Mountain biking is a sport often pictured high on the precipice of a mountain. A lone figure, suspended on a ledge with only a thin piece of metal standing between control and a plummet to be completed before the track hosts the Ricochet Run on September 24. This first race is scheduled to promote the new bike trail and is partnered with Pedalfast. It includes both a seven-mile and a fourteen- mile race, along with a family fun ride and a one- mile race for children. To almost certain death. There’s an air of danger and the thrill of the unknown. This year at JBU however, mountain biking has left all stereotypes behind and has penetrated the community of Siloam Springs.
The Sager Creek Mountain Biking Trail, funded by the Walton Family Foundation and Simmons Foods, has brought the unforgettable experience of mountain biking to the citizens of Siloam Springs. Two courses, dubbed the South Loop and Northloop, were built around the JBU campus beginning February of 2016.
Nathan Reindel, Vice President of Biking Club at JBU, is one of many mountain biking fanatics at JBU excited about the biking trails that recently opened this year on campus.
“There’s a lot to offer in Northwest Arkansas, but almost all of the good trails are about an hour away, so they’re really only good for weekend rides. This trail will allow us to train riders in form and endurance during the week, so we can really maximize our experience on other trails.”
Reindel has been biking for the better part of his life, and has actively competed in mountain biking competitions for the past ve years. Having seen some of the better courses North West Arkansas can offer, his assessment of the course warrants merit. “I absolutely love this trail,” he said. “You’re kind of weaving through a thick forest which I think creates an enchantingly serene atmosphere. I’m quality of the trail overall; Crossland did a great job.”
Steve Brankle, the Director of Facilities Services and Sustainability at JBU and the owner’s representative for the mountain biking project, describes the new bike trail as a popular attraction.
“I have seen so many more people come out here,” he said. “And people that haven’t been biking, they’re pulling out their bikes and coming to ride it because
it’s a cool thing.” In fact, Northwest Arkansas as a whole has begun attracting more attention from the mountain biking community. The IMBA (International Mountain Biking Association) is hosting their all meeting in Bentonville Arkansas. 150 miles of mountain biking
trail already exists in Bentonville, and is scheduled to be doubled in the next few years. Many biking fanatics are hopeful that the trails in Siloam Springs, Bentonville, and other locations around Northwest Arkansas, will eventually be connected.
Now, the Sager Creek trail stands on its own, but will boast over seven miles of mountain biking trail by its completion. The South Loop trail, ranked as a Blue level (intermediate level) course and measuring 1.8 miles, encompasses a flow trail–a downhill trail with multiple banks and fast jumps.
“It flows well in a way that it is easy for beginners to ride, and also in a way that the more experience can really just get a lot of speed,” said President of Biking Club Harley Barker.
The North Loop, ranked as a Green level (beginner) course, is still under construction, but is scheduled to be completed before the track hosts the Ricochet Run on September 24.
This rst race is scheduled to promote the new bike trail and is partnered with Pedalfast. It includes both a seven-mile and a fourteen- mile race, along with a family fun ride and a one- mile race for children.
Barker encourages everyone who has an interest in the sport to at least give it a try.
“I think that the biking community is very accepting as long as you are willing to learn and fall a couple of times, they are willing to teach and share the sport that they love with you,” he said.
Basic Mountain Biking Lingo
Double Track-Refers to the width of the trail. This means you and another rider can ride side-by-side.
Single Track-Only a single rider can ride a course at a time.
Projecting-Riding a dif cult section multiple times to try and master it.
Cleaning-Riding a trail perfectly.
Wash out-Lose traction while riding a tight corner.
Technical-A term used to measure the dif culty of an obstacle or the frequency of obstacles that appear on the trail.
Bank or Berm-A curved pile of dirt that is placed
to help lean into turns
and keep up speed.