NMMBA

Your Autumn Challenge: Ride A New NMMBA Trail!

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Fall is just around the corner, but that means mountain biking in northern Michigan is just getting started! We’re lucky to have a long autumn to enjoy the trails in Traverse City and around the region, and we’ve got a challenge for you; ride somewhere new! 

You’ve got a few months before evenings are dark and the snow will have Head Groomer John Roe licking his chops. Between now and fat biking season, we want you to ride a trail that you haven’t checked out before. Whether you’re a TC local who hasn’t made it to Glacial Hills, or a Cadillac rider yet to make the trip north to Palmer Woods, make a plan to make it happen. 

One of the best things about our part of the state is that the terrain, soil, and design of our forests allow for deceptively diverse riding options. While sand is universal, the hills, the valleys, and the men and women behind creating our singletrack trail networks make each NMMBA trail feel, ride, and look different. 

Vasa Singletrack/Unmarked. In a word, ‘natural’. Both the Vasa Singletrack and the miles of unmarked singletrack that extends like a spider web out from the VST weave into the Vasa 25km Pathway, creating the Traverse City Trail Network. Much of that singletrack is hand cut, narrow, winding, and offers a feel of riding through the forests with reckless abandon. It never feels like the trails were made as much as were just there. There are no features, no wide sections, and you’d be hard-pressed to be able to spot the trail unless you’re physically on it. 

Cadillac Pathway. Much like the Vasa 25km Pathway, Cadillac’s trail offers a wider, cross-country ski trail that serves as the backbone of the network, with a mix of unmarked singletrack jumping on and off. That’s going to change with the construction of eleven miles of trail this fall, the culmination of a years-long process to bring real, marked, and thought-out singletrack to Cadillac. The Pathway is also home to a slew of new amenities, including a new Pavillion, bike rack, even solar powered lights! If you’re really looking for a chance to ride it, make sure you’ve got the Bear Claw Epic on your calendar. The BCE is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Cadillac Pathway and the final event in the NMMBA Trail Series on September 28. 

Glacial Hills. While it is wide enough to ski, the elevation that gave this trail system it’s name make this much more of a mountain bike trail! The rolling, twisting, flowing singletrack isn’t as wide as Cadillac or Traverse City’s pathways, but still allows a little room for error for riders letting gravity have its way. While there is plenty of elevation, the expert, machine-made trails allow for plenty of momentum. Do a lap and you’ll pocket nearly 1,000 feet of elevation, but it never feels like that much climbing! The closest comparison to Glacial Hills might be the Arcadia Dunes trails near Frankfort, which were shaped by the same designer. Make plans to hit Bellaire, shred Glacial Hills, and stop by Short’s Brewing, a company that supports the trails, outdoor events, and a NMMBA like no one else. 
Palmer Woods. The new trail is enjoying its first full season in 2019 and people are loving it! Instead of mile after mile of natural, Palmer Woods offers a feature-filled circuit for riders looking to practice and show off their technical skills. The Leelanau Conservancy and Bike Leelanau have put a lot of heart into creating something that attempts the impossible; keep everyone happy. We think they’ve nailed it. There are plenty of lines to make the trail system accessible to beginners and kids, but enough jumps and drops to make the drive out to Wheeler Road in Maple City well worth it.

2019 VST TT // Fiesta: Thank You!

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Bikes, beer, tacos. For years, we’ve focused on building trails. For the second year, we’ve found a new mission that matters just as much; building community. Last night’s VST TT // Fiesta was the highlight of a summer filled with great rides, races, and events that all work to keep our close-knit community growing. 

NMMBA is just one of many local organizations that support this community, add to it, and contribute unique experiences that bring people together and get more people pedaling. We are so lucky that no matter how or why you ride, there is a way to share that passion with others. Our VST TT saw dozens of riders of all abilities, from some of the fastest in the state to kids taking on the 3 mile Kinglet Loop for the first time! 

With the Speed of Light nerds battling for WorldTour points, the first twenty of so riders hit the reworked Vasa Singletrack at warp speed. Now in its first full season after being updated and refreshed, the trail is holding up incredibly well, even with a huge influx of traffic of riders who have found a new love for TC’s original loop. Our locals pushed themselves to the absolute limit last night, going all-out for the title. 

Two early contenders found that limit and exceeded. The first rider off, John O’Hearn, crashed twice during his lap, causing him to be caught and passed by his 30 second man, Jeff Owens. Owens also crashed, and that put the overall result in some serious doubt. Garrett Jenema was on a strong night behind, and last year’s winner, Sunset Scott, never came out of his 11-tooth cog as he stood and threw his bike around the 13 mile course. Racing his last Speed of Light as a single man, Sunset hit the parking lot and immediately joined the scrum of finishers frantically slamming ‘refresh’ on Strava to see the results. 

Sunset did more than enough to keep his VST title, with strong rides from Jeff Owens second, Garrett Jenema third, and NMMBA trail rep Mike Walters showing his skills in fourth! You can see the the full results here.

Owens, Mike Walters, Kyle Macdermaid, Sunset, and John O’Hearn all picked up a big haul of WorldTour points, and a full thirty riders beat the hallowed one-hour mark! The whole women’s podium comfortably made that time, with Beth Grassa taking the win just ahead of Erica O’Hearn, Chelsey “Soon To be Scott” Schlicht and Laura Webb. 

As the dust settled, attention turned to the real show of the night, the Taco Competition. Ten champions, all representing local clubs, bellyed up to the taco bar for a gastronomical challenge they’re probably regretting now. Ten tacos, as fast as you can; straightforward, simple, and seriously tough. Jay Risk and Kent McNeil led early, with other ‘athletes’ hitting a wall after their second taco. In the end, Kent won by about a half a chicken taco, earning a title he’ll treasure for the rest of his life...or at least until he hops on a scale. 

From everyone at NMMBA, thank you for supporting a fun night in the woods! We hope you enjoyed the new NMMBA Cantina, which we’ll be rolling out often in the future! We also need to thank Short’s Brewing for the beer, but more importantly, for all of their support of trails across the region. No company is as dedicated to the outdoors, and we just wouldn’t be where we are now without their help. Keen Technical Solutions also pitched in, and we owe Keen so much for their support over the years. 

Until next year, enjoy the trails and make sure you’re a NMMBA member to support more fun nights like this one!

We’ve got a few favorite photos from the night below, but over 250 photos are available to download here thanks to kolotc.com!



NMMBA Board of Director Meeting Minutes - June 2019

NMMBA Board of Directors Meeting

Date and location: Wednesday June 12th, 2019 Keen loft

Board present: Chad Jordan, Tom White, Kim White, Mike Walters, Michele Andrews, Tim Jenema, John Roe, Cody Sprattmoran and Steve Mentzer

Board absent: Tim Reicha III

No guests

Chad called the meeting to order at 6:33 p.m.

Financials:

Kim presented the financials and provided a few particulars. 

There were some donations taken in for Traverse City Trail Fest(TCTF). 

Profit & Loss statement for TCTF showed a profit of nearly $4500.00

Checking account balances:

Bear Claw Epic(BCE): $24,621.91

NMMBA/Bike Leelanau: $51,834.79

Kim presented to the board IRS form 990-EZ Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax.

Chad signed the form and the board voted to file it.

Chad motioned to file the form. Steve 2nd the motion. Unanimous vote.

Evart update:

Steve and Doris Petoskey, the principles behind this project were unable to attend but will email Chad any updates. Agenda item was tabled until next month. 

Bike Skills Clinic:

Cody Sprattmoran was happy to report that this Saturday’s session was full!

A few openings were still available for Sunday’s clinic.

Camp Greilick:

Chad, Tom and Mike met with the camp’s new director Jamie Hedges.

Jamie indicated the desire for trails within the property. NMMBA can utilize the Singletrack Love Machine(SLM) to get them built. But it would come at a cost to GOREC(Greilick Outdoor Recreation & Education Center). GOREC is committed and will seek grant funding as well as in kind donations. Revenue from the Camp would be another funding arm.

GOREC is also interested in winter events. 

They have also slated a chainsaw clinic set for July 27th

It is NMMBA’s desire to build a connector to Dollar Lake and these trails are close to the unmarked trails and ultimately the VST.

TCTF:

More volunteer positions have been set.

Bill Unger & Heath Day will coordinate the kids race.

John Roe & Steve Mentzer will once again pre-ride and road marshall Williamsburg Rd.

Cody Sovis will handle the MC duties.

Spotter is needed at the top of the 1st climb to direct racers both when they start and as they finish.

Discussion as to placement of merchandise tent, beer sales, etc.

Help is also needed at the merch tent.

Went down the list of sponsors and what they have committed to dollar wise. Also covered were what ones still needed to pay.

Signage was discussed. Need will be for 600 signs for the 40 miler, 450 signs for the 25 miler and 200 for the 15 miler.

Steve and John to coordinate paper, etc.

Acme Park:

Tim J. was happy to announce that the $5000 grant from Olsen’s had been awarded. NMMBA had agreed to match so we will provide $5000 as well!!

Tim J. indicated that ground will be broken soon. Any hand tools needed would be provided by NMMBA. He indicated they had gotten the okay to do some “light clearing”. More extensive clearing will come later.

Trail segments are broken down into striders, >10 years of age and older kids. Trail features will have jumps, rock gardens, etc.

Tim J. indicated they were pursuing an additional 40 acres but talks have stalled with the DNR

TARTnership in Leelanau county:

Chad and Cody Sprattmoran had a meeting with TART’s Julie Clark.

Among the items discussed were a pump track to be constructed at Herman Park, development of 700+ acres privately owned held in public trust and a natural singletrack to be parallel to sections of the Leelanau trail.


Pump track at Herman park would be smallish in size. Township board is being positive about the project if funding can be found.

A composite model can be brought in to generate excitement. Then funding can begin.

The singletrack proposed for sections of the Leelanau trail would be 4 season trails. Grooming in winter would allow fat bikes to traverse the trail without riding on the ski portion.

A $75,000 grant has been written and is just waiting for approval.

VST Pavilion:

Tim J., Chad, Mike, Tom and Duane Archambo to meet with Scott Slavin of the DNR.

Branding Update:

Mark Mueller had presented the contract. Nate Farran has revisions he would like worked into the contract.

Roundtable talk:

Talk of securing a storage unit for merchandise, tents, banners, etc.

Steve checked into it with Colonial Self Storage. 5 x 15 unit is available for around $50/month.

Chad made a motion to secure the unit, Tom with a 2nd. Unanimous vote.

Gear boxes were next on the table. DNR has set some rules as to where they can be located without obstructing the trail and what they may include as to contents. Especially the first aid kits. They want no sharp objects(scissors) aspirin, Tylenol, neosporin and other pain killers.

John had requested all unsold grooming badges be returned. He also wanted to explore a stipend for some of the groomers who had been with the program the longest. He also indicated the groomer gifts were still being finalized at Trophy Trolley.

Meeting adjourned at 8:14 p.m.

Submitted by 

Steve Mentzer, secretary

Committee reports:

Bike Leelanau:

Provemont Pond .8 mile multi use trail is built, waiting on signage before officially opening to the public. 

Palmer Woods trail work continues to be done, no estimated date for full open of the trail. 

Bike clinic this weekend. Full Saturday, a couple of spots remaining for Sunday.

Cadillac Pathway Update:

The cement has been poured for the pavilion, outhouse installed, final grading of sidewalks and parking lot.  

The fireplace construction has begun and the ETA is June 30th.  

The funding of the pavilion was done by Cadillac Leadership and Bear Claw Epic.  A grant from the Cadillac Rotary club is funding the fireplace, bike/ski racks, gear boxes and potential solar lighting.  

Received a grant from the DALMAC Fund for $2,000 to fund the Bike FixIt Station and bike pump.  

Cole Mortenson who is pursuing Eagle Scout will be fundraising for the wood and building of 6 picnic tables.  Bear Claw Epic is also help fund this project. Table Jacks have been ordered and will be delivered this week.  Picnic tables will be built and in by mid July at the latest.  

Working with the Cadillac Area Visitor's Bureau and the Missaukee County on helping to fundraise for the building of 11 miles of single track.  Our first meeting is next Tuesday to discuss.  

Cadillac Pathway Winter Sports Trail:

I am in need of more groomers.  Looking for at least a one day commitment each week to successfully groom for the upcoming season.  Looking for 2-3 people. Grooming is about a 2 - 2 1/2 hour commitment. 

TCTN - Update

1)  MSB was a bumpy one in terms of course marking.  McLains declined

doing it for 2020 unless NMMBA reclaims ultimate responsibility.  In other

words, McLains will mark the course (after NMMBA designs, builds and

pre-marks), but will not do the night before or race day marking and

pre-ride checking.  This responsibility falls back to NMMBA.  We should

discuss.

2)  The Strombolis Lake trail build (4.2 miles) is complete.  Final trail

proposal submitted.  Huge thank you to all that pitched in.

3)  TCTF course is laid out and mapped.  One section remains to be

finished.  Waiting on DNR blessing.  Obviously, ten million more things

need to be done before the race can happen, but progress continues to be

made.

4)   The TCTN grand vision was shared with Scott Slavin at the DNR and he offered his suggestions to making it a reality.  The GOREC property ties

into our grand vision.  Dollar Lake and Gorec will be our next trail

development sites.

5)  The Jack Kline Memorial event is tentatively scheduled for July 21st

(the day after trail fest) at the Ranch.  Working on cost packages with the

Ranch now as we have already booked and paid for some of the services at the ranch.  They are working with me on it. Should NMMBA offer some

financial assistance for this event?

6)  The City Bike and NMMBA  co-branding umbrella is finished and in use.

This is a quick and easy attachment to the hitch of a pick up and offers a

bike work stand integrated within it.  Makes quite a visual statement at

the trail heads.


TCTF Recon Ride Schedule: Saturday's Game Plan

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You spoke (well, typed) and we listened!

This Saturday is your first chance to get the gang together for a fun morning in the woods. We’re leading a number of different groups over different distances to give everyone a closer look at the 2019 Traverse City Trails Festival courses. When we put up an 8am start time, only the early birds (who do get the worms, it must be said) smiled. And so, we’ll be splitting into two start times.

The faster-paced 40 mile group will be busting at out 8 am from the Muncie Lake Pathway Trailhead, just up the hill from the race’s official start at Ranch Rudolf. Expect a steady tempo with an finish time of roughly 3.5 hours to complete all 40 miles. You can nab the file here, and we’ll have limited, low profile marking in place for just a few hours that morning to help you out.

Need a little more beauty sleep? No problem. Tom White and a number of other NMMBA board members will be shredding the 25 mile route at 10 am. We’ll have different groups and different speeds available, so the more people who show up, the more likely you’ll have a solid crew knocking along at your pace. Here’s the 25 mile file, too.

Bring plenty of snacks and water and let’s enjoy a morning in the woods! Make sure you’re following along on the event page here for any updates with weather; things look just a tiny bit iffy, but we that could chance (several times) before the weekend.

Grab a friend and join us!

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.