Glacial Hills Signage Fundraiser at Short's Brewing!

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Join us Sunday, October 21 for an afternoon of fun, bikes, food, beer, and a great cause!

Glacial Hills grew quickly, and while balancing the interest of multiple user groups, our signage needs have changed, ebbed, and flowed since day one. One of most common pieces of feedback from mountain bikers over the past few years is to alter signs to make putting together loops easier, without having to slow down and check trail markers.

After some small-scale testing this summer, we’ve not only got a color-coordinating solution, we’ve got a few loops already in place for you to check out! But that’s just the start; we’re going to upgrade and update signage at Glacial Hills across the board, but we need your help to make it happen! Luckily, we’ve got Short’s Brewing to make it really, really easy and really, really fun to support our new signs.

On Sunday, October 21 from 2pm until close, proceeds from all sales at Short’s Brewing Company’s pub in downtown Bellaire will go directly to our signage fundraiser! Yep, just by grabbing a beer and some grub, you can help us bring the new look we’ve all been hoping for to Glacial. For those who’ve ridden here before, it’s a great chance to get up and ride the trails, spin out the legs from Peak2Peak the day before, or bring a friend to the trail for the first time, this is really the perfect chance as our autumn season comes to a close in the next few weeks.

We’re making it easy to get out to the trail, too. We’ll be leading a guided hike from Eckhardt Road at 2pm, and a guided, relaxed pace mountain bike ride from Orchard Hill at 2pm as well. Feel free and encouraged to get your group together for a ride on your own schedule, too, and make sure everyone meets back at the pub to help make this signage fundraiser a big success!

For updates, make sure you follow along on the Facebook event page, and post up your ride, run, or hike plans for the day if you want to make it open to more people!

Iceman Course Design: Steve's Secret Bypass

If Steve’s Secret was already by-passed, does that make this a double by-pass?

Some of our most dedicated board members and volunteers were out the woods this weekend, but leaving their riding for Sunday. It was rather timely, too; the first really autumnal morning of the year, complete with the first blush of color in the spruce and oaks, made the morning’s work feel more like Iceman season than we’ve seen yet!

The day focused on cutting in roughly .4 miles of trail to bypass Steve’s Secret, a well-worn section of the Iceman Cometh Challenge course that has been in need of improvement for some time. It’s a section that the race has already spent time avoiding in previous editions of the race, perhaps most noticeably in 2015, the year after the incredibly wet and muddy Mudman race.

If you blocked that out of your memory banks, don’t worry. We called on super-domestiques Kyle Macdermaid and Dan Ellis, along with Tom White and Mike Walters, to get the new half-mile in shape for the up-coming pre-rides. The goal is to balance the terrain and conditions on the ground with the needs of such a big event. With 150-person waves starting just a few miles away, we have to expect a pretty steady steam of riders with very difference paces, so there’s plenty of room to pass for much of this fresh-cut section. Coming just after Dockery Road and before the Three Sisters, this is a crucial stretch in the race, and we expect plenty of folks will want to give it a look over the next month.

There’s a lot more work to do, but your support makes it possible! If you’re ready to check out the 2018 course before race day, make sure you join kolo t.c.’s Out’n’Back on October 13 at 9 am from Timber Ride. Not sure you’re ready for a full Out’n’Back? You can also join the MMBA Clinic that same day to learn some skills and take a look at the Slush Cup course. There will also be food from Keen Technical Solutions and a lot of great folks there to ride!

It’s awesome to see the mountain bike community already excited for Iceman, and we’re working hard to make every inch of the course not just nice for race day, but nice for the whole month of October!

Michigan Trails Week: Bike Leelanau

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Bike Leelanau is getting Leelanau County rolling!

One of the most exciting things in northern Michigan is happening in a place that, just two years ago, hadn’t seen mountain biking in a long, long time. While the classic NORBA races at Sugar Loaf were a pinnacle of the sport in the Midwest, when those events went away, mountain biking nearly left, too.

No more. The folks at Bike Leelanau are building something special. The first step came this past winter, with volunteers and sponsors helping to open up groomed fat bike trails at the Leelanau State Park near Northport. With great reactions, the momentum began to build for an ambitious project, Palmer Woods. After working to being in donations and grants, Palmer Woods is taking shape right now on Wheeler Road, just a short ride outside of Glen Arbor. The professional, machine-built trails are going to be finished up this fall, and it’s sure to be a destination trail for years to come.

In addition to winter fat biking and summer shredding at Palmer Woods, there’s also plenty of work on the horizon with Echo Valley, a proposed trail system south of Glen Lake that is awaiting an environmental study and more ecological review before it can be moved forward.

There are plenty of awesome things in place right now, too. 45 North Vineyard and Winery has served as the race and ride hub for the County, offering year-round trails for mountain bikers who want a place to throw down laps without the long drive to Traverse City. Bike Leelanau also offers a bike library for kids and families, as well as events to get County residents moving.

For more on Bike Leelanau, make sure you check the site and follow along on Facebook and Instagram.

Michigan Trails Week: Vasa Singletrack

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Michigan Trails Week rolls on with a Traverse City landmark!

Ask nearly any local mountain biker where they learned to love mountain biking, and it’s a pretty safe bet they’ll smile and tell you about their first time on the Vasa Singletrack. Located on Traverse City’s east side on Supply Road. The trailhead serves as a gateway to the Pere Marquette Forest, with a marked trail offering riders a place to twist and turn on natural, well-maintained trail that seems to magically appear through every turn.

That marked trail also connects to the Vasa 25km Pathway in two locations, as well as ties into untold miles of unmarked trails, many of which also connect to gravel roads and the K to TC Trail. The 12 mile marked trails are a sort of spine from which any number of other nerves spread out!

The VST you ride today is a far cry from the state of the trail even two years ago. Our reViSiT project, just completed this fall, has refreshed a trailbed that had taken decades of abuse without necessary work to fix and improve it. Working with the DNR, we were able to make re-routes and add changes that breath new life into the trail experience for bikers, runners, and hikers.

Of course, a huge part of what’s changed the VST and NMMBA over the past few years has been our ambitious winter grooming program. Our grooming has offered fat bikers an unparalleled chance to ride all year long, and thanks to NMMBA members, badge supporters, and partners like Short’s Brewing have allowed our volunteers to put in hundreds of hours to make the trails simply amazing, every single day.

Work with winter grooming has also played a part in our partnership with the Michigan DNR to offer floating trails and put on what has become our keynote event, the Traverse City Trail Festival. The TCTF is a chance for mountain bikers of all abilities to come together and explore 25 and 40 miles of trails that are marked just one day per year! The TCTF has become our biggest fundraiser of the year, and the success of the event and the course has increased our design work for events like Mud, Sweat and Beers, and now, the Iceman Cometh Challenge.

The VST was the trail that really started it all, for individuals and for NMMBA. We can’t wait to see what this trail can offer our community for generations to come!

Michigan Trails Week: Glacial Hills

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If you ever want proof that trails can change a community, look at Glacial Hills and Bellaire.

Glacial Hills might look like a seamlessly run trail network, but it was born out of collaboration and vision, and plenty of hard work. This is a trail system made from local businesses and governments working together to support one of the best trails in the country, not just the Midwest.

Glacial Hills is really a lot of organizations turned into one. With nearly 800 acres of forest and now 31.5 miles, representatives from Antrim County, Forest Township Home Township, and the Village of Bellaire, as well as the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, and members of the community. Like all of the NMMBA trails, Glacial is a registered non-profit that is dedicated to providing non-motorized recreational opportunities for hikers, bikers, and everyone with a love of the forest. Of course, Short’s Brewing Company has also played a vital role in support Glacial Hills, and it’s fitting that many rides end at their pub. That has almost become a part of the experience when you ride at Glacial!

Just a short ride or drive up from Bellaire, Glacial Hills offers rolling, flowing singletrack that is a blast to ride. No matter what your skill level, Glacial is just fun; it’s the only mountain bike race each summer that you’ll hear riders hooting, hollering, laughing, and cheering each other on just because they’re enjoying it so much!

There are a couple of trail heads at Vandermark, Orchard Hills, and Eckhardt Roads, and one of the exciting improvements this summer has been parking lot expansions and bathroom installations that should be finished soon.

Also new this fall is the signage. With so many little loops, it was always tough to put together different circuits without stopping; however, you can now use color coordinated signs to put together expertly loops from Vandermark, and that will expand to other areas throughout the winter and spring.

And it’s winter that is getting us excited. Glacial has the most well-organized team of trail crew around, and while that group is incredible all spring, summer, and fall, the groomers in the winter make Glacial a great place to fat bike. Along with the Cadillac Pathway, Vasa Winter Sports Singletrack, and Northport State Park, our region has the best winter trails around!

Glacial Hills offers almost any distance loop, so if you’re new to riding, you can duck in for a three mile ride, or ride all day! There are also weekly guided hikes and, in winter, snowshoe tours! It’s a trail that offers a unique, fun, experience that’s become an integral part of the Village of Bellaire and Antrim County, and if you haven’t check out Glacial yet, you need to!

Learn more about Glacial on their website, and you can also stay up-to-date on Facebook and Instagram.