MSB

Mud, Sweat and Beer Trail Day: Thanks For All Your Help!

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It was a busy weekend on the trails! From our trail day to course marking we got a lot done thanks to a lot of hardworking people!

Mud, Sweat and Beers is just days away, and that meant this past weekend was crunch time to clean up and clearly mark the 2019 route. Tom and the crew have put countless hours of thought and planning into crafting a course that offers just a bit of everything, but without some rakes on the ground, it’s all just imagination and theory.

Sunday was all about getting things done. The short section of private land that links the Holiday Village neighborhood to the Vasa Pathway always needs a bit of work, but after a long winter and with a few twists added, it needed more attention than usual. Luckily, we had a few folks raise their hands and hit the woods with us. We spent a few hours raking and clearing from the pavement to the power lines, offering riders a safe, fast trail to link up the opening few miles of the race to the real meat and potatoes of the 2019 course.

And that’s where McLain Race Team took over. They had nearly their entire team out marking the course, putting up pink Stout and blue Pale Ale arrows, taping tight corners, and adding a racer’s perspective the the course that we’ll all really benefit from on Saturday. Board member Steve Mentzer and a dozen other riders handled one section, while the Ernsts and another crew split off to cover more ground.

Of course, it wasn’t all work. Sunday was one of the last nice, sunny days in the forecast leading into race week, which meant it was the last chance to recon the course. The Norte crew had dozens of kids riding the Stout and Pale Ale course, putting in some impressive times and showing everyone how to really rail the singletrack. There were all sorts of groups soaking up the sun and making notes on important sections trail that might play a big role in on Saturday.

Thanks to everyone who dedicated their free time to helping us get things primped and primed, and to everyone who went out and made all that hard work worth it! DIg what we’re doing? Make sure you re-up or join NMMBA and help support more work just like this all season long.

Tom White's Mud, Sweat and Beers Preview!

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It’s becoming a tradition just as exciting as race day itself! Tom White talks you through the 2019 Mud, Sweat and Beers course!

Things have changed a TON since the first few editions of MSB. Those races rarely strayed far from the wide-open and fast Vasa Pathway, and while still absolutely thrilling, those events didn’t offer riders much more than a tease of singletrack. When NMMBA stepped up to help design a course, the goal was always to ask more of the rider. We wanted to balance a safe, fun, and accessible route with something that would challenge more than just the engine of the rider, but also demand some amount of technical skill and tactical nous as well. We think our 2019 is the best iteration of MSB yet!

Tom’s turn-by-turn narration is included below, and we also have a file that includes much of the course available here. We do want to stress that riding on private property anytime outside of race day is prohibited. You can access the course from a number of places, and if you hop on the 25 km from Bunker or Timber, you’re going to see markings in no time.

Tom White’s MSB Turn-by-Turn

- Same start and finish as last year.
- Ample passing for the first 5.5 miles.
- The first piece of single track after the private land is the "F-Bomb"
area.  We plan to revamp this crappy section so it flows.
- This will flow into the "Das Boot" section and into the always popular
Jam Sesh single track.
- A fun portion of the winter sports trail is next.
- The course opens up to the rolling part of the the 25K and then into two
rolling hills in Jack Pine Valley.
- A very short single track takes you out of Jack Pine and onto another two
track to intersect the new section of VST by Post #5 (Saplings).
- The "saplings" section transitions into a 1 mile section of new single
track in Strombolis Lake (we will build in April).
- Same gas line and single track as last year (The Other White Meat).
- A 3/4 mile section of Sand Lakes Road is next to allow for passing and
roadie power to shine.
- New section of VST (Ditch Pickle and Tingling Bits) is next.
- After Tingling Bits we transition to some bits and pieces of unmarked
single track and then onto a downhill piece of Perch Lake Road.
- Then it is back into unmarked around Perch Lake and onto the two track
that will take you to the base of the Wall.
- From there we hit a portion of the Vasa 25k and then turn left onto a
seldom used piece of Tom's Cruise.
- Next we hit the Vasa 10k, then two tracks to the private land for a open
and high speed finish.
- There will be a safer merge with Pale Ale riders.
- Approximately 23.5 miles long.

Want to help Tom, Mike, and the whole TC Trail Crew get the course ready for race day? Join us at Mt. Holiday on Sunday, April 28 at 12:30. You can stay up to date on the game plan right here.

Updates From The Traverse City Trail Network

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This past weekend was a glorious preview of weather we hope to see consistently by the end of the month, and it gave us a nice head start on our spring trail work.

One of the first items on our to-do list is to get started on our spring trail design for Mud, Sweat and Beers. We’re back to help design the perfect course for May 4’s annual fundraiser to support Mt. Holiday, and we don’t have to tell you just how much this events means to Traverse City. MSB is more than just a fundraiser to support TC’s non-profit ski hill on the east side, but it also serves as family reunion, Opening Day, and the first big party of spring. For many, it’s the first race since Iceman Cometh the previous fall, and the first chance to catch up with all our riding buddies and racing rivals.

It’s also very popular as the first race ever for many new mountain bikers, and we work hard to ensure a course that’s accessible and safe for all, but challenging even for the fastest and most experienced racers. The balance of Vasa Pathway, unmarked singletrack, and connecting bits of trail is the perfect way to highlight the diverse riding experiences we offer, but also the ideal way to balance a course the works for everyone. We want the person completing their first Pale Ale and the Stout winner to both leave Mt. Holiday feeling tired, tested, and thoroughly happy with their day in the woods!

Our trail crew made the very most of the warm weather by getting to work on a new section of singletrack that will make its debut at Mud, Sweat and Beers. It was also a really good opportunity for us to take a look at just how much snow is still out in the woods. The open areas are remarkably clear, but anything heavily wooded or groomed is still covered with that hard packed-snow-turned-ice. A few more days of warm weather would have given us hope for spotty riding as soon as the 14th, but with cold temps this week mean it could be nearly the end of the month before we see 100% dirt.

Because of that variability, our TC Trail Network and indeed all of our trails have to be a bit flexible when it comes to schedule trail days. While Glacial Hills is good to go for their first Spring Clean-Up on April 20, Cadillac, TCTN, and Bike Leelanau will be a bit more short notice. If you’re interested in helping out, make sure you follow us on Facebook and join our newsletter to get the trail days in your inbox!

NMMBA At MSB!

We had a blast helping design, clear, mark, and sweep the course this past Saturday! Our own Kim White documented the process from conception to completion, and we'll take you along for the ride. 

See it. Before we get out in the woods, we made a provisional route that balanced fresh sections of singletrack and open trail to allow for plenty of passing opportunities. When you put 800+ people into the woods in 30 minutes, it's important for the health of the race to avoid backups as much as possible. We also examine how much traffic might affect certain sections and remove them if they may become too sandy, loose, or rutted with pre-riding or increased traffic after the race is over. 

Next, we get out there! Our board and PLENTY of volunteers got out to pre-ride the route and begin the process of marking the route. As you know, it really helps to have riders and racers marking a course. They know exactly how hard racers are going and what they're looking for headed toward every intersection. We're proud to say that everyone was on course! 

We even got in on the action! Steve Mentzer and Mike Walters were out racing with 800+ of their pals and teammates, including Chris Gallagher and Dave Bucholtz!

Then, we sweep! Liz Belt and Chris Wood provided some mechanical support on the Stout course, while Tom White headed back out for another lap after finalizing markings.