Mountain Bike

Glacial Hills Signage Fundraiser at Short's Brewing!

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Join us Sunday, October 21 for an afternoon of fun, bikes, food, beer, and a great cause!

Glacial Hills grew quickly, and while balancing the interest of multiple user groups, our signage needs have changed, ebbed, and flowed since day one. One of most common pieces of feedback from mountain bikers over the past few years is to alter signs to make putting together loops easier, without having to slow down and check trail markers.

After some small-scale testing this summer, we’ve not only got a color-coordinating solution, we’ve got a few loops already in place for you to check out! But that’s just the start; we’re going to upgrade and update signage at Glacial Hills across the board, but we need your help to make it happen! Luckily, we’ve got Short’s Brewing to make it really, really easy and really, really fun to support our new signs.

On Sunday, October 21 from 2pm until close, proceeds from all sales at Short’s Brewing Company’s pub in downtown Bellaire will go directly to our signage fundraiser! Yep, just by grabbing a beer and some grub, you can help us bring the new look we’ve all been hoping for to Glacial. For those who’ve ridden here before, it’s a great chance to get up and ride the trails, spin out the legs from Peak2Peak the day before, or bring a friend to the trail for the first time, this is really the perfect chance as our autumn season comes to a close in the next few weeks.

We’re making it easy to get out to the trail, too. We’ll be leading a guided hike from Eckhardt Road at 2pm, and a guided, relaxed pace mountain bike ride from Orchard Hill at 2pm as well. Feel free and encouraged to get your group together for a ride on your own schedule, too, and make sure everyone meets back at the pub to help make this signage fundraiser a big success!

For updates, make sure you follow along on the Facebook event page, and post up your ride, run, or hike plans for the day if you want to make it open to more people!

Iceman Course Design: Steve's Secret Bypass

If Steve’s Secret was already by-passed, does that make this a double by-pass?

Some of our most dedicated board members and volunteers were out the woods this weekend, but leaving their riding for Sunday. It was rather timely, too; the first really autumnal morning of the year, complete with the first blush of color in the spruce and oaks, made the morning’s work feel more like Iceman season than we’ve seen yet!

The day focused on cutting in roughly .4 miles of trail to bypass Steve’s Secret, a well-worn section of the Iceman Cometh Challenge course that has been in need of improvement for some time. It’s a section that the race has already spent time avoiding in previous editions of the race, perhaps most noticeably in 2015, the year after the incredibly wet and muddy Mudman race.

If you blocked that out of your memory banks, don’t worry. We called on super-domestiques Kyle Macdermaid and Dan Ellis, along with Tom White and Mike Walters, to get the new half-mile in shape for the up-coming pre-rides. The goal is to balance the terrain and conditions on the ground with the needs of such a big event. With 150-person waves starting just a few miles away, we have to expect a pretty steady steam of riders with very difference paces, so there’s plenty of room to pass for much of this fresh-cut section. Coming just after Dockery Road and before the Three Sisters, this is a crucial stretch in the race, and we expect plenty of folks will want to give it a look over the next month.

There’s a lot more work to do, but your support makes it possible! If you’re ready to check out the 2018 course before race day, make sure you join kolo t.c.’s Out’n’Back on October 13 at 9 am from Timber Ride. Not sure you’re ready for a full Out’n’Back? You can also join the MMBA Clinic that same day to learn some skills and take a look at the Slush Cup course. There will also be food from Keen Technical Solutions and a lot of great folks there to ride!

It’s awesome to see the mountain bike community already excited for Iceman, and we’re working hard to make every inch of the course not just nice for race day, but nice for the whole month of October!

Michigan Trails Week: Bike Leelanau

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Bike Leelanau is getting Leelanau County rolling!

One of the most exciting things in northern Michigan is happening in a place that, just two years ago, hadn’t seen mountain biking in a long, long time. While the classic NORBA races at Sugar Loaf were a pinnacle of the sport in the Midwest, when those events went away, mountain biking nearly left, too.

No more. The folks at Bike Leelanau are building something special. The first step came this past winter, with volunteers and sponsors helping to open up groomed fat bike trails at the Leelanau State Park near Northport. With great reactions, the momentum began to build for an ambitious project, Palmer Woods. After working to being in donations and grants, Palmer Woods is taking shape right now on Wheeler Road, just a short ride outside of Glen Arbor. The professional, machine-built trails are going to be finished up this fall, and it’s sure to be a destination trail for years to come.

In addition to winter fat biking and summer shredding at Palmer Woods, there’s also plenty of work on the horizon with Echo Valley, a proposed trail system south of Glen Lake that is awaiting an environmental study and more ecological review before it can be moved forward.

There are plenty of awesome things in place right now, too. 45 North Vineyard and Winery has served as the race and ride hub for the County, offering year-round trails for mountain bikers who want a place to throw down laps without the long drive to Traverse City. Bike Leelanau also offers a bike library for kids and families, as well as events to get County residents moving.

For more on Bike Leelanau, make sure you check the site and follow along on Facebook and Instagram.

NMMBA Steps Us As The Stewards of the Iceman Cometh Course

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This is a really big deal. For 2018, Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association will be the go-to organization for all-things course design for the biggest race in North America, the Iceman Cometh Challenge. 

For nearly 30 years, the Iceman Cometh Challenge has been a legendary part of the mountain bike season not just in Michigan, but for riders across the country. At nearly 5,000 riders, it's the biggest one-day point-to-point mountain bike race in North America, and we don't always appreciate just how lucky we are to have an event like this in our own backyard. From World Champions to the best racers in the Midwest, and from first-timers to the local heroes, Iceman is more than a bike race; it's a pilgrimage from Kalkaska to Traverse City, a turn from fall to winter, and a bridge from one racing season into the next. 

We also don't always realize just what a monumental task it can be to maintain a safe, fun, and sustainable course, and as a part of our race course design expertise, we'll be working to bring you the best possible course for 2018. Steve Brown and his team of Ice-people have asked us to help get the course into shape, and we're honored to have the opportunity to help create a course that Northern Michigan can be proud of. 

A big part of Iceman and the full experience starts well before race day, and we realize that weekly Out'n'Backs are a fun and important part of training for November. You may have already noticed that huge swaths of the course are clear of face-slappers and downed trees; we've had crews in the woods addressing these issues and more for a few weeks now, and we'll continue to keep the course clear all September and October. We want to offer the course to riders locally and to those making the drive to Traverse City for a recon and help every accomplish the right of passage that is your very first Out'n'Back. 

Stay tuned all fall for more course updates, and make sure you join us and our pals from kolo t.c. on October 13 for the BIGGEST Out'n'N'Back of the year. One week before Peak2Peak and three before Iceman, it's the perfect time for riders of all abilities to give the full Out'n'Back a go, especially if it's your first time. By that time in the fall, you've had plenty of rides in to get fit, and the October 13th ride is a great chance to see where you're at. 

Not ready for a full 43 mile mountain bike ride? That's totally cool. Michigan Mountain Bike Association is hosting a clinic session and pre-ride of the Slush Cup the same day, also at Timber Ridge. You can gain some comfort, skills, and confidence from experienced riders, and meet some friendly folks stepping into Iceman action right alongside you.

Ready to ride? Here's the most up-to-date GPX file of the 2018 course. Note, there are plenty of changes to come, but this will hit 95% of the trails you'll see on race day! 

Leelanau Conservancy: Earth Day Bike Demo

There are some great things happening in Leelanau County! Bike Leelanau, the Leelanau Conservancy, and 45 North Recreational Trail teamed up for an Earth Day Bike Demo. It's events like this that help show families the fun of spending time together on two wheels. These organizations offer alternatives to screens that enrich the health of families, communities, and help to instill an appreciation for the outdoors that lasts a lifetime!