Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Old News archives

Building Better Trails for West MI Archive for the ‘News’ Category

The nominations are in! Let’s vote!Monday, November 10th, 2008
Please read and respond with comments to ricejennbud at yahoo dot com. IF there are not enough votes via this electronic process, then voting will also take place at the December 1st, 2008 meeting.

UPDATE: In an effort to make this more anonymous, there is an on-line survey that has been created for people to vote. For this reason, voting is being extended to November 29th. Thank you to those who voted via the email process.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=y_2bfBdIGA41G0iJLyC3vkiQ_3d_3d”>Click">Here is the link to the survey:
Here to take surveyNominations:
Jason Dew - Vice President - accepted
About Jason: [Editor's note: Current and extremely active Western MMBA member, including many hours of trail work.]

Martin Hall - Treasurer - accepted
About Martin Hall:Caledonia, MI
I started riding bikes again in 1998 after a 25 or so year hiatus. It was one of the best things I ever did for myself. I am now turning 50 and am fit, healthy and not on the fast track to a heart attack! Since my return to bikes I have participated in the CPS, Fun Promotions, Tailwind and Kiss Cross racing series. I have volunteered as co-trail coordinator at Yankee Springs (Deep Lake) for a few years, served on the Yankee Springs Time Trial Race committee and for the last year have served as the chapter treasurer.My professional life is in business, I currently am a Business Development Manager for Land O’ Lakes, working with the executive management teams and boards of directors of cooperative members through out Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. I hold an A.S. and B.S. degree in Economics from “The Ohio State University”
I’d like to serve another term as Chapter Treasurer to continue working on and accomplishing some of the fiscal and structural initiatives we have begun this past year. My initiatives for this position in the coming year are:1. Implement a financial accounting/reporting system which can be handed off to the next chapter Treasurer while maintaining consistency, accuracy and understanding without that treasurer being an accountant.2. Establish a system for greater chapter fiscal stabilitya. Budgeting by expense account (trail, event, advocacy, indirect…)b. Monitoringc. Accountabilityd. Growth of our general reserve3. Ride bikes, loosen up and have more fun!

Jennifer Bechtel - Secretary - accepted
About Jennifer Bechtel:My husband and I moved to Grand Rapids, MI two years ago this month from the Dallas, TX area. We were very active in the mountain biking association there, including helping with trail work and racing events and riding in some regular and 12-hr race events ourselves. Since moving to Grand Rapids, we have gotten to know the local trails and been active in the Western MMBA, including being part of the last two years of Yankee Springs Time Trial Committees. I plan on being at the Western MMBA meetings anyway and I am usually taking notes anyway so I accept the nomination of Secretary. I also have experience being the Secretary of other groups, such as my past Denton chapter of the Texas Water Utilities Association.

Nate Phelps - State Rep - acceptedAbout Nate Phelps:Has been Chapter President for two years and Chapter VP for a half year.Current member at large MMBA state board. Working on proposal at state level for increased chapter disbursement. Active involvement in Executive Director review process. Initiating changes at state level to remodel the organization into a lean and stronger group.

A Recap of the 2008 Western MMBA Epic North Country Trail RideMonday, October 27th, 2008
Over the weekend of October 10th - 12th, the Western MMBA held its Epic North Country Trail Ride. It all started on a beautiful Fall Friday afternoon as everyone met up at the Pere Marquette River Lodge, which sits along M-37 in Baldwin, MI. One of the great features of the lodge was the main room, where folks relaxed and mused over the ride information until it was time to head out to dinner. Dinner choices were narrowed down to Smokeys (for ribs, etc.) or Woodys (for pizza, etc.). Having eaten at Woody’s, I can say it would only be fair to place as much emphasis on the “etc.” as the excellent pizza.

After a leisurely dinner, all riders met back at the lodge for the informational meeting in the dining room. Frank, owner and operator of the Pere Marquette, and Rick (organizer of this excursion) covered the details of the trail and transportation options. Trail etiquette and time frames were covered. With an early morning planned, all were glad to hit the hay soon after the meeting.

The carb-load breakfast, courtesy of the lodge (thank you again Frank!), was at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Plenty early so people had time to eat and get their bicycles loaded up. It was dark and chilly outside but everyone was extremely patient with the bicycle-loading process. Once all was ready, it took approximately one hour to motor up to the Marilla Trailhead. Unloading went quickly and the first groups started out at about 9:20 a.m. The beginning was fairly hilly so it didn’t take too long to get warmed up and start shedding layers. The clear trail, lack of sand, and the sight of brightly colored leaves falling in the sunshine really made the day. There were a few mishaps during the ride: a loose seat post, a few people getting lost, the 4 mile miscalculation between the UDell and Freesoil Trailheads…but really not too bad. At Freesoil, a waiting lunch bus provided peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, snacks, and drinks to re-stoke the riders that chose to ride the full 73+ mile option. Those who were happy with their 38-but-actually-42 miles ate and then boarded the bus to be taken back to the Lodge. We later hear from many others in the group that the stretch before Freesoil did seem to go on strangely long. Those warm peanut butter and jelly sandwiches some may have scoffed initially became the best d#*n PB&J they had ever had.

It took the remainder of the day for all the riders to trickle back in at the lodge, where they could clean-up, sit in a chair on the back porch, and enjoy complimentary Founders IPA before dinner (one of the many bennies of being part of the Western MMBA). Those who opted for the full 73+ mile experience were gleefully achy. There are many who thought they would do the full ride but now show no shame that they chose to take the lunch bus back to the Lodge. Dinner was served at 7:00 p.m. I didn’t get pictures of the dinner until they served the pie and ice cream, but I recall pork, mashed potatoes, vegetables, and bread that were really delicious. During dinner we also heard about the large number of fish caught by one of a rider’s son, who opted to spend the day doing what the Pere Marquette is well-known for, guided fly-fishing. For the rest of the evening, some turned in early while others relaxed by the fire pit out back of the lodge. Not a bad ending to an exhilerating day!
Plans are made to make this a yearly event. Just need to get a guarantee on the same excellent weather…

Introduction to Luton Park-Group RideThursday, July 17th, 2008
July 30, 2008
6:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Join us Wednesday Evening, July 30th, 2008 for a “Introduction to Luton Park Group Ride”
Park and meet at the D&W Plaza on the corner of Northland Drive (Wolverine) and 10 mile Road. Look for the wMMBA Banner. Clip in/roll out time is 6:45 PM, so arrive by 6:30 PM. We will roll out as a group and ride to the trail head from here. About 1.25 miles of paved and paved shoulder road. Once at the park we will ride as a group for one lap of the green, blue and orange loops (3.5 miles total single track) stopping for explanations of the work involved to date and future planning plus a bit of history. After completing one lap we will break off into smaller groups and continue to ride some more if interested. Also, the Ski Area is 5 miles away via Meyers Lake Road for the adventuresome. Requirements: bring a mountain bike in good working order, a helmet, water and a snack if needed. Ride canceled if raining. Watch this site and forum for up to the minute updates re: weather. Map to parking and start area:

2nd annual westernMMBA ale and trailFriday, July 11th, 2008
July 19, 2008
2:00 pm
8:00 pm
Saturday July 19th. 2nd annual westernMMBA ale and trail potluck extravaganza. We supply the grills and chapter member Cramer is graciously supplying his backyard for an afternoon of riding, grilling, and general tomfoolery. Bring something to grill for yourself and something to pass- homebrewers this your chance to dazzle us with your best. Meet up at the Cannonsburg Ski Area by the westernMMBA tool trailer.
The group rides start at 2pm. 2 options will be offered.
A - combination of the ski area, the game area, and some hilly roads.
B - same as above at a much more relaxed pace.
After the rides we move over to Cramer’s for the rest of the day. You can either ride or drive to Cramer’s from the ski area parking lot. It isn’t far. Route maps and a map to the Cramer Casita will be handed out in the parking lot.
things to bring-
a bike in good working order
a helmet
drinking water
a garbage bag
beer- for the beer swap
a dish to share for the potluck feast
home brew
something for the grill
a chair
things to not bring-
Come on out and ride.

Cannonsburg Ski Area Skills Park Grand OpeningSunday, July 22nd, 2007
August 18, 2007
10:00 am to 4:00 pm
The Western Chapter of the MMBA will be having a grand opening of the Cannonsburg Ski Area Skills Park Saturday, August 18 from 10 am until everyone gets tired.
If you’ve been meaning to ride skills area but haven’t yet, this is a great opportunity. If you just want to see what all the chatter is about and see someone ride “that stuff” come on out. Come show your skill or pick up tips from other riders.
The chapter will provide BBQ for lunch.
The skills area is located between the two track at the end of the XC trail and the ski hills. It can be accessed by riding the XC loop or by walking from the base of the hill up the two track a few hundred feet.
Like the XC loop, the skills area is free to ride. Just bring your bike, helmet, and sense of adventure.

IMBA in GR and MMBA Expo post thoughtsFriday, February 16th, 2007
I’m pleasantly surprised how well our conference went. When Rick and I started sending out invitations, I wondered if anyone would come. In the end 30 people attended. We started at 11am and were supposed to finish around 1. At 2, a few people were still talking with each other. Score one for the Western Chapter and a big thanks to Todd Scott and Scott Linnenburger from IMBA. The topic of discussion at the conference was ‘Quality of Life’- emphasizing natural surface trails and how trails can benefit health and recreation for West Michigan resident’s lives. The attendee list included a variety of park and rec directors, business owners, and cycling coalitions.
Afterwards we took Scott down to Founders. The opportunity was open to all MMBA members and not that many showed up. Which was kind of disappointing. On a positive note, several Western Chapter trails coordinators and all of the board members were able to spend time speaking with Scott one on one. It’s this type of casual conversation that sparks the imagination. We talked trail design, trail advocacy, a bit about biking.
Sunday, Rick and I traveled down to the MMBA Expo to represent. We had a small booth and quite a few people came by to check out our display. Rick put together a couple of books with trail maps and pictures from the past year at various events. It was simple, but it worked well. Being next to the Quiring Cycles booth probably didn’t hurt us either. Anyhow- we hung to around 2pm and decided it was getting to be a long day. I guess we should have stuck around as I heard second hand that the Western Chapter was given a fair amount of accolades for some many people having FAFL awards. Kind of cool, didn’t really understand how it all worked, and sorry to have missed it.

It’s almost the end of the year. A quick inventory of where we are.Wednesday, November 1st, 2006
Volunteer hours are at 975 hours. Broken down, 135 hours represent administration- website, newsletter, treasury, etc and the balance is in trail planning and trail maintenance. Hours will continue to trickle in until the end of the year and it seems likely we will be right around 1000 volunteer hours for the year. There are 20 members with over 10 hours spent in trail maintenance. Thanks one and all.
A majority of trailwork was performed at the Cannonsburg Ski Area. The old mtb race course has been rehabbed into almost 5 miles of singletrack. Additional singletrack is being planned now for next year. Current guesstimate is 2-3 miles; bringing the total trail length close to 8 miles.
The Hungerford Lake Trail has been much maligned over the years. The biggest reason cited is horse traffic on the mtb trail. Work has started in resigning the trail. Riding clockwise from the trailhead is the best marked for now. New reroutes of shared trail sections will be completed in the Spring of 2007. The pdf of the accepted trail proposal by the MNFS can be read here.
Two new committees were created this year. A race committee was formed to handle the added complexity of the chapter promoting the Yankee Time Trial. The committee is headed up by Yankee co-trail coordinator Martin Hall. Before any naysayer speak, let me say that with the proposed trail projects in 2007 the chapter will rely on the added income. The second committee formed was proposed at the October chapter meeting. The WMMBA now has a Freeride Committee and it is headed up by chapter member Jason Dew. Some of Jason’s trailwork is currently being ridden at Edwards Creek in Greenville.
Strategic planning for the future of the chapter will start in November. We are looking to set goals to ensure continuity in our advocacy efforts. Local land managers need to be able to depend on the WMMBA’s presence. We need to break the start/stop patterns that ensure the halt of forward progress. I hope to adopt a plan for the next few years by February.
Thanks- Nate Phelps President, WMMBA
Posted in News No Comments »
Trail Coordinator ChangesMonday, July 24th, 2006
A couple of recent meetings led to some changes for the Western Chapter. Ionia is back in the Chapter, under the care of Dennis Murphy. Big M is now under the wing of the Western Chapter, Ken Blakey-Shell, is the trail coordinator up there. Finally, Hungerford will be led by Aaron Smith and Nate Phelps.

More ChangesFriday, June 9th, 2006
Rick Plite was nominated to Vice President of the Chapter, and has accepted. Make sure to thank him for his efforts and time when you see him

We’re going through changesWednesday, May 24th, 2006
Recently Dennis Murphy stepped down as Chapter President due to too many obligations and a great need to just get out and ride. He will remain on board to represent the chapter at the State level. When you see him thank him for many years of carrying the MMBA torch on the west coast.
Stepping into the President’s seat will be Nate Phelps, coming up from the V.P. position. He’s already got the ball rolling on quite a few projects, and has been busy rallying the troops and talking advocacy with our local city and county representatives. You’ll be seeing plenty of him at chapter events and out on the trail.
There have also been a few more Trail coordinator changes in the past month. John Haffenden will be letting go of Yankee Springs after many years of overseeing the trail there. He’s going to take over at CGSA because its much closer to his house. It’ll be in good hands. Taking over at Yankee will be Martin Hall and Tim Curtis. After seeing the work they did at the last trail day, I think Yankee is also in good hands. Finally, Jason Mead is taking over at the ski area. He’s already been out there marking trail. We can expect good things.
Trail School June 10 + 11 is the 1st trail school for the Western chapter. For those of you attending, it starts at 9AM and ends at 4PM both days. Lunch provided by the chapter. there are still a few spots open: details.
The trail school will open up season of renovations at the ski area. Permission has been secured for the MMBA to reroute and add trail at will. Jason Mead will be heading up the changes. He was just out there marking new trail with Rick Plite and John Haffenden and it sounds like the groundwork is being laid to make the trail more fun for everyone. We hope to turn the ski area into a sustainable trail with about the same length as the game area. Stay tuned for opportunities to help out.

New Trail CoordinatorsWednesday, March 22nd, 2006
Some changes in trail leadership going on. Tom Landry is joining Jeff Foos out at Bass River. 1st goals are getting the DNR an official map and then some signs, then some strategerizing about what to do about that mud pit in the back section. Up at Edward’s Creek, Troy Gough is taking over. If you haven’t been up there to check out what they’ve done, you’re missing out.