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Oxford 'fastest' town in Iceman bike race

December 01, 2010 - From gravel pits to one-eyed groundhogs, Oxford's been known for many things over the years. Now, the community has the distinction of being the "fastest" town around.

Not because of the thousands of vehicles that go whizzing down M-24 everyday, but because of all its participants in one of the world's largest mountain bike races.

A total of 26 Oxford residents (average age 40) raced in the 2010 Iceman Cometh Challenge held Nov. 6 in northern Michigan.

This group of hearty souls finished the 27-mile course from Kalkaska to the Timber Ridge Resort near Traverse City with an average clock time of 2 hours, 27 minutes, 55 seconds, making it one of the "fastest cities" with 20 or more racers.

Oxford beat out 31 Michigan cities for the title plus the City of Chicago, Illinois, whose 30 racers finished with an average time of 2 hours, 51 minutes, 3 seconds.

So much for the Windy City.

A total of 3,504 amateur and professional participants finished this year's race including 3,065 men and 439 women.

Oxford residents Scott Stewart, 23, and Michael Simonson, 30, had the best finishing times among the contingent representing Wildcat country.

Both finished with clock times of 1 hour, 54 minutes, 51 seconds. Despite having the same time, Stewart placed 93rd overall and Simonson placed 94th.

Both competed in the "Pro Men" division with Stewart placing 38th and Simonson 39th in this category.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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