When notified by IMBA that the VVCC and its partners were named as winning the ‘Power of Partnership Award’ for 2018 and that the award ceremony was scheduled during IMBA’s 30th anniversary party in Bentonville, AR during Outerbike, VVCC President Marty Glinsky was adamant that the VVCC travel to Northwest Arkansas (NWA), the land of Oz Trails, to formally receive the award.
VVCC receiving a national award was like a sign from...
Marty, and I departed Sedona early in the morning of October 24th for the 1,160 mile drive to Outerbike. First stop, the east trailhead of the High Desert Trail System in Gallup, NM for a ride.
The High Desert Trail System in Gallup, NM has over 22 miles of unique singletrack
After an overnight stay in Amarillo, we arrived at Hobbs State Park in Rogers, AR where we were met by unofficial NWA Mayor Steve Schneider, Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts President Ernie Rodriguez and Bruce Alt (joined the next day) for a tour of some newly constructed trails. Although it rained all day, the trails were in perfect condition as the soil is pourous and quickly drains.
Hobbs State Park has incredible flow and we were the AARP Riding Team
We then swung by the Outerbike venue to pick up our packets. Outerbike is a bike demo maniac’s dream. Held in several locations west of the Mississippi during the year, Outerbike lets riders test ride as many of the latest and greatest mountain bikes as possible over three days. The Bentonville locale was well organized with numerous high-end mountain bikes, from over a dozen manufacturers, to demo at one’s leisure. Marty and I brought our own bikes and since we had the NWA Mayor leading us on rides, we only partook of the Outerbike lunches and beer.
All rides began and ended at the lighted BuckeyBall
During the trip, Marty was hobnobbing with all types of celebrities...even if he didn’t know it.
Marty posing with Nat Ross, Fred Flintstone and Dave Wiens
But it was the riding that kept us focused. Three rides in two days on what NWA "Mayor" Schneider constantly defined as "mellow" trails that all MTBer skill levels could appreciate with jumps, berms/banks, a Back 40, tunnels, trail features (both man-made and natural technical sections) and plenty of opportunity for air.
Unfortunately, all good things must end as we picked up our hardware and were off to Oklahoma City.
Somehow the Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund received top billing!
The Lake Stanley Draper Trail System, maintained by the Oklahoma Earth-Bike Fellowship, packs over 11 miles of trail into a postage size tract of land.
Lake Stanley Draper Trail System has its own changing rooms!
As we were riding in the spaghetti at Lake Stanley Draper, we hear "rider up" and pulled over. That's when two little old - emphasis on "old" - ladies followed by a guy wearing a set of football shoulder pads over his kit passed us. "This stays with us" Marty immediately said after the trio passed. It's just a shame no pictures of this survived but our pace sure did pick up. We later passed this cohort. We finished this day back in Amarillo, TX.
The last day of our bike trip found us back at the High Desert Trail System in Gallup, but this time at the Western Trailhead.
After seven rides in six days totaling 80+ miles, 2,500 miles on Marty's Jeep, our trip to Oz ended just like Dorothy's as there's "no place like home!"