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2023 Traverse City Trails Festival Recap: Thank You!

Published on 10/1/2023

A new date, a new venue, but the same great vibes. This year’s Traverse City Trails Festival presented by Stone Hound Brewing was the biggest edition of the race yet! With riders from across the state and representing just about every level of experience, this might have been the best TCTF ever! 

How It Went Down

When you schedule anything in late September, you’re rolling the dice. September 30 could just as easily be 40 degrees as 60 degrees, and clear skies are relatively rare. The NMMBA board dialed up the good stuff this year, with perfect temperatures and brilliant sunshine all day long. 

The course was in exceptional shape, too. Spearheaded by Tom White and Mike Walters, NMMBA’s volunteers have been in the woods for weeks getting the 15 and 25-mile courses dialed in.

A record-setting 346 riders lined up at Timber Ridge, so many that we decided to break up the start into several age-based waves, a move that appears to have kept things from getting too bottled up.

It was an aggressive start for the Elite men and women, led by Jorden Wakely, Sean Kickbush and Garrett Jenema. Heather Compton and Erica Spore make the most of early singletrack to prize out a lead, while the chasers rode in ones and twos to stay in the game. 

While the Trouee de Madeleine/Mount Gary segment certainly split things up, the MSB CW Singletrack cemented some of the early gaps. After some climbing on the 25km, it was back into the singletrack from some over an hour of interrupted singletrack. The full Holy Grail and White Meat section is nearly ten miles long and took even the fastest riders about 45 minutes to push through. As fatigue set it, this is where things got serious. 

The Results

While the Elite men gave it the beans, there was no stopping Wakeley. The Giant of Grayling came in with a comfortable 5-minute cushion and a ridiculous 1:47:45 time. Last year’s winner Garrett Jenema was home second, just a few minutes clear of Sean Kickbush and Kyle Macdermaid. 

Erica Spore cruised in for the win at a time of 2:11, with Heather Compton holding off Abby Sigal, Megan Doerr and Kati Hodgson for the second spot on the podium. This may have been the most talent women’s elite field yet, buoyed by starts from Supermom Chelsey Scott and Valerie “Of Course I’m On a ‘Cross Bike” Hyrman, plus local legend Laura Webb. 

Ride of the Day

We’re giving the game ball to Einstein Cycles’ Levi Young. Not only did he come from Wave 3 to go under the 2-hour mark, but he also did it on Dave Hagan’s singlespeed. What a way to remember our friend. Well done, Levi. 

One-hundred Riders in the 15 Miler!

We were thrilled to have over 100 riders throw down in the 15-mile race this year! From a slew of Norte Varsity riders gearing up for Iceman to some adults getting into (or back into) this racing thing, what a great showing! 

From Everyone at NMMBA, Thank You!

This year’s TCTF was a full-team effort. From the board to our dozens of volunteers, sponsors and a mix of local and visiting riders, we view the Traverse City Trails Festival as part race, part fundraiser, but entirely about community. 

So, what next?