The Iceman Cometh

Below you will find a compilation of race reports and stories from Iceman 2014. From what I have heard, this epic race from Kalkaska to Traverse City was one of the most challenging to date. After being inundated with rain for a week prior, the trail was then worked into a mash reminiscent of peanut butter and marshmellow fluff by more than 3,500 mountain bikers. Much of single track was unrideable and the race took a great toll on many men, women, and machines.... 

Patrick McEnaney-
Patrick enjoying some 51k IPA.
Photo credit: Chris Schmidt

That was punishment for me and the bike. I felt good once I got into a rhythm, but spent a lot of time trying to get around huge bottle-necks of riders that had no skillz for the admittedly difficult conditions. Lots of people dropped out from what I heard. I rode back up with a buddy from Houghton to chase the pros and get action shots as they crossed every road, that was wicked cool. The lead group of 6 sides formed very early and stayed together past the half-way point. The podium was very familiar If you follow the Iceman, Brian Matter notched his fourth win. For the ladies, it was a race for second from very early as Georgia Gould soloed well off the front. Even Emily Batty couldn't hang with her and Emily has world cup podiums. My take -away: if I get stuck back in wave 16 again next year after being in wave 4 in 2012, I'll just transfer my entry. I ended up finishing in 2:56.

My post-race activities included laying on a couch at my buddy's house, drinking beerz and watching "The Dirty Dozen". Also, sand-extraction from my eyeballs.

My assessment is Lee Marvin could have kicked some serious arse in the Iceman.

I'm still extracting sand from my eyeballs.

Mad Anthony CX

Compiled by Tyler Trask and Harvey Elliott

MACX started off with a BANG this year  thanks in part to a Civil War era cannon provided by the Historic Fort Wayne Coalition. For those of you who don’t know, Mad Anthony is the BIGGEST cyclocross race in Michigan and the venue is pretty unique among races as the course takes you up, down, over, and through (read tunnel) a star-fort built in the 1840’s.
AAVC'er Mark McCulloch in the barriers.
The fort is located on the south side of Detroit and also provides some great vistas of the downtown skyline. Combine this with a beautifully sunny fall day in mid-late October and you couldn’t hope for a better race. Cyclocross in Michigan is often cold, wet, and bleak. This particular race drew a stark contrast to the norm with high temp of 69F and a full pallet of fall colors. In fact, it almost seemed wrong. Were we really in Detroit, or had we all died and gone to Louisville? 

Cyclocross is growing, you hear about it on the national stage and you can see it here in southeast Michigan. Mad Anthony set a new record for attendance - with nearly 320 participants and their families arriving from all across southern Michigan and Ohio for the race. You also see it in sponsorship with major financial backing from Trinity Transportation – a provider of motor coaches, sedans, shuttles, and buses in southeast Michigan and Toledo Ohio – and a huge pile of swag from Trails Edge Cyclery, Alchemist, Velocio, Beat the Train, Detroit Endurance Lab, alloneword, The Sufferfest, and North Peak Brewing Company. Mad Anthony started in 2009 as the only sanctioned race in Detroit and five years later the event seems downright dignified. The race has already grown 4x and there’s clearly room for more as the field blows apart in the first 500m... This race is tough and the up-and-down of the trenches make this one a personal battle for all racers. This year’s course took the best elements from last year and added some new twists. They maintained the two “run-ups” inside the fort with two off-camber descents. They also saved that big drop off the gun emplacements on the 5th point of the star and thankfully extended the landing zone straight out to the inner wall. 
This made the drop faster, but also safer by eliminating that 90-deg turn onto the service road below. Another addition/modification was the barrier on the North side of the fort. Previously you’d come off the service road in the trench and make a 135-deg turn onto a sidewalk followed by a sketchy off-center ramp leading to the outer wall. This was removed so you made the turn, gassed the climb, and raced to dismount/remount over a knee-high wall. This actually helped the flow through this area as the riders were able to remount on a slight downhill before snaking around the exterior embankments. It also provided a great spectacle for the hecklers and seemed to be a crowd favorite. In all, this year’s course traced out 1.8 miles of the fort yet managed to keep the action close for the spectators. 

Waterford Hills Double Cross

Harvey Elliott's Race Report from the Waterford Hills Double Cross:
Waterford Hills is one of my very favorite CX courses and takes place on the same track as the Wednesday Night Worlds road race series.  The course strategically uses sections of the track and in-field to give you some technical sections and climbs
Harvey Elliott battling with Dalton Guggemos on the track.  
 while maintaining a seriously fast average speed.  I know Danny also likes this course because he won both days last year and seriously kicked my ass.  Thankfully, he’s now one cat up.  This race is also a double header with the course on Saturday being reversed for Sunday.  All these factors seemed to spell good news for Ann Arbor riders who took 29 spots on the podium over the course of the weekend.  

Wheels in Motion Fall Trainer Night

Don’t miss the Wheels in Motion Fall Trainer Night, Tuesday, October 7th from 6:30 - 8:30pm.

See demos, try some out, compete against others in short races, and take advantage of special deals! Get all the details on the event page.

Common Cycle's annual fall bicycle maintenance course starts Thursday

Common Cycle has announced that their 6-week bicycle maintenance course starts this Thursday and runs weekly through 11/6/2014. Learn about your derailleurs, brakes, headset, stem, bars, wheels, and the rest of your bike, and have some fun! If you're interested in knowing more, check out all the details from Common Cycle.

Alma Gran Prix of Cyclocross

Harvey Elliott's Race Report from the Alma GP:
The 2014 Michigan Cyclocross Season is off to a bumpy start - literally - with the induction of the Alma GP.  While the rough course is stuff of bleeding hands and legendary heroes, the layout and execution by Brian Hancock and his volunteers was fantastic!  What was a former dump for the city of Alma had been transformed into an idyllic cyclocross venue with a number of embankments, two "Superprestige" sections, and a fun little set of Belgian steps.  Clearly, Brian and his crew spent some time figuring this one out!  

Tyler Trask makes it look easy in the Men's Cat 4.
The Men's Cat 4 race was lining up as Danny and I arrived in the morning.  Both Tyler Trask and Tyler Carlton looked good off the start and were clean through the first turn.  Tyler Trask was attacking like mad and quickly took the lead. He was punishing the competition and started to ride away from the other contenders by lap 2.  Tyler Carlton was stuck back with the pack, but riding well.  Trask was clearly working hard, but also out gunning the rest of the field and easily took 1st.  I think somebody is ready for an upgrade!

In the Men's Cat 3 race, a sketchy start left me about 15 places back and in the danger zone as riders were falling left and right.  The rough and technical nature of the course favored mountain bikes to CX and so I focused on cornering and clearing the barriers smoothly.  Being the second race the corners were starting to soften up and I chose to take a wide line for better traction.  The two places I deemed safe to pass were the barriers with a long run between and the front straightaway near the start/finish where the road was well packed.  Every lap I'd get one or two riders in these sections until I worked my way back up to 4th, but by this time the leaders had a significant gap.  Thankfully Brian Kearns made the break and held on for 3rd.  1st and 2nd went to the fat tires which could better deal with the shocks and stresses of this new venue.  Crossing the finish line I ripped my gloves off to reveal massive blisters.  Tom Barrett helped patch me up before we went to the start of the Cat 1/2/3 and Masters race.  

Building and "testing" the new ArborBikes

ArborBike put out a call for help to build 75 bikes for the new bike-share program in Ann Arbor. AAVC and Wheels in Motion responded in August with a 10-man team, including a professional mechanic, a bike repair course instructor, and many repair-it-yourself bike racers.

Over the course of the afternoon, the Club team completed 17 of the 44 bikes that were constructed that day. Unknown to our team at the outset, these bikes were specially designed by Trek to be indestructable to the public, and capable of carrying a sizeable load in a front basket. The front basket construction would haunt the memories of many on the team. Numerous security Torx screws required a special tool to install, and this front end assembly was unlike anything ever engineered for a bike.

Some of the final products were road tested by the Club, which inevitably turned into a parking lot criterium. Our winner, Matt Raezler, edged out Patrick McEnaney at the line.

Pikes Peak Hill Climb

From Harvey: we found the snow middle deep; no sign of beast or bird inhabiting this region. The thermometer which stood at 9° C above 0 at the foot of the mountain, here fell to 4° C below 0. The summit of the Grand Peak, which was entirely bare of vegetation and covered with snow, now appeared at the distance of 15 or 16 miles (24 or 26 km) from us, and as high again as what we had ascended, and would have taken a whole day's march to have arrived at its base, when I believed no human being could have ascended to its pinical. This with the condition of my soldiers who had only light overalls on, and no stockings, and every way ill provided to endure the inclemency of the region; the bad prospect of killing any thing to subsist on, with the further detention of two or three days, which it must occasion, determined us to return." – Excerpt from the Zebulon Pike Expedition, 1806, after a failed attempt to summit the mountain. 

Today, Pike’s Peak is a lot tamer than it was in 1806.  There’s a paved road and cog railway leading to a restaurant/souvenir shop at the summit.  However, it is still a proper mountain with an elevation of 14,115 feet (4,302 m) and prominence of roughly 8,000 ft (2,400 m) above downtown Colorado Springs.  The USAC Hill Climb route would take us up the same route that the International Auto Hill Climb has been using for 85 years.  This covers of the last 12.1 miles of this paved road from Crystal Creek to the summit with 4,688 feet of elevation gain, 154 switchbacks, and an average grade of 7.3%.  Now, that doesn’t sound too bad considering the fact that they can fit 10,000 feet of climbing in the Michigan Mountain Mayhem, but we are starting from an elevation over 9,000 feet!  The air gets pretty thin up there and just warming up I noticed a pretty significant shortness of breath.  The other thing I noticed was how under-dressed we were to be climbing a mountain.  I just had my M-Cycling skinsuit and jacket and my teeth were chattering!  The temperature was hovering ~45° F and I could see that the summit was already obscured by a lenticular cloud.