TRAVERSE CITY — The Iceman Cometh mountain bike race is an annual tradition for Lake Orion’s Garrett Chiesa and his family members.
On Saturday, Chiesa’s granddaughter, Elizabeth Riley, will make her debut. Elizabeth, who turns 6 on Nov. 15, is blind and will ride on a recumbent pull behind with her grandfather in the 8-mile Slush Cup.
“It’s all she’s been talking about this week,” Chiesa said. “She’s all cranked up about it.”
Elizabeth just started kindergarten.
Her older brothers also compete, as do several other family members. Chiesa has three sisters.
“It’s a family thing,” Chiesa said. “We’ve been doing it (Iceman) for 15 years. We got the kids involved, then the grand kids. She (Elizabeth) was old enough this year. She likes to ride. It’s her turn to do the race. She can’t see, but she likes the stimulation from the bumps, the potholes.”
After previously racing in the Iceman — a 29-mile point-to-point race between Kalkaska and Traverse City — Chiesa has opted for the shorter Slush Cup the last four years so he could introduce his grandchildren to the event.
“I did the pull behind with the (two) boys, but last year they rode on their own and I rode next to them,” Chiesa said.
Ten family members will be entered Saturday — nine in the Slush Cup, one in the Iceman.
Needless to say, Chiesa has been keeping close tabs on the weather.
“Hopefully, we’re not going to get all that rain they’ve been talking about for Saturday,” he said. “I looked last night and there’s a 50 percent chance — with 33 degrees at start time. I guess that’s why they call it the Iceman.”