Yes it is that time of year again. The time of year when 4000 people go racing through the woods on two wheeled machines powered only by energy gels. The after party is huge with lots of beer and conversations about the events of the day......but I won't be there....
Three years ago I was there. I lined up with over 100 people in my wave with temps in the low 20's. It was cold enough that people were slipping and falling in the parking lot on frozen puddles. The race went okay, but I cramped up about 20 miles in....and that pretty much ruined the rest of the race for me. Don't get me wrong....the challenge is awesome...and racing with that many people....you certainly never get bored. I sold my entry last year....because I wasn't riding much after injuring my knee in the summer. I sold my entry this year because I haven't ridden for over a month.....but I just wan't that motivated to train for Iceman this year.
Back 10 years ago when I did my first Iceman there was only 2000 people. It was awesome to go to the Traverse City area and race with that many people. The first year was warm...mid 50's....the next year was cold...30's with snow on the ground. Three years ago it was cold with snow....this year appears to be low 40's with no snow. You really never know what you are going to get.
My main reason for not racing Iceman this year....minus lack of training....is the simple fact that it stopped being fun. I don't mind getting held up for a minute on some technical singletrack....but having to walk for over a mile in a train of people just isn't fun. I signed up for a mountain bike race....not a cross race...or a Xterra race. Sure, I have to walk some hills and maybe get held up during other races....but not for the duration of this race. There are so many people in the woods that are never alone. I like to ride with people, but the quiet surroundings of a ride are a definite draw for me.
So this year I won't be in Kalkaska for the start of the 2012 Iceman. I will wish my friends and teammates the best and everyone else that is racing, riding, attempting to finish, ect. this crazy event in Norther lower Michigan. Good luck friends. Ride safe. Have fun. Let me know how it goes.