Behind the NMBS scenes
There are so many acronyms in mountain biking that even the pro racers can't keep them all straight;...
There are so many acronyms in mountain biking that even the pro racers can't keep them all straight; however, "NMBS" is worth remembering since it represents the highest profile national series of off-road races and the majority of the UCI points-awarding mountain bike events in the US. The series' races comprise the meat of most major domestic teams' programs and are also part of the USA Cycling National Mountain Bike Calendar.
Jeff Frost is main man behind Blue Wolf Events, the company that now owns and runs the NMBS. He's based in Salt Lake City, Utah, but his first taste of the national series came back East.
Frost started his racing career in the Maine mountain bike series. "I started as a sport and then won and upgraded to expert," said Frost. "I raced expert for four to five years in New England."
"My first national series experience was in the expert race at Mount Snow. I just loved it: the music, sounds, competition, and the caliber of the competition. It was great to race the guys from all over the nation. It sold me on the value of the national series as a racer."
"I was working in the ski business and riding in the summer. The ski business was figuring out how to keep people employed year-round. I ended up going into management with something I love. For me, it was mountain biking because I raced mountain bikes. The ski resorts embraced the sport, starting in 1989, at Sunday River Ski resort in Bethel, Maine. We began lift serviced mountain biking in the summer. I ran the New England Mountain Bike Series called Trail 66 for years."
"From my race experience, I learned what I liked about events and what I didn't. I started promoting very grass roots events and working my way up."
In a way, you could say Frost graduated to his current position as NMBS director. "I ran many world cups at Mount Snow. I started with the national series about eight years ago as a crew person - banners, signage, technical director stuff. I've grown with the series as it's grown to the point where I own the property."
When not running the NMBS, Frost spends time working for the Sea Otter Classic. "I've been director of athlete services. I run all the competitive events. It's one of my most satisfying experiences. That's my other hat that I wear."
"In this business, it's difficult to make a living off of one event. You try to put your skill set to use at a bunch of different events. I'm working with the Danskin women's triathlon series and am working to develop an event for the city of San Jose, California."
"I've had to learn the business side. It's been hard for me. I've had to learn that you don't always have the resources available to do all the things that the athletes want you to do."
To read the complete feature, including all about the NMBS, click here.
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By Jackie Tyson