2014 Iceman Race Report – Brian Walquist

Just before the start.

Just before the start.

Iceman generated some stress for me this year that it hasn’t in quite a few years, I just don’t get nervous about the start of races anymore. Most of it came from wave assignment. I’ve done this race more years than not (think it’s 15). So I was quite surprised when I received my wave assignment and it was 34. As many of you’ve been through this process, that’s not what I was hoping for. Since the beginning of the wave assignments I don’t think I’ve started further back than 4. Fact is they couldn’t find record of my participation, probably because I took a couple of years off. I can’t believe the demanding, frustrated, sleepless jerk I became. I spent way too much time on this, in the end our QBP rep Jeff Beuerman came to my rescue at the Expo and got me into wave 4.

The weather was the same for me as everybody else, cold and rainy. I was able to hand off my jacket to my dad and Pat who also ferried my vehicle to the finish – which was a big bonus I wasn’t planning on. A start like the Iceman is in my blood. Criterium was my start into racing so I know how to move up and get a decent position into the first corner or into the woods, as is the case here. I kept moving up for probably the first 3 miles and could still see the top 3 from my wave at the 10 mile mark, but as the ground was continuing to soak up water it slowed us down and I found myself pushing a big (48-18) gear rather than turning it over as I thought I’d be able to. So they finally got away from me.

My bike of choice was a Cannondale Trail SS 29’er Single speed, and pretty basic with the exception of the wheels, which were built using Velocity Dually’s with a 3″ Knard on the front and a 2.25″ Racing Ralph on the back, both set up tubeless. Where a great many people were losing traction or sinking in, my “Mid Fat” wheels rolled fast, provided great traction, and floated like a fat bike. Additionally, because of the single speed setup and the hefty chain Bob Hammond (our head mechanic at Alger Bikes) put on my bike, I had no drive train problems at all.

I mentioned the gear I was running earlier, it calculates to about 19 mph at 90 rpm, and I like to spin. I was expecting to move pretty fast for most of the race, and run 4 to 6 hills. In fact I said openly I was going to go fast as long as I could, and maybe explode and lose lots of time near the end. That’s basically what happened. The last few hills were excruciating. I was cramping in the quad and hamstring both. I expect I lost 5 plus minutes in that last 5 miles because I couldn’t stand up and power through the hills anymore.

In the end 2:23 was a decent time, 12th in my age group, injury free and able to enjoy a few beers with 5,000 of my closest friends in the rain. Awesome. When do we sign up for next year?

One last thing. My training this year came in a very different form than it has in the recent past. I joined 8th Day Gym in Grand Rapids just over a year ago. I’ve been attempting to work out there every day for the past year. I say attempting because I’ve been trying to adapt my body to this way of training, and it’s working, but I still can’t handle it 5 days in a row. It’s different than cycling, of course. And no I don’t think you can do CrossFit alone and race bikes fast, you still have to ride. I’ve been riding 1 to 2 days a week though, and I’m pretty darn happy with the results. I woke up Sunday morning after this race without any pain. At 45, I’m pretty happy about that.

Me, post race attempting to get the feeling back in my fingers.

Me, post race attempting to get the feeling back in my fingers.