On The Agenda: Out’n’Back and Peak2Peak

Photo by left-handed trombone player and cult hero Brian Beckwith

The sweet pumpkin-spice-scented joys of October are made all the sweeter for the killer rides and races. Don’t worry; we’ve got two of your Saturdays all planned out. Sit back, mow down a bag of Halloween candy that you obviously bought too early, and read on. 

October rocks. First, you can finally watch Hocus Pocus and Sleepy Holloweat your weight in squash, and it’s also time to lose your mind over Iceman. Mark this down: on Monday, October 1, we received our first text about what tires to run at Iceman. We’ve also been asked if the course is cyclocross bike-able this year (if you need to ask, you probably shouldn’t) AND we’ve been badgered when the next Out’n’Backs are.

The BIG one is Saturday, October 13 at 9 am. Once ran as Gears’n’Beers, the kolo Out’n’Back is designed to get a ton of people into the woods at the same time in order to make facilitate more groups and more people to ride with; it’s easier to stay on course if more people go the right way and know the route. It’s also safer, and it’s also just about perfectly timed to get in a big ride ahead of Peak2Peak.

For this year’s Out’n’Back, we’ll again offer a ‘headstart’ group leaving Timber at 8:45 am, which will give you a 15 minute lead on the main crew’s departure at 9 am. If you haven’t heard of the ride before, this is a bit of a northern Michigan tradition. The Out’n’Back is 43 miles, with riders taking gravel roads out to Kalkaska then hopping on the Iceman Cometh course on the way back. Faster riders can finish the ride in just over 2.5 hours, but plan on 3 hours if you, A) haven’t done it before B) ride less than six hours a week C) want to actually enjoy the ride.

That long and tough ride is perfect training for the test coming the following week, Peak2Peak. One of our favorite races of the year, there’s really nothing like racing up the ski hill and Crystal Mountain and spilling down the sinuous descent to the finish line. This year’s race comes two weeks before Iceman, a slot that the event as settled into rather nicely over the years. Instead of serving as just a tune-up race, however, Peak2Peak is one of the most prestigious wins in the Midwest, and we’re expecting to see the likes of Cole House, Brian Matter, Sean Kickbush, Kaitlyn Patterson, and other big names and likely winners back on the start list.

As we get a bit closer to race day we’ll pick some of the winners, as well as offer a course preview and even help you select the perfect tires for the mix of sand, gravel, and black dirt. Hint: they’ll be made of rubber.

Make sure you join the Gent’s Club for all the kolo rides right here.

It’s not too early to sneak a peek at who is already signed up for P2P, either.

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