Street Player and myself rolled out at 7:15am Friday morning. We chose the northern route for a little peace and quiet to prepare for the race (get healthy fast). We loaded down the car as usual along with an extra roll of toilet paper for as much snot as my head could produce. We arrived at 4:30pm for a short preview of the finish, registration, and dinner with my dad, old school friend Derek Prechtl and his wife.
I had a good night sleep in the comfy beds of the Grand Traverse and the weather was not that bad. We rolled over to Kalkaska around 1:00pm and started the warm up. I was feeling pretty good on the warm up and just kept telling myself 'if I can make it through the first 10 minutes I'll be fine.'
The gun went off and I was immediately on Jeremiah's wheel. I was OK! Simonson pulled through and I rotated to 3rd position...still OK! Sam Schultz pulled through and the pace dropped... next thing you know 10 minutes is up...OK I made the train....
Somewhere in the middle of the race Andy Schultz got away and was out of site....I wasn't concerned....Simonson was on the front the gap wasn't opening at an alarming rate. Simonson was a little frustrated and was asking for help and as soon as Mike Anderson took over the gap closed.
By this point I had made it half way and the lead group was 8 strong....we entered the Vasa Trail with Marko in command. On a technical descent Andy crashed and Jeremiah got a gap...I put in my first effort to try and bridge...once I made contact I though we were gone, but someone closed it down. Next Mike Anderson made a small move, but opened the gap. It opened a little too much and I closed it down on Anita's Hill with about 5 to go.
Going into the last singletrack I was 3rd wheel. Collin Cares got gapped, and I was stuck...I went around him on one of the last climbs, but with less than a mile to go I couldn't close the gap to Jeremiah.
I was thrilled to get 2nd. I wish I had a better mental state. I feel if I would have been aggressive instead of defensive I could have repeated. My lack of confidence had me following wheels and reacting to moves instead of making the others react to me. I'll be back again next year and hopefully give it another good run for the top step of the podium. We did a little partying at night, but most of it was while on the podium for me...
The best part of the Iceman is seeing all the old familiar faces. Faces from the POTO, faces from Fun Promotions, and faces from 15 years of heading north to Traverse City.
Thanks to everyone who has helped along the way, especially this years sponsors; Gear Grinder, Van Horn Hyundai, Trek/Fisher, Oakley, Crank Bros. Thanks again to my family who has been so supportive. The best part of the trip my be the rubbermaid tub of old school home videos my dad brought from the basement in OH. The blog has potential to get really good if I had the time to look through the hours and hours of home video!