These days it can be so easy to watch a video on the internet and without even thinking twice say, “Oh I could do that”. It didn’t go down exactly like that, but it was a brash idea after watching one that led to what ended up being called the NWA Traverse. The inspiration came from watching a La Sportiva video, where Anton Krupicka and Stefan Griebel set a new fastest known time on the Long’s Peak Triathlon. The route on the video was a round trip to a mountain peak and back, that involved biking-running-climbing. After watching it multiple times I was so stoked that I decided that I had to do something like it. While there are some places to climb or go bouldering in Northwest Arkansas, that was never on my radar. Right then and there I told Summer that I was going to ride a bike from the beginning of the Razorback Greenway to the Back 40 trail, run it and then ride back to the start. She looked at me like I was crazy and blew it off. That was it, the seed was planted and I talked about it often for the next 6 months or so.
The Razorback Greenway is a paved trail the extends a little over 38.5 miles, from the south side of Wilson Park in Fayetteville, AR to Blowing Springs Park in Bella Vista, AR. From the Blowing Springs trailhead run through the RV Park, like the Back 40 Race does, and then do the full “Back 40 Loop” for a total of 23.5 miles. Then of course get back on the bikes and ride back to mile marker 0 at the beginning. I wasn’t sure exactly how much it would all add up to but on paper it was right around 100 miles. Even though I didn’t own a bike and hadn’t been on one in close to 20 years, I knew that I was on to something and that I had to give it shot some day.
After some thought, I decided that I didn’t want to take on the Traverse solo. One of my sponsors, Ruhn Co., had just added some new ambassadors to the team and one lived locally in NW Arkansas. Pete and I had become “friends” on social media/seen each other at races but hadn’t really met in person. He’s way faster than me. so I figured who better to push me than Pete! Plus, the idea of having an actual teammate was pretty cool. What better way to get to know someone, than over a 100 mile adventure?!? I reached out to him and could tell that he was just as stoked as I was. After a week or so of back and forth we set a date to give the Traverse a go, June 24th. With the date set, all that was left was to go out and do it… JH