Pump Tracks, Downhill and Trail projects!
Pump Tracks, Downhill and Trail projects!
Only a few weeks until the first race of the season.
MiSCA is sponsoring a team competition for racers 11-18. Make up your own team of 5 in the Beginner and Sport categories and we will count the top 4 riders of your team.
Update from the Director
First, I want to say thank you to everyone that participated over the last few years to help MiSCA get going, whether that be as a volunteer, coach, rider, parent or sponsor. We couldn’t have done it without you.
MiSCA is now an independent non-profit organization which means we are no longer under the umbrella of the MMBA. It also means we no longer enjoy any financial or organizational support from them either. We rely 100% on donations, sponsors, and race entry fees to support our existence. This is also true for how we run MiSCA, everything is done through volunteers, unlike some other race organizations. But the MiSCA board is finding it increasingly difficult to continue to devote the time necessary for MiSCA due to personal and work obligations. We need your support, particularly in the area of fund raising and race organization and management. Please consider volunteering to help MiSCA grow.
In 2013 we have a number of changes planned for the races, from race categories, venues, rules, and cost and team structures. We will continue to partner with USAC, the official cycling race organization in the United States.
Changes for 2013 include:
[i] Students not holding a USAC annual junior MTB license will pay $5 extra on race entry
With MiSCA racing being a fall sport, it is important to begin recruiting now, in the spring season, for team members. We will be updating our website to include some recruiting tools, FAQ’s, etc. that might be helpful when planning a recruiting drive or even if you are just interested in starting a team. MiSCA is more than happy to help in any way we can, including being available for team or parent info sessions. Just let us know when and where and we will check our schedules.
I will send out more information as we post it but check out some of the other articles for great information about the race schedule and more team opportunities this spring.
See you on the trails,
Much of what the MMBA does is made possible by donations and work of various sponsors. If you know them or patronize their businesses, please give a thanks to them for their support of mountain biking in general and the MMBA.
At this point in the year we can applaud the following:
Gold: Armadillo Printwear, Iceman
Thanks again to all of our sponsors big and small.
The Michigan Mountain Biking Association is pleased to introduce to the state our two new associate directors for Advocacy. Laura Papenhagen and Nicholas Occhipinti will work with MMBA advocacy director Ted Welsh to monitor legislation and be involved in the various advocacy activities necessary to maintain and grow our access around the state. Both come with a wealth experience and enthusiasm. Ted will be meeting with them to divvy up responsibilities and tasks. Please welcome them to the team!
Laura Papenhagen currently serves as Attorney Team Lead for First Recovery Group, a healthcare cost containment company in Detroit, Michigan. Laura manages a team of attorneys that act as a liaison between Medicaid and Medicare and their managed care providers in order to find creative ways to economically maintain this vital piece of healthcare. Laura recently moved back from San Francisco, where she served as the Academic Faculty Manager for Kaplan Test Prep. Her responsibilities included recruiting, hiring and training instructors to teach graduate level test prep courses. Laura graduated with honors from both the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and Brooklyn Law School, New York City. She is currently a licensed attorney in the State of Michigan. After work you can find Laura teaching a yoga class or hitting trails at Maybury State Park or Brighton Rec. Throughout the summer, this weekend warrior hightails it up to Marquette and Copper Harbor, for exceptional mountain biking and craft brews.
Nicholas Occhipinti is currently the Policy Director at the West Michigan Environmental Action Council in Grand Rapids, MI. He is trained in economics and public policy, with a strong background in innovative energy thinking and policy. He has worked around the country for energy thought leaders including the Rocky Mountain institute, an energy policy think tank, and the Hawaii State Senate Energy and Environment Committee. In Michigan Nicholas served as a liaison for Governor Granholm to the State Economic Growth and Development through Energy Efficiency Task Force. In his current role as Policy Director for the West Michigan Environmental Action Council Nicholas has engaged community leaders, citizens, and local, state, and federal officials on today’s key energy policy issues. His policy work since has largely focused environmental policy. Occhipinti holds a Master of Public Policy from The Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. He is an avid mountainbiker, kiteboarder and outdoor enthusiast regularly shreddin’ Luton Park, Merrel, Yankee Springs, Fort Custer, Robinnette’s, Edward’s Creek and more.
The MMBA is proud to announce our new Trail Guide. This radically improved map-based guide is designed to help mountain bikers find ridable trails in Michigan.
Our new Trail Guide can be found here, or at the link in the side bar:
Developed as a winter-time volunteer project by professional web developer Jeff Lau (UselessPickles on the MMBA Forum) this guide is designed to let users explore what our state has to offer, easily finding information about each trail. One can quickly identify trails in an area, drill down to detailed info on each trail, and get directions to help navigate to new places. Some of the trails even feature an overlay of their trail map. (Click here to see a trail with an overlay.)
The new Trail Guide has been filled with information gathered from the old MMBA Trail Guide, MMBA member organizations, Trail Coordinators, and public websites. We’ve done our best to ensure the data is as accurate as possible, but there may details or complete trails that we may have missed.
If you see something that is missing or incorrect, have questions about the guide, or just want to let us know what you think of it, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We have set up a topic here on the MMBA Forum about the Trail Guide which includes basic tips, Frequently Asked Questions, and a place for public comment and discussion. While this first release of the Trail Guide site does quite a bit we’re going to be adding new features in the future and will be looking at your feedback for ideas and direction on what you find important and want to see next.
At the annual expo this past January, the board arrived at a goal of making the MMBA relevant to individual mountain bikers statewide. The MMBA is the umbrella organization which can be the central repository for documentation, presentations, etc., for lessons learned within each chapter. The MMBA can pass on the information to other chapters so they can learn from success of various activities whether trail design, how to approach land managers, information on preparing presentations. Additionally, set-backs or losses can be learning experiences and should be retained for future reference. The MMBA is the tool to do that. In this regard, I would ask the chapters that if they have trail proposals or success and failure stories, to document these in some sort of presentation and the MMBA can upload it to the online library which is accessible to other chapters for reference.
Other actions in process to facilite relevance and function
1. Two new persons will appointed to the Advocacy team as associate directors to assist Advocacy Director Ted Welsh. (More on this in subsequent news releases).
2. The board is reviewing some changes to the MMBA forum. The changes may be minor but ADVOCACY is moving to the top as the first section of the forum. The forum is still a valuable communication tool.
3. Michigan Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. This will be added to the MMBA website. The plan is to present the Hall of Fame awards at the annual expo in 2014.
4. Finally, and most importantly, there continue to be threats to our trails and access at the state level. Most recently was the equestrian bill which died in legislature in Dec 2013. Without a concerted and allied effort by all mountain bikers statewide to fight issues that affect our sport on state lands, such bills could be enacted. The MMBA is the mechanism for every chapter to join forces for statewide issues affecting us. Even as we advance trail access locally, we still want to protect the state land trails from damage or elimination. In this regard, we are working to gain access to the Trails Advisory committee.
Finally, one major concern some mountain bikers had (one I shared) was the relationship to IMBA. IMBA was active internationally and nationally with regards to federal issues, but it didn’t appear that they did much to assist with local advocacy. This appears to be changing. Under the new “IMBA Chapter” programs, the regional representatives are getting more involved in the hard legislative advocacy efforts. This appears to be a natural evolution of the IMBA chapter programs and one which I applaud. IMBA (Andy) was key in leading the charge to add mountain bike information to that recent draft of the trails commission. If another piece of legislation arises that threatens access or damage to trails, IMBA, partnering with the state level MMBA, will work together to fight for our sport.
The MMBA was founded in the late-80s/early-90s by a small group of mountain bikers to advocate for our sport. The threat at the time was a statewide ban by the DNR which would outlaw mountain biking in all state parks and recreation areas. At the time, these areas were the best venues for riding. Over the years, MMBA lobbying and efforts on the part of numerous members molded the MMBA’s progress and facilitated growth in the sport and protection of our access. Factors that did so included the weight of having a statewide group speaking for the mountain bike community with one voice. Additionally, advocacy and access proposal were captured in a lessons-learned manner so advocates in other parts of the state could learn from (and use) actions of success accomplished in another region. Trail building and design were codified using established sustainable principles. Presenting this scientific approach also bolstered the MMBA as a spokesperson for mountain bikers statewide.
Over the years, as mountain biking became mainstream and access on state lands became somewhat standard (though maybe stagnant for growth), I think the mountain bike community became complacent. Further, seeking additional areas of access, the advocacy efforts shifted to local areas such as county parks and municipal properties. I think the ability to access these local venues was a direct result of the two decades of work mentioned above as well as the view of mountain biking as mainstream.
Another MAJOR contributor to our success was MMBA volunteers! Very few other organizations demanding access to lands for recreation put in the actual physical contribution to their sport. The trails we ride are, for the most part, are actually created and maintained BY volunteers and as such cost the land managers zero dollars while in some cases bringing in money in terms of park sticker fees, etc.
That last aspect is what I think has gradually become lost. The MMBA was always a MEMBER DRIVEN organization. From top-down, it was members who made up the board, the chapter boards, the advocacy teams. But the actual operation of an organition takes a toll. Members get burned out even as functions need to be maintained. The MMBA was mired in insurance and membership issues which took up a lot of time. In the meantime, as chapters became successful on the local level and access remained solid on the state level, I think there was a thought going around of, well, …
“Why an MMBA”?
I think we can answer this question in the next installment. Stay tuned!
Dennis B Murphy, President MMBA
Thanks to all who attended the annual MMBA Expo in Lansing Sunday. The event was a success. Many mountain bikers brought their items to sell at the swap meet, kids of all ages rode the pump track. Kudos and thanks to the volunteers who organized the expo, spent time constructing the pump track and managing the events. Andy Williamson, IMBA representative, held a two hour presentation on club management to inform the chapter attendees how to organize and avoid volunteer burn-out.
As we progress through this erratic Michigan winter weather, remember to avoid trails during warmer periods to avoid causing erosion and trail damage.
Several Michigan promoters have fat-bike events over the next month or two- if you don’t ride one, attend an event and cheer the racers on.
Coming up in the near future, announcements regarding new board members, advocacy team updates, and other MMBA ideas in process.
January 27, 2013
Michigan State University Pavilion
4301 Farm Lane, East Lansing, MI 48824The Mountain Bike Expo is open to the general public. It’s a great opportunity to connect with passionate cyclists, find great deals with vendors and celebrate the advocacy efforts of the past year. This year’s Expo will feature:
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