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!

NMMBA Trails Series Next Up: Short's Glacial Hills Challenge


Our little trail series is pretty big fun! After the Traverse City Trails Festival, we go to the heart of Short’s Brewing country for race number two, the Short’s Glacial Hills Challenge on August 18.

We look at the NMMBA Trails Series as the best way to commit yourself to experiencing the diverse trails of Northern Michigan at full speed. Each of the three events on the calendar are designed to be inclusive and accessible to newer riders, but brutally challenging to even the most experienced racers. That wide ranging appeal goes hand-in-hand with how the trails themselves offer a little something different to every sort of rider.

Much like the TCTF, the Short’s Glacial Challenge offers three different distances to suit any fitness level. From the Elite and Expert 28 miler, a 20 mile miler, and a very fun half-lap at 11 miles, use your summer riding miles to take on a longer challenge or see what kind of a time you can thrown down over the two shorter options. There are also three different starts times, which means you’ll always be on course with people going about your speed.

Sunday, August 18 is going to be a really good time, and the perfect chance to make the trip north to Bellaire. It’s sort of a given that you’ll stop at Short’s after the race, but make sure you save enough in the legs to talk a walk through downtown and see what’s new!

The fun keeps rolling another neat month later with the race that really sparked the series, the Bear Claw Epic. The race is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Cadillac Pathway and played a big role in helping to get eleven miles of new singletrack approved and ready to be built!

Looking to get in a pre-ride at Glacial Hills? Patrick from Paddles and Pedals has you covered. You can check out and download the Elite/Expert, Sport, and Beginner files and get your pals out for a recon this weekend!

Ready to sign up? You can pre-register right here!

A Traverse City Trails Festival Thank You!

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After so much work, so many smiles, and so many new friends, the only thing we can really say is thank you. 

The third annual Traverse City Trails Festival presented by Short’s Brewing offered us another chance to come together to celebrate a world-class outdoor experience right here in our backyard. For the second year, rain threatened in the forecast much of the week and overhead on race morning, but we were lucky to stay dry and enjoy perfect temperatures. Just like we ordered up, we promise! 

With over three hundred riders and racers signed up online and another few dozen signing up in person on Friday and Saturday at Ranch Rudolf, we were thrilled with the support our community has given to this event. It’s different, and especially at race pace, it isn’t easy; to see this many locals show up and pedal is really something special. With the new 15 mile route, we were really happy to see so many people make this their first race, and to those who made their race debut, congratulations! 

Of course, we had plenty of veterans on the line, and the sheer speed of the fields from the 40 and 25 mile events were extremely impressive. After our two recon rides in the past two months, we were expecting to see winning 40 mile times around two hours and forty minutes, with 25 mile times hovering around one hour and fifty minutes or so. Both of those benchmarks were blown away this year, a real testament to the skill and fitness our cycling community has to offer. 

Jorden Wakeley was the only rider to break the 2:30 mark, coming home in 2:29:06 to take home the TCTF title. On the women’s side, Kaitlyn Patterson won an absolute thriller! She was just two second clear of local hero Megan Doerr, who was just two seconds clear of third place Laura Webb! After a brutal 40 miles, to see the podium separated by just four seconds is incredible! 

Things were equally close in the 25 mile races. Kyle MacDermaid took the Men’s Expert category with a perfectly timed sprint to inch out John O’Hearn for the win, ending up seconds clear of the M22 rider with a time of 1:40:16. The O’Hearn household will have plenty to talk about until next year, because Erica was in the same boat. She was just narrowly out-sprinted by City Bike Shop’s Shannon Kochis, who put down a time of 1:53:52. 

We had hundreds of riders race and tour without any concern to their results, as well. We have to thank everyone for their positive, inclusive camaraderie, especially when the courses overlapped. We did hear about some back-ups in the singletrack, but so many also involved a lot of friendly interactions and safe passing. 

At the line, our Team Bob’s Chillers were a big hit. We’ll have our post-race smoothies back for 2020, as well as GT Cycles’ granola and bananas! We sold over 100 paella lunches thanks to the Keen Technical Solutions guys, all washed down with Short’s Brewing Company’s finest offerings. 

This certainly isn’t the end of the fun, either. You’re less than a month away from our second annual VST TT! On Thursday, August 15, join us at the Vasa Singletrack for the second edition of our time trial with the Speed of Light crew; it’s the only time of the year that SOL leaves the Pathway, and it is the perfect time to really see just how fast you can complete the full loop! 

That’s a well-timed tuned up ahead of August 18 and the Short’s Glacial Hills Challenge. This Championship Points Series stop is also the second of three races that highlight NMMBA trails system in the NMMBA Trail Series. You can check all the boxes by hitting Glacial Hills and keeping the momentum going for the Bear Claw Epic, Cadillac Pathway’s biggest fundraiser of the year! 

On behalf of everyone here at Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association, thank you for support the Traverse City Trails Festival and helping us bring our region some of the best trails in the Midwest. We’ll see you back at Ranch Rudolf in 2020!

NMMBA Board of Director Meeting Minutes - June 2019

NMMBA Board of Directors Meeting

Date and location: Wednesday June 12th, 2019 Keen loft

Board present: Chad Jordan, Tom White, Kim White, Mike Walters, Michele Andrews, Tim Jenema, John Roe, Cody Sprattmoran and Steve Mentzer

Board absent: Tim Reicha III

No guests

Chad called the meeting to order at 6:33 p.m.


Kim presented the financials and provided a few particulars. 

There were some donations taken in for Traverse City Trail Fest(TCTF). 

Profit & Loss statement for TCTF showed a profit of nearly $4500.00

Checking account balances:

Bear Claw Epic(BCE): $24,621.91

NMMBA/Bike Leelanau: $51,834.79

Kim presented to the board IRS form 990-EZ Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax.

Chad signed the form and the board voted to file it.

Chad motioned to file the form. Steve 2nd the motion. Unanimous vote.

Evart update:

Steve and Doris Petoskey, the principles behind this project were unable to attend but will email Chad any updates. Agenda item was tabled until next month. 

Bike Skills Clinic:

Cody Sprattmoran was happy to report that this Saturday’s session was full!

A few openings were still available for Sunday’s clinic.

Camp Greilick:

Chad, Tom and Mike met with the camp’s new director Jamie Hedges.

Jamie indicated the desire for trails within the property. NMMBA can utilize the Singletrack Love Machine(SLM) to get them built. But it would come at a cost to GOREC(Greilick Outdoor Recreation & Education Center). GOREC is committed and will seek grant funding as well as in kind donations. Revenue from the Camp would be another funding arm.

GOREC is also interested in winter events. 

They have also slated a chainsaw clinic set for July 27th

It is NMMBA’s desire to build a connector to Dollar Lake and these trails are close to the unmarked trails and ultimately the VST.


More volunteer positions have been set.

Bill Unger & Heath Day will coordinate the kids race.

John Roe & Steve Mentzer will once again pre-ride and road marshall Williamsburg Rd.

Cody Sovis will handle the MC duties.

Spotter is needed at the top of the 1st climb to direct racers both when they start and as they finish.

Discussion as to placement of merchandise tent, beer sales, etc.

Help is also needed at the merch tent.

Went down the list of sponsors and what they have committed to dollar wise. Also covered were what ones still needed to pay.

Signage was discussed. Need will be for 600 signs for the 40 miler, 450 signs for the 25 miler and 200 for the 15 miler.

Steve and John to coordinate paper, etc.

Acme Park:

Tim J. was happy to announce that the $5000 grant from Olsen’s had been awarded. NMMBA had agreed to match so we will provide $5000 as well!!

Tim J. indicated that ground will be broken soon. Any hand tools needed would be provided by NMMBA. He indicated they had gotten the okay to do some “light clearing”. More extensive clearing will come later.

Trail segments are broken down into striders, >10 years of age and older kids. Trail features will have jumps, rock gardens, etc.

Tim J. indicated they were pursuing an additional 40 acres but talks have stalled with the DNR

TARTnership in Leelanau county:

Chad and Cody Sprattmoran had a meeting with TART’s Julie Clark.

Among the items discussed were a pump track to be constructed at Herman Park, development of 700+ acres privately owned held in public trust and a natural singletrack to be parallel to sections of the Leelanau trail.

Pump track at Herman park would be smallish in size. Township board is being positive about the project if funding can be found.

A composite model can be brought in to generate excitement. Then funding can begin.

The singletrack proposed for sections of the Leelanau trail would be 4 season trails. Grooming in winter would allow fat bikes to traverse the trail without riding on the ski portion.

A $75,000 grant has been written and is just waiting for approval.

VST Pavilion:

Tim J., Chad, Mike, Tom and Duane Archambo to meet with Scott Slavin of the DNR.

Branding Update:

Mark Mueller had presented the contract. Nate Farran has revisions he would like worked into the contract.

Roundtable talk:

Talk of securing a storage unit for merchandise, tents, banners, etc.

Steve checked into it with Colonial Self Storage. 5 x 15 unit is available for around $50/month.

Chad made a motion to secure the unit, Tom with a 2nd. Unanimous vote.

Gear boxes were next on the table. DNR has set some rules as to where they can be located without obstructing the trail and what they may include as to contents. Especially the first aid kits. They want no sharp objects(scissors) aspirin, Tylenol, neosporin and other pain killers.

John had requested all unsold grooming badges be returned. He also wanted to explore a stipend for some of the groomers who had been with the program the longest. He also indicated the groomer gifts were still being finalized at Trophy Trolley.

Meeting adjourned at 8:14 p.m.

Submitted by 

Steve Mentzer, secretary

Committee reports:

Bike Leelanau:

Provemont Pond .8 mile multi use trail is built, waiting on signage before officially opening to the public. 

Palmer Woods trail work continues to be done, no estimated date for full open of the trail. 

Bike clinic this weekend. Full Saturday, a couple of spots remaining for Sunday.

Cadillac Pathway Update:

The cement has been poured for the pavilion, outhouse installed, final grading of sidewalks and parking lot.  

The fireplace construction has begun and the ETA is June 30th.  

The funding of the pavilion was done by Cadillac Leadership and Bear Claw Epic.  A grant from the Cadillac Rotary club is funding the fireplace, bike/ski racks, gear boxes and potential solar lighting.  

Received a grant from the DALMAC Fund for $2,000 to fund the Bike FixIt Station and bike pump.  

Cole Mortenson who is pursuing Eagle Scout will be fundraising for the wood and building of 6 picnic tables.  Bear Claw Epic is also help fund this project. Table Jacks have been ordered and will be delivered this week.  Picnic tables will be built and in by mid July at the latest.  

Working with the Cadillac Area Visitor's Bureau and the Missaukee County on helping to fundraise for the building of 11 miles of single track.  Our first meeting is next Tuesday to discuss.  

Cadillac Pathway Winter Sports Trail:

I am in need of more groomers.  Looking for at least a one day commitment each week to successfully groom for the upcoming season.  Looking for 2-3 people. Grooming is about a 2 - 2 1/2 hour commitment. 

TCTN - Update

1)  MSB was a bumpy one in terms of course marking.  McLains declined

doing it for 2020 unless NMMBA reclaims ultimate responsibility.  In other

words, McLains will mark the course (after NMMBA designs, builds and

pre-marks), but will not do the night before or race day marking and

pre-ride checking.  This responsibility falls back to NMMBA.  We should


2)  The Strombolis Lake trail build (4.2 miles) is complete.  Final trail

proposal submitted.  Huge thank you to all that pitched in.

3)  TCTF course is laid out and mapped.  One section remains to be

finished.  Waiting on DNR blessing.  Obviously, ten million more things

need to be done before the race can happen, but progress continues to be


4)   The TCTN grand vision was shared with Scott Slavin at the DNR and he offered his suggestions to making it a reality.  The GOREC property ties

into our grand vision.  Dollar Lake and Gorec will be our next trail

development sites.

5)  The Jack Kline Memorial event is tentatively scheduled for July 21st

(the day after trail fest) at the Ranch.  Working on cost packages with the

Ranch now as we have already booked and paid for some of the services at the ranch.  They are working with me on it. Should NMMBA offer some

financial assistance for this event?

6)  The City Bike and NMMBA  co-branding umbrella is finished and in use.

This is a quick and easy attachment to the hitch of a pick up and offers a

bike work stand integrated within it.  Makes quite a visual statement at

the trail heads.

Oleson Foundation Helps Two Trail Projects Move Forward

Oleson Foundation Helps Two Trail Projects Move Forward

Plans for projects on two trail developments will advance this summer thanks to grant funding from the Oleson Foundation. The Vasa Skills Building Trail, a collaborative project between TART Trails and Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association (NMMBA) to create a 2-mile youth mountain biking trail on the Vasa Pathway, has received $5,000 toward project costs.