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.

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

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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!

A Traverse City Trails Festival Thank You!

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After so much work, so many smiles, and so many new friends, the only thing we can really say is thank you. 

The third annual Traverse City Trails Festival presented by Short’s Brewing offered us another chance to come together to celebrate a world-class outdoor experience right here in our backyard. For the second year, rain threatened in the forecast much of the week and overhead on race morning, but we were lucky to stay dry and enjoy perfect temperatures. Just like we ordered up, we promise! 

With over three hundred riders and racers signed up online and another few dozen signing up in person on Friday and Saturday at Ranch Rudolf, we were thrilled with the support our community has given to this event. It’s different, and especially at race pace, it isn’t easy; to see this many locals show up and pedal is really something special. With the new 15 mile route, we were really happy to see so many people make this their first race, and to those who made their race debut, congratulations! 

Of course, we had plenty of veterans on the line, and the sheer speed of the fields from the 40 and 25 mile events were extremely impressive. After our two recon rides in the past two months, we were expecting to see winning 40 mile times around two hours and forty minutes, with 25 mile times hovering around one hour and fifty minutes or so. Both of those benchmarks were blown away this year, a real testament to the skill and fitness our cycling community has to offer. 

Jorden Wakeley was the only rider to break the 2:30 mark, coming home in 2:29:06 to take home the TCTF title. On the women’s side, Kaitlyn Patterson won an absolute thriller! She was just two second clear of local hero Megan Doerr, who was just two seconds clear of third place Laura Webb! After a brutal 40 miles, to see the podium separated by just four seconds is incredible! 

Things were equally close in the 25 mile races. Kyle MacDermaid took the Men’s Expert category with a perfectly timed sprint to inch out John O’Hearn for the win, ending up seconds clear of the M22 rider with a time of 1:40:16. The O’Hearn household will have plenty to talk about until next year, because Erica was in the same boat. She was just narrowly out-sprinted by City Bike Shop’s Shannon Kochis, who put down a time of 1:53:52. 

We had hundreds of riders race and tour without any concern to their results, as well. We have to thank everyone for their positive, inclusive camaraderie, especially when the courses overlapped. We did hear about some back-ups in the singletrack, but so many also involved a lot of friendly interactions and safe passing. 

At the line, our Team Bob’s Chillers were a big hit. We’ll have our post-race smoothies back for 2020, as well as GT Cycles’ granola and bananas! We sold over 100 paella lunches thanks to the Keen Technical Solutions guys, all washed down with Short’s Brewing Company’s finest offerings. 

This certainly isn’t the end of the fun, either. You’re less than a month away from our second annual VST TT! On Thursday, August 15, join us at the Vasa Singletrack for the second edition of our time trial with the Speed of Light crew; it’s the only time of the year that SOL leaves the Pathway, and it is the perfect time to really see just how fast you can complete the full loop! 

That’s a well-timed tuned up ahead of August 18 and the Short’s Glacial Hills Challenge. This Championship Points Series stop is also the second of three races that highlight NMMBA trails system in the NMMBA Trail Series. You can check all the boxes by hitting Glacial Hills and keeping the momentum going for the Bear Claw Epic, Cadillac Pathway’s biggest fundraiser of the year! 

On behalf of everyone here at Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association, thank you for support the Traverse City Trails Festival and helping us bring our region some of the best trails in the Midwest. We’ll see you back at Ranch Rudolf in 2020!


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!