Government Shutdown Postpones Local Bike Race

The federal government shutdown is halting 250 mountain bikers from racing in a River Valley competition this weekend.

The site of the race, a park in Barling, is funded by a federal government agency, and is closed for the shutdown.

“We`re all ready to go for this weekend, and now it’s over,” said Isaac Tweeddale, one of the competitors.

Tweeddale has been training all year at Springhill Park in Barling for the Springhill Classic mountain bike race.

Tweedale went for a ride earlier this week, when a surprise shut down his training.

“We see a lady and two guys over here to the left putting out three cones, and as I pull up to the gate, she literally comes out running out in front of me, flags me down and stops me from going in.”

Due to the government shutdown, the park, which is run by the Corps of Engineers, is closed, postponing this weekend’s race.

Race Director Ken Cox said after months of planning, the shutdown is a major disappointment.

“I had everything pretty much set up by last week,” said Cox. “There are several weeks and months of work to get done, to get everything ready for the race.”

A sign and barricade were put up as the shutdown began, keeping bikers out from riding in the park.

Tweeddale said the cancellation of the race is impacting the economy.

“People would be bringing in all kinds of money into town,” said Tweeddale. “Paying for camp sites out here that the park could have made money on, spending money at gas stations refueling, meals at restaurants and hotels.”

Cox said he plans to postpone the race until Oct. 27, when he hopes the shutdown is resolved.

Depending on the shutdown, the race could be moved to Ben Geren Park in Fort Smith.

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