Sometimes, the transition from summer to fall can be a little tough. Luckily, we’re cooking up a little something to help you enjoy September and get ready for the biggest race of the year.
The Bell’s Iceman Cometh Challenge is a really big event here in northern Michigan, and like plenty of locals, we spend much of September and October riding out to the race start in Kalkaska and then shredding the course back to its finish at Timber Ridge Resort and RV Park. It’s an annual tradition, with big groups of riders meeting up and heading out for a full day of fun. Some go fast, some go slow, but everybody enjoys the buzz and anticipation rides like these add to the race itself and the weeks leading into it.
We’re kicking off the unofficial start of Out’n’Back season on Sunday, September 15 from Timber Ridge. We’re hoping to get 200 riders into the woods; all speeds and abilities are welcome! We’ll have three different ride options. First, join the Dirt Church crew for a unique way to do an Out’n’Back…by singletrack! We’ll use unmarked singletrack to get out to Sand Lakes Road, then use gravel roads to get to the race start near the Kalkaska Airport before heading back to Timber Ridge on the 2019 course. This one is for riders capable of a solid three to four-hour ride at a strong pace.
Want to focus on the course itself? We’ll also have a group that heads out to Kalkaska along the Vasa Pathway and Sand Lakes Road, taking the most direct way out possible This will be a 15-mile route, with a full look at the 30-mile course, with a total ride time and pace of around three hours. A little too quick? No worries; we’ll have another group take on this option that will shoot to be back to Timber Ridge in about three and a half hours.
You won’t want to be out too long, either. We’re going to be firing up the grill and offering riders brats, chips, and more around Timber Ridge’s new Justin TimberLake, their very own swimmin’ hole! Bring your towel and swim trunks for after the ride, chow down, and stick around until we wrap the party up around 4 pm.
All rides will leave Timber Ridge at 9 am, and make sure you get there a little early to enjoy coffee and cookies from our friends at Breakaway Café and Coffee Bar. We’ll have the refreshments out at 8 am, and everyone should be ready to bust out at 8:50 so they can listen up to pre-ride instructions.
Worried about keeping up? Don’t be! Turn back when you feel like it, ride with your pals at your own pace, or just rip a lap of the Vasa 25km Pathway, which makes up nearly a third of the racecourse anyway. The real goal of this ride isn’t the ride, it’s the fun after. Celebrate this beautiful time of year between summer and autumn the best way possible…on a bike with friends!
Want to get a ride in on the course on your own? Here’s a look at the 2019 route.