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Horgan-Kobelski, Dunlap claim Iceman Cometh

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Brian Matter (Gear Grinder)

Brian Matter (Gear Grinder) (Image credit: Brittany Nigh)
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Alison Dunlap (Luna) and Kelli Emmett (Giant) on the podium

Alison Dunlap (Luna) and Kelli Emmett (Giant) on the podium (Image credit: Brittany Nigh)
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Alison Dunlap leads Kelli Emmett and Heather Irminger

Alison Dunlap leads Kelli Emmett and Heather Irminger (Image credit: Brittany Nigh)
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Jenna Rinehart (Specialized)

Jenna Rinehart (Specialized) (Image credit: Brittany Nigh)
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Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Gary Fisher - Subaru)

Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Gary Fisher - Subaru) (Image credit: Brittany Nigh)
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Kelli Emmett (2nd, Giant), Alison Dunlap (1st, Luna) and Heather Irmiger (3rd, Gary Fisher - Subaru)

Kelli Emmett (2nd, Giant), Alison Dunlap (1st, Luna) and Heather Irmiger (3rd, Gary Fisher - Subaru) (Image credit: Amy Dykema)
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Sam Schultz (2nd, Gary Fisher), Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (1st, Gary Fisher - Subaru) and Brian Matter (3rd, Gear Grinder)

Sam Schultz (2nd, Gary Fisher), Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (1st, Gary Fisher - Subaru) and Brian Matter (3rd, Gear Grinder) (Image credit: Amy Dykema)
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Jenna Rinehart at the top of Annie's Hill

Jenna Rinehart at the top of Annie's Hill (Image credit: Brittany Nigh)
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Mike Phillips

Mike Phillips (Image credit: Brittany Nigh)
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Sam Schultz, Carl Decker and Mike Anderson

Sam Schultz, Carl Decker and Mike Anderson (Image credit: Brittany Nigh)
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Sam Schultz at the crest

Sam Schultz at the crest (Image credit: Brittany Nigh)
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Carl Decker

Carl Decker (Image credit: Brittany Nigh)
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Mike Anderson

Mike Anderson (Image credit: Brittany Nigh)
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Tristan Schouten

Tristan Schouten (Image credit: Brittany Nigh)
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Teammates Chris Peariso and Darrin Braun

Teammates Chris Peariso and Darrin Braun (Image credit: Brittany Nigh)
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Kelli Emmett (Giant)

Kelli Emmett (Giant) (Image credit: Brittany Nigh)
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Heather Irmiger (Subaru-Gary Fisher)

Heather Irmiger (Subaru-Gary Fisher) (Image credit: Brittany Nigh)
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Amanda Carey (Kenda)

Amanda Carey (Kenda) (Image credit: Brittany Nigh)

Colorado riders Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Gary Fisher) and Alison Dunlap (Luna) took home their maiden pro Iceman Cometh wins. The event was also part of the Midwest Regional Championship, and, for the fourth year in a row, Wisconsin brought the greatest depth and breadth of field to win the state-wide series.

“We didn’t have a full roster this year and quite a few of our racers were unable to make it due to illness or other issues, but Wisconsin riders probably had an advantage when it comes to racing experience,” said Don Edberg, director of the Wisconsin Off Road Series (WORS), America’s largest state mountain bike race series. Edberg, who did his part for Wisconsin by racing to a first place finish in the All Men 55-59 category, cited the number of racers at each WORS event. “Some people think that courses make racers,” he said. “I think when you’re talking about what makes a racer fast, it’s really about the people and the competition. The more people you are able to race against, the faster you get.”

In terms of quantity and quality, the competition at Iceman this year was as good as it has ever been. With 4,000 registered racers, the pro fields were not the only start waves to see an increase in racer turnout, although the addition of National Champions Heather Irmiger (Gary Fisher) and Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, former World Champion Alison Dunlap and international pro racers like Sam Schultz (Gary Fisher), teammates Kelli Emmett and Carl Decker (Giant), and 2008 Icewoman Amanda Carey (Kenda) attracted a flurry of media attention. The marked man and Midwest hope was Brian Matter (Gear Grinder) of Sheboygan.

Matter, a past winner of the Iceman and 17-time Iceman veteran, won at Ore to Shore and the Chequamegon 40 this year, and was crowned 2009 WORS Overall men’s champion in October. Matter was looking to win at Iceman with the additional motivation of a possible repeat of his 2007 Triple Crown title. For a select few men, the “Triple Crown” has been the icing on a great season of Midwest MTB racing; it is the unofficial honor bestowed on those who win each of the Midwest point-to-point races within a single season.

“I raced with Brian Matter a lot when we were juniors and earlier in my career and it's awesome to see him having so much success in the Midwest,” said Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski before the race on Saturday. “Repeating the Triple Crown would be pretty impressive. If he does, hopefully I can at least make him work hard for it!"

Horgan-Kobelski: Cool, calm and collects it

With repeated attacks launched off the front beginning around mile 17, Olympian and National Champ Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski made everyone work hard for it. Despite the smooth speed of the course this year, the front group shed all but six riders after the first of these attacks.

Two Wisconsin racers, Brian Matter and Tristan Schouten (Planet Bike), both of Sheboygan, and a Michigan hometown favorite Mike Anderson (Bell’s Beer) were in the lead group with Horgan-Kobelski, Carl Decker and Sam Schultz. Several riders attempted to launch counterattacks over the next 10 miles, but the lead group was still together, with Horgan-Kobelski leading and Matter second wheel, at Annie’s Hill, a steep wood chip wall that looms up at riders from around a corner with five miles to go.

The attack that stuck came in the last section of singletrack before the finish. Horgan-Kobelski made the winning move, and rode through the screaming gauntlet of Iceman spectators lining the finish chute wearing a broad grin, to finish 12 seconds ahead of teammate Schultz. Matter followed close behind in third.

Dunlap does it

In the ladies' field, Midwest hopeful Jenna Rinehart was looking to become the first woman to win a Triple Crown. Like Matter, Rinehart had to contend with a stacked field including the current National Champion, as well as former World Champion Alison Dunlap. Rinehart traded pulls with the five-woman lead group until near the end, but an attack by five-time Icewoman Kelli Emmett and counterattack by former World Champion Dunlap shook loose all but Heather Irmiger.

The three hit the climb at Annie’s Hill in a tight line with Dunlap in the front. Amanda Carey and Rinehart followed just seconds behind. Dunlap attacked again on a short, steep uphill and created a small gap, which she maintained to the line with Emmett sprinting just feet behind her the entire way.

“I could hear her breathing,” said Dunlap. Emmett and Dunlap are friends and training partners in Colorado Springs as well as frequent competitors, making their appearance together on the Iceman podium all the sweeter.

“I had the fitness I needed, but I didn’t feel like my top-end speed was there today,” said Rinehart after the race. “The attack by Kelli almost took me by surprise. Amanda was a little behind me, and we both worked to catch the lead group again, but it didn’t happen. This was my first Iceman, and it was a good race. I’m looking forward to doing this again.”

'Those fast Wisconsin riders' do it again

Matter’s third-place podium spot helped Wisconsin and the racers of WORS to best their closest competitor, the Ohio Mountain Bike Series (OMBS), although missing spots on the WORS roster made the competition closer than in years past. Even with fewer racers on the roster, WORS fielded enough podium finishers to hold off the competition and create some chatter on the buses back to the starting line.

“My whole bus was talking about those fast Wisconsin riders,” laughed one WORS racer at the awards banquet. Racers in the Michigan Tailwind Series represented for a third place finish in the Regional Championships, while DINO series riders from Indiana took fourth and the Kentucky KYMBA racers finished in fifth place.

With a US Cup race to be hosted by WORS in 2010 at the Subaru Cup, Midwest regional racers will soon have another chance to settle just who is fastest and to treat the National pros to a tour of some of the Midwest’s trademark tight, wooded singletrack and short, steep climbing, courtesy of the course at Mt. Morris.

“I'm always impressed with the races I've done in the Midwest - and I'm excited about the prospect of having another National race there in 2010,” said Iceman Horgan-Kobelski. “There's a great energy at all of the races I've done and they're all very competitive.”

Full results

Elite men
1Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Gary Fisher - Subaru)1:34:02
2Sam Schultz (Gary Fisher - Subaru)0:00:12
3Brian Matter (Gear Grinder)0:00:14
4Carl Decker (Giant Bicycles)0:00:21
5Mike Anderson (Bells Beer)0:00:28
6Tristan Schouten (Planet Bike)0:00:41
7Jacob Rytlewski0:01:42
8Derek Graham0:01:52
9Graham Howard (Bissell)0:02:34
10Christian Tanguy (Fraser-Cannondale)0:02:37
11Colin Cares (Kenda Tomac)0:03:15
12Stu Alp (Norco Factory Team)0:03:35
13Steve Dempsey0:03:39
14Michael Wissink (Specialized)0:03:40
15Joe Brzuchanski0:03:42
16Greg Kuhn (Team Fraser)0:03:45
17Mike Phillips (Adventure 212 - Spec)0:03:49
18Brent Steinberg (Wolverine - Ac&f)0:03:59
19Scott Stewart (Bells Beer)0:04:21
20Christopher Peariso0:04:46
21Darrin Braun (Adventure 212 - Spec)
22Travis Saeler (Gary Fisher 29er Cre)0:05:40
23Isaac Neff0:05:43
24John Cowan0:06:21
25Jody Proctor0:06:25
26Michael Naughton0:06:30
27Andy Schultz (Kenda Tomac)0:07:00
28Mark Parmelee0:07:10
29Robert Herriman (Wolverine Sports Club)0:07:29
30Tyler Jenema0:07:31
31Greg Frozley0:07:41
32Timothy Carson (Pro Bikes/Cannondale)0:07:50
33Brad Wilhelm (Gary Fisher)0:08:26
34Jason Lowetz0:08:38
35Paul Brown0:08:41
36Chad Salla0:08:50
37Bill Gallagher (Breakaway/Fisher)0:09:02
38Anton Varabei (Cycle Solutions - An)0:09:13
39Joe Slonecki0:09:35
40Matt Verona0:09:36
41Benjamin Whitehead0:09:45
42Alan Antonuk0:09:46
43Craig Webb0:09:49
44Kyle Stange0:09:51
45Eric Muehl0:09:52
46Jeff Craven (City Bike Shop)0:10:36
47Daniel Kotwicki0:10:59
48Nicholas Boswell0:11:19
49Bryan Underwood0:11:35
50Taylor Birmann0:11:44
51Chris Uberti (Panther / Rgf Pb Fel)0:12:07
52Dallas Fowler0:12:10
53Ron Sanborn (McLain Cycle & Fitness)0:12:28
54Ben Ortt0:13:16
55Thomas Kachelmeyer0:13:48
56Jason Pruitt0:14:08
57Vince Roberge0:14:20
58Matt Craig0:14:51
59Ben Renkema (Kenda Pro Cycling)0:16:20
60Shawn Davison0:16:31
61Scott Chambers0:18:36
62Jason Lummis0:19:03
63Aaron Rahim (Cyclepath Oakville)0:19:47
64Matt Battin (Bicycle Station)0:22:15
65Tim Curtis0:23:03
66Jason Anderson0:23:54
67Gregory Christian (Panther / Rgf)0:27:29
68Matthew Light0:36:17
69Cliff Kugler0:44:18

Elite women
1Alison Dunlap1:46:40
2Kelli Emmett (Giant)0:00:01
3Heather Irmiger (Gary Fisher - Subaru)0:00:12
4Amanda Carey (Kenda Tomac)0:01:13
5Jenna Rinehart (Specialized)0:02:05
6Susan Stephens0:07:40
7Lisa Strong0:08:04
8Marne Smiley (Scott Bicycles)0:09:09
9Katerina MacHacova (Fraser)0:11:51
10Maureen Kunz0:12:08
11Lindsey Kriete (Gear Grinder)0:12:10
12Danielle Musto (Kenda Tomac)0:12:30
13Nicole Borem0:13:35
14Kelly Paterson0:14:21
15Kaitlin Michener (Bikyle)0:16:39
16Andrea Matter (Team Geargrinder/Trek)0:17:30
17Meghan Korol0:18:10
18Karey Collins0:19:40
19Amanda Ryan0:20:01
20Jamie Galambos0:21:37
21Gabriela Baranova0:23:59
22Michelle Johnson (Trek Of Pittsburgh)0:24:46
23Nicola Fester (Founders/alger)0:26:25
24Paige Peterman0:30:00
25Zandra Hudson0:32:16
26Lee Ann Beatty (Pro Bikes/Cannondale)0:35:56
27Sarah Lukas0:36:35
28Michelle Peariso0:37:10
29Jade Gianakopoulos (B1 Bicycles)0:41:02
30Meredith Link (Bicycle Station)0:42:09
31Roxane Kruse0:44:47


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