With USA Cycling’s announcement, northwest Arkansas’ grip on the mountain biking world continues to tighten.
If you’re a mountain biker, chances are you’ve heard of Bentonville by now.
The once-quiet city in northwest Arkansas exploded into a world-class mountain biking destination in the last decade and shows no signs of slowing down. Now USA Cycling has announced Bentonville will play home field to the U.S. National Mountain Bike Team.
The move comes as USA Cycling sets its sights on a mountain biking gold medal in the 2028 Summer Olympics. To get there, the U.S. National Mountain Bike Team will use northwest Arkansas’s myriad trails for endurance fitness and skills-development camps, according to a press release.
The organization will also hold junior skills and talent identification camps in the area.
Bentonville Becomes Home for the U.S. National Mountain Bike Team
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— USA Cycling (@usacycling) December 15, 2022
“Our long-term goal is for Team USA to win the gold at the 2028 Olympic Games,” said Brendan Quirk, CEO of USA Cycling. “This investment gives us access to the infrastructure and resources we need to support our Under-23 and Junior riders. Developing these up-and-coming riders is a top priority for USA Cycling, now and in the future.”
Help From the Walton Family Foundation
The planned camps are the result of direct support from the Walton Family Foundation, a major player in Bentonville’s transformation into an essential mountain biking destination. Bentonville plays home to the headquarters for Walmart, the superstore chain upon which the Walton family’s fortune is built.
USA Cycling also intends to make Bentonville the heart of its collegiate cycling program.
“Investing in collegiate cycling is a priority for this effort,” said Tom Walton, chairman of the Walton Family Foundation’s Home Region Program. “We believe Bentonville is a natural host for this program and are confident this will elevate USA Cycling on the global stage.”
All of which is to say, if you happen to be riding around Bentonville in the next few years, chances are you’ll encounter a young mountain biker with dreams of Olympic gold dancing under their helmet.
So don’t take it too personally when they leave you in the dust.