HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, Arkansas — David Wiens, executive director of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), will be a special guest November 16 and 17 for the grand opening ceremonies for Hot Springs’ new Northwoods Trails System.
The Northwoods Trail System grand opening will take place Friday, November 16, with a ribbon cutting at the Waterworks Trailhead, 300 Pineland Avenue, followed Saturday, November 17, with a full-scale public grand opening featuring an entire day of rides, vendors and demonstrations at the Cedar Glades trailhead.
Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs, said, “The opening of this world-class trail system is the culmination of several years of co-operation between Hot Springs, Steuart Walton and Tom Walton and the Walton Family Foundation, without whose contributions the Northwoods Trail System never would have gotten off the ground.”
“We realized that Hot Springs had the opportunity to join Bentonville in providing the state of Arkansas with two trail systems that are the equal of any in America. Invaluable help and advice also was provided by Kalene Griffith, CEO of Visit Bentonville, who brought to us her experience in the creatio of Bentonville’s incredible trail system,” Arrison said.
Visit Hot Springs began construction in November 2017 on Phase One of the system of mountain biking trails. It has cooperated with Steuart Walton and Tom Walton and the Walton Family Foundation to construct the first 14-mile segment of the project, which will provide Hot Springs with an important new tourism attraction aimed at mountain bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts. A $648,421 Walton Family Foundation grant for Phase One was matched by Visit Hot Springs.
Phase Two of the trail system will result in a 44.6-mile system of first-class biking trails in the property that incorporates pristine forested hills and three lakes. It is in the Cedar Glades area north of Whittington Avenue.
“David Wiens’ attendance at the dedication of our spectacular new Northwoods Trails System is validation of our dream that Phase One of this 44.6-mile system marks Hot Springs’ membership in the top level of mountain biking destinations in America,” Arrison said. “The opening of Phase One of the Northwoods Trails marks the beginning of a recreational and economic treasure for our city. The fact that David Wiens recognizes the importance of what we intend to create here lends credence to our belief that Hot Springs will attract recreational and competitive mountain bike enthusiasts from across the country.”
Wiens is a former professional cross-country mountain bike racer, known for his six consecutive wins in the Leadville Trail 100 MTB mountain bike race including defeating Tour de France riders Floyd Landis and Lance Armstrong.
Wiens, a 2000 inductee to the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, won the Leadville Trail 100 every year from 2003 to 2008. In 2007, he broke the seven-hour mark for the first time at 6:58:46while holding off Landis by just under two minutes. In 2008, Wiens won again, beating seven-time Tour dfe France winner Armstrong by just under two minutes and setting a new course record of 6:45:45.
Wiens was also the U.S. National Cross-country champion in 1993 and the U.S. National Marathon champion in 2004. He won two UCI World Cup races and numerous NORBA National Series races during his career.
In 2006, Wiens founded Gunnison Trails, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing single-track trails on public lands adjacent to Gunnison, Colo.
In 2012, Wiens created the Mountain Sports program at Western Colorado State University in Gunnison. Mountain Sports is a sports marketing brand unique to the higher education landscape and offers training and competition in multiple disciplines of skiing, cycling, snowboarding and trail running.
Wiens joined the Board of Directors for the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) in January 2016 and was appointed to the position of board chairman in November 2016.
Here is the schedule of activities planned for the November 16 – 17 grand opening of Phase One of the trail system”
Friday, November 16
Formal Ribbon Cutting
Waterworks Trailhead - 300 Pineland Drive
3 p.m. — Opening Remarks, Traci Berry, trails coordinator for Visit Hot Springs; Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs; Hot Springs Mayor Pat McCabe; Dave Wiens (IMBA executive director); Gary Vernon (Walton Family Foundation)
3:15 p.m. — Ribbon Cutting and Inaugural Group Ride
6 p.m. — Celebration at Low Key Arts, 118 Arbor ($10 donation)
Saturday, November 17
Northwoods Grand Opening Celebration
Cedar Glades Trailhead – 461 Cedar Glades Road
Noon — Ribbon Cutting, pro rider and Executive Director of IMBA, David Wiens, to speak
Noon — Shuttle service to and from Waterworks Trailhead begins courtesy of Ouachita Rides and Guides
Noon — Orbea Bike and Rocky Mountain Bike Demos
Noon — Skills track opens courtesy of Fasttrack
1 p.m. — Climbing Wall opens (closes at 3 p.m.)
1 p.m. — SHAM Cyclocross event begins
2 p.m. — Time trials begin (build a bike, fix a flat, bike toss)
5 p.m. — end
Vendors on Site
Orbea Bikes; Rocky Mountain Bikes; Lost 40 Brewing – free T-shirts to the first 100 people; Red Bull Land Rover LD Taurus mobile DJ vehicle; Itz Gud Fud Food Truck; Brandos Food Truck; Live performance by Brian Martin; Ouachita Rides & Guides shuttle service to and from Waterworks Trailhead; International Mountain Bike Association; Central Arkansas Trail Alliance; Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism; Parkside Cycle; Spa City Cycling; Vandoit; Hot Springs Thoroughbreds NICA Team; DOME Life; Raid the Rock AR.
Sunday, November 18, will feature more biking events at the Cedar Glades portion of the trails system with the annual Attila the Hun Bike Race.