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story.lead_photo.caption Keith Bryant/The Weekly Vista Bella Vista police officer Joshua Hendry, right, background, directs Oz Trails Off Road riders across Euston Road.

The Oz Trails Off Road brought more than 600 riders through Bella Vista's trails last weekend.

Riders put in their miles from Friday to Saturday over three courses, including 25, 35 and 50 mile routes, with professional and amatuer riders.

Mayor Peter Christie said it was good to see a national-level event in town, in no small part because it shows Bella Vista's becoming part of the national scene.

"We have gained a lot of respect, distinction. There's a lot of positive chatter about Bella Vista," he said.

It fits with the mission of making Bella Vista a recreation destination, he said, and provides another kind of activity to the city's already-strong library.

Volunteers were out in force to keep the event safe and keep the riders going.

Steve Martin with the National Mountain Bike Patrol and Friends of Arkansas Single Track, or FAST, said there were 12 patrol riders working on the 25-mile ride, ready to help anyone with an injury or mechanical issue.

It's easy to do, he said, because at the end of the day it's more time on and around the trails.

"We all spend hours and hours a week on our mountain bikes," he said.

One volunteer with FAST, Cody Green, was handling food and beverages for riders. His station was cooking bacon and keeping chilled drinks at the ready for riders coming through.

"We're just providing aid," he said. "We're even keeping beer back here. Anything to keep them energized."

Green said he volunteered because of his positive experiences with the mountain biking community.

He moved to the area about a year ago and started riding because the trails are readily available.

"I found a great community that inspires me and pushes me to be better," he said.

One rider who rolled through, Bentonville resident Amy Thomas, said she was very grateful for the aid station.

The event had been fun with a great turnout, she said, but she was getting worn out between the miles, the climbing and the afternoon heat.

Thomas said the ice-cold drink was just what she needed.

"It's a lifesaver," she said. "I've been thinking about a cold drink for like the last hour."

General News on 10/10/2018

Print Headline: Bikers off road through Bella Vista

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