The Iceman Cometh: The Most Underrated MTB Race on the Calendar

January 02, 2023

Boasting the highest turnout of any MTB race in the US, the Iceman Cometh Challenge is also one of the oldest events. Hosted in Northern Michigan and with participation numbers totaling around 5,000 riders, the course starts in Kalkaska and follows 33 miles double track, abandoned railroad beds, and the iconic Vasa Nordic ski trail before finishing in Traverse City. After getting outsprinted in the final stretch of the race last year, Alexey Vermeulen returns to one of his favorite events of the year, this time handily taking the win! Watch the video to hear what makes this event so special from Alexey and to see race day footage!

Following the race, in a two-part Instagram post, Alexey wrote:

Being from Michigan will always make this weekend important, but honestly my favorite part is showing people who I race with around the country that Iceman is special and you have to come to Traverse City in November to feel it!
Thank you to EVERYONE who made it happen from the trail builders @nmmba_rides who are out fixing sand sections the days leading up to the race to the people cheering on ICEBREAKER (who probably just finished racing themselves) that make it hard to hear and give me goosebumps!
Here’s my best explanation if you haven’t been…There are people along most of the entire 30 mile point to point course, but you first start to really hear the finish line noise around 3 miles out as you start to skirt the edge of Timber Ridge. As you ride closer and come into the bottom of Icebreaker though, the noise is DEAFENING! The pain you feel seems further away as you finish the climb and head into the final single track, your ears ringing slightly. Before you know it you are turning onto Woodchip, the final climb, and once again you can’t think, you just pedal! You crest the top and hear the announcer yelling and the barriers being whacked! *Just stay upright; you think to yourself as you navigate the final corners and the fly over*
This race has history, it has prestige, but most of all it has an incredible community around it that I’ve rarely seen other than racing on the road in Europe.
Make the trip, it’s worth the possibly cold fingertips!
@robmphoto nailing the passion, pain and suffering ❤️

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