Close up of bike tire and gears with fall leaves in background

Northern Michigan’s Iceman Celebrates 30 Years

For mountain bike enthusiasts, the Bell’s Iceman Cometh Challenge is a chance to prove just how hard core you are.

It takes guts and commitment to sign up for the early November race, which takes riders on a gnarly 30-mile course, oftentimes accentuated with snow, ice, and rain. Riders will take to the trails on Saturday, Nov. 2 starting at the Kalkaska Airport and making their way to the finish at Timber Ridge RV & Recreation Resort on the eastern edge of Traverse City. They’ll cover paved roads, dirt roads, two tracks, abandoned railroad beds, and parts of the Vasa Nordic ski trail.

The full race begins at 9 a.m., which is also the start time for the Meijer Slush Cup, which offers riders an eight-mile loop version of the event that starts at Timber Ridge and follows the Vasa 10K ski trail. Both races are sold out, although young riders can still sign up for the Meijer Sno-Cone, a shorter loop for riders 10 and younger that starts at 3 p.m. All Sno-Cone participants will receive a medal, bike number plate, stickers and more.

The Iceman Cometh Challenge started in 1990 as a small event and is now celebrating 30 years. Last year the event drew cyclists from Mexico, Canada and 41 states. Ages of participants ranged from 2 years to 77, with ability levels ranging from first-timers to Olympians.

On Friday, Nov. 1, the SRAM Ice Cycle Expo will take place at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. Blue Care Network has been an Iceman sponsor for many years and will take part in the expo on Friday. Several BCN and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan employees are also part of a team of racers who will be participating on Saturday.

“Iceman is an inspiring event that we look forward to every year,” said Jessica Iloff, manager, Community Responsibility, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “Our sponsorship aligns with our commitment to encourage Michiganders to embrace and pursue an active lifestyle. It’s particularly rewarding to watch the Sno-Cone, as you can see kids making the connection that exercise and physical challenges can be fun and rewarding.”

Learn more about the history of Iceman here and make sure to cheer riders on if you’re nearby on race day!

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Photo credit: LightField Studios

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