Northern Michigan’s 2013 Bell’s Beer Iceman Cometh Challenge is a point to point mountain bike race held traditionally on the first Saturday of November. The race starts in downtown Kalkaska, Michigan and finishes twenty nine miles later at Timber Ridge RV & Recreation Resort on the eastern edge of Traverse City, Michigan. Here’s everything you need to know from the starting line to the after party. And watch the video to get a true feel for the race.
The Meijer Slush Cup offers beginning riders with a half frozen version of the Bell’s Beer Iceman. Approximately 8 miles long, the Slush Cup starts at Timber Ridge, follows the Vasa 10K ski trail, and then merges with the Bell’s Beer Iceman trail before winding up back at Timber Ridge.
The Meijer Sno-Cone is geared for riders 12 & under who want to discover the thrill of bike racing. Each participant receives a medal, number plate, and stickers.
Take a look at the video of the Iceman Cometh.
The Starting Line
Find the Icemen & Icewomen at the corner of Walnut Street and 4th Street. Look for the starting corral on Walnut Street just west of the Municipal Parking Lot with the entrance to the corral located in the parking lot. A word about parking—Please do not park at the Municipal Lot on Saturday! PLEASE! No parking on Walnut Streetor Division Street as they are “on the race course.”
Starting in downtown Kalkaska, the Bell’s Beer Iceman trail consists of paved roads, dirt roads, two tracks (the majority of the course), abandoned railroad beds, and the world famous Vasa Nordic ski trail. Approximately 29 miles long, the course crosses only one paved road (Williamsburg Rd. at mile 17) as it winds through the breath taking terrain of the Pere Marquette State Forest in Northwestern Lower Michigan. Course highlights include “Steve’s Secret”, “Lombard’s Luge,” “Cassle Cliffs,” and “Ice Breaker” (the last hill to climb). The finish line at Timber Ridge, just east of Traverse City, will be a welcome sight to all Icemen and Icewomen. The course can be best described as a road race on dirt.
Course Now Measured in Kilometers
This year the course will be marked using Kilometers (to go) so we have have a more accurate idea of where any accidents or injuries happen so we can respond that much more efficiently.
Grand Traverse Cycle Feed Stations
Grand Traverse Cycle is once again sponsoring the Feed Stations! Watch for their catchy signs on the course as you approach the three designated feed stations. The Ice House, Oasis, and Ice Station Zebra are located at about eleven, twenty-seven and thirty-six kilometers into the course, respectively. Volunteer crews will be serving up loads of Heed, cookies, fruit, and water for all!??Plans are underway to make the Oasis at Williamsburg Rd. a real hap pen ing with its own announcer and PA so the entire crowd can hear who’s made it that far. Slush Cup riders will use the last Iceman feed station, Ice Station Zebra, located on the Vasa Trail. As always, there will be a huge recovery center at the finish line.
Slush Cup Course
The Meijer Slush Cup course jumps onto the Vasa Trail just southeast of Timber Ridge and follows the 25 K ski trail east to the Vasa 10K trail. Utilizing the southern portion of the 10K, the trail turns north & east before it merges with the Bell’s Iceman course at the Ice Station Zebra feed station. At Ice Station Zebra, the course turns west and begins the trek back to Timber Ridge Resort. Climbing Icebreaker Hill is always the biggest challenge for Slush Cuppers but upon getting to the top, riders know it is not far to the finish line.
The Meijer Sno-Cone course(s) are fun loops within the Timber Ridge Resort trail system that are sure to bring a smile to every young rider’s face. Three different courses are offered for age graded events. There’s a 2+ kilometer course for boys & girls eight and over, a slightly shorter route for five to seven year old girls & boys, and a very short course for children 4 & under. The highlight of each course is that they all merge with the Iceman and Slush Cup courses so everybody gets to finish underneath the big finish line!
Everyone knows there’s nothing like the smell of pancakes, eggs, sausage and coffee to get you going in the morning. And again this year, it will all be waiting for you within 100 feet from the start line. Be sure to pay a visit to the 2nd Annual Iceman Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast located inside the old village office building (race packets will be handed out in the same building). The Kalkaska Kiwanis Club’s primary service projects are to support children and community. All the proceeds from the Pancake Breakfast will help fund their efforts on these projects. The Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast is open to cyclists, supporters of the cyclists and our very own Kalkaska citizens and offers a great chance to meet some of the athletes!
The Village of Kalkaska is also excited to welcome the folks at Mighty Fine Coffee, who will be setting up a coffee tent at the Iceman start. Make sure you stop by and get yourself a warm drink to carry you through the morning, whether you’re waiting for your race to start, or waiting to cheer on your loved one.
The After Party
The Bell’s Beer Sunset on the Season Party is where many riders can finally take the gloves off. Get over to State Street Grille at 221 E State Street, Downtown Traverse City for Bell’s Beer specials, freebies and live entertainment by The Orbitsuns. The party starts at 8pm with $5 cover, procedes benefitting the fight against Type 1 Diabetes.
In a sport that tends to bring out one’s ego and selfishness, on this night, it’s all set aside. Everyone is equal. Results, categories and status just do not matter. In the end we are all there to celebrate life and the beautiful sport of mountain biking—More important, Michigan mountain biking, Michigan beer and, Michigan music.