With nearly 4,000 racers in the Iceman Cometh Challenge, controlling traffic on the 27-mile, point-to-point course is, well, a challenge in itself.
So for the 2010 Iceman, which takes place near Grand Traverse, Michigan in November, there will be a few changes, according to Race Director Steve Brown. He said that in evaluating the 2009 Iceman Cometh results, it was discovered that approximately 25 percent of riders were “riding-up” an ability level compared to where they really should have been racing.
Brown said that for a variety of reasons, including getting to the finish-area beer garden earlier in the day or avoid the traffic in some of the larger waves, “a solid portion of riders have opted to choose an ability level that is one step above where they realistically belong,” he said. “The end result of such a choice is that 25 percent of the riders fall off the pace of their wave and are then swept up by racers in latter waves creating increased traffic for everybody.”
In 2009, 30 start waves were needed to get the field going, with the first riders finishing as the final waves were starting.
To address the course traffic issue, Brown said changes to the 2010 race categories and wave starts are in store. The 2010 race categories will no longer be based on ability and age. They will be based solely on age. (The 2010 age classes are listed to the left of this article).
Additionally, the 2010 waves will be based on the time the rider posted in the 2009 race.
“The exact time criteria for each wave has not been determined yet,” Brown said. “We will be assigning wave placement once all of the edits and changes to the participant database have been completed at the end of October. Thus, we will have the ability to ensure that each wave has a consistent number of athletes.”
For example, the first adult wave after Juniors may have a qualifying time criteria of 1:40:00 to 1:49:59, Brown said, adding that the second wave may have a time frame of 1:50:00 to 1:55:59. And so on down the line.
“Thus, within each wave, there will be riders of different age classes. Women, tandems, clydesdales and singlespeeds will also start within their corresponding time criteria waves,” he said. “The drawback to this system is that you probably will not start with 100 percent of the riders in your age class. The plus is that each wave will have racers of similar abilities.”
New Iceman riders without a previous time will start towards the end of the waves, Brown said.