Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Iceman Cometh - Best race ever!

My first Iceman race is officially in the books!  We sure had one heck of a weekend and I already miss blue waters of Traverse City!  That city is easily one of the most beautiful places in America.  I can't wait to go back some time in the summer when the resort town is in full steam. 

Tom and I left Thursday afternoon with a goal to make it 7 hours north for our evening stop in Manistique, MI. It rained pretty much the entire drive - ugh!  We arrived to our motel around 11 pm Michigan time.  Since it was so late in the evening the owners said "we'll just leave the keys in the room and settle up in the morning."  This is why I love the UP.  So much trust and life is just simpler.  Our motel room was super cute and everything that we needed.  I am quickly becoming obsessed with motels. How is walking 5 steps from your car to the door of your hotel not the coolest, most convenient thing in the entire world?  Motels are so underrated. 

Free Internet?? Yes please!

Friday morning I went for coffee and bagels at the local supermarket and Tom went for a 45 minute run and then were on our way, crossing over the Mackinaw Bridge (ahhh!)


and finally arriving at Einstein Cycles in Traverse City!  EC is easily one of the best shops in all of Michigan and owners Jason and Kristie basically "built this city" from the ground up starting the shop in their own garage!


Photo Credit: Cody Sovis
Tom and Jason have gotten pretty close over the past couple years and we were so fortunate to be able to stay at their lovely home over the weekend.  Huge thanks to both Jason and Kristie for all their hospitality. It was so great to know them both as well as their cute lil kiddos. We felt so welcome and spoiled all weekend long.

Friday was spent mostly at the Expo visiting the Foundry and Einstein tents and filling our tummies at North Peak Brewery.  Saturday came quickly and after being treated to French toast and bacon we headed up to the start.  Tom was racing at 10:20 in the Fat Bike class and Jason and I weren't racing until 2:30 PM in the Pro/Cat 1 class.  This is such a neat part about Iceman.  Basically 5000 racers go off in waves all morning long and then the finish line is one big huge party as all the riders await the finish for the men's and women's pro races! 

Pretty soon Tom, Danielle, Evan and the other Jason from Einstein were off!! Jason and I headed back home and were able to watch the live feed.  Unfortunately we had to leave before I could see Tom cross the finish!  He broke his chain and was lucky to have some help from a couple locals and this allowed him to still finish the race in 17th place and still a pretty awesome time of 2:30.  He had a blast and is officially obsessed with the new carbon Salsa Beargrease...ut oh. 


2:30 PM seemed to roll around pretty quickly and I was feeling great after a pretty good warm up. This was the first time that I had started in a "Pro wave" per say and admittedly I was a bit star struck lining up some of the sports greatest riders in Catherine Pendrel, Emily Batty, Amanda Sin and Chloe Woodruff.  I had a decent spot in the 2nd row and expected the roll out to be a total smashfest.  I was actually surprised at how reserved the start of the race was. I found myself in a pretty good spot early on sitting maybe 6th or 7th wheel until someone crashed in a sand pit and broke apart the pack.  I managed to stay upright, but for the life of me wasn't able to bridge the gap.  I spent a large portion of early part of the racing riding alone until finally I was amidst a chase group with a few other strong riders.  One of the riders was the super nice Tricia from Chicago that I had met at Subaru Cup last July.  She is about as new to cycling as me and boy is she strong.  We worked together for most of the race and were even able to reel in about 3 people in the last 45 minutes of the race.  It was awesome and such a blast to ride with her. 

Photo Credit: Eric Fredrickson

However, in the end this is a race and we both knew it was going to eventually be a blood bath to the brutal end. I went for an attack with about 5K to go and looking back perhaps it was too soon as I couldn't' shake Tricia for the life of me. During the last 10 minutes of the race we had one of the most epic battles I've ever been a part of in my young cycling career. And what made this even more awesome was the last 1.5 miles were packed with spectators screaming and cheering for us! The roar of the crowd felt like the tour!  I actually had the lead heading over the flyover towards finish line however when I got out of saddle to sprint it was obvious I had burned every little match I had.  She got me by a wheel length!!  But I was still elated and so stoked and excited about being able to battle like that to the very end!  I was also happy for Tricia who had one hell of a race after battling some injury stuff. We both were stoked to be in the top 10 and also shocked that we managed to not vomit all over the place. 


Afterwards it was so fun to be greeted by everyone! To learn that Tom had a blast despite the chain breakage, Jason and Nate both had a great pro races, Evan and Jason W were 4th and 6th in the Fat Bike class, my Foundry teammate Mackenzie got 3rd place overall, and my Michigan bff Danielle won the Fat bike race! What a day!  So fun to celebrate afterwards and get to know some other local Traverse City gals Chelsea and Stacy! Beer never tasted so good!


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