Trail Series

NMMBA Trails Series Next Up: Short's Glacial Hills Challenge


Our little trail series is pretty big fun! After the Traverse City Trails Festival, we go to the heart of Short’s Brewing country for race number two, the Short’s Glacial Hills Challenge on August 18.

We look at the NMMBA Trails Series as the best way to commit yourself to experiencing the diverse trails of Northern Michigan at full speed. Each of the three events on the calendar are designed to be inclusive and accessible to newer riders, but brutally challenging to even the most experienced racers. That wide ranging appeal goes hand-in-hand with how the trails themselves offer a little something different to every sort of rider.

Much like the TCTF, the Short’s Glacial Challenge offers three different distances to suit any fitness level. From the Elite and Expert 28 miler, a 20 mile miler, and a very fun half-lap at 11 miles, use your summer riding miles to take on a longer challenge or see what kind of a time you can thrown down over the two shorter options. There are also three different starts times, which means you’ll always be on course with people going about your speed.

Sunday, August 18 is going to be a really good time, and the perfect chance to make the trip north to Bellaire. It’s sort of a given that you’ll stop at Short’s after the race, but make sure you save enough in the legs to talk a walk through downtown and see what’s new!

The fun keeps rolling another neat month later with the race that really sparked the series, the Bear Claw Epic. The race is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Cadillac Pathway and played a big role in helping to get eleven miles of new singletrack approved and ready to be built!

Looking to get in a pre-ride at Glacial Hills? Patrick from Paddles and Pedals has you covered. You can check out and download the Elite/Expert, Sport, and Beginner files and get your pals out for a recon this weekend!

Ready to sign up? You can pre-register right here!

Traverse City Trails Festival Registration Is Open!


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.

Cap Off The NMMBA Trail Series at the Bear Claw Epic!


Our three-race series is capped off with the always-tough, always-fun Bear Claw Epic at the Cadillac Pathway on Saturday, September 22! 

One of the big motivators for offering the NMMBA Trail Series is to encourage mountain bikers of all abilities to experience the diverse trails of Northern Michigan. Ask anyone who has already completed the TCTF and Glacial Hills, and it's really incredible what a 40 minute drive and very different trail builders can create with what we think of as the 'same' terrain and geography. Our region is home to some very different trails, and we like to think of the Cadillac Pathway as yet another unique place to ride and race! 

Now in its fourth year, the Bear Claw Epic has turned into one of the can't-miss races in the area. For a lot of local riders, it's the first important race in the lead-in to the Iceman Cometh Challenge in November. perfectly timed to get in some racing miles and see where you're at heading into the last month of training. For others, it's the last race before short days and rough weather make it a little harder to ride. Either way, the event attracts everyone from first-time racers to some of the fastest mountain bikers in the state, and it's a fun challenge for both of those extremes and everyone in between. 

The 7-mile course offers roughly 600 feet of elevation, much of it coming through the numerous short-and-punchy climbs that come throughout the lap. The course will go the same direction as 2017, clockwise, to make the most of the punchy climbs early in the lap. 

After a lot of feedback last year, there's also a new race distance! The 'Intermediate' category will be two laps totaling 12 miles, which is really perfect; now, racers can choose from one, two, three, and four-lap classes, which means there's the exact distance you're ready for. 

The volunteers at Cadillac Pathway have been putting in plenty of extra work to make sure the trail is manicured for race day. With 100% of proceeds staying right in Cadillac for trail maintenance and improvements, your race registration is one of the best ways to thank the volunteers and help grow the Pathway's future, which includes more parking, a pavilion,  and a nearly-approved trail proposal! 

Get signed up for the Bear Claw Epic here, and make sure you stay up to date with the Cadillac Pathway on Facebook and Instagram, as well as their website

Thank YOU For Making the 2018 TCTF A Huge Success!


We are incredibly lucky, and that's before we take in account for some incredible changes in the weather! 

Somehow, the doomsday predictions of rain and thunder never materialized, and racers arrived at Ranch Rudolf with grey skies punctuated with sunshine. In fact, the rain overnight did wonders for the trails, which had been dry and dusty for two weeks. 

So many of you showed up regardless of the weather and supported this important event. As our biggest fundraiser of the year, the success of the Traverse City Trail Festival dictates so much of what we can take on as your advocates, your trail stewards, and as a part of our cycling community. 

We were overwhelmed with your support; we saw over 300 registrations, plus plenty of riders signing up the morning of the race and tour to make it even bigger than last year! 

As the 40 mile race toed the line, we were able to thank our many sponsors for their support, especially Short's Brewing Company. Joe and the entire Short's family have been vital to our mission and events, from their huge support of Glacial Hills, the North American Vasa, our grooming efforts, and always having a case of beer ready to any meeting or rides. 

We also want to thank everyone for their support of our good friend, Dan Morley. In addition to Tom's wonderful speech about Dan's involvement in cycling, riders of all abilities rode as hard as they good with Dan in their thoughts. Much of the McLain Race Team rode the course together to support Dan and his family, greeting every rider and volunteer they met with a "Big Dan Strong!" and a big smile. You also helped to raise of $1,500 for Dan's family yesterday, and helped to ensure he knows he is not forgotten by his cycling friends. 

No one was as motivated to do something special than his teammate and Women's Elite race winner Megan Doerr. Megan had an incredible ride yesterday, confirmed her reputation as one the best singletrack riders in the state, and at 40 miles, the endurance athletes was only just getting started! 

On the Men's side, Jeff Owens and Tyler Weston put on an absolute clinic throughout the day, with Tyler doing much of the pace-setting early on before Owens took the reins and drove the pair away from the field. In a photo finish, Tyler took the win by a fraction of a second, adding his name to the annals of TCTF lore. 

Garrett Jenema took the win in the 25 mile race, but with an uncle like Tim, it's no surprise he knows how to thread through the trees in the Pere Marquette Forest. It was a close run thing, to be sure; the entire top five all finished within ten seconds! 

Beth Grassa headed off a City Bike Shop 1-2 in the Women's 25 mile race, finishing just under two hours and not too far ahead of Cindy Duby. These ladies were absolutely shredding the opening section of the course, powering along the Muncie Lake Pathway section and driving ahead early. 

We're really hoping to see all these riders, and YOU, back in action in the second leg of the NMMBA Trails Series. The second of our three events this summer is on August 19 at with the Glacial Hills Challenge. We're challenging riders to take on all three NMMBA trail races this summer, with Bear Claw Epic on September 22 capping off a full summer of fun in Northern Michigan. More details on the Series here

Like what we've got going on, and maybe want to give a hand? Make sure you join as a member! We're 100% locally operated, and every membership dollar stays right here in Northern Michigan to help create an even better non-motorized recreational experience from Cadillac to Bellare, Traverse City to Leelanau County, and everywhere there's a bike, some dirt, and the will to ride. 

On behalf of everyone at NMMBA, thank YOU for making the 2018 Traverse City Trail Festival presented by Short's Brewing a day we won't soon forget! 

NMMBA Trail Series Sneak Peek: A Moveable Checklist


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.