Dave’s Eggs are all in One Basket. Promoting Through the Snow Plow

Being a race promoter comes with a lot of fancy dinners, wine festivals, fawning fans, interview requests, free schwag, and of course endless amounts of cash. Or, in reality, none of those things. Here’s a look at this year’s short track snow-risk action plan.

-by Norm Zurawski

One thing I wanted to do this year was sit down and give the readers a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to promote a bike race. I’ll be honest – I don’t know what the end-result is for doing this. Several people told me it might be an interesting exercise to give others an idea of what we do. Since it’s raining outside right now, on top of the snow already on the ground, now is as good a time as ever to sit down and do that.

Since the next race on the plate was the March short track series, the 2nd of which was supposed to happen today as I sit here and write this, I’ll make it a view of how things play out when you try to plan a race through the snow season of New Jersey. As it turns out, well, none of the first 3 races happened as planned. At this stage, this is our 5th, 6th, and 7th straight short track cancellation, and it’s becoming more and more obvious that bike racing in New Jersey in March is a thing of the past.

With the reality of weather, it brings a new view on the current short track season and instead of forcing the race, instead of cancelling the race, we decided to take a step back and see how to play this from a broader perspective. Here goes a step-by-step walkthrough of what this ended up turning into.

One: Present things to the team, and be realistic.

One of the things I always want to do as the ringleader of MTBNJ is to have these decisions be something we discus together. After getting a trail report on the day of the first race, then a few days after the weekend, it was obvious this was a long-shot, at best. Even if we got some snow melt, it would be a total mess in the camp. Once we started making these races kid-friendly, we had to be more cognizant of what conditions we hold the races in. This more or less means no ice-track races, no mud fests, no snowmobile trails.

The state of the course, earlier in the week. We’re looking at a solid 8″ there.

Two. Come up with a new plan.

Someone on the team suggested we put our eggs in the one basket of the last Sunday in March, the 31st. I previously agreed to lead a Sterling ride that day, but this trumps that plan. I thought it was a great idea, and after getting the green light from the BSA, we decided that was the direction we would take. Having a plan is the first step in executing it.


Three. MTBNJ announcement on the board. The link can be found below. I also take some time to explain some of the reasoning behind what & why I decided what I did. Link here:
2019 Short Track Date Change – One Race to Rule them All on March 31st


Four. Send an email to the BikeReg mailing list, informing everyone of the new plan. This is basically a shorter version of the link above on the message board. I would copy & paste it here but it’s nothing of note.


Five. Email BikeReg support to ask them to make some changes on the series. You’re not allowed to change the date on an event on your own. You need to work with support to do this. While this adds a step to the plate, I agree this is a better process because it prevents promoters from moving the days randomly and having users come to hate BikeReg for this.


Six. Email the insurance org to ask for a refund on the first 2 races, and to move the 3rd race to the 31st. This is a huge ask, because a massive cost-chunk of these races is tied up here. If they refuse to refund us, we possibly take a total loss on the series. We currently have 3 races insured, and there’s a minimum charge on each one. So this is a triple cost in terms of insurance. Last year they refunded most of the money but you never know what they’ll say.


Seven. The Facebook meme-announcement. Joy did this and it may be my favorite meme she has done yet.

All eggs, one basket.

Eight. Move all the BikeReg users from 1 & 2 to 3. BikeReg support got back to me and I worked with them to export all registered users from the first 2 races and put them in the 3rd race. This ended up causing some doubles, which I told them not to worry about.


Nine. I then confirmed with BikeReg support to move the date on #3 to 3/31. If you’re wondering where that link is, you can find it here:
Dave’s Not Here – MTBNJ’s Short Track Eggs in One Basket


Ten. Call Tim O’Shea.

Who is Tim? It turns out I met Tim when I was down in Kentucky for the Cyclocross National Championship week. I was talking to Sean & Frank O’Reilly in the bike wash line and he introduced himself. I’d forgotten this moment until he reminded me when I called him back the other day. He left 2 messages the previous week, and I never managed to answer his call or get back to him. I wanted to let him know I was listening, and I had gotten his call but I just wasn’t able to return it.

I like to think this is what makes good user experience. But then, we cancelled the race. So…


Eleven. Expand the class limits on the BikeReg page, and reopen the closed classes. There were 4 classes closed due to all the races being put together, so I raised the field limits on all of these and opened up all the fields. I have to imagine some number of people won’t be able to make it on the 31st, so the higher field limits shouldn’t be a problem. I may need to consider spreading out the start times once we get a better handle on how many people will race that day.


Twelve. Remove as many of the double entries as BikeReg would allow. For some reason it doesn’t let you remove some users. I’m not overly concerned about this. We’ll have plenty of people racing that day.


Thirteen. Respond to the insurance request to prove we cancelled the race. They agreed to refund us the first 2 races, less a $50 fee, which I’m perfectly ok paying. This makes the race far easier to pull off, and we should be able to put a little more into swag, prizes, and maybe some coffee, donuts, hot chocolate, etc.


Fourteen. I forgot this one. I had to work out the details with our food vendor, who is still able to make it, which is great. This was going to be a new addition to the race and it would have sucked if we lost that due to the snow. Thankfully Mike can still make the 31st.


Fifteen. Start re-promoting the race. I haven’t really done anything yet, other than writing this article. We’ll need to get more of the word out, see how we can make the race a bit better, and go from there. Hopefully this can be closer to a full-fledged XC race than a no-frills winter race.

I admit I briefly considered trying to get this into the H2H series but I quickly spiked that idea. I’m not doing 40 classes for a Short Track race.


Sixteen. Book an Airbnb for next weekend to ski Belleayre. One door closes, another opens. If it’s going to snow I’m going to make the most of it. We’re going to the Catskills to enjoy a weekend of skiing with some friends.

See you on the 31st for the one short track race to rule them all! BYO eggs.

This is my Short Track #3 destination. See you on the slopes!

Review: Santa Cruz 5010

-by Norm Zurawski

Let’s kick off my very first product review by saying this. Product reviews are new to me. I have been jam-packed with opinions for a very, very long time. I have done book reviews for years, Yelp reviews, and assorted other reviews of things I run across in my life. But I have never sat down and written a product review for the sake of a product review. That would be my disclaimer. Be warned.

The Bike Spec(s)

This will be a review of the Santa Cruz 5010, D+ aluminum, 27.5″ mountain bike. MSRP is $2699, listed weight is 32.95 pounds. As setup, maybe it runs a tad higher than that, but you get the idea.

Product link can be found here.

The product shot. Solid looking bike, nice color IMO.

I rented this bike from Cactus Adventures. I cannot say enough good things about Jennifer, Cactus Adventures, and her whole crew. I rented twice from them and they were nothing short of fantastic.

The bike was setup with an X-Fusion Hilo SL Strata Dropper post. That product link can be found here.

I will link 2 different reviews of that post here. I’ll say that for me, it was 100% solid. The trigger was better than any I have ever used before. It’s sort of like a mini joystick.

An MTBR review of the dropper post.
Singletrack Magazine also takes a crack at this.

The Qualifications – More About Me

So who am I? Why should I be reviewing this bike? Probably you know who I am, but if not, my name is Norm Zurawski, real name Joe. Some of you who read this may not realize my name is actually Joe. I’ve been riding bikes pretty heavily for maybe 15 years. I run MTBNJ.com, both the team and website. In no way am I a product junkie. I am just a guy who rides bikes, riding a bike, then talking about it.

I started a travel blog this year, which can be found here. And the “about us” page on that site can be found here. I travel a lot for work, and we travel a lot for fun. That’s essentially the whole reason I rented this bike in the first place. I was here for work and turned it into fun.

I also promote races, sort of dabble in actual racing at times, but my glory days are over. I ride to have fun, and train mostly for the sake of keeping fit, and to occasionally ride faster-than-normal in some environment.

That’s about the long & short of it.

Here we are, on a hike, which is not like biking at all. Though it’s less like bowling.

The Park – South Mountain, Phoenix, Arizona

I did a review of South Mountain, which I will embed here because I’ve just found this link embedding on the WordPress site. Here’s that post I did for this site a few weeks ago:

My review of South Mountain, Phoenix. TLDR: Yeah it’s pretty cool.

The Rides

I did 2 rides while I was out there, which I posted on my travel blog. Links below:

Phoenix Day 2: South Mountain by Bike
Phoenix Day 5: Back to South Mountain

Me with the bike in question, day 1.

The Review

Ok so all of this setup, let’s talk about the bike and how well it did. I should throw out a few things that always affect one’s perception, and those would be expectations plus experience. My expectations coming into this were pretty modest. I’ve rented bikes before and they’re usually well-maintained but worn out. In this specific case, that was absolutely not the case. The bike was brand new.

My experience in this landscape was amazing. If you read any of the links about South Mountain I wrote, you’ll note that I had a great time out there. The park was fantastic. The weather was amazing. As such, my experience was marvelous. So you have a good setup coming into this, moderate expectations, a brand new bike, and a great experience.

Then again, it would be unfair of me to say that the experience had nothing to do with the bike performing flawlessly, which it did. The bike is not light, at 33+ pounds you know you’ve got some weight under you when you ride up any hill. Having said that, the thing was planted firmly to the ground and I found the 1x drivetrain to be more than enough to get up any hill that we found out there.

In riding this, I have to compare it to my Rip 9, which is the bike I have at home. Compared to that bike, this is a no-brainer. I would swap these bikes in a heartbeat. The 5010 handles better, is far smoother, corners better, and pretty much outperforms the Rip 9 in every regard. The fact that the 33+ pound bike climbs like a champ speaks volumes about the bike design.

It descended really well, which should be taken for granted but I’ll state as much for the record. The terrain we were in wasn’t especially technical, but what we did hit was easily consumed by this bike. The only thing limiting the bike was the pilot. Cornering was far better than I would have expected. All in all, the bike was an absolute joy to ride.

At an MSRP of $2699, I have to admit that I’m sitting here trying to figure out a way to replace the Rip 9 with this bike. It’s well worth checking out, and read the next section to find out more about Santa Cruz bikes.

The Discussion – Jay from Halters

Believe it or not, we can communicate via banana.

As mentioned in my intro, I’m certainly no expert in any of this so I decided to talk to someone who is, Jason Fenton, a good friend of both the team and myself, and the owner of Halter’s Cycles, in Skillman, NJ. Jay has sponsored us for something like 8 years now and is a complete & total asset to the community.

Norm: What are your thoughts on the 5010?

Jay: The latest 5010 has been our most popular bike in the Santa Cruz lineup.  We’ve had the best response from demos when ridden in plus (27.5 x 2.6”) version.  (This bike is also sold with 2.4” tires) It seems to be the sweet spot for suspension travel, weight and durability for New Jersey trails. They make an alloy version and a high end / lighter (cc) version, but the C frame, S+ build (gx eagle 🦅 12 speed)  is the most popular build kit . The 5010 offers the current trend of longer reach, shorter stem, slacker HTA and wider bar.  Coming to this bike from a bike purchased a decade ago, everything is different.   Many riders demo a new bike and have never ridden 1x, plus tires, tubeless tires, dropper post or a dual suspension bike that doesn’t bounce uncontrollably under pedaling power. Basically they are blown away with a huge leap of technology. 


Norm: Do you think this is a do-everything bike for NJ or is it better at some parks than others?

Jay: It really isn’t enough bike for DH parks and it isn’t ideal for XC racing, but as an one-bike-does-all, it’s a winner. Those who lean more toward XC racing might prefer the Tallboy or Blur, while the more park focused rider would go for the Bronson or even the Nomad.  It’s also important to note that Santa Cruz overbuilds their bikes. The warranty count is the lowest of any brand I’ve ever sold. The frames aren’t the lightest, but they are tough or the toughest I’ve seen. They offer a lifetime warranty on Pivot bearings as well.  This shouldn’t be overlooked as this gets expensive in a hurry.  


Norm: What do you think about the Blur as a race bike?

Jay: It is perfect as such, but after riding modern trail bikes, it feels so XC specific that it almost feels nervous on the techy stuff. If considering the Blur, I’d go for the TR version as it goes from the 32mm fork up to the 34 and bumps up the fork travel if only slightly.  


Norm: What does the Bronson offer that the 5010 doesn’t?

Jay: Personally, I actually chose the Bronson as I’ve been eager to spend more time on more technical trails and some park riding.  The problem with the Bronson is that It leaves me wanting a little more XC oriented bike for trails like Six Mile Run.  The Bronson is just enough for most of the DH parks locally which is a lot to offer on a bike that I’ve also ridden on 4 hour XC rides. I’ve been riding carbon wheels on these bikes which helps to overcome the weight and sluggish feel of a 30 lb bike.  While I have the Enve wheels, I have to recommend the Santa Cruz house brand Reserve wheels.  Again, not the lightest made, but they offer a True NO questions asked warranty.  One of my shop guys rides the Sourlands all the time and he’s actually on his 3rd rear rim.  SC replaced 2 so far with zero hassle or cost. At $600 for the rim only cost, it’s awesome to see them up the ante on warranty service.


Norm: Where does the Hightower fit in the Santa Cruz fleet?

Jay: I rode the Hightower just before I had the new Bronson and I loved it. I rode it in 27 plus which they no longer offer stock (but they still fit on the new bikes). They now only sell it in 29er, which is sort of bummer as in our region it was a strong seller. The HT fits in the middle of their offered travel range. It is favored by all around riders, vs XC or park riders.  I look at it as the 29er brother to the 5010 in a lot of ways.  My one complaint of this bike was the constant pedal strikes in the rocks.  I often over-filled the rear shock to stand the bike up a little so to lessen pedal strikes.


Norm: So if you could buy only 2 of these bikes for New Jersey, which 2 would you pick?

Jay: If I was to have a quiver, I’d grab the Tallboy in 29er and the Bronson in 27 plus  (or maybe the Nomad).


Norm: What if you could only buy 1?

Jay: If i was going to try and do it all with one, it would be the 5010 or the Hightower.


Norm: Anything else we should know about Santa Cruz and the line of bikes?

Jay: Santa Cruz is run by mountain bike people first and foremost. They do offer a drop bar bike, but that isn’t their bread and butter. I’ve been out to Santa Cruz and ridden with those guys. The trails that they ride out their front door are insane.  They ride a ton and they totally rip.  They want cool bikes that work well and can take a beating. Their bikes are constantly evolving to create a crazy spectrum of bikes. I’m confident that they are on top of the latest trends and they really offer something for everyone.  


Norm: Do you have any demos that people can try?

Jay: We have demos in the 5010, Bronson, Julianna and the Tallboy, we will likely get a few more by spring. Santa Cruz comes around at least once a year with their big demo fleet. Keep an eye out for those days posted online here.

Join in the Fun – MTBNJ Group Ride at Stephens State Park

-by Chris Brawley

This past Saturday, close to 40 people got together to mountain bike Stephens State Park at 9am. The fact that this many people showed up on a cold, windy February morning, with temperatures in the teens is a testament to the fact that mountain biking is fun and being able to come together as a community is something we value.

Looking around at the group before the ride, I saw all ages, men and women, well mostly men, but we encourage more women to come out. We break into smaller groups to accommodate a pace that folks are most comfortable with. Mountain biking is something that brings us together, that and the need to feel connected with those around us.

It’s this connection with others that has been the most fulfilling for me over the last 10 yrs of mountain biking. In this time I’ve made close friends and met many folks in the biking world willing to offer their time and help. This feeling is something we as a team and myself personally would like to share with the rest of the mountain bike community. Offering monthly group rides gives folks a chance to ride different trails, meet new people and feel connected to a group.

As group ride coordinator for MTBNJ.COM, I enjoy organizing monthly rides, I’ve often said that my fondest memories are those early group rides I would go on, the people I met made me want to get more involved in the sport and kept me coming back for more.

Finally I’d like to say one of the best joys is showing up to a group ride and seeing a lot of people. Join us on our next ride in late March at Sterling, spread the word, bring a friend. Stay tuned for details.

Cheers

The Legal South Mountain, in Phoenix, Arizona.

-by Norm Zurawski

January in New Jersey. I can think of many places I’d rather be in the winter. While I didn’t actively seek a place to go this past January, and really this winter has not been especially cold nor snowy, I was given the opportunity to go to Arizona for a work trip. They really didn’t need to ask me twice on this one. I was all-in, ready to go. Where do I sign up?

When I inquired about Phoenix I was told one thing: Check out South Mountain. Not to be confused with the park in NJ that’s illegal for bikes, this South Mountain is legal, and in fact, very friendly towards bikes. If you’re in New Jersey, it’s admittedly a bit of a haul. But if you’re in Phoenix, it’s actually inside the city limits. Now, I don’t exactly know what’s going on with the city border on the southwest side of the image there, but you can see from the city map that the park sits within the borders of the city.

South Mountain sits fully within Phoenix city limits.

If interested, you can read all about the park here. I’m not going to repeat the information on this post, but the one thing I’ll restate is this – South Mountain Park is the biggest municipal park in the United States.

If you plan to go, a useful link to start with is the Trailforks page, found here. The image below is what the trail system looks like from 10,000 feet. I make a note here that the blacks are legit blacks, and the reds are legit reds. There is no dumbing down of the rating system in this park. Do not ride the red trails unless you are well-aware of what you’re getting into.

The trail system at a glance:

Navigation by the Trailforks app is highly recommended.

Now you have a lay of the land from a high-level view. For the most part, you’re going to want to focus on the right 60% of the map. I didn’t explore the left side, but I did read several reports that said it’s not the best stuff to ride. Specifically, I will list out some of the trails I rode at the end of each section, with a brief comment on each.

I ended up riding the park 2 different days, the first with D on Sunday, January 20, 2019 and the second solo on Wednesday, January 23, 2019. I leave those 2 posts as links to my own travel blog which you can find here. I describe both of the rides below, with a different view than you will find in my personal travel blog posts. The first ride is a more general one, which probably shows much of what the park has to offer, yet still nets you some climbing and a great view at the midway point. The second is a pretty moderate start, a brutal hike-a-bike, then an incredibly fun 30 minute downhill run.

Day 1: The Helipad Out & Back

The plan for day 1 was to start by renting some 5010s (review coming soon) from Cactus Adventures. Cactus is a bike rental “shop” that sets up a trailer in the upper right corner of the Trailforks map above. It was incredibly convenient and they were extremely friendly both times I interacted with them. Once we got the bikes, the idea was to figure out what to do for the day. Brian set us up on the bikes, then gave us a map and a suggestion for a ride that would take us to what he called the helipad. He rode with us out to the trailhead, then took our picture as we got ready to set sail for the day. Behind us you can see the petroglyphs which is why he suggested this spot for the picture.

D & Norm get ready to hit the trails but stop for a quick photo op first.

We started on Desert Classic which would take us all the way along the southern edge of the spine of the hill, which runs down the middle of South Mountain. This is a great way to get your groove on, see the landscape, and enjoy the crap out of where you are, specifically not New Jersey in the winter. The trail is nothing technical and you can truck along at whatever pace you like.

While it is not especially remarkable, it’s hard not to love where you are when you see stuff like this for miles:

You are no longer in New Jersey.

We kept on this trail until we took a short detour on another trail called Secret, which is clearly not secret as it is both well-ridden, and marked on the map. It was here we joined up with 5 other guys that would eventually lead us up to the Helipad that Brian told us about.

Secret took us to Corona Conn, then we went down Corona de Loma to link back up with Desert Classic. From there we hit DC Ray Conn briefly, which took us to Helipad, the last trail to the top. That sounds like more trails than it really is. What you need to know is Desert Classic, Secret, and Helipad. Then we dropped back down Helipad and took Desert Classic the whole way back.

Helipad was a bit of a climb to the top, which apparently is (or was), as you might guess, a helipad. One of the guys who led us up there said that this is where they fly in the helicopters when they have to launch rescue missions out here. It’s probably as good an explanation as any. Here’s what you earn by enduring this climb to the top. One tired girl and an awesome view (BYO Girl):

At the top of the helipad.

We took a break at the top, then dropped back down Helipad, took the connector to Desert Classic, then made our way back to the trailhead where we started. Since we had a little time to spare on our rental, we decided to take an alternate route back and rode Beverley Canyon to an alternate parking lot and took a side route to the rental spot.

In all, this loop gave us a little bit of everything with the exception of a true black/red expert level technical trail. If you are trying to get a good ride to take in the sights but won’t leave you feeling like you went through a meat grinder, this is a great route for you.

Strava link
Miles: 20.44
Elevation: 2037
Time: 2:24:55

Here’s what the Strava map looks like, you’ll need to click the link to see the images in the map below:

The Strava map from day 1.

And here is what the elevation profile ends up looking like. As you can see, it’s a general climb up the whole way out. We didn’t realize this until we started heading back, at which point everything seemed easier.

The elevation profile from day 1.

Here’s a list of the trails ridden, with links to the Trailforks page for that trail:

Out:

Back:

Finally, what couples ride would be complete without a picture from the top?

Selfie time!

Day 2: The National Loop

The second ride in South Mountain came 3 days after this first ride, and I was going to be doing it alone since D had gone home the night before. I considered doing the same ride we had done already but I wanted to see what was up top, so I did a little research and found a reasonable loop that might be a little technical in spots. When I picked up the bike, the same exact one from 3 days ago, the owner Jennifer said it was a decent loop, but that I should edit the end as some of the downhills were brutal-hard. Since I was going to be alone I erred on the side of caution and followed her advice.

I started out the same way we had gone Sunday, but instead of taking Secret or Helipad, I kept going on Desert Classic all the way to Telegraph Pass. It was a nice ride out, which took about an hour and was a great way to warm myself up for the day. Here we are looking from the bottom.

At the end of Desert Classic, looking up at Telegraph Hill.

Telegraph Pass is one of those red trails that is red in theory only. It should probably be ultraviolet or plaid. Nobody on Earth could ride up this, and it would take someone on par with Jeff Lenosky to ride it down. Even carrying my bike up at a few points was an effort. It goes straight up the hill and serves as a way to get up to the good stuff as directly as possible. As difficult as it was, in less than 15 minutes I was done with it.

From the top down, it just doesn’t look that rough. But it is.

Looking down from Telegraph Pass.

From there I took the pavement to the Buena Vista Lookout, which would pretty much be the high point of the ride. Here is the view from the top, the city down below. For the remainder of the ride I would get glimpses of this, which is incredibly unique:

At the top of National, the high point of the day.

From here it would be a downhill run all the way back to the same alternate parking lot from Sunday. First I hopped out on National which was technical from the start. The plan was to ride this first half before taking an alternate trail down, though part of me was deliberating if I should take National all the way, ignoring the advice I was given at the start of the day. After a short while on this, it was clear that if this was the easier part, the hard part would be brutal. There was 1 spot on this trail that I had to get off and walk. I stuck with the original plan.

I split off National and hopped on the Mormon Loop, which was lots of fun. At the end of this I grabbed Javalina to the end of the downhill run, then made my way back to the rental parking lot. The second half of this ride was wall-to-wall smiles, save for the parts I wasn’t sure how in the world to get down the rocky bits. But even then, this run was a blast.

Strava link
Miles: 20.47
Elevation: 2388
Time: 2:18:07

Compared to Sunday, this ride was .03 miles longer, but only 350 feet more vertical. It’s just that all of the vertical comes at the same time. Over the course of 2-3 miles, you add up a large part of that 2388 feet. In all, I rode just about 6 minutes less than 3 days prior. So in the end, these 2 rides are very similar statistically speaking, but very different profiles.

Here is the Strava map. This time you don’t need to click as all the images from this map are embedded in this article. You can see here how the ride skirts the bottom of that spine, then sneaks through a lower point in the ridge, then goes along the north edge of the spine. The route here is ridden clockwise:

The Strava map from day 2.

And the elevation profile. As you can see, you more or less go up for 14 miles, then down for about 5. The wall at mile 11 was the real kicker.

Elevation profile from day 2.

And the list of trails ridden:

  • Desert Classic – solid intermediate trail for almost anyone
  • Telegraph Pass – this is a functional hiking trail that connects point A and B
  • Road – look out your door, it’s just pavement
  • National – possibly the gem of the park, but more advanced than anything else
  • Mormon Loop – intermediate fun as anything
  • Javalina – also intermediate fun, longer of the last 2 I believe

In all, South Mountain was a great place to spend a few days while we were out here. If I ever go back to Phoenix, I will absolutely rent bikes again from Jennifer and Cactus Adventures, then take them to this same park and ride these same trails, then maybe explore some new ones. It was great getting away to a totally new terrain, and it makes me want to check out more of what the American Southwest has to offer, like maybe Sedona next winter.

If you have a chance to come out here, you should jump at the opportunity. I wouldn’t put Phoenix in my top 10 list of places to live. But if you’re here, I would put this park at the top of the top 10 things to do in Phoenix.

MTBNJ Secures First Ever Food Vendor for Short Track Series

-by Norm Zurawski


For immediate release, or whenever we get to it.

Today marks an exciting day in the history of both the MTBNJ Short Track series (yet to be named for the 2019 edition) as well as the New Jersey-based chili scene, and especially the MTBNJ Short Track chili scene. Mountain Man Chili has signed an exclusive deal to be the sole (and perhaps soul, depending on how spicy it is) vendor for the 2019 MTBNJ Short Track series (still yet to be named).

Details of the deal are yet to be announced, but it is believed to be in the neighborhood of $2.5 million (give or take $2.5 million). It is still unclear who will be paying whom.

Mountain Man Chili front-man Mike Moskowitz and MTBNJ front-man Norm Zurawski hooked up last week and worked out the deal, not unlike David Bowie and Freddy Mercury did when they created the hit song Under Pressure, that will see the 2 orgs come together in what can only be seen as an Unprecedented Merging of Awesome (UMA).

This epic UMA will be the 1st ever official event for Mountain Man Chili, which coincides with the 38th event ever put on by MTBNJ. When asked, MTBNJ’s race promoter Norm said, “We’re really looking forward to having Mike & his crew out here for the series. It’s always good to have another participant out here and, I mean, any form of heat is a good thing. Plus it’s really awesome that Mike said I can have free chili at each event.”

When asked for comment, Moskowitz replied, “Huh? Who said anything about free chili?” He later ceded that he might give the series promoter a dollar off. “Regardless, we’re really excited to get out there and share our chili with everyone.”

More details on Mountain Man Chili and founder Mike Moskowitz can be found below.

On Mountain Man Chili

Brand new company (and tested by many extensively)) developed off of a 2nd place win at a local Chili contest this past January. I have been making the same recipe from scratch for years, and by the encouragement of my wife and friends we formed a small company. Attending small venues for the perfect finish after a day outdoors. A homemade mixture off flavors that are sweat and spicy without being over the top.

On Founder Mike Moskowitz

Art Director by trade, mountain biker for life! I ride locally in the West Milford area, having Wawayanda, Ringwood, Jungle Habitat and Sterling as my stomping ground. I have been racing for Team Town Cycle for over a decade and to say hello, just look somewhere in the middle of the pack. In addition I am one of the coaches on the NICA HIGHLANDS COMPOSITE RACE TEAM. BEST TIMES EVER! Watching these kids race is better than racing myself. My son Austin who is also a MTB racer, finished second in his class last year for our team. He also races the Eastern States Cup in Enduro, and is looking to ride collegiately for Lees-McCrea in two years. This isn’t a large company, so most proceeds go for bike parts.

On Chili After the Ride

We will be setting up a small tent with large advertising…12oz cup for $6. with some extras available. I will plan to serve between 60-70 people. If I need to adjust we can figure that out.

Short Track Race Dates

  • March 3: Short Track #1 (Allamuchy BSA)
  • March 10: Short Track #2 (Allamuchy BSA)
  • March 17: Short Track #3 (Allamuchy BSA)

2019 MTBNJ Race Dates

-by Norm Zurawski

Here is a list if preliminary 2019 race dates. At this time, 4 of the 5 dates are set in stone, and by stone I mean sort of a softer stone like soapstone. We are still waiting to hear back on the Stewart date but for right now, we are reasonably sure that this is our set.

  • March 3. Short Track #1 (Allamuchy BSA)
  • March 10: Short Track #2 (Allamuchy BSA)
  • March 17: Short Track #3 (Allamuchy BSA)
  • April 28: H2H Mooch Madness (Allamuchy BSA)
  • May 11: H2H Poison Ivy Mousetrap (Stewart)

Stay tuned for Bikereg links to come!

The MTBNJ Blog Arrives!

-by Norm Zurawski

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…we once had another blog where we tried to post things that were especially pertinent to the community. That was in 2013 and since then, things have changed but one things remains constant: MTBNJ keeps doing things and creating content. Well once again, we’re going to try to maintain a blog.

So what will we cover here?

  1. The weekly “what’s going on” post
  2. Group ride announcements
  3. Race recaps from the team members
  4. MTBNJ hosted race schedules/notifications/recaps
  5. Product reviews
  6. Podcasts
  7. Various other team announcements

So what is this meant to do? We’ve had some commentary that announcing these on the message board makes it hard to pick the information out the sea of discussion. So we decided to move forward with this as a way to address that.

How Do I Use This?

There are different ways you can use this. For instance, you can do nothing and keep watching the Facebook posts or by reading the message board. You can come back now & again and check the blog. Or you can setup an RSS reader as an extension to your Chrome browser.

Wait, how do I do that?

First you’ll want to install this extension to Chrome: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/rss-feed-reader/pnjaodmkngahhkoihejjehlcdlnohgmp?hl=en

Next, you may want to create an account so you can save any RSS feeds you save. Whether or not you do, the last step is to add some RSS items to your feed. Here are 2 to get you started:

  1. http://www.mtbnj.com/news/
  2. http://www.mtbnj.com/podcasts/

And that’s it. Now wait for the content to flood in. Or trickle. In any event, this may help you pick some of the key items out from the flood of information you get on the message board. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me a message!

See you on the trails!