The Ides of November: Gearing Up for Grooming, Hunting For Places To Ride


What a treat to welcome us into life after Iceman! It’s crazy to think that over three inches of snow and one week separate us from the 29th edition of the Iceman Cometh; it feels like yesterday and a lifetime ago, at the very same time!

While we were riding in the snow this weekend, we’re already thankful for the work that’s already gone into the Winter Sports Singletrack this season. On Saturday, twenty five volunteers showed up to help us tackle six different problem areas on the WST that we really needed tackled before the flakes fell. To those volunteers, thank you so much! We got things done, including getting our marker flags installed at new re-routes, trail closures up, and a lot of solid work on the trail beds that will serve as the foundation of our grooming for the next seven months!

We’re hitting the ides of November, and while grooming efforts won’t hit high gear until December 1, we’re already keeping a careful eye on the five, ten, and fifteen day forecasts to see if we’ll have more snow to work with, or when we can expect to lose it. Temperatures in the low 40s and a chance of rain into the weekend might see our snow gone, but even if we’re back to dirt, we can’t expect that to last for long.

Also on our radar is Opening Day of Rifle Season. For two weeks of the year, hunters get a chance to enjoy the woods. While we do leave the ultimately leave the decision to ride state land up to trail users, we’ve always been advocates for letting hunters do their thing out of a concern for safety and respect. Let the hunters have the forests to themselves during daylight hours, and avoid riding within two hours of dawn or dusk so that you don’t affect deer habits.

It’s really a great time to hit the Commons, ride gravel roads, stay warm on the trainer, or stick to riding late and howling at the proverbial (or actual) moon. We’re extremely fortunate to ride these woods, including Cadillac Pathway and Glacial Hills, year-round; we can do a lot of good in the community by taking a step back for a few days during rifle season.

You can enjoy a personalized tour of the Commons on Friday, November 23 with out Urban Friday Night Lights from Brew. We’ll leave Brew at 5:30 for a 60-75 minute ride behind the State Hospital, with Short’s Brewing beer sales going directly to NMMBA upon our return. Ride bikes, drink beer, and have fun with us while burn off a little turkey and pumpkin pie!

Urban Friday Night Lights at Brew!


It’s back! We’re heading back to Brew on Friday, November 23 for a fun, casual night ride at the Commons and chance to support Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association the easy way…with Short’s Brewing beer.

Last year, we had dozens of riders join us for jaunt into the darkness in spite of the rain for 60-75 minutes of fun, giggle-inducing riding behind the State Hospital. Because it can be tough to keep everyone together, make sure pick a riding buddy (dibs on Don Marsh) and meet-up at the Green Spire School before we roll back to Brew, where the ride starts and finishes.

Once back, you’ll have two Short’s Brewing options that will be good for 100% of proceeds going directly to NMMBA! This money will go to help NMMBA gear up for the ambitious grooming season head, as well as support trail projects, our NMMBA Trail Series, and a whole lot more.

2018 was our most ambitious year yet, and we’re ready to bring you even more in 2019. From new trails at the Cadillac Pathway, more miles at Palmer Woods, trail proposals in Traverse City, and the peerless perfection of Glacial Hills, Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association is working to bring you fun trails that you can ride year-round. We’re proud of what we’ve done, and more motivated than ever to do even more.

Bring the kids, too. Brew will have deals on food and drinks, and no one makes a hot chocolate like Sean Kickbush. No one.

No time to ride? Short’s Brewing proceeds from 5:30 until 9 pm go toward the fund, so stop by for dinner!

The snow is here, the fat bikes are out, and it’s time to fight the darkness with bright lights and great friends!

NMMBA Fundraiser 5:30- 9 pm at Brew. 108 E. Front Street

Optional bike ride from 5:30-6:45. All skills welcome. Bring lights.

We’ll regroup at Greenspire School at 6:20 to roll back to Brew together.

You DO need to wear a helmet and ride with a light. Dress for the conditions and remember, it’s not a race, it’s a rolling party! Let’s see those bikes lit up!

For updates on the ride, check the event page here.

What. A. Ride. Iceman 2018 Was Incredible!


There really is nothing quite like Iceman.

A frosty chill in the air, some frozen sleet and a touch of snow in the morning, and a flying-fast course will make 2018 go down as one of the quickest editions of the race in the past 29 years. 5,000 riders braved the cold to thrown down on what might be the freshest iteration of the race route in a number of years.

NMMBA put countless hours into designing a balance route that offered a little something for everyone, while always putting safety first. When you pour 5,000 riders into a singletrack, you’re putting both people and trail into a tough spot. That’s why Tom White and the rest of our trail crew offered up some new sections of gravel road before and after crucial points of the race that contributed to opening up gaps between riders, and rewarding smart positioning and good bike handling.

That new gravel road was extremely important, leading directly to what may have been the decisive point in the day for most waves. Tornado Alley is a short but important stretch of singletrack before crossing Dockery Road, and by all reports, served as the first test in both the first few morning waves and the Pro races later in the afternoon.

We were happy to receive some glowing reviews of the course, as well as very few reports of singletrack back-ups, which have been issues in years past. We also gathered plenty of feedback on our trail work the other 364 days of the year at the Expo on Friday. Thanks to plenty of volunteers from TC, Glacial Hills, Bike Leelanau, and Cadillac Pathway, were were able to talk, answer questions, and sign up plenty of new members both in person and online! Seven lucky people also strolled home with a custom, stainless steel display stand from our pals at!

Congrats to everyone who raced, and a special thanks to all the volunteers that make such a big event possible. While it might be the end of racing this fall, we’re only just gearing up for winter fat bike riding. You can help us prep the Winter Sports Singletrack this Saturday, November 10 from 9-12. We’ll get sticks, limbs, and branches cleared to avoid any issues once the snow falls. We’ve got a very narrow winter to do so before rifle season starts the following weekend, so if you can make it, we need all the hands we can get!

It's A Big, Big Weekend : Iceman, Memberships, and Palmer Woods!


You’ve got plenty of things to look forward to kick off November in northern Michigan!

It’s a sort of Holy Week for mountain bikers all over the Midwest, but we all know, no one has it better than us! The Iceman Cometh Challenge is the biggest one-day mountain bike race in this hemisphere, but there’s a lot more to this final weekend of racing than just the iconic (and often grueling!) jaunt from Kalkaska to TC. We’ve got your itinerary planned!

Friday night’s SRAM Ice Cycle Expo kicks things off. Part packet pick-up, part flea market, part of the fun, the Expo serves as a chance for riders to see old friends, check out the latest gear and the best deals, plus make sure they’ve got everything they need for race day. For NMMBA, it’s a chance to see hundreds of members face-to-face, shake hands, answer questions, and connect with folks we often see blurring by while we work on the trails.

This year, it’s also YOUR chance to win one of seven custom stainless steel display stands from Just join NMMBA or renew your membership online or in-person on Friday, November 2, and you might pick up a little something special!

We’ll also have trail reps from every trail system, plus special shirts, hats, and stickers from your favorite places to ride. Show the world your hometown trail, or the one you always hit when you’re in the area! We’ll have as much stock as possible to make sure no one goes home without a chance to grab a shirt from Cadillac Pathway, Glacial Hills, or Bike Leelanau.

And it’s Bike Leelanau that is going to keep you going Sunday. After you’ve emptied the tank on Saturday, you’ll be able to meet up with pals and relive all the action at Palmer Woods! That’s right, the long-awaited, much-anticipated trail is finished, and we’re all heading out to Glen Arbor to celebrate. The plan is to sleep in, then meet up around 1 pm. You can track all the event plans here. Put in as many laps on the 3 mile finished section as you feel like, take in the gorgeous colors of Leelanau County in November, and reflect on just how many amazing opportunities we have to race, ride, and enjoy the great outdoors in northern Michigan.

October Board Meeting Minutes

NMMBA Board of Director's Meeting


Date and location: Wednesday October 10th, 2018, Keen loft

Board present: Chad Jordan, Kim White, John Roe, Cotopaxi Sprattmoran, Steve Mentzer and Mike Walters


Board absent: Tim Reicha III, Tom White, Michelle Andrews, Tim Jenema, Don Clewley and Dustin Webb.


No guests

Chad called the meeting to order at 6:41 p.m.

A brief discussion concerning online voting. Topics voted on included the previous month's meeting minutes, naming of the trail network as TCTN(Traverse City Trail Network) and purchasing banner flags for events.


John Roe:

John discussed grooming badges. Badges are to be sold at the upcoming Vasa Ski swap being held at Brick Wheels on Saturday October 13th.

With each sale a new name is added to the grooming reports. John to convert to Mail Chimp for compiling these lists and sending these reports out.

Some discussion as to how each trail report is sent.

Among the questions were; does each trail send out it's own report or does one report cover all trail conditions? Best to send one report and include each trail condition.

Stickers are to be given with each trails badge sold. It was decided to give a $10 discount on multiple badge sales.

500 badges have been ordered. Stickers for each trail number 125 except fot TC which was doubled to 250.

Cotopaxi Sprattmoran:

Cotopaxi discussed the acquisitions of area parks by Garfield Township. Among those were the Traverse City Light & Power(TCL&P) 50 acre parcel that would be a connector between Hickory Hills the Commons.

Another parcel was the Ransom parcel of 18 acres.

Discussion centered on the connector to Hickory Hills and the Commons. In the past the relationship between NMMBA and representatives of the Commons was less than ideal. It was decided to form a committee to work along side the Commons group to fortify a better working relationship.

That committee is comprised of Chad, Cotopaxi and Steve.

Also noted was an opportunity to guide trail builders at Hickory. We would be only an advisory body not the actual builders.


Safety issues:

Last month it was discussed  of an ongoing need for an emergency response system. Pat Parker from GT Fire Dept. had ways to map the trails.

Tonight we emphasized the need for NMMBA to set the protocol. Set the example.

That safety issue goes all the way down to our volunteers. We need to have each volunteer sign a DNR waiver before starting any work.

Talk of linking a waiver to our website.

On a related note there was to be a mock rescue operation performed on Sunday October 14th in Kalkaska.

Beard of Zeus:

Sponsorship up for grabs. 4 race series to include: Vasa, Dogman, Fat Chance and Beard of Zeus. March 3rd is the date that has been set for this race.

Tim R. and John to head this up. Tim R. to create a spreadsheet on expenses/revenue for this event.

On a related note it was thrown out the possibility of acquiring our own timing equipment. Would this be a cost savings as timing companies generally charge upwards of $1500.00+ per event.

Acme bike park:

Moving forward. Not rushing things.

Cadillac Pavilion:

Plans have been approved. Should be a structure to last many, many years. A lasting legacy

A committee to see this project through was formed. It includes Chad, Cotopaxi and John.

It was suggested that in the future, committees be made up of members. Board is being spread thin.


It was noted and discussed as to the additional equipment that has been acquired recently. These items need to be added to our policy. And does location of said equipment need to be designated for claims purposes.

Steve to reach out to Larkin and research this.


$2500.00 covered needs for Kalkaska signage.

Some discussion as to designated trailheads in Kalkaska.


VST ride direction:

Mike talked about alternate ride directions re:VST. Riding it backwards brings an all new perspective to the trail and creates more even wear.

Tom advocated starting this in 2020 as it would coincide with Mud, Sweat & Beers.


MTB Summit:

John to print and mount posters for this event. Discussion as to if each trail submitted a poster and what content/message was to be conveyed.

Discussion to continue online. Kim to spearhead this project along.


Reports submitted by Tim Reicha II

Glacial Hills

·    Vault toilets/changing rooms are installed

·    new door hardware, paint, finishing touches are ongoing

·    Antrim Conservation District has begun landscaping around Eckhardt building, adding flowers in the spring (this looks great!)

·    New shed installed at Vandermark (for ATV/snowmobile), previous shed moved to Eckhardt (with Rokon/hand tools)

·    Temporary loop signage installation nearing completion, targeted to be done by fundraiser

·    October 21, 2-8pm permanent signage replacement fundraiser at Short's

·    2pm group ride at Orchard Hill, group hike at Eckhardt, 4-8 hang at Short's all food and bev proceeds got to GH

·    Grooming route meet up to be scheduled with groomers in the next two weeks

·    will need to clear trees from sections of two tracks

·    GH board received a 30 minute lecture from one angry ebike user at the Sept board meeting following installation of signage prohibiting ebike use

·    he stated he will be pulling his support as he "put money in the donation tube every time" he rode

Report submitted by Cotipaxi Sprattmoran

Bike Leelanau:

Palmer Woods: Nearing completion. We are putting together a trail opening party.

Provemont Pond: Received approval to build a 1 mile multi-use trail.

Leelanau State Park: Permit application sent in, there will be an open house October 15th where people talk to the DNR about the proposed trail. Trail work days need to be scheduled.





Meeting adjourned at 8:37 p.m.

Submitted by

Steve Mentzer, secretary