It's the last weekend before Iceman! For most folks, that means it's the last chance to take a look at the 2017 Iceman race course. Our own trail expert Tom White has been in the woods a lot the past few weeks making sure this year's race balances room to pass, plenty of speed, and that old school Iceman vibe of wild and rocking singletrack!
From the horse's mouth, here are the re-routes, changes, and more:
The start is the same as last year - short, moto style from the Fairgrounds.
There is only one minor course change between the start and Dockery Road. The Tornado Alley single track will see the 187* corner repealed and replaced with a much more flowing corner. Riders won't even notice the new trail....they will just realize that a major course bottleneck has been removed. Since most do not know where Tornado Alley is, it is the piece of
single track right before the first aid station which is right before Dockery Road.
There are two reroutes after crossing Dockery Road. The first is a flowing downhill single track that requires only about 5 pedal strokes to complete. This reroute rejoins the course in a way that allows riders to carry a decent amount of momentum and eliminates a large sand trap and a hill climb from a dead stop. This reroute actually removes a single track that was sketchy and made riders feel like a pinball and replaces it with a mini-roller-coaster-feeling single track that is 98% downhill. A guy actually hugged me after he rode it.
The second reroute takes riders around Water Bottle Hill. I would describe this reroute as a more classic Iceman single track. It is rough (bumpy) has a fast downhill with fairly tight corners considering the speed potential and involves two punchy climbs. As of this writing there are no
highly developed lines and the ground is covered in short, dense grass so riders can choose one of two lines. Neither is demonstrably better than the other. No rider will ride this section fast regardless of bike type or skill level. Love this section or hate this section, it will slow the field right where the first pack separation normally happens. This section will add spice to an already tough and spicy part of the course.
The section immediately following Water Bottle Hill is unchanged and the huge hill (Make it Stick) is again out there waiting for you to insure you hit your max heart rate. The next section is called the Hero Section and nobody seems to know why. Look for a reroute at the very end that transitions riders onto the beach sand ladened snowmobile trail with much more momentum and simultaneously eliminates a common crash point of the course. This has been a very popular course change and both shoulders of the sandy snowmobile trail have been mowed to allow bicycle passage.
Immediately following the Hero Section reroute the downhill 167 degree left hand, sandy hairpin has been removed. Now racers turn ahead of last year's hairpin and enjoy a very short downhill single track that allows riders to coast up half of the next hill versus the climb from a dead stop in 2016. The single track is not technical and involves turning the handle bars
slightly only twice.
The Sand Lake section to Williamsburg Road is unchanged. As always, promise to buy beers for anyone that will pull you through this section. Sand Lakes Road is no place for solitary soul searching. Immediately after Williamsburg Road riders will turn right and parallel Williamsburg Road for 1/8 mile. The trail is a single track but there are no trees on either
side. Just a groove in the grass. After 1/8 mile riders will transition onto a grassy two track with a short slight uphill grade. At the top riders will continue on a mossy, smooth and flat two track and transition back onto the old course as if by magic. The two sandy and root infested climbs after Billyburg road are history.
No changes on the trail to the 25K (VASA) except the sinkhole just before crossing Sand Lakes Road has been expertly repaired by our friends at the
GT Regional Land Conservancy. Be sure to whisper or shout your gratitude
to the Gods of Recreational Land Conservation as you pass through.
Wouldn't hurt to write a donation check too. The Iceman will match what
The next change is the wall reroute. This year we blow right past last
year's wall bypass and use the 'old course'. Immediately after passing last
year's wall bypass racers have to deal with two punchy climbs and then a third before taking a HARD left just before the actual wall. Be sure to wear your tinfoil hat under your helmet as you ride under the EMF spewing gigantic metal power lines. The trail is grass and rough and slightly
uphill....but it is short......maybe 100 yards. Once clear of the power lines, a gentle two track climb awaits the rider. The reward for the EMF, bumps and climbs is a long (by TC standards) two-track downhill. There are some tight corners in there to keep you sharp so rest your legs and not your mind. The rest of this section is the same as the 2016 course. In fact, the rest of the trail is the same all the way back to Timber except that we are once again going to use Madeline's which includes the legendary Mt. Gary.
The finish is always secret, but the word from the very top is that riders will go down Woodchip Hill and then climb Icebreaker. Once in the park, the trail will go left in an intestinal shaped pattern including bulges and restrictions in the trail width. Be sure to check it out. What the finish might lack in length this year, it makes up for in quirky turns.
Have fun out there and ride like it is your last race of 2017....because it probably is. Odometers have ranged from 29-31 miles, depending on what you believe in. I believe in pedaling until someone tells you to stop.