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Matter rides to Iceman Cometh win

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2010 Iceman Cometh winner Brian Matter celebrates on the podium with Gary Fisher. It was Fisher's 60th birthday.

2010 Iceman Cometh winner Brian Matter celebrates on the podium with Gary Fisher. It was Fisher's 60th birthday. (Image credit: Brian Matter & family)
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Amanda Carey (Kenda/Felt) on a technical descent

Amanda Carey (Kenda/Felt) on a technical descent (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/
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Brian Matter on the final climb

Brian Matter on the final climb (Image credit: Brian Matter & family)
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Brian Matter is congratulated by his wife and teammate, Andrea Matter, who finished 13th in the pro women's race.

Brian Matter is congratulated by his wife and teammate, Andrea Matter, who finished 13th in the pro women's race. (Image credit: Brian Matter & family)
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WORS 2009 Overall Champ Brian Matter (Gear Grinder / Trek) chased from an early deficit to a third place finish at Treadfest 2010.

WORS 2009 Overall Champ Brian Matter (Gear Grinder / Trek) chased from an early deficit to a third place finish at Treadfest 2010. (Image credit: Jared Brodjeski)

Former winners Brian Matter (Gear Grinder) and Amanda Carey found their way back to the top step of the podium at the Iceman Cometh on Saturday in Michigan.

Matter won the elite men's race by 17 seconds ahead of Todd Wells (Specialized), Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale), Sam Schultz (Subaru / Trek) and Tristan Schouten (Mafia / Felt), who sprinted each other for second place.

Carey raced to a women's victory by a more comfortable 2:39-margin, ahead of Sara Kylander-Johnson (Trek Co-op) and five minutes ahead of Mackenzie Woodring (Priority Health).

A tactical men's race

With a stacked field of several past Iceman Cometh race winners, former and current cross country national champions and a dozen pro roadies, the pace of the elite men's point-to-point race was fast from the gun. The racers faced a course that had already been raced by more than 3,000 amateur racers earlier in the day. Two inches of snow the day before the race plus temperatures rising above the freezing point made for some tricky, and at times treacherous conditions.

"The earlier racers packed down the sand in some sections and made it faster, but the singletrack turned into mud and deep ruts and you had to hang on for dear life," said eventual winner Matter to Cyclingnews. As the race went on and the bikes got sloppier, the racers' drivetrains only got noisier. "Everybody's bike had a chain skipping by the end. I was hoping that I wouldn't lose because I broke my chain in the last mile, but everybody's bike sounded the same."

Throughout the race, the favorites took turns attacking and stringing out the peloton, gradually shelling one rider after another. Most of the roadies were gone from the lead group by about the halfway point, except for Cole House (BMC), who hung until about eight miles to go.

"There were constant attacks and surges in speed," said third place finisher Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale), a former race winner to Cyclingnews. "The lead instigators took turn at the front. Wells, JHK and me. Everyone was still too animated for anyone to get away. The course got slicker as we went, and I think that was the undoing for the road racers."  Although there was no snow at the start and the finish, some middle portions of the course were lined with it.

"There were so many strong guys I was wondering how is this going to change," said Bishop of the seeming stalemate at the front of the race.

Then two-time winner Matter played out the perfect strategic race for this third Iceman victory. As the heavy favorites marked each other and with about four miles to go, the Wisconsin rider launched an attack, which seemed to catch the others by surprise. No on initiated a chase as the favorites effectively neutralized each other, and Matter's gap opened up to over half a minute.

"Brian went on the attack, and I thought it'd be good and force a higher pace, but it backfired and he got too much of a lead," said Bishop. "Brian and Tristan are really good buddies, and I didn't think of this at the time, but I should have. We all sat and looked at each other. Tristan wouldn't chase Brian. After Wells and I had attacked as hard as we could and didn't get away, we though Brian couldn't get away either."

"I should have realized that if you give a guy an inch on home turf, he'll take a mile," said Bishop, who was nonetheless pleased with his top-three finish.

"Tristan and I know the three significant singletrack sections of the race, and we made sure that we were in the top five going into each of those," said Matter. "The race strings out on those, so your position is key. You need to have legs for the last seven miles when it's rolling climb after rolling climb."

"The others were looking at each other, and I knew I needed to go for it. I knew Tristan wouldn't chase me down, just as if he'd gone, I'd not have chased him. Each of us figured we'd have a free ride back up with the other favorites' doing the work."

Once Matter was off the front, there was no bringing him back. "For the first three minutes after my attack, I was seeing stars. After that, I took a few deep breaths, and I followed the lead moto and pedalled as hard as I could."

"We got to the point with two miles to go, and I said the others 'guys we have to go now if we're going to catch him'. He probably had 35 seconds. Wells went to the front and opened it up. He pulled over, then I went to the front," said Bishop. "I pegged it the last mile and a half. The course seemed to get longer and longer. Wells was coming, followed by Tristan and Sam. Wells got in front of me before the last wall, and then I saw the crowds, there were tons of people. It was a 50m stretch and I figured the finish was close. Wells came up and got me at the end."

National champion Wells finished second ahead of past winner Bishop. Schultz finished fourth ahead of Schouten in fifth. House was top roadie in sixth place.

Carey cruises to women's win

Amanda Carey (Kenda) proved to be the fastest woman as she rode to her second Iceman victory after a first in 2008.

"It was my third time doing the race, and I knew the course well," said Carey, who'd also pre-ridden it the day prior to the race. She flown in from her home in Victor, Idaho, to compete in the classic mountain bike race.

The women's field was smaller than in many previous years, with just 17 pro finishers. However, the race still got off to a blistering start.

"It started like always - fast," said Carey, who spends most of her mountain bike season racing longer, endurance events. "But this time I was coming in as a past champion, and I took more responsibility to be up front."

Carey and a few other women traded turns at the front as the field slowly was whittled down. "There was a group of seven, then five, then finally three," said Carey to Cyclingnews.

And then there were just two - Carey and eventual second place finisher Sara Kylander-Johnson (Trek Co-op), who is a regular in the Wisconsin Off Road Series (WORS). "It was just the two of us, and I had it in my mind where was the perfect place to attack. It was near a big road crossing and there were tons of people lining the course - three to four deep. I knew it'd be a good place to attack because of what came afterward."

Her attack stuck and she pushed the pace on the rolling hills that followed. "My strength is powering on the flats, so then I just kept going. I won in a similar fashion before, so I was familiar with the strategy."

Carey rode the rest of the race solo and finished 2:39 ahead of Kylander-Johnson. Mackenzie Woodring (Priority Health) was third at five minutes.

Race note: Matter won the race on a new bike he had never raced before, a Trek hardtail. During the mountain bike season, he had been racing on a Trek Top Fuel dual suspension, and in recent weeks, he'd switched over to 'cross. He'd ridden his hardtail mountain bike just twice before race day, once on Wednesday and once on Friday. "I was hoping it would stay together and I'd be able to corner on it, but after you do this long enough, you just figure out how to ride the bike."

Full Results

Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Brian Matter (Gear Grinder)1:42:16
2Todd Wells (Specialized)0:00:17
3Jeremiah Bishop0:00:18
4Sam Schultz (Subaru-Trek)
5Tristan Schouten (Mafia - Felt)0:00:19
6Cole House (BMC Racing Team)0:01:49
7Mike Phillips (Adventure 212/Specialized)0:01:59
8Colin Cares (Kenda)0:02:48
9Russell Finsterwald (Subaru-Trek)0:03:43
10Derek Graham (Derek Graham)0:03:53
11Nathan Guerra (Mr Tree/powergay)0:04:27
12Cameron Walters (Cycle To Fitness)0:04:29
13Aaron Bradford (Specialized)0:05:14
14Isaac Neff (Alderfer Bergen)0:05:48
15Nathaniel Williams (Bissell/ABG Cycling)0:05:57
16Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing Team)0:06:28
17Ronald Catlin (MPI-Mainstreetbicycle)0:06:38
18Stephen Dempsey (Bells Brewery)0:06:50
19Christian Tanguy (Team CF)0:07:26
20Mike Anderson (Trek 29er Crew)0:07:52
21Clint Verran (Paint Creek Bicycles)0:08:34
22Alan Antonuk (Cleveland Clinic Sports)0:08:42
23Dan Korienek (Leadout Racing)0:09:04
24Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell)0:09:36
25Scott Cole (Adventure 212/Specialized)0:09:40
26Paul Borden (Fraser Bike)0:10:13
27Tyler Gauthier (Culvers Racing)0:10:14
28Jason Lowetz (Team Bearclaw)0:10:22
29Mark Parmelee (Cycletherapy Racing)0:10:51
30Timothy Carson (Cannondale/OMBC)0:11:08
31Matt Craig (Pedalstop.Com / Team)0:11:12
32Shawn Davison (Farm Team Racing)0:11:16
33Mike Tacchella (Recycling)0:11:26
34Bill Gallagher (Breakaway Bikes)0:11:59
35Ed Serrat (Spin Zone/Cannondale)0:12:03
36Travis Saeler (Trek 29er Crew)0:12:24
37Scott Stewart (Bell's Beer)0:12:35
38Michael Simonson (Trek/notubes/SRAM)
39Matt Verona (Wolverine Sports Clu)0:12:56
40Chris Peariso (Adventure212/Specialized)0:13:19
41Nikolai Anikin (Continential Ski)0:13:22
42Jacob Rytlewski (Kenda Pro Cycling)0:13:23
43Jeff Craven (City Bike Shop)0:13:48
44Burke Swindelhurst (Teamgive)0:14:13
45Tyler Jenema (Gear-Grinder)0:14:42
46Chris Kreple (HUP United)0:14:52
47Larry Warbasse Jr (BMC Racing Team)
48Taylor Birmann (Priority Health Cycling)0:15:44
49Alex Vanias
50Chris Patterson (D2-Admirroration Racing)0:16:07
51Rick Bentley (Team Fast!)0:16:08
52Erik Koehler (Wolverines)0:16:18
53Patrick Wallace (Kona - Ellicottville)0:16:45
54Benjamin Whitehead (Bissell/Advantage)0:17:03
55Tim Finkel (Gary Fisher 29er Crew)0:17:20
56Dan Kotwicki (29ercrew.Com / Sram)0:17:26
57Adam York (Trails Edge)0:17:30
58Dallas Fowler0:17:36
59Craig Webb (Hagerty)0:18:23
60Alex Pless (Home Town Bikes Team)0:19:20
61Eddie Odea (Topeak Ergon)0:19:26
62Ben Ortt (OMBC Pro)0:19:35
63Todd Freidinger (NCCS - Trek)0:19:48
64Daniel Gerow (Wolverines)0:20:11
65Daniel Sterling (Racing Greyhounds)0:20:15
66Eric Holmes (Racing Greyhounds)0:20:19
67Mitch Moen (R-Bikes)0:22:06
68Jimmi McMurray0:23:11
69Nick Boswell (Gas/Intrinsik)0:23:12
70Andy Jacques-Maynes (Bissell)
71Omer Kem (Bissell)0:23:13
72David Williams (Bissell)0:23:58
73Mike Adams (Racing Greyhounds)0:24:26
74Brent Steinberg (Livetrainerace.Com)0:24:44
75Jason Rafeld0:28:15
76Daniel Yankus (Team Giant)0:28:28
77Aaron McCready (Racing Greyhounds)0:28:41
78Chris Uberti (Panther)0:30:48
79Eric Bales (Poptarts)0:33:18
80Brendan Benson (Essex Brass)0:37:42
81Byron Boyer (BRC Real Estate)0:40:31
82Justin Perry (Cycling To Stop Chill)0:42:33
83Glen Mitchell (Bissell)0:43:26
84Bryan Marek (Cross Country Cycle)0:45:17
85Andrew Staub (Precisonmtb)0:46:48
86Dustin Hart (North Country Racers)0:51:24
87Tim Hiscock (Cycle Fit)0:56:43
88Cliff Kugler (Hammer Head Racing)0:59:33
89Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Trek)

Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Amanda Carey (Kenda)1:59:11
2Sara Kylander-Johnson (Trek Co-op)0:02:39
3Mackenzie Woodring (Priority Health)0:05:00
4Marne Smiley0:05:51
5Jamie Dinkins (Motor Mile)0:06:03
6Susan Stephens (Bell's Brewery)0:07:00
7Johanna Schmidt (Hagerty)0:08:52
8Heather Spencer (Racing Greyhounds)0:09:37
9Danielle Musto (Kenda)0:11:09
10Amanda Ryan (WSC/ACF)0:16:06
11Erin Vicary (Bell's Brewery)0:16:56
12Kelly Paterson (Wolverine/American C)0:22:08
13Andrea Matter (Gear Grinder)0:26:09
14Namrita O'Dea (Topeak-Ergon)0:28:37
15Jamie Galambos0:39:02
16Kiersta Tucker (Team Wood N Wave)0:42:52
17Emily Benson (DRT Racing)0:55:11

For non-elite category results, please visit this link.

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.

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