Adventure Arkansas – 2017 NICA Arkansas Mountain Biking State Championships

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Matt Standridge here, for this week’s Adventure Arkansas I marveled as junior high and high school mountain bikers put their skills to the test at the Arkansas Mountain Biking State Championships in Eureka Springs.

There are two new state champions in Arkansas mountain biking, both from northwest Arkansas.

“It feels pretty nice, I’ve had to put a lot of hard work into it so it’s good to come out on top,” said State Champion Jacob Smithpeters from Haas Hall Academy.

“I’m so happy, this is a great thing to happen to Arkansas, and I’m really proud to be a part of it,” said State Champion Cate Mertins of Hass Hall Academy.

I took the adventure Subaru to Eureka Springs for the NICA Arkansas junior high and high school mountain biking state championships.  It was fun to watch the student-athletes race the course, and to see their excitement, no wonder this sport is thriving in our area!

“Last year we had 168 kids, this year we have 282 student-athletes,” said League Director Kyla Templeton.

“It’s great because no one is ever on the bench, everybody rides, everybody races that wants to,” said Coach Bruhin of Pea Ridge High School.

The bikers loved the rugged terrain northeast of Beaver Lake.  The scenery was beautiful and the course fun, but the main hill was the toughest part.

“I like the hill,” said Keera.

“It’s super gravely, your kind of winded just going up but you must keep pushing,” said Shawn.

“But on the downhill, it’s so much fun,” said Tucker.

The most important part is how much the athletes are enjoying themselves.

“There are so many people to meet and it’s just so much fun!  The environment, and meeting all kinds of people, I just love it,” said Jordan Sauls of Bentonville West High School.

“This is my first year of racing, I love it and it’s something I’m addicted you, all my friends love it,” said Dakota Falcon of Bentonville High School.

Everyone loves it, and as Templeton points out, anyone can get started.

“Mountain biking sounds pretty intimidating, but when you break it apart into fundamentals, like we do, for the student athletes and for the parents, it is not as hard as it sounds... If you can ride a bike, you can mountain bike,” said Templeton.

With adventure Arkansas and covering the trails where you live, I’m meteorologist Matt Standridge.

If you're interested in getting involved as a student-athlete mountain biker, or as a coach, you can contact NICA's Arkansas biking league, here!

To follow the league on social, click here!

Segment Sponsored By: Adventure Subaru

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