2018 TCTF Course Preview: Files And First Impressions


Last week, we had about a dozen riders head out for a low-paced recon of the 25 mile Traverse City Trail Festival presented by Short's Brewing. 

It was never intended to be a race effort, but even rolling at a controlled pace, the 2018 TCTF 25 mile course was impressive. While this year's edition makes use of a mix of both new and old trail, with sections of the 2017 route used in reverse, it really rides very differently from the race's first edition. 

For starters, the start. Instead of a few open miles to kick things off, this year's race is almost immediately into the woods. This will favor racers will a strong start, as well as giving the better bike handlers a chance to poke and prod the roadies early, while they're at the height of their powers. The opening four miles are still very, very fast, but passing opportunities are much more limited. After that, it's true singletrack, especially as the race spills into the Dollar Lake area. 

The first reprieve for the power riders will be bursting out of the shadows and onto Broomhead for a short gravel road stretch north. That will be a good time to stretch out the back, eat, and get ready for what is a non-stop series of famous singletrack trails, with Tomtanium the first to greet the riders' return into the woods. 

The final miles of both the 40 and 25 mile race are wide open but sandy gravel road. They're also very flat, so if there are any groups left together in the finale, you'd expect to see speeds in the low 20s all the way back to the Ranch. The race does hit one final, almost ceremonial section of singletrack to circumvent Main Street at Ranch Rudolf, rolling past the campground and rounding the final turn to finish between the pond and the Boardman River. 

Of course, any trail is as hard as you make it, and we think that the tweaks and changes we've put in for 2018 will make the race harder and the tour easier. Because of the traffic last year and this year, the trail is much smoother and more pronounced, which limits the bumps and lumps that might get annoying. It's a great chance to see the trails and work them into your everyday rides! 

Ready to go recon? The course won't be marked until race day, but if you slow down at intersections, the GPX files below are actually pretty easy to follow. 

Note, both of the files below leave from the Muncie Lake XC Ski Pathway on Ranch Rudolf Road. 

The 40-mile route is here

The 25-mile route is here

Now get signed up! 

TCTF Recon Ride: Independence Day Tempo


Sorry for the very short notice, but our pals at kolo t.c. are offering YOU the chance to ride the TCTF 25 and make recon rides easier for everyone! 

We have ridden the 40-mile course and have a gpx file available. However, we've yet to ride in the shorter course, but Cody, Dan, and Wes are going to remedy that on the Fourth of July. They'll be leaving from the Muncie Lake Pathway Parking lot, just up the gravel hill from Ranch Rudolf, to put in a 2.5-hour effort over the 25-mile course. It's not a race, but due to time constraints, the goal is to be out of the woods no later than 10 am, which should be plenty doable. 

Make sure you bring water, a flat kit, and a sense of adventure; we've given them the best information possible, as well as made some gentle course markings to make sure they don't miss any important turns and end up in Kalkaska. Wes, for one, has a history of that. However, the course isn't marked, and they'll be relying on their natural woodsman's sense of direction, operating on their deep connection to the forest. Oh, and they have GPS units. 

Who should do the 25-mile route? Everyone! At 25 miles, the distance and expected finish time for the race is right on par with most cross-country mountain bike races. If we were to join something like the Championship Points Series, this is the event we'd have scored for the series because it fits the bill of a traditional XC race; it certainly isn't sandbagging to toe the line in any category! The 40-mile race is geared more for endurance racers looking for a bigger adventure and a long day in the saddle. It's a favorite distance for Lumberjack 100 riders like Beth Collins, for example. 

If you want to join for the recon, make sure you eat your Wheaties and get to bed by 9pm tonight for the 7:30 am roll out tomorrow. You can see ride updates here

Ready to get signed up? Registration is open! 

June Board Meeting Minutes

NMMBA Board of Directors Meeting

Date and Location: June 13th, 2018, Keen loft

Board present: Chad Jordan, Tom White, Kim White, John Roe, Tim Reicha, Steve Mentzer, Michele Andrews and Coti Sprattmoran

Board absent: Mike Walters, Dustin Webb and Don Clewley

Guests: Cody Sovis and Kasey Mahoney

Chad opened the meeting at 6:34 p.m

Previous meetings minutes were approved.

Also noted was the email vote to proceed with the Consumers Energy Foundation Grant.

Chad opened it for both discussion and a vote.

Majority yea votes. Tim to proceed.

Master's project Update:

Kasey as part of her grant writing class in her Master's program has offered to write a proposal with NMMBA in mind.

This proposal would create a sub contracting position that would be funded for 2000 hrs. at an hourly rate ranging from $17-$20/hour.

The position would be of a grant writer. This position would be responsible for creating capacity building grants for NMMBA that would keep the flow of dollars coming in.

Kasey is lacking NMMBA's  financial info to complete her grant. Kim to provide the missing pieces.

Specific duties of this position were discussed. They would be responsible for writing grants to fund our communications and outreach capabilities.


Kim presented the organizations financials for review/discussion.

She indicated that Glacial Hills(G.H.) had been set up with a checking account much like Bike Leelanau(B.L.)

Total checking/saving balances for the association equals $32,503.86


Tim presented the report on mechandise sales/inventory to date.

T-shirts are coming in. Done in three different colors; Red,Blue and Green.

Had samples of stickers and water bottles to show. Both of these items will be added to the webstore. At this time all sales are logged into one account. Down the road a percentage of sales will go back into that particular trail account. This way when marketed it can be stated that proceeds go right back into trail maintenance, etc.

Plan is to have merchandise at all three races; TCTF, Glacial Hills and Bear Claw Epic.

Merchandise will be marketed in two phases.

Phase 1: Stickers, bottles, hats and shirts

Phase 2: Arm warmers, buffs and beanies.

Different options regarding shipping costs were discussed.


Tom brought all up to speed on the progress of TCTF.

Tom had a handout outlining duties associated with the event. Everything from Race director to Safety coordinator to Event site, sponsorship, aid stations, etc.

A digital version of the list will be put out to all. To allow for editing.

Discussion as to food. If food is donated we can realize a few dollars from this.

Also discussed was location of tent in proximity to merchandise table, etc.

Tim to coordinate the kid's race.

Chad to get with Paul Britten re: tent graphics. New logo.

Mentzer report:

Steve stated he was contacted by the Rotary in regards to possibly developing some mtb trails in the Greilick Outdoor Recreation Center.

Contact person is Nick Killian.

Some discussion as to events, layout, etc.

John to contact Nick and report back.

Steve also brought an idea to the board regarding a show of support for Dan Morley.

He indicated that McLain's Race team had purchased shirts in support of Dan's fight with recent health issues.

The idea being that we could purchase shirts to sell or ask for donations with the proceeds going to the Morley family. These would be marketed at TCTF.

Discussion ensued regarding marketing. Suggestion was that a story about Dan would go far in helping to market the shirts.

Steve made a motion to budget $350.00 towards the purchase of the shirts. Coti 2nd. Unanimous vote.

Cadillac pavilion update:

Michele brought the board up to speed on this project.

Discussion as to who had 1st preference in regards to use.

She also had several copies of the Gift & Acceptance agreement.

Chad motioned to accept the Gift & Acceptance agreement in it's present form.

Coti 2nd. Unanimous vote.

Michele also talked about the particulars in regards to construction codes of the pavilion.


Nothing new to report


Mike was absent but did submit a written report.

Built and opened the re-route between 10-11.

Built and soft opened the re-route around lake S-hole.

Strombolis Lake connector has been completed with a mini loop back to the saplings section.

Continue to massage the VST in certain areas.

Grooming/Badge sales:

John led a discussion as to grooming for this upcoming winter.

He also had emailed to all a few options for badge sales for the coming season.

Option 1:

TC WST $60

CadillacWST/Leelanau/Glacial each $40

$10 Discount for each add'l badge

Work on combining TART and Timber ridge

Option 2:

One combined badge for $100. All monies goes into one kitty. Committee decides on a minimum standard for equipment needs based on trail mileage. All trails draw form the kitty for operations.

Work on combined badge for TART and TR.

Trail Series:

CPS:Championship Point Series. Do we pursue this?

What does it entail? Restrictions? More questions to consider.


Committee has been formed.

Discussion as to what software platform would be used to manage it.

Options discussed were Wild Apricot, Sales Force and Kim to look into Square Space.

CCCC Grant:

Pavilion slated to be built in 2019. Need to pursue other funding this winter.


Women's Grit clinics coming up on July 7th & 8th. Need at least 11 people each day to make it happen. Find ways to get the word out.

Pride ride sponsored by Suttons Bay Bikes takes place this Saturday in Suttons Bay at 1 p.m. 9 Beans Row providing food. Slow ride out to Tandem Ciders.

Family rides from 45North winery on Sunday June 17th.


And Bike Lelanau is happy to report that Palmer Woods is happening!

Tim finished off the meeting discussing the recent improvements at the Vandermark trailhead at Glacial Hills.

Meeting adjourned at 9:04 p.m.

Submitted by Steve Mentzer, secretary

They Survived! High Country Pathway Work Crew Enjoys Steamy Weekend

It was a real scorcher for the crew working on the High Country Pathway! 

We had ten brave, hearty souls deep in the woods this Memorial Day Week, all sacrificing leisure and the creature comforts of home for some tough trail work deep in the Pigeon River State Forest. With temperatures in the 90s, swarms of bugs and mosquitoes, and only a rustic cabin as their refuge, everyone made it through two nights and three days of trail work in good spirits. 

The High Country Pathway remains the only IMBA Epic in the state, and a true 'backwoods' experience for bikepackers and hikers seeking the most remote trail experience. NMMBA has assisted a number of other trail organizations over the year to keep certain sections, like this one near Vanderbilt, in great shape! 

A big thanks to all our volunteers, the DNR, and everyone involved to make sure the HCP stays awesome! 

Meeting Minutes: May 9

May 9 2018 Meeting Minutes

Call to Order: Chad Jordan, President 6:36pm

Attendees: Kim White, Tom White, John Roe, Mike Walters, Chad Jordan, Michele Andrews, Tim Reicha, Cody Sprattmoran

Guest: Cody Sovis

Board members absent: Steve Mentzer, Don Clewley, Dustin Webb

• Approval of prior meeting minutes: Tom motion, Kim 2nd - passed

• Wrap-up of MSB- Tom White:

Mostly positive feedback on the course; Tom spent many hours, with a fabulous crew of volunteers, prepping the course and removing snow/ice; Tom also trained a volunteer from Norte on how to mark for a race… many hours; time will tell if he lived/learned. Overall Pro/Elite winner said “best course ridden; had a little bit of everything.”  Announcer (Kerkhof) made several mentions of NMMBA and Tom’s work as well as pushed membership. He joined the night before with a round-up donation; this is progress as he’s been critical of us.

• Formation of the Committee for membership:  Chad Jordan, Kim White, John Roe and possibly other members; will seek volunteers via emails to members

·       Motion to approve $1,500 budget for additional merchandise by Kim; 2nd Tim - Approved

• Formation of the Committee for merchandising: Chad Jordan, Cody Sprattmoran, Tim Reicha; will seek volunteers via emails to members

• Financials- Kim White: All programs have good balances in the bank; Cadillac is starting to spend funds on their pavilion.

• EZ Form- Kim White: Provided for board to review via email; John Roe motion to approve; 2nd by Michele – passed. Kim will e-file the return.

• DNR news – for events of 20/25 people or more which have been publically advertised, regardless of if there’s a fee to participate, local officials have requested a use permit be obtained (can be blanket for recurring rides). This is understood to now include team/shop/club group rides and Speed-of-Light.  The use permit requires insurance. Cody and others to work through this with TART, CCCC and race teams.

·       Important dates:

o   May 12, 9am – Glacial Hills, Bellaire work bee

o   May 19, 10am – Cherry Basket Farm, Omena fundraising bike tour; includes lunch, wine, bread and cider tasting at various stops and dinner including cocktail and wine.

o   May 26, tbd – Cody will create event to share, contest for picking up trash on your local trails

o   May 26-28 – High Country Pathway work bee (Glen Ruczynski and TOMMBA hosting)

·       Traverse City Trails Festival – Tom White

o   Use permit going in next week

o   Will highlight new VST re-routes

o   Working with Ranch Rudolf on food options

o   Working with Norte on kids race, possible Strider bike race for wee ones

o   Has confirmed MC – the other Iceman, Brian Allen (Liz Belt’s hubby, he announces for snow-cross races with 30,000+ attendees as far away as Alaska and Western Canada)

o   Will need NMMBA board and volunteers to help with course marking, day of duties like SAG and search/rescue, aid stations (Kim to cover 1st , 45 North Vineyard taking 2nd and GT Cycles will provide finish line recovery).

o   Massages offered? Kim to check with L&S masseuse, Raina B

·       Strombolis trail proposal update: DNR rejected. Tom will re-submit after creating a new joint proposal with TART; meeting soon to establish trail surface design, trail width and grooming.

·       Bike Leelanau Update – Cody Sprattmoran

o   Palmer Woods (Leelanau Conservancy project) will start August with 1st 3-5 miles on the ground this “season”

o   Echo Valley (NPS/Friends of Sleeping Bear) staying in touch regularly; halted as Friends group had other things come up with SBHT

o   Provement Pond in Lake Leelanau (township) 4 miles by end of summer; starting with an existing trail

o   Herman Park in Suttons Bay (village) looking at pump track for 2019

o   Leelanau State Park working on donations/grants for new grooming equipment; lots of community support, little negative feedback

·       Cadillac Pathway – Michele Andrews

o   Pavilion has a contractor; found local source for white oak (free!) but might be too green to use for Cadillac. “Tears to cheers” in one day for Michele with the issues on getting this project a reality. Gift letter from NMMBA to State still tweaking all the legalese.

·       WST – John Roe

o   TART/DNR wrap meeting done. DNR wants more specific MOU

o   Will work on VST pavilion project

o   End of year survey found little support for a NMMBA combo badge (all groomed trails: CP, WST, GH, LSP)

o   TC Track Club and TART will be meeting re: trail running and possibly winter groomed running trail

·       Communications – Cody Sovis

o   As always, needs our photos of being out on the trails; text or email to him

·       Glacial Hills – Tim Reicha

o   Gravel being set this week for parking lot expansion; material free, but cost to move $6,000

o   Next up, adding vault toilets and changing rooms at both Eckhardt & Vandermark trail heads; done by end of June.

·       ReViSiT – Mike Walters

o   Prepping for MSB took care of a VST re-route

o   TCTF prepping will take care of trouble areas. 

Meeting adjourned 9:12pm                                    

Minutes Submitted: May 12, 2018 Kim White, acting secretary