It always feels good to go back home to MI to race my bike. It all started in Pinckney on the Potawatami trail. Adventures as a youngster exploring the woods, away from mom and dad, and getting faster and faster each time we rode. It went from exploring to hanging at the local bike shop, and then running into the Buermans! That’s when I was invited to my first race. Shortly after that we headed up to our first Iceman Cometh in 1993. 22 years later and we were at it again!
I made the solo drive over in the new Hyundai! After 5000 miles its finally starting to feel like my car. The heated seats have been on for every single one of the 5000 and definitely make those long drives feel a lot better. It was a surprisingly simple drive with some amazing weather thanks to El Nino! After I arrived to Traverse City so did the real Iceman weather. While out to dinner with my dad and Jeff Buerman the rain starting coming in sideways!
Saturdays pre-ride was more like a WORS race w the entire Midwest contingent out scoping the track. It was hard packed and promised to be extra fast. Sundays race brought more cold temps and a bit of precipitation. Before I knew it we were barreling full speed ahead behind Kalkaska Middle School in a mad dash for the first two track. I filed in a pretty good position and almost immediately Todd Wells attacked and I felt like it could have been over early…Kabush was on the front and Todd was just riding away…so I closed the gap. One match burned, but you can’t let Todd Wells ride away.
4 or 5 miles later it was Troy making the move…..he instantly got the gap, but I wasn’t chasing him down this time. There were plenty of strong guys in the group. Unfortunately Troy was gone…..Todd shut it down in one singletrack section and the gap went from 100 ft to 20 seconds. At one point I almost jumped across, but Zandstra was marking me and didn’t want to help make it across…so the race was settled. Troy was off the front while the rest of us played games for nearly the remainder of the race. At one point I dropped a chain coming off of a bumpy singletrack and right before the longest dirt rd. I thought I was done, but luckily caught back on…another match burned.
Once we entered the Vasa trail things were heating up and Brad White started taking some good pulls at the front. At Anitas Hill we actually saw Troy for the first time in nearly 20 miles….there was hope. I made one big effort to attack, hoping the leaders would not chase, but I had the bullseye on the back of the KS Energy jersey for the day. Todd immediately chase me down. Shortly after Jeremiah attacked and rode up to Troy. I was bummed the group chased me, but not Jeremiah…..
In the end it was a massive battle for the final singletrack, like I thought it would be….I felt I was positioned well but got swarmed at the last second….after that it was every man for himself for an all out 4 min effort. Each of us riding 5 ft apart, but not really able to close the gap. I finished 7th just 15 seconds away from the leaders….Another Iceman in the books! I was pumped that Troy pulled off the victory….Troy and I were Belgian roommates, we trained together last summer for a month, and we both love Clif Bars!
We finished up the weekend with the tradition of hitting up the Omlette Shoppe in downtown Traverse City before making the trip home. Mmmmm delicious as always, but this time it wasn’t say ‘good bye’ to the Buermans….it was say ‘see you in 5 days.’
I traveled home, but only to swap out the ProCaliber for the Boones and the Top Fuel and head back to MI for a CX race and a rip on the Poto! I had heard about a cool race in downtown Detroit earlier in the year called Mad Anthony CX and I thought it would be an awesome excuse to make it back to Pinckney, have some fun, and do some racing and what turned out to be a pretty awesome venue. Downtown Detroit, 3 blocks off of I-75, a pretty rough part of town on the southside, building after building burned out, and garbage everywhere, like a war had happened a week ago. The poverty level was eye opening, but what was even crazier was the Army Base that was built on the Detroit River in 1845 that we raced in….Trenches, Tunnels, Tanks, and some crazy history dating back to the French Indian War and active all the way thru the Vietnam War. The terrain and the walls of Fort Wayne made for a really cool race course. The race itself was good, minus one flat tire which I think is now sealed up, I was able to take home to win! Good Luck to Mad Anthony in making it onto that UCI calendar next year!
The next day was going to be a fun rip on the trails w/ old friends and new, but I was told it was opening day of deer season in MI and I probably shouldn’t be out riding in the woods….dang it…..oh well I guess I’ll drive home….wait a minute…I’m going to be driving thru Chicago….and if I remember right….yes, yes there is a cross race in Chicago today!!! So a last minute decision was made to go race ccross in Chicago. The CCC scene is alive and kicking and again thanks to El Nino we were racing in short sleeves in Mid Nov. The high speed course at Indian Hills had once been the home of the UCI race called Resolution Cross so I was familiar with the relatively flat golf course with sand traps…. What I did forget about CCC, is that day of registration = last row call up. This made the race exceptionally tough, but by mid way thru the race after fighting thru 50 riders I caught the lead group. Then went off solo after 2nd and 1st place. A lap later I caught 2nd and he crashed….2 laps later I caught Teeters and he crashed…they made it really easy for me after a tough tough chase! Post race I had to do the USADA pee test. I actually hadn’t done one of these since the Snowshoe West Virginia Norba about 10 years ago….slamming a ton of fluids to try to pee after a 70 degree cross race w/ no water makes for a lot of bathroom stops on the drive home!
Promptly after the weekend I got sick….I think I managed like 12 race weekends in a row. Probably a little too much and my bodies way of saying you are done for…..I was bummed a little because I didn’t get to race WI CX State Champs, but I did get to jump in the pits and help out. Earlier this week I was back on the bike after 7 days off and yesterday I ran the 10k Turkey Trot in Sheboygan. Today I’m feeling sore, but hope the running pays off for the final 2 weekends of racing coming up soon!