Back 40 Ride and Run returning this weekend
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.”