When fellow editor Troy Siahaan left for a one-year visit to Chicago I made a single request: Put together an opportunity for us to go ice racing. Soon thereafter I was on my way to the Windy City for an overnight at Siahaan’s place before travelling north to Kettle Morraine Lake to compete in the18th Annual Steel Shoe Fund three-hour endurance race.
While our practice session the day prior was an enjoyable experience atop a vacant lake on a clear and relatively warm afternoon (just below freezing), race day was anything but. Temperatures dropped overnight to -30 degrees with wind chill. The traction I enjoyed on the virgin frozen water was gone, replaced by man-made snow – the result of dozens of spiked-tire motorcycles shredding the ice.
Negative temperatures nearly turned Content Editor Roderick into a Tomcicle.
Twenty or so corners into my first lap of 6.75-mile course I was down, sliding for what seemed like forever across the slick, frozen lake. The YZ450F’s motor had stalled and by the time I got it restarted I was sweating bullets beneath the layers meant to keep me warm in the frigid temperatures. I remounted the Yamaha and tentatively finished my session.
The race was a gruelling test for a SoCal resident completely out of his element. But you couldn’t pay me to change the experience. The cold, pain, suffering, learning, camaraderie, fun, laughter and all the other sensory inputs, emotions and memories comprise the ice racing high-point of my career. I can now check off ice racing from my personal bucket list, but that doesn’t mean I’ll never do it again.
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