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Thread: Hey Bentonville veterans! Plan my trip for me.

  1. #1
    MoJo Mother Superior olddbrider's Avatar
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    Hey Bentonville veterans! Plan my trip for me.

    I'm finally back on the bike again and I'm motivating myself to get back in shape the best way I know how... plan a bike trip! I know there are already a couple of Bentonville threads, but I'm selfish and lazy and I don't want to have to sift through all the fluff to get to the good stuff. I'll be heading up there in mid April and the plan is to arrive late in the afternoon on a Thursday, ride Friday and Saturday, and head back on Sunday. Based on what I'm seeing, there's almost too much to choose from, so I'm looking for some help from folks that have some experience with the area.

    A couple of important things to keep in mind:
    • I'm old and not in great shape (I hope to be in better shape by the time this trip rolls around, but I'll still be old... oldER, in fact.)
    • I'm coming off a serious wrist injury (Hopefully, I'll be to the point where I can handle decent drops, etc, but we aren't likely to hit the "big" stuff.)
    • I'm not the "send it" type (I like drops and small-ish jumps, but I'm not looking to make a sick YouTube edit. Also, see the first bullet point above.)
    • We are staying pretty close to downtown Bentonville.
    • We will all be riding medium travel (130ish mm) full squishy bikes.


    Depending on what time we get there, we might have time for a short ride on Thursday.

    What/where should we focus our riding activities?
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  2. #2
    Shop Owner/Frame Builder CBaron's Avatar
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    You're in for a treat. I may have had a little bit more fitness, but I essentially did the same thing last fall (solo fun-riding mileage camp). If I only had 2 days, then this is prolly what I would do.

    (1/2 day prologue)- Some portions of Slaughter Pen [phase 2?]
    Day 1- Coler Park in the morning- Eat Lunch; Then Lake Atalanta (w/Railyard) in afternoon
    Day 2- Back 40. The Back 40 was superb. Any and all of these trails will be a highlight of your trip

    Here are my Strava files from my 3 days there. I covered a lot of ground. There's brief descriptions and photos in all the files
    https://www.strava.com/activities/1206451536
    https://www.strava.com/activities/1207861306
    https://www.strava.com/activities/1209486997

    When I have more time, I can give you some more details if needed. But these would be my recommendations (and I too stayed in Bentonville & road everywhere)

    Later,
    CJB
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  3. #3
    MoJo Mother Superior yosmithy's Avatar
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    We have a trip planned up there at the end of April, so I'll be trolling this thread heavily.

  4. #4
    MoJo Bishop Barry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CBaron View Post
    Here are my Strava files from my 3 days there. I covered a lot of ground. There's brief descriptions and photos in all the files
    https://www.strava.com/activities/1206451536
    https://www.strava.com/activities/1207861306
    https://www.strava.com/activities/1209486997
    No wonder you were in such good shape for the DS and EB!
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  5. #5
    Mojo Bike Part Terminator Seths Pool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by olddbrider View Post
    I'm finally back on the bike again and I'm motivating myself to get back in shape the best way I know how... plan a bike trip! I know there are already a couple of Bentonville threads, but I'm selfish and lazy and I don't want to have to sift through all the fluff to get to the good stuff. I'll be heading up there in mid April and the plan is to arrive late in the afternoon on a Thursday, ride Friday and Saturday, and head back on Sunday. Based on what I'm seeing, there's almost too much to choose from, so I'm looking for some help from folks that have some experience with the area.

    A couple of important things to keep in mind:
    • I'm old and not in great shape (I hope to be in better shape by the time this trip rolls around, but I'll still be old... oldER, in fact.)
    • I'm coming off a serious wrist injury (Hopefully, I'll be to the point where I can handle decent drops, etc, but we aren't likely to hit the "big" stuff.)
    • I'm not the "send it" type (I like drops and small-ish jumps, but I'm not looking to make a sick YouTube edit. Also, see the first bullet point above.)
    • We are staying pretty close to downtown Bentonville.
    • We will all be riding medium travel (130ish mm) full squishy bikes.


    Depending on what time we get there, we might have time for a short ride on Thursday.

    What/where should we focus our riding activities?
    ride the back 40. start at blowing springs. ive always ridden it clockwise but am starting to hear its better counter clockwise
    "Less yap more braap"

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  6. #6
    Goddess of Shiny Silver Canisters Dawn's Avatar
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    I'm going to be there next week! Can't wait! Staying close to the Back 40 :-)
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  7. #7
    MoJo Mother Superior Tree magnet's Avatar
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    I did the back 40 clockwise and agree that it would probably be better ccw. Honestly, there is enough flow on that system that either way is worth it.

    Coler was awesome if you like gravity fed lines. Slaughter pen was ok but not epic like the back 40. Super cool place to ride. They have it figured out up there.

  8. #8
    Shop Owner/Frame Builder CBaron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tree magnet View Post
    I did the back 40 clockwise and agree that it would probably be better ccw. Honestly, there is enough flow on that system that either way is worth it.

    Coler was awesome if you like gravity fed lines. Slaughter pen was ok but not epic like the back 40. Super cool place to ride. They have it figured out up there.

    +1 on your assessment, except Coler also has (at the time) an 'unpublished' loop west of the creek valley that runs along the park they called the NICA loop. It was very good stuff. So I'd recommend going over to Coler and playing on the gravity fed stuff, then explore over to the NICA trail and make a loop(s). If you look closely it can be found in my Strava file above (day #1)

    Later,
    CJB


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  9. #9
    MoJo Cardinal AFROTHUND3R's Avatar
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    How much time would you allocate to ride the back 40? We're going next week and we're going to do slaughter pen because we may have a limited time but I really want to do the back 40.

    Sent from my SM-G900P using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    MoJo Mother Superior FJsnoozer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AFROTHUND3R View Post
    How much time would you allocate to ride the back 40? We're going next week and we're going to do slaughter pen because we may have a limited time but I really want to do the back 40.

    Sent from my SM-G900P using Tapatalk
    I would budget 3:30. You Can ride it XC marathon pace in about 2:30 with a couple of casual stops. If you will be stopping a lot or with a group of 3-4 strong riders I would budget 3:30-4. Weekend warriors will get smoked out there by the climbing, so 5ish?

    I would also do the recommended route and ride from the end of the Blowing springs parking lot, ride in CCW with "ledges" included. If you are feeling good when you get back to the truck, roll straight into a ~ 7 mile lap of Blowing springs.

    I've ridden it both directions. My clockwise direction was plenty of fun as well. We rode out from crystal bridges that day which was about a 40 mile out and back.

    I also recommend checking your brake lines to make sure they are tight before going out on this journey.
    Last edited by FJsnoozer; 03-08-2018 at 07:26 AM.

  11. #11
    MoJo Mother Superior yosmithy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FJsnoozer View Post
    Weekend warriors will get smoked out there by the climbing, so 5ish?
    Great info, I'll budget for 12 hours, and then have the wife scheduled to show up with the sag wagon at the half way mark

  12. #12
    MoJo Mother Superior FJsnoozer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yosmithy View Post
    Great info, I'll budget for 12 hours, and then have the wife scheduled to show up with the sag wagon at the half way mark
    Funny you mentioned that. When I did a 40 mile out and back including the back 40, My Family member parked at the trailhead and rode just the back 40 in reverse (so we would cross paths to check in).

    We crossed paths at the half way point of the back 40 and he was doing well. I got home (20 mi later for me) ate some snacks and his strava beacon dropped off. I got concerned after a while and went back to find him dragging along with 3 miles left(of 23). He thought I was a mirage and was very happy to see me.

    Its worth noting that there are 2 spots on the trail with coolers full of bottled water that has always been stocked when I rode. Each one is around 3-4 miles from the end of the trail depending on which way you are riding.
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  13. #13
    Ride More!! shredhead's Avatar
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    If you have several days, I think the Back 40 and Blowing Springs is worth a full day. Some of the best runs are in the middle of the system, so if you just do the outer loop, you are missing some really good stuff. Some of it is one way downhill goodness. Of course in order to hit all of it you need to hit some sections twice. I ended up riding 50 miles of singletrack (parking at Blowing Springs) and still didn't hit every section.

  14. #14
    MoJo Bishop Browndog's Avatar
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    All trail recommendations are spot on. I would add Bike Rack Brewery>Pedaler's Pub. Their pizza is fantastic.

    Air BnB is cheap as hell there. From where we stayed we could hit the downhill flow trail at the middle school at the end of the street and ride up All American into downtown. We did that with lights the first night and rode in to have dinner then rode trails back home. No car needed.

  15. #15
    MoJo Mother Superior yosmithy's Avatar
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    While this thread is rolling. My wife and her friend are coming along. They are not riders, but are both runners, so I was wondering if anyone has any recommendations for running routes?

    We've already booked a Air BnB that is a couple of blocks from the Crystal Bridges Museum, so it looks like we should be fairly central.

  16. #16
    MoJo Neophyte BRAZOS1845's Avatar
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    Great info here, thanks everybody. My buddies and I are likewise planning an Arkansas trip for April 20-22. We’ve got three days budgeted for the trip. Interested in hitting the Womble epic on our way north, then afterwards explore the Back 40 in Bentonville.

    For those who have ridden both areas, would y’all say we should spend the whole weekend in Bentonville vs splitting it up Bentonville and Womble?

  17. #17
    Shop Owner/Frame Builder CBaron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CBaron View Post

    (1/2 day prologue)- Some portions of Slaughter Pen [phase 2?]
    Day 1- Coler Park in the morning- Eat Lunch; Then Lake Atalanta (w/Railyard) in afternoon
    Day 2- Back 40. The Back 40 was superb. Any and all of these trails will be a highlight of your trip

    Here are my Strava files from my 3 days there. I covered a lot of ground. There's brief descriptions and photos in all the files
    https://www.strava.com/activities/1206451536
    https://www.strava.com/activities/1207861306
    https://www.strava.com/activities/1209486997

    Quote Originally Posted by shredhead View Post
    If you have several days, I think the Back 40 and Blowing Springs is worth a full day. Some of the best runs are in the middle of the system, so if you just do the outer loop, you are missing some really good stuff. Some of it is one way downhill goodness. Of course in order to hit all of it you need to hit some sections twice. I ended up riding 50 miles of singletrack (parking at Blowing Springs) and still didn't hit every section.

    I consciously chose to recommend a variety of trails and locations for the OP. I figure if you're going to Bentonville that it would be worthwhile to get the well-rounded experience. However, Shredhead is correct, the Back 40 (and more specifically the stuff in the middle) is THE BEST. Problem is that you really don't know it yet. Thus you need to go check everything out up there just so you can know what is the best. You can ride Back40 either way and will think its the bees knees. You can miss the middle stuff and still be swooning about your ride day. If you've got the fitness (and time) then ride it all. Thats pretty much what I did (and Shredhead too), in my 3rd Strava profile. But its a B-I-G day, I spent 9 hrs on the bike that day.

    Knowing, and experiencing, what I know now, if I was to go back (solo?), I think I'd ride Back 40 one direction and a portion of the middle trails. Then the next day, I'd ride it the other direction and finish with the other portion of the middle trails. Or another option could be, ride it which ever direction one day. Then the next day, come back and ONLY do the middle trail system. The entire area is good enough alone to be worth the drive/trip.

    But make no mistake, there are plenty of other VERY quality trails in the Bentonville area. I've not even mentioned Mt Kessler...it was killer too. But it was a bit of a drive from my lodgings. Lake Atalanta reminded me very much of a mini-Back40 and had the RailYard to play around in. If I'm being honest, I wasn't too whelmed with the Slaughter Pen stuff. But I didn't ride SP #1. Oh, Oh, here's a reminder to check out Coler Park, it was truly unique and fun. If your less aggro of a rider, then just do the fun flo-lines and be sure and hit NICA loop.

    Whatever the case, you can't really do wrong and you won't be disappointed. Heck, its also close enough to where you can always go back again for something new next time. Unlike Colorado where its a real chore to get there and back.

    Later,
    CJB
    Last edited by CBaron; 03-08-2018 at 12:22 PM.


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  18. #18
    Mojo Bike Part Terminator Seths Pool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FJsnoozer View Post
    I would budget 3:30. You Can ride it XC marathon pace in about 2:30 with a couple of casual stops. If you will be stopping a lot or with a group of 3-4 strong riders I would budget 3:30-4. Weekend warriors will get smoked out there by the climbing, so 5ish?
    lol, you got that right. my girlfriend found her limit at 20 miles & 2000' of climbing. cried a little bit and my buddy Jason who bailed on the big loop earlier than we did had to come pick her up.. it was cute, and amusing. lol

    but she just killed a 30 mile enduro and podium 2nd place in Arkansas with 5000' of climbing a few weeks ago. she has come a long way
    "Less yap more braap"

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  19. #19
    Ride More!! shredhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BRAZOS1845 View Post
    Great info here, thanks everybody. My buddies and I are likewise planning an Arkansas trip for April 20-22. We’ve got three days budgeted for the trip. Interested in hitting the Womble epic on our way north, then afterwards explore the Back 40 in Bentonville.

    For those who have ridden both areas, would y’all say we should spend the whole weekend in Bentonville vs splitting it up Bentonville and Womble?
    3 total days including driving? I'd just hit Bentonville, you have about 16 hours of driving in there, Womble would add 2 more. Womble is very similar to the Back 40, they both feel like you are in the middle of nowhere, except with the Womble you are and the Back 40 you are always in someone's backyard (but don't even realize it). IMHO, I'd say 3 days including driving is pushing it for even just Bentonville, but splitting costs and maybe driving time will still probably make it worth it. Even if it was 3 days riding (with driving on the 4th and 5th days), I would probably still say stick with Bentonville this trip, maybe split it up next time. Having said that the Womble/Ouachita is excellent.

  20. #20
    MoJo Cardinal AFROTHUND3R's Avatar
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    Hey olddb sorry to hijack your thread but we're pulling into Bentonville on Monday.

    So if you could only do ONE ride in Bentonville and you wanted to make it good which of these two would you do?

    Slaughter Pen Bowling Spring Tour
    https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/595...g-springs-tour

    or

    Back 40
    https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/702...-complete-ride

    Thanks guys

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