After riding Iron Mountain, I headed off to meet the guys after dinner to check in with them at the hotel they were staying at. We figured out where we were shredding the next day, and I went out to the van to sleep for the night. Because of the noise in the area, I decided to use the iOverlander app to find an off grid place to stay and ended up having uninterrupted sleep! This was my view in the morning instead of the view of the hotel with the hookers!
I met up with Greg, Mike, and Chad in the morning and we made our way to the LOViT Trail system for a day of epic riding! Thankfully there were no drug dealers at the trail head. The views from this lookout were absolutely amazing and I highly recommend this trail for either a day MTB ride or bike packing. Day rides are going to be out-n-backs unless you plan and drop a car.
On our journey at LOViT we smashed a lot of elevation, tried to ride the wall in the picture above, and came across signs that let us know there was a gun range nearby! Check out all the action in the video below!
After this epic day we stopped and refueled at a Pizza Hut and then made our way to our next stop for sleeping. I don’t know what your favorite pie is, but mine is ham and pineapple pizza. As you can see in the pictures, we have been dressed in layers because the mornings were unseasonably cold, below freezing, so some of the nights were a little cold in the van without being plugged in! If the temp was too cold in the van I would have to get up and turn it on to run the heat.
The next morning, day 3, we made our way to the Ozark National Forest and Upper Buffalo Head Waters Trail System. I was a little weary at first because the higher we went, the colder it was getting. It was also windy, and with it being 18 degrees with the wind made for a pretty cold start!
In the end it was well worth it to see the ice cliffs, the awesome waterfall, the steepest downhill I had done to this point in my life, and the fun river crossings! Check out the action below.
Next we made our way north to a small little town near Syllamo MTB Trail System and had an amazing dinner at a Mexican restaurant. It was the best service and wet burrito I have ever had in combination. I was actually thinking about coming back just for another wet burrito, and maybe we will one day wen I know the trail has seen some love.
We woke up in the morning ready to tackle yet another new trail system, Syllamo, after 20 minutes on the trail, many trees over the trail and pricker bushes scratching us, we made the team decision to go back to the vehicles and drive to Bentonville to hit the Back 40 on what was to be the best weather day we had so far! Check out how great the Back 40 is in the video below. The Back 40 was also the place where all the flat tires started.
After we kicked it on the Back 40, I made my way back to my van and had a snack and then went out to explore the sweet pump track and the trails around Blowing Springs. The pump track was an absolute blast and I could not stop riding it! The Blowing Springs trails were more technical and ledgy than I expected. I had my handlebars clip a tree and thought I was going over the edge at one point, watch that action below.
I am pretty sure I missed the group for dinner this night and made myself something nice in the warm van, it was amazing to be plugged in so that I could keep the van at a good temperature so that I did not have to turn the van on in the middle of the night to heat it up. Day 4 was a long one, from the initial start over 3 hours away, making the drive to Bentonville, riding the Back 40, and then cruising around the pump track and Blowing Springs Trails.
Good thing I brought my leg massager, I know that’s what saved me and allowed for continued riding enjoyment. After a nice leg massage I turned the lights out to get some sleep. I will highlight the fact that I did eat very healthy on this trip, and had recovery protein drinks that I get from USANA after every ride to keep things repairing and recovering properly.
Day 5 came in the blink of an eye, and we were headed off to explore the trails in Bentonville. While we were there, we noticed that they were and are constantly building new trails all over the place to make the city even more epic for cycling. We started with the most riders compared to any other day of riding, check the video out to see the huge group and also what Bentonville has to offer…non stop FEATURES!!!
The next video is partly a continuation of the previous video, but I include more of the jump lines that we hit. Our group was small by this time and there were only 4 of us left on our adventure before meeting up with everyone on the way out for eats.
After eats and refueling, which was just after lunch time, the second half of this next video takes you to The Ledges, AKA the tire graveyard! It is said that if you make it out of the ledges without a puncture, you can consider yourself lucky. It is also said that if the trail is wet, you will not make it out of the trail without a flat! After we finished eating the weather looked good and we headed out, but just as we arrived to The Ledges, it started misting. See how that ends for the 7 or 8 of us in the video below.
I will be completely honest here, Day 5 my body was starting to shut down for two reason. One, all of the climbing was taxing the legs and catching up. Two, I was way too excited during the morning of this day that I completely forgot to hydrate and fuel while riding, which caught up very quick. I would actually let the 3 guys I was riding with go in front of me while I would just stay in the same spot and rest! While I rested I consumed a lot of fluids and a couple bars, this allowed me to continue on for the rest of the day.
After all the riding, I made sure to eat quite a bit, and healthy so that I could rebound on Day 6 which started at Mount Kessler. We would not have even known about this place if we would have picked a different restaurant to eat at. We bumped into a local who told us we needed to ride these places after hearing what we had done so far. So after another massage, stretching, and good sleep, I woke up on day 6 and headed off the Mount Kessler with Pat in his van to tackle some rocky technical (for me) terrain! We met up with a big group this day as well. I was a little grumpy at first and actually voted to leave after about 40 minutes, but I am glad I was out voted, most of the footage in the video would not have been captured, and that was when the ride went from blah to EPIC! Even more epic was the hope that the Slayer was going to SEND IT shirtless down the mountain…
After Pat and I cleaned up the bikes and ate some snacks, we arrived at our next destination, Mount Fitzgerald. A lot of the crew decided to call it a day after Mount Kessler, and a handful of us made our way to the Best Trail Ever! I cannot put into words the amount of rock they had to bring in to build this epic trail. I want to go back on fresh legs and better weather to try and hit some of the bigger features, check it out!
After Mount Fitzgerald we headed back to the campground to get cleaned up, grab some food, and then made out way over to the cabins where most of the guys were staying. That evening we had decided to do a potluck dinner, well, maybe I invited Pat and I over to their potluck! Josh can really throw some good food together, and Jeremy was really good at cleaning up messes.
The day before at the restaurant, the local guy that told us about the two trails we just rode, also told us about a trail system that does extremely well when it rains. The forecast had said it was going to rain pretty hard all night so Alex and I sat on the couch and looked up Hobbs. As we ate a crap ton of Jelly Bellies we decided to go to Hobbs against the votes of other riders, and attempt to get a KOM based on what was on Strava. This story unfolds in the video below as we are portrayed as a unicorn and a pegasus.
This was actually a happy and sad day, sad to be leaving a place that has built a mountain bikers heaven, but at the same time very happy to be heading home to see my family. Before I did that, I had one more stop in mind, Lake Leatherwood. This was another mention from our local buddy and I wanted to go there because it was on my way home.
When I arrived I had made my way on to the West side of the park and bumped in to Justin, he directed me to the other side of the park and informed me to park near the sports fields. I made my way and parked, got geared up, hopped on my bike and from across the field I heard a whistle. It was Justin! I met up with Justin and Dave and they gave me a tour on some of the trails before the sun set! Enjoy.