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story.lead_photo.caption Keith Bryant/The Weekly Vista Charles Williams climbs up a slick, steep rock before going into a short rock garden at Blowing Springs for last Saturday's IMBA Dirty 30, a group ride that overlapped with last weekend's Outerbike event.

The Blowing Springs trailhead was bustling with activity last Saturday -- shuttles brought mountain bikers in and out while cars and trucks lined the parking area, their plates representing a wide variety of states.

The Outerbike event brought more than 700 mountain biking enthusiasts to Northwest Arkansas, bringing more attention -- and traffic -- to Bella Vista's trails. Outerbike also hosts events at other biking destinations like Moab, Utah, and Crested Butte, Colo.

Craig Hill, a Moab resident, has participated in other Outerbike events and came out to work at this one.

Hill said that the Northwest Arkansas event brought more riders than any other, and the event will definitely return next year.

"It's been a hit so far... it was bigger than Moab, bigger than Crested Butte," he said. "We were getting a little nervous."

Hill said the area doesn't fit the image he had of Arkansas, but he was surprised to find nice people, great barbecue, good beer and top-notch singletrack.

Attendees pay a fee to attend, he explained, and can try out bikes provided by vendors on the area's mountain bike trails, which makes for a much better test ride than a bike shop parking lot.

Dan McCoy and his wife, Melanie Arnett, from Laramie, Wyoming, pedaled around in the grass for a few minutes after a lap around Blowing Springs, waiting for a shuttle to haul them back to the event's main hub in Bentonville.

"Thirteen-hour drive to get here," McCoy said.

And it was worth it, he said, to ride what he called some of the best trails in the country and try some top-shelf bikes at a perfect time of year.

"It's kind of a renaissance of trail development going on out here," he said.

They brought their three children as well, Arnett said, during a break from school. They were also celebrating her 50th birthday, she said, and it was great that everything came together.

"We never thought we'd be traveling to northern Arkansas for a destination," she said.

General News on 10/31/2018

Print Headline: Outerbike brings riders to Bella Vista

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