Trials biker Sean Farrar doing a big pedalup to rear wheel on an artificial rock at the Bentonville Bike Fest
Sean Farrar nails a big pedalup.

After the UCI elite men’s trials competition was over on Sunday at the Bentonville Bike Fest, the trials course was open for general riding. A bunch of trials bikers of varying experience levels rode the course through the afternoon until after sunset.

A handful of UCI elite riders rode for a while, including Oliver Widmann, who spent quite a while hammering out different lines. It was rather impressive to see him spending so much time practicing afterwards, given that he had already ridden 3 trials competitions in 2 days.

Early on in the afternoon, it was less of a ‘group ride’ and more blowing off some steam without the pressure of the competition, but the vibe changed as the afternoon wore on (particularly after the Bike Fest officially ended, so the loud music and announcers had finally become silent). Having access to the competition course provided an opportunity to practice on real competition obstacles and lines, work on specific moves, and gain personal satisfaction from completing lines that maybe riders could not do during the competition. Some riders took turns sessioning various obstacles and lines; others just did their own thing.

I spent most of the time following around Freddy Astrada, David Krut, Debi Studer, and John Bradford as they took turns at specific obstacles, lines, and moves. I loved watching them encourage and coach each other, and celebrate each other’s successes.

Of course there were a number of advanced riders there throughout the afternoon as well – most notably Mike Steidley, Sean and Ian Farrar, and Matt Meyer. Eventually, a Canadian contingent of riders showed up also, including Jeff Anderson, Carsinn Wilson, Félix Fortin-Bélanger, and Jason Cuthbert. Since they didn’t arrive until around 8:30 pm, I didn’t get much video of them riding.

Due to having a tendon injury in my arm, I didn’t bother bringing a trials bike with me to Arkansas. I had hoped to do some gentle riding though, so fortunately Freddy let me borrow his bike, and later Matt let me use an extra trials bike he’d brought. Of course my riding was rather awful given that I hadn’t really ridden in months, but it was great to be on the bike and to try some of the competition obstacles, even if I couldn’t give it my all.

Special thanks to Aaron Lutze (Super Rider) for filming my riding and sharing some of his video clips!


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