Peak to Peak is one of the classics of mountain biking in Northern Michigan. It's one of the last warm-up races before Iceman and is a very real indicator of where your form is before the big dance in November. While it's usually billed as Iceman's little brother, P2P is actually a pretty special bike race in and of itself. Here's why.
There's a Big Hill: Hosted at Crystal Mountain, it's only fitting that riders ascend the biggest ski hill in Northern Michigan a few times. The singletrack sections that comprise the majority of each lap is flat and fast, but the climb up the backside of the ski hill is usually where groups get broken up. It's also pretty incredible how you can feel so good at the base of the climb, but feel absolutely destroyed by the top - and that's just on the first lap. The fastest guys and gals will make a move on the first lap, while the rest of us just try to limit our losses and make things up on the white-knuckle descent. If you can't go up fast, you'd better be able to lay off the brakes to get back on when gravity is helping you out.
The Trails Are Incredible: If you've raced here before at the fat bike races or previous editions of P2P, you know just how incredible the singletrack at Crystal. There's nothing like flying around with your friends at 20mph with a massive smile on your face, which is something that rarely happens when you have a number plate strapped on. Pro or beginner, everyone absolutely loves this course. Huge ski hill climb excluded, of course.
Best Time of Year to Be in Northern Michigan: The leaves will be changing, so riders are advised to take a look over the Betsie River Valley when they reach the top of the ski hill. It'll be awfully tempting to hold up and rest for a bit to take in the stunning majesty of the color of the leaves, rivers, and to a slightly lesser extent, Thompsonville.
It's also sort of a freak occurrence that the weather will be in the sixties with ample amounts of sunshine. It's going to be perfect. Get out there, enjoy it. Drink beer. Smell the roses. Ride bikes.
Wes works at Swell Development to support his cycling addiction. You can follow him on various social media channels to stay up to date on his training, racing, and more importantly, his generous intake of caramel lattes. He's on Facebook because that's how his family stays in touch with him, and on Twitter to stay up to date on the latest political memes.