Would love to hear about everyone’s favorite races they’ve ever done. The more obscure and underrated the better!
I’ll start it off with two:
Iceman Cometh Challenge
Traverse City, MI
Iceman is an amazing late fall mountain bike race in Michigan that’s 30 miles of fast, up and down fun. Last year saw 3600+ finishers, it’s definitely one of the biggest races in the country. Traverse City is a great host and the before expo and on-course after party are must-sees. Having raced Iceman a few times, it can be bone-chilling cold, wet and muddy or perfect fall weather, all adding to the draw of the event. For most pros this is their last race of the year, and its a great end cap to a season for any cyclist.
Old Growth Classic
Santa Cruz, CA
This year was the first ever Old Growth Classic and the first ever bike race held in a California State Park. 55 miles and 8000 ft of climbing on fire roads and smooth singletrack from the mountains down to the coast and back up again, winding through redwood forests. It’s a challenging course, but if you love gravel it’s a must ride. The campground setup and post-race party/village added even more of a draw for this race, with bands, breweries, vendors, food and camping all included in your entry, it’s a race I’ll definitely be back to.
Traverse City/Leelanau Peninsula, MI
If you ever wanted to ride the Ronde van Vlaanderen without the cobbles, or just don’t have time for a trip to Flanders…this race is for you. A rolling course with the sharpest, steepest, punchiest hills you can find this side of Belgium. Most climbs average 10%+ grade and regularly have sections in the 16%-18% range – and most last only 3-5 minutes. Most beautiful place in the country for my money.
This Vermont Gravel Race in April is very unpredictable. The roads are often icy, snowy, muddy- but usually a mix of all these. There is always a hike a bike section aptly named “Siberia” - through snow covered logging roads.
Great turnout of pros and amateurs alike.
7 days of world class singletrack simply cannot be beat. You couldn’t have wiped the smile off my face for any of the time spent on the bike. And everything is taken care of for you off the bike, they even wash your bike! Literally all you need to do the entire week is ride your bike and recover afterwards. Each stage is hosted in a different town and these communities pull out all the stops. What other race will you be greeted by a 100 cheering locals, a pipe band, and a mascot just for walking off the ferry into their community! The whole experience was just amazing, and the trails! It truly is the ultimate singletrack experience. Oh, and TrainerRoad got my fitness on-point so that I could enjoy it even more!
Tour Series 3/4 support race in Aberdeen (UK), May 2018. City centre closed road, barriered crit race. An hour of utter pain, but a brilliant race. Lots of folk already out to see the pro race, so crowd 5-6 deep at some points. Was in the break the whole race, but sadly didn’t pull the lapped riders out before the final lap so they interfered with the sprint. Although I only finished 11th, was without a doubt the biggest fun race I’ve ever done😊