Brewin' Up Something Good: Friday Night Fundraiser A Smash Hit

We want to thank everyone who attended our fundraiser this past Friday at Brew! 

Even with a sprinkle starting an hour before the scheduled ride, we still had about sixty riders willing to head off into that great known, brakes squealing and rain pouring. The right clothes made it just another ride in Northern Michigan....we're a remarkably hearty breed. With riders in their 60s down to two Norte heroes, we were also joined by Velo City Cycles owner and profession road racer Brad White and reigning US National Road Race Champion Larry Warbasse!

We kept the big guys relaxed and enjoyed a soggy but very fun circuit behind the State Hospital. The trail held up very well, with riders testing their headlights and nerves on a few steep and perilous descents, but as far as we know, everyone made it out alive. Probably. 

Back at Brew and out of the rain, Kim, Michele and the rest of the NMMBA crew smart enough to stay out of the weather had a wonderful display set up featuring grooming badge sales, raffle prizes, and information about the trails. Sean, Missy, and Erin from Brew had something even more important: Short's Brewing Company beer. It was flowing in copious amounts as our 60 or so riders were joined by over one hundred other local riders relaxing, catching up, and trying to recognize each other off the bike and out of the woods! 

And those raffle prizes went really well; M22, Glacial Hills, 45NRTH, Short's, and Clif Bar all donated bundles of sweet stuff to win for just a few bucks! 

Irma won! 

Irma won! 

We also heard from Tom White about the mission of the night, which as to allow NMMBA to make a donation to Michigan Mountain Bike Association. MMBA is our voice in Lansing, and we're proud of the Traverse City Cycling Community for recognizing how valuable it is to have a presence and voice in so many committees in the capital. 

The event was a perfect chance to get together and enjoy an evening together, and also gets us very excited for the winter riding season. With snow in the forecast a few days a week, it's only a matter of time before it sticks and we're out grooming some of the best winter singletrack in the world, right here in our backyard! 

Thank you for supporting our mission, for giving to a worthy cause, and for being wonderful company on a rainy night in Traverse City. We'll see you on the trails! 




More Local, More Connected, More Support: Our Move Away From IMBA

Earlier this summer, Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association voted to leave the International Mountain Bike Association in an effort to keep more money, efforts, and awareness closer to home. 

The decision was made after months of talking as a board, communicating with members, other Michigan IMBA chapters, as well as with our state association, the Michigan Mountain Bike Association. IMBA has a long and storied past and we have enjoyed a great relationship with the organization since our inception. Our move away from IMBA is a product of listening to our members' input and in the interest of the trails. 

NMMBA is no longer an associated chapter of IMBA, with our relationship with MMBA becoming even more important. This move means that 100% of membership dues stay in the state, and most of that staying right here in Northern Michigan. This allows us to do more for the trails, while also contributing more to MMBA's efforts in Lansing on behalf of mountain bikers and all non-motorized trail users. With hot topics like PA 288, eBikes, and a number of trail proposals making the rounds at the Michigan Department of Resources, our voices are better heard with more support in Lansing.

With IMBA, 60% of dues left Michigan, which severely restricted our ability to put MMBA Executive Director, Melissa Werkman, in Lansing. Without representation on the state level, NMMBA lacks the voice to influence legislation that deals with everything from trail access, trail initiative, and how our resources are used. Melissa is involved with countless committees and ensures that the interests of mountain bikers are heard and change how other organizations view the woods, the trails, and the sport. 

We strongly encourage you to join NMMBA to keep your money local and to help us maintain trail systems like the retooled Vasa Single Track, the Cadillac Pathway, Glacial Hills, the High Country Pathway, and more. If you can, we feel it is still important to support IMBA, and if you can financially contribute, their efforts are very much worthy of our attention and contributions. 

To join NMMBA as a member, click here. 

Working To Bring Fat Bike Trails To Leelanau State Park

A map of Leelanau State Park. The trails are not mapped here. 

A map of Leelanau State Park. The trails are not mapped here. 

Everyone loves fat biking, and we're working to bring winter riding even to another Northern Michigan town, Northport! 

A number of locals, as well as representatives from the DNR and Leelanau State Park are eager to get a winter-only fat bike trail in place this season, even with the snow already beginning to fall. We're sending our Vasa Singletrack Director, Chad Jordan, as well as a few other volunteers north again this weekend to help map and outline a 7-9 mile groomed trail that could be ready to ride this winter! 

The trail system is adjacent to another set of trails that have always been referred to as the "Airport Beach" trails, near Woolsey "International" Airport just north of the village of Northport. The new fat bike trails will overlap for two miles before veering off into its own network. The goal is to create a better trail experience for all users, which include classic skiers and snowshoers. There are plans to submit a trail proposal that could, in a few years, create a year-round mountain bike trail system to be in place. 

It's a project that we hope can have a big impact on the area. The goal is to have these trails draw people north in the same way that Glacial Hills help support the community of Bellaire. It will also serve as a way to gauge interest and support of summer trails as well. 

Much of the groundwork for this project has been by Will and Rachel, owners of Northshore Outfitters. They've been avid skiers and bikers for decades and love calling Northport home. Will has already volunteered a snowmobile for grooming, as well as his own time to keep the new trail open. He's called on a few pals from NMMBA to help make the trail ready as soon as this weekend, clearing deadfall and other debris to make things clear for the drag once the snow sticks. 

This is a very exciting project that has pulled locals, the DNR, and NMMBA together to create what will be another reason to travel to Northport and help that community grow, as well as a number of other villages in Leelanau County. We will keep you up-to-date on the trail as it develops, and we hope to add grooming reports, updates, and how you can support the trail on our website in the coming weeks! 

Kicking Off The 'Off-Season' In Style: Friday Night Lights Ride and Fundraiser 11/17


No doubt you've heard about the next big thing you won't want to miss! On November 17, we're rolling into these short days and dark rides the only way we know how, with a lot of lights! Bring yourself, your bike, and your friends for our Friday Night Lights fundraiser at Brew! 

We'll leave Brew at 5:30 for a few laid-back laps behind the Commons before returning to Brew for some well-deserved refreshments. Thanks to Short's Brewing Company, we'll have two SBC's on tap, with 100% of proceeds going to support Michigan Mountain Bike Associations' efforts on our behalf in Lansing. MMBA is our voice at the highest level of state politics and plays a vital role in legislation dealing with trail access. We couldn't do what we do without that support, and we're doing our part to keep it going. 

We'll also have great raffle items and giveaways, so make sure you're there! 

Have you ridden the trails at night? It's a blast! Get yourself a decent light (450 lumens is a great place to start) and head out. Riding with a group at night is even more fun. You can typically see a little better from more headlights on the trail, but it ratchets up the fun factor by quite a bit, too! It's also very cool to look back and see a whole string of lights bouncing along through the trees. 

With short days, more and more of our rides in November, December, and January are in total darkness. We're so lucky to have trails to enjoy that keep our riding going year round, especially as that transitions over to immaculately groomed trails once the snow falls. 

For more about this event, make sure you RSVP on Facebook or feel free to email us with any questions. 


Iceman Memories From NMMBA


It's a big week for mountain bikers in Northern Michigan. And Southern Michigan. Shoot, the whole Midwest gets pretty excited for the Iceman Cometh Challenge. Each year, riders of all abilities flock to Traverse City and put themselves on a course that might seem innocuous, but offers both a scenic tour of the Pere Marquette Forest and and white-knuckle race that offers speed, speed, some beer, and more speed.

We asked a few of our board members to share their favorite Iceman memory as we gear up for the big day. You'll be able to check out all things NMMBA on Friday at the Ice Cycle Expo, where we'll be posted up with Melissa from Michigan Mountain Bike Association for a full day of fun.

"One year I was having a horrible race.  My whole body was rejecting being on the bike.  My legs weighed a ton, my head was pounding and my lungs felt like they were the size of kidney beans.  Racers around me could see it on my face and hear it in my breathing as they went by.  One by one, my competitors slowed their pace and encouraged me to keep chugging.  These guys were strangers to me and they formed a V formation and pulled me into the finish from Sand Lakes Road!  I am racing buddies with these guys to this day.  Only in the Iceman!" ~ Tom White, Trail Director and MTB Legend  

"In my previous 17 Icemans there have been weather issues (2003) and a good share of good samaritans. But I would have to reflect on my very 1st Iceman. The year was 2000. I hadn't trained much and was riding a department store Huffy. Its weight alone is heavier than my Fatboy and road bike combined! I could sense the looks and hear the snickers as our wave toed the start line. I walked most of the steep climbs and the ones I did manage to climb left me struggling to catch my breath at the top. But I conquered it and crossed the finish line in 3:40. But I had been bitten by the same bug we all have encountered. The next year I bought a new bike ($700.00!) and trained religiously. In 2001, I climbed all the hills and shaved an hour off my time." ~ Steve Mentzer, Secretary and Beer Aficionado.

“My wife and I decided did our first Iceman after purely spectating the year before. We were inspired by the distribution of abilities completing the event. We dedicated the next year to training, entering local races, overhauling our lifestyle and establishing health as a priority. After completing it, we were consumed with emotion to the point of joyful tears in the finish chute. I can not begin to imagine how many people’s lives have improved because of this event.” Chad Jordan, reViSiT Director and Ride Guide

As is more than deserving, Kim White gets two stories.

“At the after-party Steve & Connie throw for the staff, one year, the Brown boys and a few friends were pretty wound up; not unusual, really.  However, that year (2010) there was a bet going on that involved a cream pie to the face.  The receiver ended up being Cam. The next photo is Hayden pulling out his money to pay Greg, who actually pie'd him. It all happened VERY fast... the photo I have of the actual pie to face is SOOO blurry I'm not going to even send it (not like these others aren't!).  The guy holding the camera in the blue shirt is Elliott Putnam.

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The other story is about 2015, when Gary Fisher actually placed in his age group (65-69; 5th). This isn't the year he was ceremoniously dropped at the Rock by Tim Brick and rode into the finish but wasn't scored.  He actually started in Kalkaska and raced. I tried unsuccessfully to get him on the podium with his peeps all afternoon.  So I brought the medal and his check ($35! hahahaha!) to the after party.  We had Steve give him his honor." ~ Kim White, Treasurer