Bear Claw Epic

2019 NMMBA Trail Series Schedule


All three of our races are confirmed! We’ve got three dates for you to circle in deep blood red on your calendar this summer and fall.

The NMMBA Trail Series is all about celebrating and enjoying our trails. Northern Michigan offers some incredible riding opportunities, but it isn’t always easy to make the drive or plan the trip to a new place to ride. Summer and fall as insanely busy for cyclists, plus day-to-day life tends to make long drives to different trails tough without having it set in stone weeks or even months ahead of time. Races make it easy to ride a marked trail, often designed to let you enjoy the best sections designed by NMMBA or the local trail crews to make sure you leave smiling from ear to ear.

This summer, we’ll be offering the same trio of trails you enjoyed last year, though you can count on some big changes at each event to keep them fresh and to help you discover new trails, new sections, and more fun than ever.

Traverse City Trails Festival, July 20. We’re headed back to Ranch Rudolf for the third edition of the TCTF! Tom White’s pipe dream has turned into the premier singletrack event in the state, offering 25 or 40 miles of racing or more laid back touring! The race plays a vital role in adding more singletrack to Traverse City’s ever-expanding network of both marked and unmarked trail at the Vasa Singletrack, Vasa Pathway, and all over the Pere Marquette Forest. As always, the race will finish alongside the creek at Ranch Rudolf, with great food and beer to help you recover and enjoy the day!

Short’s Glacial Hills Challenge, August 18. The second leg of the triple header, Glacial Hills is in prime shape in August! Under sunny skies and with flying-fast conditions, Brent Walk and the Fun Promotions LLC. crew is back with another event that not only draws some of the best riders from around the state, the event also raises money for the trails. The local trail crew does an incredible job getting the trail in simply perfect condition, and riders of all ability enjoy their one or two laps on course. It’s also the event that brings us all to Short’s Brewing Company’s backyard, and while our friends at Short’s have a massive presence at every event, it’s a little extra special when you can hit the pub after your race!

Bear Claw Epic, September 28. The summer racing season caps off at the Bear Claw Epic, the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Cadillac Pathway. Few races have grown as consistently as the BCE, and with good reason. Offering tons of categories and a course that is equally challenging to elite racers and beginning riders, the event has morphed into the perfect way to cap off summer and bridge into the fall campaign in the long lead in to the Iceman Cometh Challenge.

Racing one, two, or all three of these events supports the local trails and NMMBA, and we challenge everyone to hit all three. Pre-register for every NMMBA Trail Series event and you’ll pick up an exclusive water bottle, which you’ll be able to proudly show off at Bear Claw Epic. Race, tour, explore, and support these trails by showing up and having fun. Questions? Let us know!

Cap Off The NMMBA Trail Series at the Bear Claw Epic!


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! 

Get signed up for the Bear Claw Epic here, and make sure you stay up to date with the Cadillac Pathway on Facebook and Instagram, as well as their website

NMMBA Trail Series Sneak Peek: A Moveable Checklist


Ready to get committed? Good. You'll be reminded every time you take a sip. 

This summer, we're challenging racers, riders, and adventurers alike to step up to the plate. NMMBA helps to maintain some incredible trail systems, and three of those networks are home to their own mountain bike race. Those events not only offer a challenge to riders of all abilities, they help to showcase each trail's unique feel and invite people to experience the communities that support mountain biking. 

The NMMBA Trail Series combines the Traverse City Trails Festival, Glacial Hills Challenge, and Bear Claw Epic in a three-event challenge to YOU. Our new water bottle, while still getting some edits, will remind of your ambitious pledge to tackle all three races, and experience all three trail networks, every time you take a swig of something cool. And those bottles are also useful for post-ride or race recovery, and with the Short's Brewing logo on the side, you'll know what to fill that bottle with! 

We're still playing with some designs, but we think they're turning out nicely. 


Time To Sign Up for Your Favorite Races!


We know you're busy, so we've put a few things together to make sure planning your summer and fall events is as easy as possible! 

The NMMBA Trail Series offers three events that celebrate the diverse and challenging trail networks that dot Northern Michigan, and to make sure it's easy for you to check each one of your list, registration for the Traverse City Trails Festival, Glacial Hills Challenge, and Bear Claw Epic is open and ready for you to get on board! 

Each event offers a different challenge, and with one race per month, you've got plenty of time between races to preview the next course, put in miles, and enjoy the trails. We're excited to have the chance to highlight a different city for each race, too. It offers a chance for riders to explore Traverse City, Bellaire, and Cadillac, meet new people, and stay motivated for a full season of racing and riding. 

Registration for all three events is open, and we it helps it make planning your season a little easier.

Traverse City Trails Festival

Glacial Hills Challenge

Bear Claw Epic  

For more on the NMMBA Trail Series, head here. 

Thank YOU For Supporting The 2017 Bear Claw Epic


This past weekend, hundreds of mountain bikers of all abilities poured onto the Cadillac Pathways to celebrate and support the hard work and dedication that's gone into that trail system. 

NMMBA is proud to support the dedicated crew of volunteers who have invested so much time and effort into building and maintaining the Pathways. The trail system is of tremendous value to the Cadillac community, as well as being the main place to ride for people around the area. The seven mile loop serves as unmatched and unrivaled recreational riding, and on Saturday, it proved to be an impressive place to race as well! 

The third edition of the Bear Claw Epic as plenty warm, so much so that race organizers Michele Andrews and Dustin Webb, two NMMBA members, made the right call to shorten the Expert race to three laps. That's not a normal decision to have to make at the tail end of September in Northern Michigan, but it was well-received and put rider safety at the forefront of the day's affairs. 

Racers finishing we welcomed into the finish tent with pizza from G&D's, plus baked goods from Blue Heron. There were also plenty of volunteers handing out cold water and taking care of the tired riders, which was an absolute treat. Indeed, the volunteers out on course were a huge help, directing traffic and offering plenty of encouragement to every single racer, from 9am in the morning until the last rider across the line around 3pm. Events like the Bear Claw Epic, and the many fundraisers and rides we offer and support, are simply impossible without the time donated by countless of selfless individuals. 

Sean Kickbush and Lauri Brockmiller won the men's and women's Elite races, but there were impressive rides all day long. For many athletes, braving the hot conditions was challenge enough, but the fast, fun course made it an enjoyable challenge to say the least. 

You can see all of the day's results right here. 

You can stay in touch with Bear Claw Epic on Facebook and on their website, and stay in the loop with the Cadillac Pathways as well.