Join Your Local MMBA Chapter

Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 10.27.29 AM.png

There have been some very cool updates over on the MMBA.org site that make it easier than ever to join your local chapter and support the trails! 

JoinMMBA.org makes it easy to identify your local chapter, the trail systems they cover, and to join as a member. 80-90% of your membership dues stay right in your local chapter. That's right; the vast majority of funds stay right in here in Northern Michigan when you join Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association! Your funds go towards trail maintenance, events, and equipment costs that support our efforts across our region. 

You can join NMMBA today by visiting JoinMMBA.org and help us build, maintain, and protect the trails we love. 

ViSiT Updates Taking Shape

21231346_1765493643480542_9114694368747754014_n.jpg

Northern Michigan has been given a second lease on summer this week, with perfect riding temperatures and a reprieve from an especially soggy week to start September. Make the most of it, and take a look at some of the updates to the Vasa Singletrack. As a part of our two-year plan to make the Vasa Singletrack more sustainable and more fun, our crew have taken the trail piece by piece and shaped the current trail system to reflect better trail conditions. It's an almost signpost to signpost dissection to address exposed tree roots, sand pits, and stumps to make the trail flow better and hold up better to the peak traffic of autumn.  

Last week, our volunteers took on the opening section of the VST to reduce exposed roots and close tree stumps that have become issues with the trail. It's been a very fun project to address the look and ride quality of the trail, and the feedback we've received has been extremely positive. We've also addressed other sections of the trail, with bigger changes and long re-routes currently in the hands of the DNR in the form a trail proposal. While the approval process takes time, we are able to make these small scale changes to make your experience better today. 

We've also been working with our pals from TART to make changes to the Vasa 25km over the past few weeks in an effort to reduce erosion. Not only will these efforts make the riding experience better, but reducing the depth of the trail bed will allow for more consistent grooming conditions and a more even base for groomers this winter! 

The next time you head out into the woods, give the VST a spin and let us know what you think! 

2017 Bear Claw Epic Volunteer Sign-Up!

16640753_678981118948416_4629148714000040382_n.png

It takes everyone to put on one heckuva show! The 2017 edition of the Bear Claw Epic in Cadillac is under a month away, and our pals are looking for a few helping hands to make the race a hit. 

Not racing? There are still plenty of reasons to head to Cadillac on September 23. Donating your time to the biggest fundraiser for the Cadillac Pathways is an incredibly useful way to help the trail become better and better. There's certainly plenty on the horizon for the Pathways, including a trail proposal for more singletrack and features that is making its way through the DNR right now. 

The race itself is worth watching, too. Some of the best riders in the state will be on the start line, with many of them using the Bear Claw Epic as THE race to kick off their fall build up towards other Nothern Michigan classics like Peak2Peak and the Iceman Cometh Challenge. 

What do we need help with? Our volunteer needs include registration and packet pick-up, course marshals, as well as course set-up and course tear down. 

If you're able to help, please fill out our 2017 Volunteer Form here. Don't forget to pick your t-shirt size so you're looking fresh for the whole day..and every time you wear it. 

 

Bear Claw Epic Is One Month Away!

Screen Shot 2017-08-23 at 11.14.15 AM.png

Our pals from Cadillac know how to put on one heckuva bike race! 

The 2017 edition of the Bear Claw Epic is just a month away, and we're hoping you've got September 23rd circled on your calendar. The BCE is a fundraiser to help us maintain and protect the Cadillac Pathways. The area is lucky to have a committed group of riders who have dedicated their time to not only building this race, but making sure the Pathways grows as a resource for the community. 

The race itself has already become a classic in Northern Michigan. The late September date is perfect for racers getting ready for a full fall campaign, with eyes set on the Iceman Cometh race in November. The timing of the event allows a good hard test of the legs, with plenty of time to gain fitness afterwards based on how the day goes. Cadillac is also an easy destination for riders in Traverse City and Grand Rapids using US-131 and we're expecting to see folks from all over back for this year. 

The race offers Beginner (1 Lap), Sport (3 Laps), Expert and Elite (4 Laps) category options for both men and women, in addition to age groups awards. There's even a cash purse that means you could win back your entry fee! 

Each lap is 7 miles with a combination of two-track and singletrack, with great opportunities to pass. It also offers 600 feet of climbing, which means the Expert and Elite riders will see over 2,000 feet of elevation gain over the course of their race. That's a significant challenge in Michigan, and the winner of the Bear Claw Epic is always someone that possess the ability to handle tough climbs and technical singletrack equally well. 

Racing starts at 9am with the Beginner and Sport categories, with Expert and Elite taking off at 1pm. Registration is open on the Bear Claw Epic website, along with plenty of details on the race, the course, and the day's events. 

The Vasa 25km Pathways Make Over

If you've ridden, ran, or walked part of the famous Vasa 25km Pathways, then no doubt you've seen plenty of work being done. NMMBA and TART have teamed up to improve the sustainability of Traverse City's most used trail network. 

Section by section, kilometer by kilometers, NMMBA and TART are reshaping the Pathways to make them hold up to high levels of traffic, heavy rains, and season changes that can deteriorate the trail bed very quickly. We're taking this effort very seriously, and this tough job is overdue! 

We're pretty excited to have the support of TART, led by Chris Kushman. Together, we have access to all the materials we need to fix erosion and sand pits that have gotten deeper and wider over the years. Controlling how the trail handles rain and run off will help keep the trail fast, safe, and fun for riders and trail users of all abilities, and will improve the winter grooming as well! 

This group meets every Wednesday at 4pm at Bunker Hill and will systematically address sections of the trail until it's completed. If you want to participate in large-scale, visible improvements to the trail, join us! 

NMMBA's PA288 Update From Tom White

DNR-Logo---27510735_910924_ver1.0_1280_720.jpg

We've been up to a lot this summer, and there have been few efforts as important as our work to help construct a safe, sustainable, and workable solution to PA288. PA288 addresses access to state forest roads all over Michigan, of which there are plenty that intersects the trails and singletrack in Northern Michigan. We took a look at PA288 earlier this summer, and we're excited to bring you an update on where we stand. 

NMMBA helped form the PA288 Motorized and Non-motorized Coalition to help compile goals and concerns with other interested trail user groups. Skiers, mountain bikers, hikers, dirt bikers, ORV users and more all worked to establish a person to represent their group as serve as their respective advocates. 

Over the course of several meetings, we made a number of compromises that will open select corridors that will allow ORVs to access the interior of the Vasa 25k Pathways through established East/West and North/South roads. On the face of it, this may sound dangerous, but we've all worked to make sure that these access points are existing roads that cross the path, which means there won't be any new roads or crossing used by ORVs. 

The coalition then submitted a plan to the DNR for their consideration, and we believe this plan will play a large role in the how the DNR deals with forest roads around the state. 

Even more importantly, the coalition helped establish a relationship between all the user groups, and that's crucial. The ability to connect and converse will help NMMBA, TART, and all trail advocacy groups work with different groups to prevent conflict and support sustainable trail practices. These are the exact relationships we need to make sure that we can protect our trails and our forests in the decades to come. 

The Traverse City Trails Festival Will Be BACK for 2018!

Great news! After a quick and unanimous vote by the board, you can count on another fun weekend of singletrack from Ranch Rudolf in 2018. 

That’s right! We’re happy to confirm that we’ll be back for the second edition of the Traverse City Trails Festival on July 21 at Ranch Rudolf.

We want to thank everyone for supporting our first-ever race, and we’re extremely happy with the feedback. The venue, the schedule, the course, the markings, the aid stations, and the party after got great reviews. We will be taking another look at how results are handled, but we’re really appreciative that everyone put having a good time ahead of posting a good time on paper.

Based on your responses, we’re going to work on a more diverse and more simple post-race meal option as well, so hold tight on that. We have some great ideas that will turn you afternoon from a “party” to a two-syllable “par-tay”.

We’re going to encourage more people to camp Friday night and consider staying overnight Saturday with us as well. The sleepover options also include very nice rooms at the Ranch, which give you a cozy place to crash and the ability to flip a switch for air conditioning!

We’re going to experiment with the opening 10 miles of the course and attempt to offer more passing options and reduce any backups in tight singletrack in the opening hour of racing.

and we’ll make any arrangements necessary, whether it be local cody.sovis@nmmba.net or communications@nmmba.netAnd we are certainly going to promise an improvement in the timeliness and accuracy of the race results. We have a list of people who have different results than what they may have been shown on race day, as well as a list of riders that may not have received their award due to either confusion or just having to take off. If you think you need an award, please email us at pick-up or mailing it.

2017 Traverse City Trails Festival Recap

Thank YOU for being a part of the the first-ever Traverse City Trails Festival! This past Saturday, over 200 riders took to the woods to celebrate our trails, and to help ensure their future. 

When we first thought of revamping our summer event, we had no idea how much support the idea would garner. Switching from the Long and Short's, we were looking to attract the full spectrum of our mountain bike community. From beginners to pros, kids to adults, and everything in between, the TCTF was shaped by what we hoped people would be excited to try. And after a lot of hard work, encouragement, and support, we think we nailed it. 

Ranch Rudolf is a great host, and the morning's light sprinkle died away with plenty of time for everyone to get in a dry, sunny warm-up around the ranch. As the 40 milers lined up, the sun peaked out, and on the gun, everyone was treated to a beautiful day. Shortly after, our 25 milers and two touring groups joined the action. We had riders as young as 14 on course, and rider over 65 joining them! 

We'd like to congratulate our 40 mile Elite winners, Jorden Wakeley and Lauri Brockmiller. These two local riders both blew away our expected times, with Jorden finishing in two hours and thirty-nine minutes, with Lauri finishing in three hours and three minutes! Kasey Wierzba and Kyle Macdermaid took the 25 mile crowns against some very tough competition. 

We'd also like to thank everyone who showed up and challenged themselves. Taking on 25 or 40 miles of tough singletrack isn't easy, and we are so proud of everyone who pushed their limits. Racing or touring, completing either of these two courses is truly a wonderful accomplishment. We hope the Traverse City Trails Festival becomes a mid-summer goal for local riders. Whether that's stepping up to the 40 next year, or bringing a friend to their first mountain bike event, we want to be a part of those stories and a part of seeing what you're capable of. 

Saturday, we saw racers gut out tough finishers, and not just for the glory of winning. Riders like Tim Pulliam, who crashed with over half the race to go and still managed to finish, pedaling with one leg, for a top 30 overall. We saw friends rally each other to press on in both races and both tours. We saw folks ride with complete strangers and cross the line close pals, sharing their stories over some Short's Brewing Company beer. 

Short's and all of our generous sponsors all contributed to support a massive day, especially as our first race. Their support made it possible to bring you such a wide-ranging offering of distances, races, tours, and the very exciting kid's race. 

As great as the day went, we're excited to make the event even bigger in 2017! Please send your questions and suggestions to communications@nmmba.net and we'll bring all ideas to the table to make 2018 even better. 

To see the results from Saturday, head here.