The Iceman is a big deal, and with so much going on, it’s tough to remember on the little things that make all the difference. We grabbed a few Pros and asked them for the REAL inside scoop on the race, plus the little things they do to get an edge. They all asked to be kept anonymous. And it’s no wonder after they revealed some juicy details on their gear, training and prep ahead of the big race.
1. Supply Storage. Wear a fanny pack. It’s one of those million things that Lance Armstrong pioneered in the late 90’s. If it worked for Lance, it’ll work for you. Find a massive, hip mounted storage unit in the gaudiest color you can find. Fill it with as much stuff as you possibly can; it doesn’t have to be cycling related. In addition to your tube, CO2, tire levers, back up pump, chain links, chain, tire, allen wrench set, pliers, chain breaker, gun and syringe, toss in some fun items like the VHS cassette of Top Gun, a knit sweater, a photo of your dog…whatever. Do you need it? Hell no. But a fanny pack can carry it.
2. 26er vs 29er. EVERYONE WHO ISN’T STUPID knows the 29er is faster on the wide open, fast trails that characterize the Iceman. The six turns, however, can make the difference. If you have a 26 inch bike, ride it. The few tenths of a second you gain on each turn will add up to, like, a second by the end of the race. Plus, the industry really looks like it’s going back to normal wheels soon anyway. You’re seeing more and more tires, wheels and innovative products come out in the size, so it’s totally the bike to stick with.
3. Tire Pressure. This is always a big deal. From local shops to forums to on the line decisions, what to run in your tires is the number one cause of sleep deprivation heading into the race. Don’t be a jackass; pump those suckers up. If you’re on a 26, 55-60psi should be good. You only have a 29er? Idiot. You better put those tires up to around 40. More air, less rolling resistance, and they do great in the sandy parts of the course.
4. The Decisive Move. People tend to leave it a bit too late. The best time to empty the tank is on the pavement section a few hundred feet past the start line. All you gotta do is lead onto the dirt and hold everyone off the other 28 miles left. Plus, there are a ton of babes and cameras in Kalkaska, even a livestream of the start, so it’ll totally pay off. Just think of your new Facebook profile picture…You, tearing away with 150 people trying to stay on your wheel, with Emily Batty in mid-faint over the barrier as she can’t handle the full power of your man-ness….
5. Bring a knife. Remember, you can’t fake a mechanical if you show up to Timber Ridge with everything all shiny and nice. If you’re going to say you flatted, don’t just let a little air out. You cut that tire up and say a bear got to you. You throw your rig into the woods, slam it on a tree, open your vein and rub some blood on it. Really sell it guys. You’ll probably even believe it happened by next year.
6. Podium Etiquette. Just run up there real quick, no one is going to know if it was you or not. If you were second or third, outside hand goes up while your inside hand cups the buttocks of the guy who won because you’re a good sport and you want to show it. If you won, make sure you point out all your fans and take a real long time walking up there so the guys in second and third feel super uncomfortable. Do an Alberto Contador “Pistolero” move because that guy is dope as fuck. Also, make sure you say you didn’t train at all to your friends because that will make them feel better about getting beat by you.
7. Get home and read kolo t.c. Wait, that asshole didn’t mention your age group category top twenty finish? Dick. Quick, send him a nasty email. There’s no way he won’t want to celebrate your achievements now. He’s probably out counting the millions he gets from that LAME blog while hanging out with a GIRL. Who cares what he says anyway?
Go out and have a blast on Saturday. Ride hard, have fun, make a new friend and be good to your 5,000+ cycling friends. Some may be fast, some may be slow. Some may be serious, some may just be out there to survive. But we are all in this together, and we are all we have.