I have been wanting to race Iceman Cometh for the past 8 years, however, it had always fallen on two big CX weekends, Lousiville and Cincy CX. This year, the calendar is open and I am pumped.
I started my career mountain biking so when I transitioned into a CX-heavy race calendar all my mtb friends would hang their hat on Iceman as the final race before flipping the off season switch. For good reason too! The prize purse is hefty! 6K for the win with 6th place still racking in 1k. Also, the vibe is legendary. I mean what would you expect from a race in northern Michigan that has run every year since 1990, barring the pandemic year? 1 mile out from the finish people are lined up yelling in your face (at least for the pros race because the citizen races have already finished). If you win, you get to hoist an ice carved, gigantic, gauntlet above your head filled with Bells Beer finest. It’s a party with a bike race.
The race starts at the Kalkaska Airport in Kalkaska, Michigan and finishes thirty miles later at Timber Ridge RV & Recreation Resort on the eastern edge of Traverse City, Michigan. This has traditionally been an MTB bike race. However, over the last few years with drop bars becoming more capable the lines have blurred. Geoff Kabush has won once and podiumed another time on his drop bar Open with maxxis 650bx2.25 aspens.
And with that in mind I figured I throw my trusty Libre CR DL into the ring! I have been getting comfy on this thing all week and I am ready to send it up in Michigan this weekend.
Equippped wtih a Fox RAD fork, a Maxxis 29×2.25 up front and a Maxxis 700x45C Rambler in the rear the Libre is suprisingly smooth over the rough stuff.
I have a Shimano GRX Di2 cockpit. I love the brake feel of these levers. They feel like Shimano’s legendar MTB braking system. Couple that with the precision, and clutch derailleur, of the Di2 system and you can’t do better. I decided to run a CX double chain ring set up on a Durace Crank. This is a 46×36 with a duraace front derailleur. Iceman is fast. I plan on spending a lot of time in the big ring, but if I need it, it will be nice to have the 36 up front wtih an 11×34 cassette in the back.
You may be scratching your head thinking, “You said 45c Rambler but this is a 50C pictured here?” You’re right. I tested this bike with the 50C, while there is still good tire clearance, I want to be a little conservative incase November weather in Northern Michigan decides to make us suffer. The soil up there is relatively sandy so I shouldn’t run into too many issues but just to be safe a little extra clearance can’t hurt.
Stay tuned for updates. Iceman kicks off this Saturday. Looking forward to pushing myself and this bike to see what we can do!