Monday, July 8

Journey to the Center of the Mountain Bike Capital of the World: Part Three

Day six.

Leaving the tranquil peace of Mount Nebo and headed to Bentonville.  We were aware that the meat of the Bentonville trail systems had been gutted by the tornados a little over a month ago.  Coler and Slaughter Pen were off the menu, so with just the Back Forty and Hand Cut Hollow being the only real Bentonville/Bentonville-adjacent options, we decided to hit Kessler Mountain in Fayetteville on the drive north.

The layout of the trail system seemed "obvious."  

This here trail is probably the main up over here, these are the "descents," this is the connector to the other "descents..."

What a chunky place.  You could still smell the "Walton money" here and there, but there were plenty of raw sections.  The parts where I thought I might be able to let it roll had plenty of pointy, fuck-faced rocks trying to push my back up the mountain.  Quite a taxing place to ride in the heat, but a fine substitute for some of what we'd be missing in Bentonville.

We chose The Bike Inn for our van life accommodations in town.

I can't say the bidets were the main reason we chose it, but they had me at "bidet."

They also had a feral cat that wanted to experience van life.

Comparing my rotor burn pattern to the rotor.  I think I woulda leaned in a little more had a realized the opportunity to get a sweet brand.
Day seven.

Back Forty.  I've only been up there the one time for the Ozark Epic 50 with Watts.  I had no idea which bits I'd seen, but I chose the Tunnel Vision side based on nothing more than knowing there was a "hub" at the center, and generally speaking, "hub" means the top of some fun stuff.

I'm an idiot.
I think after we went through our third or fourth tunnel, I finally realized why the trail was called Tunnel Vision.

Twenty seven miles with three thousand feet of dick-punching climbing in the humidity and heat sucked out our souls.  By the time we'd done most of the loop and cut through the hub, we just kept rolling.

Putting our souls back in place.  We'd seen this spot earlier from the trail and both has the same idea.

Day eight.

I did a trbl job documenting our time in Hand Cut Hollow.  A more "typical" Bentonville feel for sure.  A hub based trail system with a gentle return line and plenty of Walton money descents.  We were still dealing with the heat tho, and Bill Nye had enough pretty early on.  I decided to ride back to the Bike Inn, if only so I could ride by Slaughter Pen and see how the tornado recovery was going.

I got sucked into a trail system that wasn't marked as closed only to find nature had taken care of making that obvious.  I ended up riding through downtown, hit the All American Trail, rode my bike to the top of a building...
because in Bentonville, of course you can?

Also found a pump track.

Obvs, I pumped it.

Not the most thrilling way to end a trip, but eight days of riding and van lifing in the swampy southeast do take a toll.

Overall, a great time tho.  The worst injuries being chigger bites, rotor burn, and sweating.  I saw some new stuff, and definitely regions I'd love to hit again.  Surely, not the same as a trip out west, but a lot less driving between destinations.

Now fully back in normal life mode and also watching all my chigger bites slowly heal.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Arkansas has a lot of really good trails but Bentonville is highly overrated IMO. This area was excellent for mountain biking before the Walton grandkids began commercializing it all.