Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Iceman is here

This is it.

It's Iceman week.

I love this week.

I love this week because I am so excited.  Yes, I get pretty damn excited for The Whiskey.  I take the entire week off to go to Leadville.  both of those races the week before is more like "HOLY CRAP I HAVE TO RIDE THAT THING ON SATURDAY!"  I seriously want to crap my pants the entire week before The Whiskey and Leadville.   

There is no fear of Iceman.  There is no dread.  No concern of "do I have it in me?"  Iceman is an old friend.  I know her turns and hills, though they change every year.  She has stopped trying to kill me, and just likes to remind me who's really stronger these days.  Truth is, I'm just getting this 45 year old body over the abuse I put it through starting in February and going until mid August 15 in Leadville.  I stretched that peak another 2 weeks, and was so ready for Barnburner on August 29 that when it was canceled, I cried a bit.  Then I danced.  

But now, now I am going home.  Back to Michigan.  Back to where it's cold in November.  Where your tires roll on black dirt, and I recognize friends old, older, new and newer at every turn on the course.  Back to the race that kept me turning pedals for many years.  Back to the first place where I felt the kinship of the 2 wheel dirtbags.  

I can say this race has brought me much closer to a few of my friends, and has introduced me to people I plan to call my friends for a very long time.  And for that, I go back every year.  Yeah, it's a pain.  Yeah, it's a short race.  Yeah, the weather stinks.  Yeah, I need to drive, fly, sleep, drive just to get to where I shipped my bike.  Then build, get packet, eat, drink, sleep, wake, drive, RACE, finish, party, sleep, wake, drive, fly... 

And I'm not trading it for anything.

Life has changed over the past 20 years since I first did this thing.  I've lost family and friends to age and accidents.  Gained friends and family in the usual ways.  I've changed myself quite a bit, and so has the gang I roll with.

Iceman used to be the longest event on all our calendars.  "EPIC" 30 miles through the woods in Northern Michigan.  Yeah...that's a nice warm up these days.  I don't mind admitting it.  It's true for all of the guys I ride with.  Perhaps we're older, wiser, more stubborn...everyone is coming into this year's race with multiple 100 milers under their belt this season. Everyone is fast as they have ever been....and the energy put into the post-party seems to inexplicably go up and up and up.  And that is a great thing.

So here's to Iceman.  Here's to Steve Brown.  To Northern Michigan.  To friends.  To family.

See you all in 2 days.

There's at least this many more in the house somewhere.  And one in Dave's Garage

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