June 2-4, 2023
The Ozark Valley Triathlon (OVT), Fayetteville’s oldest triathlon event, returns with a bang for 2023! The three-day event, planned for the weekend of June 2-4, 2023, marks the second consecutive year for Fayetteville to host a full slate of USA Triathlon (USAT) National Championship events.
It’s only fitting that a gravel and mountain-biking haven like Fayetteville, Arkansas would be asked to host this national, championship-level gravel biking event yet again. As the most bike-friendly city in Northwest Arkansas, Fayetteville is a natural fit for mountain bikers and gravel fiends looking for new adventure as the sport continues to explode in popularity!
The 2023 edition of the OVT will crown four national champions - to the race winners in Off-Road (mountain bike) Triathlon, Off-Road Duathlon, Gravel Triathlon, and Gravel Duathlon (newly added for 2023) events. The top 18 finishers in each age group of the Off-Road Triathlon and Off-Road Duathlon will additionally qualify to represent Team USA at the 2024 World Triathlon Cross Triathlon and Duathlon World Championships.
Any triathlete or duathlete in the United States is invited to register for next summer’s national championship races in Fayetteville, Arkansas! There is no requirement to pre-qualify, just a willingness to test yourself against the best of the best competitors from across the country. Unlike the established off-road triathlon, which is often highly technical, the new gravel triathlon is contested on wider dirt or gravel-based roads, lowering the barrier to entry from a technical standpoint. Newer athletes are able to jump into the sport, using a wide variety of bikes, too: hybrids, mountain, cyclocross, road, and gravel bikes are all reasonable options.
In addition to the slate of championship races taking place over the weekend, the Ozark Valley Triathlon will feature an international distance road triathlon and aquabike race, a sprint triathlon and a sprint duathlon. These events anchor the OVT back to its roots, as decisive races for the Arkansas State Championships and Arkansas High School State Championships.
All three days of competition will take place in the recreation area at Lake Wedington, just west of Fayetteville and situated within a lush, hardwood forest. Both spectators and participants can enjoy the native beauty of the area, which just so happens to be a natural setting for triathlons. Racers and spectators will not be charged to enter the park on race day. Race organizers plan to station the “crazies” – rabid cycling fans with plenty of energy to go around – at the top of the run course hill to supply a burst of support for tired athletes! Spectators, families, and friends will have the chance to win door prizes and are also invited to a post-race meal.
The Gravel National Championship race will take place on Friday, with the Off-Road National Championships following on Saturday and road triathlon events on Sunday. A full race schedule is available on the Ozark Valley Triathlon registration site.
While the USA Triathlon (USAT) events have gravel and off-road bike courses unique to those events, all events with a swimming component will take place in Lake Wedington. Bike courses for the Ozark Valley Triathlon portion of the weekend will take place on newly-paved roads with rolling terrain just outside the park. The toughest hill on the bike course comes at the six mile mark. While Weaver Hill starts and finishes gradually, there is a steep .5-mile climb in the middle, after which the course is fast with just a few rollers. The runs are held on a rolling, partially shaded, two-loop course inside the park on paved roads. There is a tough hill on each loop with an infamous not-for-print name, aside from the sprint distance run courses, which loop back at the base of the hill. The runs are situated to make for some great spectator viewing!
For those that are interested in completing a triathlon or duathlon, but aren’t quite ready for an in-person event for whatever reason, the organizers have got you covered! This year’s Ozark Valley Triathlon will again include two virtual “driveway challenge events”. The challenges are intended to be a design-your-own course battle of wits against yourself. You’re encouraged to choose your own activities, whether that’s swimming, biking, running, kayaking, canoeing, rowing, or anything else you desire. Do it alone or with a friend, your kids, your partner, your dogs. There are no set dates or restrictions, just doing your personal best and having fun! How can you say no to that?! Virtual participants have the option to register for a Duathlon or Triathlon Driveway Challenge.
Entry fees for all participants include a ringspun cotton t-shirt, door prizes from sponsors to include gift certificates and a healthy amount of bike gear, a complimentary post-race meal with options for friends and family to join, goody bags, and a unique finisher medal.
For complete details and schedules, as well as registration information, please visit the Ozark Valley Triathlon RunSignup page.
The Ozark Valley Triathlon is promoted by All Sports Productions, a sports event management and consulting company promoting cycling, running, and other outdoor events in the Fayetteville, Arkansas area.