When i received an email from the coordinator of the International Mountain Bike Association, asking me to speak at their annual World Summit convention, of course, i was all over it! What an opportunity to showcase my new bike! It was to be held in Bentonville, Arkansas, and i thought, "Oh man! Hick Town, here we come!" Boy, was i wrong!
My girlfriend and i decided to dive out together with my bike and visit my family along the way. We drove Hwy12 out of Bryce and did a ton of site-seeing. When we drove into Bentonville, we quickly realized that it is super progressive, with tons of bike and pedestrian paths, museums, modern art, astonishing architecture, interesting cuisine and warm community spirit. I had no idea Arkansas was so cool! I wish we had planned a few extra days there and was said when we left.
During my presentation, i felt as if we could have been sitting around a campfire. Mountain bike people are my kind of people and i have never felt so connected with an audience. Everyone asked engaging questions and i came away from the event with some new friends.
Day One we rode Railyard Bike Park and the surrounding trails that circumvent a nearby man-made lake. The forest smelled rich of pine and wet leaves. The trail undulated like a roller coaster and several riders rallied to help me get through some of the narrow sections. Afterwards, i dipped my toes gingerly in the bike park, which is a resurrected old railroad yard, ramps and features built around and through rusted rail cars. After the first run i was hooked! I can't believe a place like this exists!
Day Two we rode Blowing Springs. Everyone was talking about a section of trail called the Back 40, which had just recently been cut and i could not wait to get out there. I arrived late at trail head and found a couple random guys working the expo to ride with me. The trail wound and twisted, creatively following the landscape's features. We hooted and hollered through the fun sections. They threw their bikes down and kept my wheels on the ground in the off-camber side hills and when we finally poked our heads out of the woods at the end of trail it was BBQ and beer time. How fun! I cannot wait to go back!
Here are some more pics. Enjoy!