Michigan Trails Week: Vasa Singletrack


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


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! 

The ReViSiT Ribbon Cutting :: August 9


If you ridden the Vasa Singletrack recently, you've probably noticed plenty of changes and re-routes on Traverse City's most beloved singletrack system. After decades of heavy use, it was time for a refresh; it was time to reViSiT. 

Chad Jordan, Tom White, Mike Walters, and dozens of volunteers worked closely with the DNR and trail users themselves to help make some smart, sustainable changes to the trail in order to enhance the user experience, reduce our impact, and make a trail that requires less work while also holding up to more riding! 

With major changes to the Saplings and less-noticeable changes on other parts of the trail, we've accomplished 99% of what we set out to do. That 1% missing? That's the party to unveil it! 

Nobody knows how to throw a party like the guys at Keen Technical Solutions, and we've tagged in their paella experts to offer up the grub at an historic night on the VST. For the first time ever, the weekly Speed of Light ride is moving to singletrack for the ultimate bragging rights. We're inviting all riders in Traverse City to join us on August 9 at 6 pm for a laid-back but still very fast time trail of the new-look VST! 

Riders will start at 30 second intervals, then 10 second intervals for a full loop of the Singletrack. Bring the kids, too; miniSOL will take on the 3 mile Kinglet Loop as soon as the adults are all off into the woods. 

The full loop is 14 miles long, with the fastest times around 55 minutes, with a 65 minute lap considered very strong. 

No matter how long it takes you, there will be a gigantic pan of paella and free beer from Short's Brewing awaiting your finish. Everyone is a winner when we come together in the woods! 

We'll be joined during and after the ride by representatives from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The DNR is eager to see the reception of the trail updates and enthusiasm for mountain biking as a whole; the more bikes on hand, the better for the future of the trails! Make sure you show up, bring a friend, and display the inclusive, supportive, and safe riding that makes Northern Michigan the best place to be a mountain biker in the whole state! 

For more details on the ride, as well as a start list, make sure you head over to the event page on Strava, and check back to our Facebook page for more details. 

ViSiT Updates Taking Shape


Northern Michigan has been given a second lease on summer this week, with perfect riding temperatures and a reprieve from an especially soggy week to start September. Make the most of it, and take a look at some of the updates to the Vasa Singletrack. As a part of our two-year plan to make the Vasa Singletrack more sustainable and more fun, our crew have taken the trail piece by piece and shaped the current trail system to reflect better trail conditions. It's an almost signpost to signpost dissection to address exposed tree roots, sand pits, and stumps to make the trail flow better and hold up better to the peak traffic of autumn.  

Last week, our volunteers took on the opening section of the VST to reduce exposed roots and close tree stumps that have become issues with the trail. It's been a very fun project to address the look and ride quality of the trail, and the feedback we've received has been extremely positive. We've also addressed other sections of the trail, with bigger changes and long re-routes currently in the hands of the DNR in the form a trail proposal. While the approval process takes time, we are able to make these small scale changes to make your experience better today. 

We've also been working with our pals from TART to make changes to the Vasa 25km over the past few weeks in an effort to reduce erosion. Not only will these efforts make the riding experience better, but reducing the depth of the trail bed will allow for more consistent grooming conditions and a more even base for groomers this winter! 

The next time you head out into the woods, give the VST a spin and let us know what you think!