Our three-race series is capped off with the always-tough, always-fun Bear Claw Epic at the Cadillac Pathway on Saturday, September 22!
One of the big motivators for offering the NMMBA Trail Series is to encourage mountain bikers of all abilities to experience the diverse trails of Northern Michigan. Ask anyone who has already completed the TCTF and Glacial Hills, and it's really incredible what a 40 minute drive and very different trail builders can create with what we think of as the 'same' terrain and geography. Our region is home to some very different trails, and we like to think of the Cadillac Pathway as yet another unique place to ride and race!
Now in its fourth year, the Bear Claw Epic has turned into one of the can't-miss races in the area. For a lot of local riders, it's the first important race in the lead-in to the Iceman Cometh Challenge in November. perfectly timed to get in some racing miles and see where you're at heading into the last month of training. For others, it's the last race before short days and rough weather make it a little harder to ride. Either way, the event attracts everyone from first-time racers to some of the fastest mountain bikers in the state, and it's a fun challenge for both of those extremes and everyone in between.
The 7-mile course offers roughly 600 feet of elevation, much of it coming through the numerous short-and-punchy climbs that come throughout the lap. The course will go the same direction as 2017, clockwise, to make the most of the punchy climbs early in the lap.
After a lot of feedback last year, there's also a new race distance! The 'Intermediate' category will be two laps totaling 12 miles, which is really perfect; now, racers can choose from one, two, three, and four-lap classes, which means there's the exact distance you're ready for.
The volunteers at Cadillac Pathway have been putting in plenty of extra work to make sure the trail is manicured for race day. With 100% of proceeds staying right in Cadillac for trail maintenance and improvements, your race registration is one of the best ways to thank the volunteers and help grow the Pathway's future, which includes more parking, a pavilion, and a nearly-approved trail proposal!