By Drew Johnsen
EMS Press
Traverse City East MS
1st Place Division MS, News Writing
Sports News Story

JUDGING CRITERIA

  • Lead features interesting, important angle
  • Uses colorful, lively style
  • Avoids cliches, editorializing
  • Displays knowledge of sports; uses understandable terms
  • Shows research/interviewing skills; emphasizes how & why
  • Effective use of facts/quotes
  • Proper diction/grammar; use of the third person
  • Unity/coherence

On November 2, more than 4,000 mountain bikers and 10,000 spectators descended on the Kalkaska Airport for the 2019 Iceman. The Iceman is a Traverse City tradition held each year on the first Saturday of November. It debuted on November 4, 1990, with 35 riders making the 30ish mile trek from Kalkaska to Traverse City. From year to year, temperatures on race day vary widely. Typically, they range between 30 degrees and 40 degrees, but they have been as low as 25 degrees and as high as 57 degrees. Several years have seen snow and freezing rain during the race, making even getting to the start line difficult. This year’s race day was cloudy with a high of 43 degrees and a low of 32 degrees, so it was pretty perfect. Iceman race director Cody Sovis has been biking since he was about six or seven years old. When they were little, Sovis and his twin brother would bike around the Commons with their dad. “We weren’t very good, but we always liked to see what we could do,” he said. In high school, Sovis stopped biking and began football, track, and baseball. But when he got to college, he decided he wanted something he could do forever. That’s when he began biking again. “Cycling is something you can do anytime, anywhere,” he said. Sovis has completed six or seven Iceman races in his career and was the first person to finish two in one year. This was his first official year directing the race and he couldn’t have been more excited. He wanted to work with his team to create a special event. “I want it to be something that everyone enjoys and will always want to be a part of,” he said. Every day he worked as the new race director, Sovis learned a new way to do something. His 30-plus years of cycline helped him immensely with this new challenge. As the director, Sovis did not compete in the race this year. “It’s a bit weird not getting ready to race, but I’ve found that putting on the Iceman is a lot harder and more time consuming than racing, but just as rewarding.” he said. Seventh grader Brody Day raced in the 2018 and 2019 Iceman. To him, the Iceman is more than just a race. “It’s kinda like the Patriot game,” he said, comparing it to the annual Central vs. West football showdown. “You don’t want to miss out.” Like Sovis, Day got into cycling because of his dad. “[Biking] has a really good community of people, ” he said. Sixth grader Madden Alpers participated in his first Iceman this year. He started biking around the age of eight and his friend talked him into trying the Iceman this year. Alpers unfortunately had to tap out of the race 20 miles in due to bike malfunction. “It was hard,” he said. Day was excited for this year’s Iceman and had a goal to beat his last year’s time of two hours and 23 minutes although he was happy with that time. In the end, his finish time was two hours and 41 minutes. But the typical race time this year was slower than last year’s, so Day felt like he met his goal. “If you look at everyone else’s times, with the conditions, I technically beat my time too,” he said. “We were all 30 minutes behind.”