By Beckie Irvin and Melanie Teoh

“I think the hardest obstacle about mountain biking is not the act of mountain biking itself, but the mindset you have during the experience.”

Last week, my friend Melanie agreed to let me take her out on her very first mountain bike ride. Melanie is a Communications student at the University of Arkansas, and her parents own Dough Zone NWA, located in 8th Street Market in Bentonville, Arkansas.

I pondered taking Melanie on some of Northwest Arkansas’s classic green trails, but since this was truly her first time riding dirt, I opted to ride a lesser-known trail, otherwise known as Catherine’s Crossing.

Catherine’s Crossing is a one-mile singletrack loop located behind Mercy Hospital in Rogers, Arkansas. It was designed for beginner mountain bikers, kids on balance bikes, and folks looking for a walk in nature. At the trailhead, there is a short pump track made of crushed gravel that riders can use to build confidence and basic bike handling skills. As well, there is plenty of greenspace, restrooms, hammock stands, and a pavilion, and it is accessible via the Razorback Greenway. It’s a great spot for families to spend an afternoon!

Melanie did amazingly well on her first ride and provided her thoughts on the experience. Is Catherine’s Crossing the best trail for your first mountain bike ride? Read on to find out!

What was your experience with mountain biking before this ride?

  • I have zero experience with mountain biking. I have only hiked on one mountain biking trail, and it was a while ago. If I’m being honest, I have little experience with the popular “outdoorsy” activities in Arkansas. As for biking in general, I’m not much of an avid cyclist, and I’ve only biked on pavement/roads for the most part.

What trails did you ride?

  • I rode the trails at the Mercy Trailhead!

Did the trails help you gain comfortability on the mountain bike?

  • Definitely. I had never ridden on a mountain bike before this experience, so trying out an easier trail gave me a good feel for how to control the bike as well as getting used to all of the “bumpiness.”

Would you go mountain biking again?

  • Yes, I would love to go mountain biking again. I think I would need to practice on more similar trails––in terms of difficulty––but I hope this isn’t my last time mountain biking! My legs were sore the day after, but I wasn’t concentrating on the workout during the experience. What a fun way to break a sweat!

Would you recommend these trails to another beginner?

  • Yes! As someone who has little to no experience mountain biking, the Mercy Trail Head Trail was a great start. I love that the trail had a variety of obstacles that weren’t too daring for the average beginner––sharper turns, tree trunks, uphill inclinations. All of these were manageable and gave me a peek into the joy of mountain biking!

All in all, how was your first mountain bike ride?

  • Honestly, it was a mix of adrenaline, fear, and excitement. Even though the trail was relatively easy compared to a lot of trails in the area, the thought of flipping over the bike was still terrifying. But the satisfaction that came from successfully going over a rocky area or making a difficult turn was super exciting and rewarding! There were a couple times where I just thought to myself, “Yup. Definitely about to slip and fall,” but I didn’t! I think the hardest obstacle about mountain biking is not the act of mountain biking itself, but the mindset you have during the experience. You kind of have to go into it knowing that there might be a possibility that you will fall, and that that’s totally okay!

You can find the map for Catherine’s Crossing HERE.

Melanie is rocking the women’s Stacked Tee in Indigo.