Back 40 Ride and Run re­turn­ing this week­end

The Weekly Vista - - Front Page - KEITH BRYANT kbryant@nwadg.com

Bella Vista’s trail net­work is ex­pected to be crowded with rac­ers on foot and bikes alike this week­end.

The Back 40 Ride and Run is re­turn­ing to Bella Vista for its sec­ond year Satur­day and Sun­day, Dec. 9 and 10. Driv­ers can ex­pect to see lots of traf­fic at the city’s trail cross­ings.

Bella Vista spokesper­son Cassi Lapp said that the event helps to pro­mote dif­fer­ent kinds of trail use and gets moun­tain bik­ers and run­ners to­gether, with run­ners go­ing Satur­day and bik­ers head­ing out Sun­day. Sev­eral peo­ple signed up for one sport, she said, have vol­un­teered to work on the other race day.

“It’s a re­ally great way to get mul­ti­ple types of trail users out to­gether,” she said.

For both sports, she said, there are 13-, 20- and 40-mile routes open.

The 40-mile loop, which con­sists of two laps of a 20-mile route, qual­i­fies as an ul­tra run,

which is any run longer than a tra­di­tional marathon dis­tance of 42.195 kilo­me­ters, or 26.2188 miles. This, she said, is one of the only ul­tra runs in the area, the other be­ing at War Ea­gle ear­lier in the year.

There are more ath­letes signed up this year than 2016, she said, par­tic­u­larly

for the longer dis­tances. There are 41 peo­ple signed up for the 40-mile run, she said, and ath­letes are com­ing from 13 states — some from as far out as Wash­ing­ton and Alaska.

With any luck, Lapp said, it will be a bit warmer this year.

Mark Mohler, part-owner of GPP Cy­cling, is spon­sor­ing and com­pet­ing in the up­com­ing event. He’ll be rid­ing and run­ning the 20-mile route, he said, and

he’s look­ing for­ward to it. Last year, he said, he was work­ing the event and was un­able to par­tic­i­pate.

The growth, he said, could be largely at­trib­uted to word-of-mouth. The moun­tain bik­ing and ul­tra run­ning com­mu­ni­ties, he said, have been ex­plod­ing.

He’s a huge fan of both sports, he said, and hav­ing an event in De­cem­ber is a great way to keep him­self in shape through the off­sea­son. He’s been train­ing,

he said, and ex­pects it will keep the winter weight off and make it eas­ier to start up again in the spring.

“I’ve done a cou­ple 20mile runs out there over the past few weeks,” he said. “I prob­a­bly run as much as I ride … if you want to get dusty, we’ve got op­tions.”

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