The 2019 Bell’s Iceman Cometh Challenge was incredible! The Keen Racing Family stole the show with another rocking party at Make It Stick and a strong showing from a dozen racers. From the first wave to the last party at Keen HQ, this is so much more than a race.
It was always going to be one to remember. 2019 marked the 30th edition of the Iceman Cometh Challenge, which grew from 39 riders in 1990 to 5,000 this year. A vital component of that success has been unpredictable and often challenging weather, and this past weekend did not disappoint. Just a year after 43 degrees and relatively fast conditions, rain all week and snow on the Thursday and Friday before the race left us no illusions that the course would be easy going. In fact, sections of the thirty-mile trail were a quagmire, with a record number of riders failing to finish.
That didn’t stop us from showing up and throwing down! Tim Pulliam, Marc Brunette, Jon Houlberg, and Greg Zenn all started in the first few waves, with Marty, Danielle, Kevin, and Bobby all in the “Party Wave”, the 35th to leave. By that point in the morning, hundreds of riders had turned the slick, greasy trail into a deep, dark, thick morass. Riders were queued up at a dead stop at times, so very tough was riding and walking to breakthrough!
That just meant people had more time to enjoy Make It Stick! For yet another year, Eli pulled out all the stops to make our little random slice of the wilderness the loudest, most encouraging point of the course. We had dozens of spectators join us for hours of drumming, cheering, and moral support as riders made their way up the steep, slippery climb. Our early riders stormed past in the first wave, and we kept our voices up and the beats going from 9:30 am until the Pros flew through at 3 pm!
The Iceman Cometh Challenge is as much a party as it is a race, and we brought the men’s Pro winner, Alexey Vermeulen, down to the Keen loft to help him celebrate. We love providing a place for the community to come together, unwind, and relive the action of the day with fellow athletes. For most of us, it’s the last big event of the season and a chance to really let loose. It’s also a rare shot to spend time with our friends and clients that are in from out of town, and we had plenty of folks swing through to say hello, have a beer, and talk about what’s next.
Stay tuned for some footage of the race and Make It Stick from our pal Mark Goethel, and make sure you get a hold of us to join in the fun for 2020!