Short's Brewing

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.

Ride Plans For The Week: Winter Will Be Right Back

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As we pen this near the shores of East Bay in Traverse City, it’s a balmy 46 degrees and raining like it’s May. Don’t worry; winter is swinging back into town, and soon.

First off, we really want to thank everyone for their patience over the past 48 hours. After over a week of frigid temperatures and plentiful snow, Mother Nature did a full 180 degree turn and slammed some spring-like weather onto northern Michigan. All of our trails remain closed through Monday, but a quick glance at the forecast cast shows we have a great week of riding coming up.

Tuesday will see below-freezing highs, but hit the trails with just a bit of caution. Some sections of the trails are sure to be very slick and icy, and until we get a change to scrape things up a bit, studs won’t be necessary, but they’ll be handy. The snowfall on Wednesday and Thursday should be a big help in combining fresh powder into icy surfaces, and we should have incredible conditions for riding Thursday through the weekend!

And it’s a big weekend, too. This Saturday is the 43rd Annual North American Vasa, which happens to include the King Vasa Fat Bike Race as a part of its Festival of Races. The bike events start at 11:50 am, with 40 and 20 kilometer options available. Our crews have been working hard to keep the trails in stunning shape, and not even this freakish warm-up is going to affect a really stunning trail experience for racers. As the second stop in the Short’s Brewing Fat Bike Series, it’s another chance to pick up points and rack up race miles as the Series hits its halfway mark.

If you aren’t racing this weekend, consider volunteering on Saturday or Sunday and helping keep this event fun, safe, and well-supported!

From everyone at NMMBA, the Cadillac Pathway, Bike Leelanau, and Glacial Hills, thanks again for helping keep the trails in great shape as we gear up for plenty of winter riding in February!

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!

2018 TCTF Course Preview: Files And First Impressions

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Last week, we had about a dozen riders head out for a low-paced recon of the 25 mile Traverse City Trail Festival presented by Short's Brewing. 

It was never intended to be a race effort, but even rolling at a controlled pace, the 2018 TCTF 25 mile course was impressive. While this year's edition makes use of a mix of both new and old trail, with sections of the 2017 route used in reverse, it really rides very differently from the race's first edition. 

For starters, the start. Instead of a few open miles to kick things off, this year's race is almost immediately into the woods. This will favor racers will a strong start, as well as giving the better bike handlers a chance to poke and prod the roadies early, while they're at the height of their powers. The opening four miles are still very, very fast, but passing opportunities are much more limited. After that, it's true singletrack, especially as the race spills into the Dollar Lake area. 

The first reprieve for the power riders will be bursting out of the shadows and onto Broomhead for a short gravel road stretch north. That will be a good time to stretch out the back, eat, and get ready for what is a non-stop series of famous singletrack trails, with Tomtanium the first to greet the riders' return into the woods. 

The final miles of both the 40 and 25 mile race are wide open but sandy gravel road. They're also very flat, so if there are any groups left together in the finale, you'd expect to see speeds in the low 20s all the way back to the Ranch. The race does hit one final, almost ceremonial section of singletrack to circumvent Main Street at Ranch Rudolf, rolling past the campground and rounding the final turn to finish between the pond and the Boardman River. 

Of course, any trail is as hard as you make it, and we think that the tweaks and changes we've put in for 2018 will make the race harder and the tour easier. Because of the traffic last year and this year, the trail is much smoother and more pronounced, which limits the bumps and lumps that might get annoying. It's a great chance to see the trails and work them into your everyday rides! 

Ready to go recon? The course won't be marked until race day, but if you slow down at intersections, the GPX files below are actually pretty easy to follow. 

Note, both of the files below leave from the Muncie Lake XC Ski Pathway on Ranch Rudolf Road. 

The 40-mile route is here

The 25-mile route is here

Now get signed up! 

NMMBA Trail Series Sneak Peek: A Moveable Checklist

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Ready to get committed? Good. You'll be reminded every time you take a sip. 

This summer, we're challenging racers, riders, and adventurers alike to step up to the plate. NMMBA helps to maintain some incredible trail systems, and three of those networks are home to their own mountain bike race. Those events not only offer a challenge to riders of all abilities, they help to showcase each trail's unique feel and invite people to experience the communities that support mountain biking. 

The NMMBA Trail Series combines the Traverse City Trails Festival, Glacial Hills Challenge, and Bear Claw Epic in a three-event challenge to YOU. Our new water bottle, while still getting some edits, will remind of your ambitious pledge to tackle all three races, and experience all three trail networks, every time you take a swig of something cool. And those bottles are also useful for post-ride or race recovery, and with the Short's Brewing logo on the side, you'll know what to fill that bottle with! 

We're still playing with some designs, but we think they're turning out nicely. 

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