VST

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!



Choose Your Champion: Taco Competition Added To VST TT!

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On Thursday, August 15, we’re having a fiesta. It’s part time trial on our reworked, beloved Vasa Singletrack, located on Supply Road in Traverse City, Michigan. It’s also partly a membership drive, a way to bring people together and get them face-to-face with other members, volunteers, and our board. But just as importantly, it’s a fiesta, and since we take our fun very, very seriously, we’re adding a not-too-competitive twist on it this year: a taco competition. 

While you may not be able to threaten the leaderboard on the Vasa Singletrack, don’t worry, this is your time to shine. Around 7:30, once the bulk of the day’s riders are back from their hot lap around the VST, we’ll come together to enjoy another form of athleticism, the ability to throwdown ten tacos in no time. 

Here’s how it works. We’ve identified ten clubs or teams in Traverse City, and we’re inviting each squad to nominate a champion. In ancient times, tribes and nations would send their strongest warrior against the best fighter from another tribe, with a winner-take-all, single combat showdown deciding everything. It’s kind of like that, but with ten champions. Each champion will face ten tacos, and whoever knocks them down first is the winner. 

We’re asking each team to donate $200 for a chance at this amazing honor, with all the money going straight to NMMBA and the trails. Then, we want you all to show up to cheer on your champion, whether you’re up for putting down a hot lap on the VST or not. Yell, scream, and urge your teammate to glory...or at least not vomit. To cover your $200 entry fee, show up with cash or check, or indicate your team champion in the notes when you donate online here

If you do want to earn those tacos, or give the refreshed Vasa Singletrack a go, make sure you’re at the Supply Road Trailhead by 6pm. This VST TT is a big deal; it’s the only night of the year that the Speed of Light crew leaves the Vasa Pathway and hits the tight stuff. They’ll kick stuff off first, with their top WorldTour riders going in points-order. The first ten riders will go in one-minute intervals, with everyone else taking off in thirty-second intervals. We’re encouraging everyone to seed themselves; if you’re going for it, get up front. If you’re there to party, make light a mullet and hang at the back. 

You in? Of course you are. Here are all the details you might need to know. 

-The latest Speed of Light WorldTour standings are here. Check to see who is ahead of you and behind you to make it easier when you line up. 

-Sign up your CHAMPION right here.

-Want to join up? Make our August membership drive a success join OR renew right here.  
-RSVP to the event on Facebook, and stay in the loop with any changes.

Michigan Trails Week: Vasa Singletrack

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Michigan Trails Week rolls on with a Traverse City landmark!

Ask nearly any local mountain biker where they learned to love mountain biking, and it’s a pretty safe bet they’ll smile and tell you about their first time on the Vasa Singletrack. Located on Traverse City’s east side on Supply Road. The trailhead serves as a gateway to the Pere Marquette Forest, with a marked trail offering riders a place to twist and turn on natural, well-maintained trail that seems to magically appear through every turn.

That marked trail also connects to the Vasa 25km Pathway in two locations, as well as ties into untold miles of unmarked trails, many of which also connect to gravel roads and the K to TC Trail. The 12 mile marked trails are a sort of spine from which any number of other nerves spread out!

The VST you ride today is a far cry from the state of the trail even two years ago. Our reViSiT project, just completed this fall, has refreshed a trailbed that had taken decades of abuse without necessary work to fix and improve it. Working with the DNR, we were able to make re-routes and add changes that breath new life into the trail experience for bikers, runners, and hikers.

Of course, a huge part of what’s changed the VST and NMMBA over the past few years has been our ambitious winter grooming program. Our grooming has offered fat bikers an unparalleled chance to ride all year long, and thanks to NMMBA members, badge supporters, and partners like Short’s Brewing have allowed our volunteers to put in hundreds of hours to make the trails simply amazing, every single day.

Work with winter grooming has also played a part in our partnership with the Michigan DNR to offer floating trails and put on what has become our keynote event, the Traverse City Trail Festival. The TCTF is a chance for mountain bikers of all abilities to come together and explore 25 and 40 miles of trails that are marked just one day per year! The TCTF has become our biggest fundraiser of the year, and the success of the event and the course has increased our design work for events like Mud, Sweat and Beers, and now, the Iceman Cometh Challenge.

The VST was the trail that really started it all, for individuals and for NMMBA. We can’t wait to see what this trail can offer our community for generations to come!

Thank You For Attending the Vasa Singletrack Ribbon Cutting

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Wow! We had no idea how many people would make it out to our Vasa Singletrack Ribbon Cutting last Thursday, but we were blown away! 

Over 100 riders showed up and enjoyed a rip on the reworked Vasa Singletrack. As you know, we've spent over two years getting the right permissions, studying usage and traffic, and making the right changes to the beloved Vasa Singletrack, located on Supply Road in Traverse City. Thursday's ride welcomed the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to see just how much we love our trails, plus that we can get around the 12 mile loop pretty quick, too. 

The Speed of Light Ride made its first-ever trip to the VST Thursday night, inviting riders to see how fast they can make it around the VST. The ride saw riders from young teens to wily veterans into the their 60s take on the route, posting times from as fast as 50 minutes to over 90 minutes, and everywhere in between! 

All the chatter in the parking lot, aside from the delicious grub from Keen Technical Solutions, was just what reworked section was their favorite. Maybe the most vociferous camp campaigned for the new re-route around the Saplings, and it's hard to argue. The new trail by-passes the sandy, rooty, blown out section and replaces it with more elongated and sustainable trail that is a lot more fun to ride! 

There are also a few new section between posts 1 and 2 that are really getting really well ridden in, which everyone commented has eliminated the numerous sandpits that totally changed how the opening miles of the trail rode. Those sections were especially important to fix because of who rides it; the 3 mile Kinglet loop sees a lot of beginners and kids, so giving them a fun, smooth ride is important for growing the sport and encouraging them to stick with it and take on longer and longer rides. 

Dave 'Sunset' Scott and Beth Grassa earned the prestigious Golden Sombreros for their speedy times! We're hoping to make this an annual event, so make sure you stay tuned for a day next year. 

We have a TON of photos, so make sure you grab one of you or your pals! There's a full Google gallery here. 

See You At The Vasa Singletrack Ribbon Cutting + Celebration!

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No doubt you've heard about it, and now it's time to get even more excited about it! Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association is inviting everyone and anyone with a love of the trails to join us at the Vasa Singletrack on Supply Road this Thursday, August 9 at 6pm to unveil the refreshed, retooled, revisited VST! 

As you may know, we've spent over two years getting permission to change and re-route certain worn out sections of this trail system in order to offer a more fun and enjoyable experience for riders of all abilities. The exposed roots, sandpits, unsustainable sections, and just plain tired portions of the VST needed to be redone. After working with the Michigan DNR and putting in countless hours of digging, trimming, and reshaping, the trail is better than it has ever been! 

This Thursday, the weekly Speed of Light ride that normal does a lap of the Vasa 25km Pathway is moving over to Supply for a one-lap time trial of the VST! They'll be going all out, one at a time, to see who can put in the fastest time on the trail. Want to give it a shot? Show up at 6pm and they'll get you queued up for your shot at a flying fast time! Riders will start at 30 or 10 second intervals, depending on where in the start list you're at. 

Don't want to give it the beans? We'll let anyone who wants to go as a group start together as soon as the last time trialer heads out; we're expecting this to be no later than 6:20pm. Ride with friends, meet new people, and take this chance to ride the VST on its 'debut' night at your own pace! We'll have the legendary Brad Miller from City Bike Shop Racing riding as our designated sweeper, so you're guaranteed not to be left in the woods (and to hear some great riding stories if you end up with him!). 

We'll also have plenty of kids taking on the 3-mile Kinglet Loop directly after the adults are off! This is very much a family-friendly night in the woods, so bring the lil' shredders out for a ride and some food when they finish up! 

You will want to get back to the parking lot, however, because we're going to have food and drink provided by Keen Technical Solutions and Short's Brewing Company! Hang out, eat really good food off the grill from Max's Service, and meet all your fellow mountain bikers. We're also going to spend just a little time thanking all of our wonderful volunteers! From trail work to board meetings, grooming to trimming face slappers at the height of summer, this is your chance to thank the men and women who make our world-class trail experience possible! 

Riders with Speed of Light WorldTour points will start first, with unseeded riders starting based on their own seeding after all the SOLers are off; if you're feeling good, try to be toward the front! You can see the WorldTour standings, which serve as a sort of start list, here

 Questions? Send an email to communications@nmmba.net and we'll help you out!