We are incredibly lucky, and that's before we take in account for some incredible changes in the weather!
Somehow, the doomsday predictions of rain and thunder never materialized, and racers arrived at Ranch Rudolf with grey skies punctuated with sunshine. In fact, the rain overnight did wonders for the trails, which had been dry and dusty for two weeks.
So many of you showed up regardless of the weather and supported this important event. As our biggest fundraiser of the year, the success of the Traverse City Trail Festival dictates so much of what we can take on as your advocates, your trail stewards, and as a part of our cycling community.
We were overwhelmed with your support; we saw over 300 registrations, plus plenty of riders signing up the morning of the race and tour to make it even bigger than last year!
As the 40 mile race toed the line, we were able to thank our many sponsors for their support, especially Short's Brewing Company. Joe and the entire Short's family have been vital to our mission and events, from their huge support of Glacial Hills, the North American Vasa, our grooming efforts, and always having a case of beer ready to any meeting or rides.
We also want to thank everyone for their support of our good friend, Dan Morley. In addition to Tom's wonderful speech about Dan's involvement in cycling, riders of all abilities rode as hard as they good with Dan in their thoughts. Much of the McLain Race Team rode the course together to support Dan and his family, greeting every rider and volunteer they met with a "Big Dan Strong!" and a big smile. You also helped to raise of $1,500 for Dan's family yesterday, and helped to ensure he knows he is not forgotten by his cycling friends.
No one was as motivated to do something special than his teammate and Women's Elite race winner Megan Doerr. Megan had an incredible ride yesterday, confirmed her reputation as one the best singletrack riders in the state, and at 40 miles, the endurance athletes was only just getting started!
On the Men's side, Jeff Owens and Tyler Weston put on an absolute clinic throughout the day, with Tyler doing much of the pace-setting early on before Owens took the reins and drove the pair away from the field. In a photo finish, Tyler took the win by a fraction of a second, adding his name to the annals of TCTF lore.
Garrett Jenema took the win in the 25 mile race, but with an uncle like Tim, it's no surprise he knows how to thread through the trees in the Pere Marquette Forest. It was a close run thing, to be sure; the entire top five all finished within ten seconds!
Beth Grassa headed off a City Bike Shop 1-2 in the Women's 25 mile race, finishing just under two hours and not too far ahead of Cindy Duby. These ladies were absolutely shredding the opening section of the course, powering along the Muncie Lake Pathway section and driving ahead early.
We're really hoping to see all these riders, and YOU, back in action in the second leg of the NMMBA Trails Series. The second of our three events this summer is on August 19 at with the Glacial Hills Challenge. We're challenging riders to take on all three NMMBA trail races this summer, with Bear Claw Epic on September 22 capping off a full summer of fun in Northern Michigan. More details on the Series here.
Like what we've got going on, and maybe want to give a hand? Make sure you join as a member! We're 100% locally operated, and every membership dollar stays right here in Northern Michigan to help create an even better non-motorized recreational experience from Cadillac to Bellare, Traverse City to Leelanau County, and everywhere there's a bike, some dirt, and the will to ride.
On behalf of everyone at NMMBA, thank YOU for making the 2018 Traverse City Trail Festival presented by Short's Brewing a day we won't soon forget!