NMMBA

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.

It's As Easy As Predicting The Weather...

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Just when we thought we’d seen the last of stellar winter conditions, things froze up, firmed up and shined up on trails!

Last week was the perfect example of how northern Michigan weather. From 55 degrees and rain midweek to some of the fastest, firmest conditions of the year just two days later, this time of year can be incredible variable and often extremely fun! Our groomers will be checking in with each, riders, and our friends at TART to make decisions about any further grooming efforts. It’s a bit of a process, and we need your help to make any more snow riding work.

First off, we’re heading into a freeze/thaw cycle. In many other places, this refers to frozen and wet mud; the guys down at WMMBA are already battling mornings with rock-hard mud and afternoons with peanut butter soup. For us, the cycle is more of an issue with snow. What is hard and fast in the morning gets soft by late afternoon on days when the sun is out and the temps rise quickly over freezing. If riders hit the trails while it’s soft, those tracks and ruts freeze up, meaning any other riders are riding in their frozen wake.

Now, there’s a point in the season where we just can’t fix these issues, and we also don’t really want to when we know the base is going to be gone soon, anyway. For the next week or two, we’ll be watching the 5 and 10 day forecasts to determine if we’ll invest any more grooming efforts for the season. If we see warm weather for a full five days, which is something we’ve got on our radar now, we don’t anticipate any more grooming for spring.

As these trails melt, we do ask that as dirt is exposed, riders make smart decisions on wet soil. We are likely three or four weeks away from see the forest floor again, so you won’t need to watch for a while. If you’re wondering just how much snow is still in the woods, take a step off the groomed trail. Yesterday, we sunk in to mid-thigh in many places, and it’s often even deeper on hillsides and drifted areas! Once that snow does melt, avoid riding around mud puddles, which causes wider trails and more erosion. We’ll work hard to keep you updated on trail conditions as the wet season approaches.

Conditions at Glacial Hills and Cadillac Pathway could be very different from those in Traverse City, and the Winter Sports Trail at Leelanau State Park is closed just in case we get another cold snap.

Until then, we’ll be busy. We’re already finalizing details for the 2019 Traverse City Trails Festival, putting together the Mud, Sweat and Beers course design, plus getting a head start on place for the 30th edition of the Iceman Cometh Challenge!

Volunteer of the Year Award and More From the NMMBA Annual Meeting

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Last night, trail lovers from all over northern Michigan made it to Timber Ridge in Traverse City for our our Annual Meeting. A ride, a meal, and a great way to roll into 2019!

We had over sixty riders brave slightly icy conditions to kick off the meeting. As members from across the region trickled in , the sun broke through the clouds as the temperatures limped just over freezing. While the trail was a bit slick, the casual, fun pace of the day made it a great chance for riders from as far away as Alpena, Lansing, and even the UP to chat, catch-up, and work up a healthy appetite before heading back to Timber Ridge for the meeting.

Right on cue, the taco bar from Red Mesa welcomed all riders back and allowed our President, Chad Jordan, a little time to prepare to update everyone on just what NMMBA has been up to, and what’s up our sleeves for 2019. Chad offered up news from the Traverse City Trails Network, the new Acme Bike Park (planned at the Bartlett Road trailhead on the Vasa Pathway), and welcomed new board member Tim Jenema to the team. We also learned more about the Cadillac Pathway’s new Pavilion, 11 miles of approved new trail, and Polar Bear fat bike series this winter!

Up at Glacial Hills, we have plenty to look forward to, including more and improved amenities at nearly every trailhead, a totally revamped way finding system to make navigating the trails easier and quicker, and maintaining some of the best trails in the state. Bike Leelanau, too, had a lot to look forward to, including the second and third phase of Palmer Woods, the ever-expanding bike library in Suttons Bay, and the Winter Sports Trail at the Leelanau State Park.

Perhaps the most poignant moment of the night, however, came from Steve Mentzer. Last summer, NMMBA decided to work on a new award to honor volunteer work. A small committee worked for weeks to put a name to the award, and the person we kept coming back to was that of our friend Dan Morley. We lost Dan to cancer in July, as many of you will undoubtedly remember. Dan lent his professional expertise to help us shape our bylaws and navigate legal waters for years as a volunteer, but it was his personal love of mountain biking that we will treasure. Dan was up for any ride, and distance, and few people have pulled more new riders into our cycling community; he was famous for getting friends to sign up for races before they even owned a mountain bike! It’s fitting, too, that one of the last things he asked for was someone to ride the redesigned Vasa Singletrack and capture some video so that he could see the changes for himself. Of course, he loved them.

And so, it is incredibly fitting that we awarded the NMMBA Dan Morley Volunteer Award to Dan Morley himself as a testament not just to his tireless work to help NMMBA over the years, but for the passion, enthusiasm, and joy he brought to the trails every time he went out to ride. We’ll always remember his trademark, “At dawn, we ride” and strive to continue our mission in his memory.

From the whole NMMBA family, thanks to everyone who joined us last night and helped us to get where we are today. Together, we can continue and expand out efforts to care for our trails and encouraged healthier, active lifestyles for kids of all ages. Thank you!

NMMBA Annual Meeting: January 6, 2019

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Meetings are never this fun! Join us at Timber Ridge on Sunday, January 6 to ride, eat, and learn more about our big plans for 2019 and beyond!

We work hard to keep our members informed and engaged with everything we’ve got going on, and that’s a lot! We’re working on trail days and a full season of winter grooming at the Winter Sports Trail, Cadillac Pathway, Glacial Hills, and Leelanau State Park. But beyond the next several months of fat bike fun, we’ve got trail proposals and trail building opportunities all over our region. We want to get our members together to let them know what’s on the docket, put more names to faces, and get in some saddle time.

We’re back at Timber Ride for a full afternoon of fun to kick off January. Just as the new year starts to get revved up, we’re calling on members to join us for a ride, a meal, and an opportunity to voice your own priorities, questions, and concerns. We’ll get things rolling, literally, with a group ride at 3pm, with at least two groups heading out to enjoy the Winter Sports Trail, including a few new miles that have been added for this season! We’ll all be back by 5pm to dig into a potluck, so consider bringing a little something to share.

After eating and spending some time to talk to all of our trail reps, we’ll have a short formal presentation from the board and highlight some of our goals for 2019, 2020, and beyond. You’ll get updates from each trail, a schedule of NMMBA events, including the Traverse City Trail Festival and Bear Claw Epic, updates on the Glacial Hills signage project, and a lot of big things happening in Leelanau County, including more on Palmer Woods.

We are really excited about what we have lined up to offer quality, natural, fun, and sustainable places to ride and reconnect with nature. The trails are such a vital part of the northern Michigan way of life, and we take that connection very seriously. Providing individuals and families a safe place to unplug and a great place to learn and develop a passion for mountain biking is at the heart of our mission. In 2019, we’re stepping up our game even more!

Make sure you check out the Facebook event to stay up-to-date on ride and meeting details here.

Iceman Cometh Membership Drive: Iceman Doesn't Mean We're Done Riding!

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Iceman isn’t the end! While it used to be that mountain bikers tended to hang up their bikes (often still covered in mud) after the biggest race of the year, that’s definitely not the case now! We’re more excited than ever to help offer year-round riding at NMMBA trails, as well as continue to work with local governments and organizations to advance your interests as a mountain biker at every level of decision-making.

This year, celebrate that commitment to year-round riding and hard work by joining Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association. On Friday, November 2, every individual or family that joins NMMBA for the first time or renews their membership will be entered to win one of 7 NMMBA branded bike display stands from up.bike. Made of stainless steel and designed to fit any bike, it’s a little extra incentive to join us in the mission to bring fun, natural, non-motorized trails to outdoor enthusiasts all over northern Michigan.

2018 was huge, but we’re hoping to make 2019 even bigger. From the new pavilion at the Cadillac Pathway, new bathrooms and outbuildings at Glacial Hills, and the 3-mile head start of trail building at Palmer Woods, there’s a lot to look forward to heading into next spring. Of course, there’s plenty to look forward to much sooner than that! With grooming programs kicking off December 1 in Traverse City, Cadillac, the Leelanau State Park, and Glacial Hills, you’ll be able to ride some of the best groomed trails in the Midwest with just a grooming badge and a sense of adventure.

You’ll also be able to look ahead to our ambitious course design work for the Iceman Cometh, Mud, Sweat and Beers, and more local events in the years to come, plus another year of the NMMBA Trail Series presented by Short’s Brewing. Each of our three races, the TC Trail Festival, Glacial Hills Challenge, and Bear Claw Epic, grew in size and in reach this season, and we’re making plans to keep the momentum building in 2019!

Your support also helps us support local organizations like Norte and even the Michigan Mountain Bike Association, who advocates on behalf of all mountain bikers in Lansing.

Look for our booth at the SRAM Ice Cycle Expo on November 2 to check out our NMMBA gear, join up or renew, and meet some of the men and women that make northern Michigan just an incredible place to ride. Can’t make it? Join online, too!