the bentonville enduro
Or, “the race that almost wasn’t”.
Flash flood watches and warnings were put out two days before Race Day, September 22.
The weathermen were calling for three days of torrential downpours, with 3-5 inches expected.
I began stalking the event’s Facebook page, checking the weather reports hourly and keeping David, who was away on business in Texas, updated with any new developments.
Was Mother Nature going to change her mind and let a bunch of rowdy mountain bikers ride the trails one last time before this Series was to end for the year?
I received a group email last Friday while picking up David from the airport, letting me know that, because of changing weather reports, the race was still on, but beginning at a later time so the trails would have a chance to dry out.
I’m so happy that the event organizers went on ahead and decided to hold the race (after all, they’re mountain bikers, too, so what’s a little mud, right?). This race, held out at Color MTB Preserve, was a real party. I mean, all the past enduros were parties, but Saturday’s race was the last of the series, so there was even more of a party atmosphere. David and I stayed mostly at the Hub, a large area that covers all the trail heads, complete with park benches scattered about where on non-race days, the lone hiker can rest and catch her breath after hiking uphill chasing after her mountain biker husband and son. I did hit some of the trails for a few different kinds of photos, but mostly it was up at the Hub that all the action was happening.
We got to chat with friends that we had made during the racing season, tease a few kids (nicely, though! I just can’t help myself sometimes.), get all kinds of dirty and muddy (that’s what Spray & Wash is for, right?) and just hang out with a great group of people. Mountain bikers are some of the coolest, friendliest and welcoming kind of people I’ve ever gotten to meet. I’m going to miss this series and these people. They sure know how to make a life-long runner feel like one of the cool kids.
And boy, do they know how to shred a trail!