May Is National Bike Month!

Bike Month is a great way to highlight the many ways cycling adds to the health and growth of our community. There are benefits to every sort of cyclists, and at the end of the day, we love seeing people pedal any way they enjoy. 

We are very fortunate to have a number of cycling-friendly organizations in Traverse City, and NMMBA is just one of those groups that work to make our region more supportive, accessible, and enjoyable for enthusiasts in the region. Bike Month, for us, is an opportunity to invite cyclists of all ages and abilities to enjoy the trails and see if mountain biking is something they'd enjoy. We understand that there are so many ways ride, and would like to encourage everyone to try something new this month. 

We find that the most accessible way to try mountain biking is to take a lap of a well-marked and well-maintained trail system, and that's something we work very hard to provide to locals and tourists in the region. We also understand that have guidance is important; riding with a friend, joining a club, or even contacting local groups like NMMBA or a local shop, are great ways to learn more about where to access trails and what to bring with you when you're out there. 

Conversely, we'd like to challenge our members and die-hard mountain bikers to try something new themselves in celebration of Bike Month. Try a new commute, experiment with a new paved trail, or make an effort to bring a friend that has never ridden out into the woods with you in May. Bike Month is a time to support bike organizations and initiatives, but also to highlight the simple pleasure of pedaling with a friend. 

Want to make sure we have trails to enjoy this Bike Month, and for a long time to come? You can donate to NMMBA and stay in touch on Facebook and Instagram for news on events, trail days, and more. 

To learn more about National Bike Month, head over to our friends at The League of American Bicyclists

NMMBA Race Design: Mud, Sweat, and Beers

Who better to design courses than the people that work to design and maintain the trails themselves? NMMBA is lending a helping hand to bring hundreds of racers onto the North American Vasa on May 6's Mud, Sweat, and Beers. 

There's a lot that goes into a course design, and it's certainly much more that tossing up some arrows, some ribbon, and shouting "Go!" NMMBA has worked hard to design a challenging, fun, and exciting course that is accessible to the 800 racers taking on a 10 or 20 mile course. MSB is a very important fundraiser for Mt. Holiday, a non-profit that provides year-round entertainment, skiing, and outdoor recreation for Traverse City's East Side. Having a well-rounded course is extremely important to the health and success of the event, and many hours have been put into designing just the right loop. 

First, we need to account for the number of racers. A persistent problem with events with hundreds of racers is congestion, with a wide range of abilities and fitness levels funneled into tight singletrack. The start of the race, which includes the famous mile of pavement linking the race to the woods, is very useful in breaking up the big start waves, but there's an inevitable logjam with so many folks in the woods. The 2017 route limits these choke points to later on the course, and keeps those sections short to reduce the amount of backup that could happen. 

Safety is also a huge concern, and this also contributes to how and when the race hits singletrack. Narrow, tight courses make any emergency response slower, more difficult, and less safe for any stricken racer. It's another big contributor to what singletrack sections are added or taken out of a route. For 2017, we've based the sections used on accessibility as a big factor. 

Of course, another big consideration is the health of the trails. We work with local races and rides to alternate and redirect traffic away from 'tired' or heavily used sections of trail. We've made changes to MSB and other events to allow for trail work to renovate and alter some existing trails to be more sustainable and more fun. This helps improve the longevity of the many great options we have in the woods, and the cooperation of big races like MSB is invaluable to the health of some of the very popular trails that feature in the area. 

The 2017 Mud, Sweat, and Beers course is the product of many factors, and the reduced singletrack in this edition will open up a fast and aggressive race for all categories. We're excited to work with the MSB crew going forward to keep the route fresh, with different sections added and taken out every season. 

Traverse City WSS Grooming Report #38

Report: TC WSS Report #38

Date: 3/3/2017

Time: 10:30pm

NWS Forecast here.

I was able get out and groom the trails tonight. All trails are groomed. Red may be a bit softer as it was not groomed yesterday. The trail should hold up well through the weekend. Get out and enjoy.

Don't forget to come to the Groomer Appreciation Party Thursday March 16 from 5:30p-7:30p at Blue Tractor. Come thank your favorite TART and NMMBA groomers.