Iceman Cometh Challenge Goes Down to the Wire

By: Scott McMahon

The largest single-day mountain bike race in the United States lived up to its name on Saturday, November 3, as upwards of 5,400 bikers showed up to face the Bell’s Iceman Cometh Challenge. Weather in the Kalkaska-Traverse City area was perfect for the annual race—a slight dusting of snow covered the ground and temperatures were in the low 30s at the beginning of the race. While the air was cold, the competition was red hot throughout the day, resulting in a fantastic day of cycling.

Seven riders finished within twenty seconds of each other to claim the top spots in the Men’s Pro/Cat 1 race, with the top three finishing just two seconds apart. Sam Schultz, of Missoula, Montana, narrowly held off the rest of the field to secure the victory. Schultz finished with an overall time of 1:37:43, one second in front of Courtenay, British Columbia, Canada’s Geoff Kabush. Kabush’s time of 1:37:44 was also one second better than third place, Sheboygan, Wisconsin’s Brian Matter, who finished at 1:37:45. Michigan’s top finisher was fourth place winner Michael Anderson—the Alpena native was also in the hunt for the top spot, but finished just five seconds behind first place, at 1:37:48.

On the women’s side, one rider separated herself from the rest of the field, and cruised to a convincing victory. Ft. Collins, Colorado native Georgia Gould dominated the Pro/Cat 1 division by nearly two minutes—Gould completed the race in 1:53:12. Emily Batty, from Brooklin, Ontario, Canada, was the closest challenger to Gould, edging out two riders to claim second place, at 1:55:03. Heather Irmiger, of Boulder, CO, and Mackenzie Woodring, of Belmont, MI, finished in a dead heat for third place. Both riders posted times of 1:55:09.

The Pro/Cat 1 races were just two of the many different events throughout the weekend. Cyclists were treated to the Ice Cycle Expo on Friday, November 2, which featured scores of vendors and sponsors for everything from bikes and cycling products to car rack systems and snowshoes. Following the full docket of races, riders enjoyed the Bell’s Beer Sunset on the Season Party on Saturday night, featuring Bell’s beer, Michigan music, and a celebration of Michigan mountain biking.

Registration for the 2013 Bell’s Iceman Cometh Challenge will open on March 1. This race traditionally fills up fast—register immediately and don’t miss your chance to take part in the largest single-day mountain bike race in the United States.

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