wins! And Congrats and thanks to Jarod (2nd), Dan (4th), and Selle (5th) on great finishes and for the help! Also, Congrats to Simon, Jay, Jim B, Jim G, Adam, Jeff P, Don C and Brad L (Top 10 - stay focused) on some awesome results! There are several others so I apologize if I didn't give you some love here. You will get some personal love the next time I see you ; )


BrAdLaKo said...

So stoked for you man... great job. One more year, one more place!

jbhancock said...

Awesome finish!

Paynful said...

Awesome job John!! So excited for you!!

TP said...

Nice Work!