Let's Brew It. Urban Friday Night Lights Is November 29.

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It’s back. There’s a bit of a lull in the world of mountain biking after Iceman. There’s a bit of a figurative (and literal) hangover after the biggest race of the year. The race is always followed rather quickly by the beginning of rifle season, which we take a lot of pride in respecting. But hey, we miss you guys. For the past few years, we’ve led the Urban Friday Night Lights with our pals at Brew for a ride, a few drinks, and the perfect kickoff to fat bike season. 

Friday Night Lights rides typically start when the snow flies, and we’re hoping to get the season started on November 29. Make the most of the long holiday weekend, burn off some turkey and pie, and reconnect with your mountain bike pals! For a lot of us, it’s the first time we all reconnect since Iceman, and the first chance to roll out the fat bike. Depending on conditions, all bikes are welcome; most years, we haven’t had much snow to speak of. We do ask you that you come dressed for the party, and that means warm clothes, a helmet, and both a front and rear light. 

There are few things quite as cool as riding behind the State Hospital, and we’ll all head over from Brew at 6pm sharp. Make sure you make a point of looking around; seeing a huge line of lights is seriously a special thing! We’ll ride behind the Commons for about sixty minutes before heading back to Brew. Once again, all proceeds from Short’s Brewing drinks will go straight to NMMBA! We’ll also have NMMBA merchandise and giveaways from loads of cool sponsors and partners. Bring the kids; we’ll have a youth-friendly ride, free hot cocoa, and a vibe that’s totally cool for the whole family. 

Let’s make the most of the transitional season from fall to winter with a ride! As always, the ride is free; if you want to see more rides like this, just make sure you’re a member. Make sure you RSVP to the event on Facebook to stay up to date on ride news!

NMMBA Board of Directors Meeting - September

NMMBA Board of Directors Meeting

Date and location: Wednesday, September 11th, 2019 Keen loft

Board present: Chad Jordan, Tom White, Kim White, Mike Walters, John Roe, Michele Andrews, Tim Reicha III and Steve Mentzer

Board absent: Cody Sprattmoran and Tim Jenema

Guests: Cody Sovis, Molly Steck, co-founder Bike Leelanau and Andy Batteiger/Hagerty Cycling

Chad opened the meeting at 6:39 p.m.


Kim went over the financials. She informed the board that she had created new categories that give a clearer picture of total dollars we have in our general fund.

This general fund will be the amount we have to spend on capital projects, for example Supply road pavilion. 

The general fund currently holds $9247.00. These dollars can be put towards the pavilion project. Also the Morley fund which stands at $7908.31 can also be used towards the pavilion. At the discretion of Betsy.

A large percentage of the TCTF expenses will be reflected in the August statement.

Community comments:

Andy Batteiger was representing Hagerty cycling. 

He stated the desire for Hagerty, the areas oldest and largest cycling club to be better aligned with NMMBA and further our cause. He wanted to explore what options the club might utilize to achieve this goal,

He admits that they were hesitant in the past to pursue this because of misconceptions surrounding NMMBA. 

NMMBA was seen as a fundraising organization. And to add to that a big percentage of membership dollars went to IMBA. So, monies donated were not staying in the area.

While true at the time, as of January 2018 all dollars now stay in the area to maintain and create new trails. This was accomplished through NMMBA obtaining it’s 501(c)3 non-profit status. 

A few different ideas as to how Hagerty could help out NMMBA were tossed around.

Including a push for memberships among the Hagerty riders, more involvement in our sponsored events;TCTF, Glacial Hills Challenge, Bear Claw Epic among others. And volunteering at said events.

Sharing NMMBA social media announcements on the Hagerty team pages.

Or email blasts to the team regarding promotions and specific events.

Tom White explained that trail/race usage numbers are of course driven by more people taking part in them. With an increase from area clubs in these events shows the Michigan DNR that our efforts in our trail work, etc is paying dividends.

Bear Claw Epic:

Race day is drawing near and Michele told the group that registration numbers were about at the same level as this time last year. About 120.

She indicated she would be wanting the tent, flags and podium steps for the race. And for someone to work the merch tent from approx. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Event date is September 28th. And is hoping for a lot of promotion from all. As well as good weather.

Groomers Symposium:

Ride and after party at Short’s is set for Sunday, September 29th.

John is encouraging all groomers to attend.

He also discussed Global Fat Bike Day. Traditional date is set for December 7th. In the past it has conflicted with other local events which has produced lower attendance numbers. Among other dates thrown out were the New Years Day ride being declared Global Fat Bike Day. This event always draws big numbers.

Trail Menu Diversification:

 This agenda topic spurred a lot of discussion regarding the technical levels of existing and proposed trail.

As far as e-bike use, last month’s meeting minutes stated that the DNR was revising their position on e-bike usage. A DNR representative attended our meeting to inform us, and educate us to their plans for community outreach.

But we (NMMBA) is concerned that NMMBA is seen, incorrectly, as the enforcer of the rules by some in the cycling community. The DNR enforces the laws via their Enforcement Conservation Officers  

We have stated repeatedly that we are NOT anti anything!

Our mission statement states that we promote  responsible mountain bike use.

And to that we also have fielded some criticisms about the lack of technical aspects to the VST.

This brings us to the diversification of our trail system.

A letter was received by Cody Sovis outlining the writer’s complaint of our VST trail system. It was remarked that the roots and washed out areas that the VST previously held were preferable to the flowy trail that is offered by the VST, Glacial and Arcadia. However the number of riders taking to the marked VST after several reworkings would belie that assertion. However, the concerned party seemed to want NMMBA to champion the former.

If technical is what is wanted Palmer Woods or some of the unmarked TCTN trails will fill that need.

Keen’s, Short’s Out n Back bash:

Tom will have the cantina at Timber Ridge for this kickoff bash.

Rides begin at 9 a.m. with several speed groups available.

Ramp to take the plunge into Justin Timberlake has been built. Brats and beer to follow.


Kim led this discussion on memberships.

The expired list this month totaled 77 members.

Notice had been sent out via NMMBA Communications rather than Mail Chimp.

There are new features which will be evident when renewals are realized.

Auto-renewal is one which will eliminate chasing folks down to renew.

Roundtable discussion:

John spoke about grooming badge costs. He has opted to go with stickers to differentiate the trails vs different colored badges.

It will make the cost of each badge .67 cents. Based on 500 badges we are looking at a total of $375.  So, the breakdown for each trail will be: 200 for Traverse City, and 100 each for Glacial Hills, Cadillac Pathway and Bike Leelanau. 

Molly let the board know that the Leelanau Conservancy is in phase II of their fundraising efforts for Palmer Woods. Trail length is up to 6 miles and flows much better.

Tom discussed a meeting TART and he had with Merrill White, trail builder from Bentonville Arkansas. Talked trial wants and needs and possibly some financial support for NMMBA from the Walton foundation.

Meeting adjourned at 8:50 p.m.

Submitted by

Steve Mentzer, secretary

Committee reports:

Cadillac Pathway:

Keen Technical Solutions installed 3 solar lights in our parking lot last week.  Getting positive feedback from the community and DNR.  

Waiting on DNR to install the bike/ski rack, bike fix it station, pump, concrete sidewalks, final grade of parking lot, and final landscaping around the pavilion.  

Missaukee County is updating their recreational plan to include the approval of building trail.  Looking for assistance to write grants. Pursuing some grants needs to come from a governmental entity and not a non-profit.  

Bear Claw Epic:

Dustin and I are working diligently on putting on a flawless event.  Registration is right on target with last year at this time. Please encourage your friends to sign up.  Share the event on your social media please.   

DNR is helping me work on a re-route around an eroded hill this morning.  


1)  The TCTN is up to its eyeballs in cleaning up after various logging

projects.  The Iceman logging clean up should be finalized by 9/14.

2)  Part 2 of the water bottle hill reroute is on the schedule for this

fall, but not yet fully mapped out.

3)  The End of Summer Splash event is scheduled for 9/15.  This is a joint

effort with Keen with hopes to make it an annual event.  The Cantina will

be there (Timber Ridge).  NMMBA to decide the level of involvement.

4)  The formal hand off of the TC to K trail to NMMBA from the Hiking Club

is ready to happen.  Details are being worked out.  Bridge repair/rebuild

will be needed to make the trail passable.  Having this trail become one of

ours fits into our master plan to connect TC to Kalkaska's loop.

5)  Iceman course prep will be constant from this point forward.  Extensive

ORV erosion must be fixed our routed around.  We will address what we

can....as best as we can.

6)  The Single Track Love Machine is in the final debug and safety guarding


7)  Pavilion grant funding has been submitted to CCCC and a meeting with

Emily from Casey Cowell's Boomerang group is scheduled for 9/17 to show her

the site and continue the review and consideration of our grant request.

8)  Meeting was had with TART and Merrill White (trail coordinator at

Bentonville).  Notes were compared, challenges, victories and regrets were

discussed.  Possible donations from the Walton Foundation to NMMBA were


Tom and Mike

Glacial Hills

  1. Trail volunteer refresh (retraining) was held last Thursday. Brad Gerlach worked hard to replace some bad habits that the volunteer crew has developed over the last year. This was very valuable.

  2. Work begins this Thursday on a new one mile plus novice loop from Eckhardt. This will connect to the existing 3/4 mile novice loop and potentially to a 3-5 mile novice plus loop (around a big hill instead of up it) in the future.

  3. The sign committee is still waiting on final proofs from GTRLC to have new trail and kiosk signs printed then install.

  4. Currently researching grants to fund electric/water well installation at Eckhardt trail head.

2019 VST TT // Fiesta: Thank You!


Bikes, beer, tacos. For years, we’ve focused on building trails. For the second year, we’ve found a new mission that matters just as much; building community. Last night’s VST TT // Fiesta was the highlight of a summer filled with great rides, races, and events that all work to keep our close-knit community growing. 

NMMBA is just one of many local organizations that support this community, add to it, and contribute unique experiences that bring people together and get more people pedaling. We are so lucky that no matter how or why you ride, there is a way to share that passion with others. Our VST TT saw dozens of riders of all abilities, from some of the fastest in the state to kids taking on the 3 mile Kinglet Loop for the first time! 

With the Speed of Light nerds battling for WorldTour points, the first twenty of so riders hit the reworked Vasa Singletrack at warp speed. Now in its first full season after being updated and refreshed, the trail is holding up incredibly well, even with a huge influx of traffic of riders who have found a new love for TC’s original loop. Our locals pushed themselves to the absolute limit last night, going all-out for the title. 

Two early contenders found that limit and exceeded. The first rider off, John O’Hearn, crashed twice during his lap, causing him to be caught and passed by his 30 second man, Jeff Owens. Owens also crashed, and that put the overall result in some serious doubt. Garrett Jenema was on a strong night behind, and last year’s winner, Sunset Scott, never came out of his 11-tooth cog as he stood and threw his bike around the 13 mile course. Racing his last Speed of Light as a single man, Sunset hit the parking lot and immediately joined the scrum of finishers frantically slamming ‘refresh’ on Strava to see the results. 

Sunset did more than enough to keep his VST title, with strong rides from Jeff Owens second, Garrett Jenema third, and NMMBA trail rep Mike Walters showing his skills in fourth! You can see the the full results here.

Owens, Mike Walters, Kyle Macdermaid, Sunset, and John O’Hearn all picked up a big haul of WorldTour points, and a full thirty riders beat the hallowed one-hour mark! The whole women’s podium comfortably made that time, with Beth Grassa taking the win just ahead of Erica O’Hearn, Chelsey “Soon To be Scott” Schlicht and Laura Webb. 

As the dust settled, attention turned to the real show of the night, the Taco Competition. Ten champions, all representing local clubs, bellyed up to the taco bar for a gastronomical challenge they’re probably regretting now. Ten tacos, as fast as you can; straightforward, simple, and seriously tough. Jay Risk and Kent McNeil led early, with other ‘athletes’ hitting a wall after their second taco. In the end, Kent won by about a half a chicken taco, earning a title he’ll treasure for the rest of his life...or at least until he hops on a scale. 

From everyone at NMMBA, thank you for supporting a fun night in the woods! We hope you enjoyed the new NMMBA Cantina, which we’ll be rolling out often in the future! We also need to thank Short’s Brewing for the beer, but more importantly, for all of their support of trails across the region. No company is as dedicated to the outdoors, and we just wouldn’t be where we are now without their help. Keen Technical Solutions also pitched in, and we owe Keen so much for their support over the years. 

Until next year, enjoy the trails and make sure you’re a NMMBA member to support more fun nights like this one!

We’ve got a few favorite photos from the night below, but over 250 photos are available to download here thanks to kolotc.com!

Prepared For Anything: What You Need In Your Flat Kit


With more riders putting in longer rides to prepare for the Traverse City Trails Festival, we take a look at what we bring in our flat kits.

This past weekend, we had dozens of riders out on the 40 and 25 mile Traverse City Trails Festival looking to get ready for July 20. Putting in big miles deep in the woods is fun, freeing, and a chance to explore trails that they may never have experienced before! The whole point of the TCTF is to encourage riders to take new turns, try new routes, and start to piece together more of the sixty miles of unmarked trails in the Pere Marquette Forest.

Taking on those remote trails does require a bit more forethought, however. As we rolled out for Saturday’s pre-ride, we noticed a a bit of a new set-up from the more experienced riders, and we thought it might be a good idea to share what riders bring for a three, four, or five hour ride in the woods.

The first thing we noticed plenty of riders grab is a hydration pack. They’re really handy to have for three big reasons. First, it’s much easier to drink with the tube while flying through singletrack than trying to reach down, grab a bottle, drink, and get the bottle back in the cage. Second, you can bring just about as much water as you’d ever need for a ride in the back. Many riders will run straight water in their pack and have a isotonic or sports drink in their bottle, often with more calories. Third, it’s another place to store the extra snacks you’ll want for such a long day in the woods. Being able to quickly and easily get to both food and water is a great way to avoid the dreaded bonk and prevent dehydration or heat stroke!

That extra storage also means you have plenty of room to bring the right tools and supplies you need to fix a mechanical issue even if disaster strikes on the most remote part of the course. Even when riding in a group, bringing tools, tubes, and even first aid is a really good idea.

  1. Tube and Air. Tubeless or not, bringing a spare tube and a way to re-inflate is elemental is riding safe. We recommend bringing at least one tube and a way to inflate it after a flat, whether it’s with a pump or a CO2. For rides like the TCTF recon, it’s worth bringing a second cartridge, just in case. A patch or two can also come in handy!

  2. A multi-tool. A 12 or 16 function multi tool can get you out of a lot of jams. A set of Allen keys can do everything from tighten a loose seat clamp to adjust your brakes.

  3. Chain breaker. A chain tool is a must for big days in the woods. In case of a broken chain, having a way to break a chain and use a quick link gives you a way to avoid a really, really long walk. Like a lot of these tools, it’s okay if you haven’t used them before or aren’t sure you can use it. If you have it, someone you’re riding with will almost certainly be able to help.

  4. Quick link. Always bring one. If you do break a chain, having a quick link will let you either fix the chain as good as new, or at least allow you to turn your geared bike into a singlespeed. Some people bring an 11 and 12 speed link, in case a buddy breaks down; just make sure you know which is which!

  5. Cell phone. The ultimate fix. Even if you don’t have service everywhere, you’ll be able to get to points in the forest with full bars. If you can’t make a repair, you’ll be able to call a friend and direct them to a safe place to get out of the woods. Phones are also a great way to allow friends and family to follow your progress and even get alerts in case of a crash or incident. Features like Beacon from Strava are a nice feature to improve your chances of getting out of the woods without calling Search and Rescue. If you use a GPS unit like Garmin or Wahoo, check with those companies to learn how to set up confidential live tracking features.

  6. EPI Pen and Bandages. First aid often gets overlooked, but bringing some basics is never a bad idea. Stuff a few bandages in your flat kit in case of light cuts and scrapped knees. We’ve even seen Band Aids pressed into service as patches! Zip-ties, tweezers, and gauze aren’t a bad idea, if you can find the space. If you’re allergic to bees, make sure you have your EPI pen with you; don’t put other trail users in a bad position by be unprepared. Plus, you may be able to use the EPI pen on someone who doesn’t know they’re allergic! With temperatures on the rise, bees are more and more active, and many hives are on the ground and may be disturbed by riders in more remote areas.

Be prepared keeps the rides fun. If you can bring it, bring it; you never know whose day you’ll save by having the right tools on hand.

43rd Annual North American Vasa: Thank You, Volunteers!

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Much has already been said about the glorious weekend that was. Over two days, multiple races, and countless kilometers of skiing and biking, the 43rd Annual North American Vasa is in the books.

The Vasa is a tremendous undertaking, and while it always seems to go off so seamlessly, it take a lot of work to make all the pieces fit together. There are myriad races and disciplines within each race, putting a lot of pressure on timers, aid stations, course marshals, and our ski patrol volunteers to ensure that everyone is taken care of. There’s a remarkable tight time table to make sure those volunteers aren’t exposed to the elements for too long, and there are dozens of categories’ worth of awards, sponsors to thank, and plenty of Short’s beer to drink back in the Celebration Zone.

We just wanted to thank the race organizers, our own John Roe very much among them, for all of their hard work in fitting all of these pieces together and giving our community another Vasa to cherish. Events like this serve as a way to reconnect and reconvene our winter sports community and includes skiers and fat bikers like nothing else on the calendar. And it’s important to point out that fat bikers are skiers, and vice versa; two of the podium finishers from last year’s fat bike race were on ski podiums this year, including Jorden Wakeley! Some athletes even opted to both ski and fat bike, like Keith Conway and Joe Leppeck. One crazy person, Dan Novak skied, rode, and woke up Sunday to ski again for the ultimate Nordic experience.

Of course, no matter how much the Vasa organizers take on, there’s no way they could do it all without scores of volunteers. This year, Kelley Peterson did an exceptional job of corralling the efforts of volunteers like our own Tom White and Steve Mentzer, plus dozens of others who spent not just Saturday helping, but much of the day Thursday, Friday, and Sunday to pull everything together.

The event saw participation by our wider winter sports community, including riders who might usually call trails like Glacial Hills or Cadillac Pathway home. The Vasa also drew riders from as far away as Detroit, Grand Rapids, Holland, and Marquette, showing off our incredible trails, expert grooming, and charming hometown. We really see these winter events as a showcase of how vibrant, connected, active, and enthusiastic northern Michigan is year-round, not just during tourist season.

So from everyone at NMMBA, thank you, volunteers, to manning aid stations and registration, course marshals and podium ceremonies. You’re the ones who make all of our events possible, and the ones who make them so much fun, too!

Full results from the North American Vasa are available here.