MTB

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!


Let's Ride: June Events You Won't Want To Miss

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Block it off, circle the date on your calendar, and grab a friend. On June 15 and 16, you’re going to be riding.

June is the real start of summer, and we’re making it easier than ever to get out in the woods with three different rides to choose from!

Traverse City Trails Festival Recon Ride presented by Team Bob’s

First up is our TCTF Recon Ride on Saturday, June 15 at 8 am. This is your chance to join NMMBA Board Members on group rides of July 20’s Traverse City Trails Festival 40, 25, and 15 mile routes. Each group will roll out to take a closer look at route favorites and new sections added just for 2019. Every ride will have an established speed based on the goal finish time; go fast, go slow, but either way, you’ll find a few folks your speed.

The TCTF is all about getting people out in the woods and learning new trails and new ways to appreciate the Traverse City Trail Network. The recon ride won’t just give you an idea of what to expect on race day. It’s an opportunity to add new trails to your portfolio with the added assistance of the people who know these trails best.

You can RSVP and stay up-to-date with ride plans by joining the event on Facebook.

Bike Leelanau Women’s Mountain Bike Skills Clinic. June 15.

For the second year, our pals at Bike Leelanau are hosting a weekend of skills clinic. On Saturday, it’s all about the ladies! Head out to Palmer Woods for a full day of fun, great instruction, and plenty of knowledge. Packed with skills, tricks, and tips, this is a safe, supportive place to learn more about handling your bike and stepping up your game on features and obstacles. Saturday’s June 15 clinic is all about getting more women on bikes; if you identify as a woman and want to get more comfortable in the saddle, you can sign up here.

Bike Leelanau / NMMBA Skills Clinic

On Sunday, the fun is open to everyone! Spin out Saturday’s TCTF pre-ride with a day at Palmer working on your skills and learning how to shred that little bit harder. Sunday’s clinic is open to men and women, as well as kids over 16. You can expect some delicious food, great instruction, and the cool comfort knowing you’re going to leave the day a better bike rider than when you showed up. Sounds fun, doesn’t it? Sign up here.

It’s a BIG weekend for bikes in northern Michigan, and we hop you can join us for these and all our events throughout the year!

May Field Trips: Palmer Woods Work Bee, Arcadia Grit & Gravel

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Your May challenge? Hit Palmer Woods. And help, if you can.

Palmer Woods is rolling into its first full season in action, and we want to challenge you to get out and see if for yourself. The new trail is a the product of grassroots support and advocacy from Leelanau Conservancy, pushed by Bike Leelanau and bike-lovers all over Leelanau County. The first phase of construction has already given us one of the most unique places to ride in the state!

Flowtrack Mountain Bike designed the trail and opened things up for riding last fall. Closed for winter, spring has given Palmer Woods its first chance to impress locals and riders visiting our region. We want to make sure everyone gets to experience the trail in prime shape. That’s why the Conservancy, Bike Leelanau, and Suttons Bay Bikes are hosting a trail day on Thursday, May 16. We’ll be looking to address trail debris, clear face-slappers, and make some minor repairs from a long, soggy winter and spring.

At the same time, volunteers from the Leelanau Conservancy will be tackling a spreading nuisance. Garlic mustard is an invasive species that’s been a huge problem in the area, and they’re calling on as many hands as they can muster to stop the spread at Palmer Woods. They’re looking for at least a dozen willing, strong-armed people who aren’t afraid to get dirty. That effort will run in conjunction with the bike work bee, which means Palmer Woods will be swarming with do-gooders. Make sure you bring your bike, too; there’s a very high chance a bike ride will break out after the trail work!

This weekend is also a great chance to go explore Arcadia. The Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy manages Arcadia Dunes and has worked hard to developed the trail into one of the most fun, exciting, and flowing mountain bike trails in the area. This Saturday, Endoman Promotions hosts the Arcadia Grit & Gravel, a half gravel race, half mountain bike race that puts riders on 10 miles of dirt roads before tossing them into 11 miles of singletrack goodness. It’s one of the most unique events in the state, and one of the most beautiful. The race weekend always seems trillium in peak bloom; riders blur past hillsides and ravines covered in a blanket of brilliant white flowers over a vibrant green undergrowth.

A portion of the proceeds from the race go to GTRLC, helping preserve both the Arcadia Dunes and the many other ambitious conservation projects Glen and the gang have cooking. For riders in northern Michigan, who are so spoiled to have trails like the Traverse City Trail Network, Palmer Woods, Cadillac Pathway, and Glacial Hills right in their backyard, races like Arcadia Grit & Gravel are the perfect excuse for a field trip!

Traverse City Trails Festival Registration Is Open!

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Last year was great. Let’s make 2019 even better.

Registration for the 2019 Traverse City Trails Festival is LIVE and already gathering up riders for our even on July 20. If you’ve made it for the previous two editions of TCTF, you know what it’s all about. This is race. It’s a tour. It’s a party.

NMMBA works hard to build and maintain trail all over northern Michigan. On the Traverse CIty Trail Network, that trail experience is divided up into the Vasa Pathway (or 25km), the Vasa Singletrack (from Supply Road), as well as nearly 70 miles of unmarked singletrack that stretches from Bunker Hill Road to Supply Road, Timber Ridge to Kalkaska. The vast web of trail offers months, even years of opportunity to explore. Even locals that ride all the time often know only a small portion of the vast spiderweb of interconnecting trails.

One day a year, we create a 40, a 25, and 15 mile course and map out those otherwise hidden trails to offer racers and riders alike a unique chance to experience these gems without worrying about navigating or getting back to our start/finish venue, Ranch Rudolph. This race also gives us the opportunity to create a few miles of new trails and expose riders to these freshly created sections and begin to incorporate these inventions into their normal rides!

Most importantly, this is a ride about everyone. We’re proud to have some of the fastest mountain bikers in the state line up for the 40 and 25 mile events. But we’re just as honored to see riders of all abilities seize the opportunity to explore together by signing up for the 25 and 15 mile tours. Take on the day, and some big miles of singletrack, at your own pace, with your very best pals. It’s the perfect no-pressure platform for someone who doesn’t want to race, but wants to get more involved in the event and the community. We see this as the ideal day to bring together Elites and Beginners, trail gnomes and first-timers. Put a name to face, meet people for the first time, and celebrate our world-class trail experience; together.

We have a whole website dedicated to providing information on race categories, the day’s schedule of events, and more. We can’t do it without the support of our sponsors, especially Short’s Brewing Company. In addition to picking up Mud, Sweat and Beers, they remain the title sponsor of the TCTF and the three-race NMMBA Trail Series, which includes the TCTF, Short’s Glacial Hills Challenge, and Bear Claw Epic.

There’s plenty of time for more chatter; get yourself signed up and help us out by posting the event on Facebook, emailing it to a friend, or making a donation to further your support of what is our biggest fundraiser of the year.

Urban Friday Night Lights at Brew!

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It’s back! We’re heading back to Brew on Friday, November 23 for a fun, casual night ride at the Commons and chance to support Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association the easy way…with Short’s Brewing beer.

Last year, we had dozens of riders join us for jaunt into the darkness in spite of the rain for 60-75 minutes of fun, giggle-inducing riding behind the State Hospital. Because it can be tough to keep everyone together, make sure pick a riding buddy (dibs on Don Marsh) and meet-up at the Green Spire School before we roll back to Brew, where the ride starts and finishes.

Once back, you’ll have two Short’s Brewing options that will be good for 100% of proceeds going directly to NMMBA! This money will go to help NMMBA gear up for the ambitious grooming season head, as well as support trail projects, our NMMBA Trail Series, and a whole lot more.

2018 was our most ambitious year yet, and we’re ready to bring you even more in 2019. From new trails at the Cadillac Pathway, more miles at Palmer Woods, trail proposals in Traverse City, and the peerless perfection of Glacial Hills, Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association is working to bring you fun trails that you can ride year-round. We’re proud of what we’ve done, and more motivated than ever to do even more.

Bring the kids, too. Brew will have deals on food and drinks, and no one makes a hot chocolate like Sean Kickbush. No one.

No time to ride? Short’s Brewing proceeds from 5:30 until 9 pm go toward the fund, so stop by for dinner!

The snow is here, the fat bikes are out, and it’s time to fight the darkness with bright lights and great friends!

NMMBA Fundraiser 5:30- 9 pm at Brew. 108 E. Front Street

Optional bike ride from 5:30-6:45. All skills welcome. Bring lights.

We’ll regroup at Greenspire School at 6:20 to roll back to Brew together.

You DO need to wear a helmet and ride with a light. Dress for the conditions and remember, it’s not a race, it’s a rolling party! Let’s see those bikes lit up!

For updates on the ride, check the event page here.