If you’ve spent any time in Fayetteville recently, you’ve probably heard a whole lot about the wide world of cycling and all the events that come along with it! It’s no secret that Fayetteville has become a hotspot cycling destination for bikers and fans from all over the world, especially after gaining its Bike City label and hosting the 2022 Walmart UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships at Centennial Park.

Whether you’re in Fayetteville on wheels or on foot, there are a lot of ways to enjoy these exciting competitions in our city - even if you’ve never considered yourself the type to watch a bicycle race! We host a growing number of cycling events each year, filling our calendar with a diverse set of international, elite, and championship-level racing right alongside a number of inclusive, beginner-friendly, less technical rides. There’s no doubt that Fayetteville, America’s Secret Cycling Paradise, is the place to be in 2022 for cycling fans, racers, casual riders, and curious spectators!

Cycling event season really kicks off in the spring, when Fayetteville will welcome a global group of mountain bike racers for the Moosejaw U.S. Pro Cup. Familiar, well-known races such as the Joe Martin Stage Race and Ozark Valley Triathlon will then carry us into a summer full of gravel and mountain biking. Notably, Fayetteville will be one of only two host cities in the United States for the new UCI Gravel World Series during the Highlands Gravel Classic this summer! In the fall, the UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup returns to Fayetteville for the second year in a row alongside some other cool-weather favorites. 

With the Ozark Mountains as its scenic backdrop, Fayetteville, Arkansas is the ideal location to experience some fan-friendly cycling events this year! Keep reading to learn more about all the opportunities to experience Fayetteville’s world-class cycling for yourself.

Spring Cycling Events

What: Moosejaw U.S. Pro Cup

When: April 20, 22-24, 2022

Where: Centennial Park at Millsap Mountain in Fayetteville, Arkansas

Fayetteville will be kicking off competitive cross-country mountain bike racing in the United States with the Moosejaw U.S. Pro Cup, the season opener for the 2022 Professional Cross-Country Tour (Pro XCT). Featuring 4 days of racing over a 5 day period, the spectator-friendly schedule of cross-country and short track cross-country races is expected to highlight a deep field of racers composed of past and future Olympians, national champions, and international titlists.

Cyclists will be racing on the purpose-built cross-country “World Cup” racecourse at 228-acre Centennial Park. The circuit is unique to the United States, built from the ground up to meet international specifications, making the course a premier stop for racers worldwide. Fans can certainly anticipate some excellent action on the dynamic, rock-filled circuit as racers zip by!

Beyond the world-class racing on display at the Moosejaw U.S. Pro Cup, amateur and novice race options are available on the final two days of the event. For those who dabble in mountain biking from Northwest Arkansas and across the country, this is an incredible opportunity to compete on portions of the same course that the professionals use, including the world-class finish line!

The event is free to attend and all are welcome – even if you have absolutely no intention of riding! There will be plenty of fun to be had in the electric race atmosphere, with the event at Centennial park featuring an industry-heavy exposition area, local food and beverages available onsite, and additional community engagement events expected to be announced soon!

What: Square 2 Square Spring Bike Ride

When: May 7, 2022

Where: Departing from Fayetteville, Arkansas on the Razorback Regional Greenway

The Square 2 Square Bike Ride happens twice a year, and the first edition belongs to Fayetteville! This event, now in its seventh year, is not a race, but an easygoing ride that’s designed for all ages and abilities. It’s known as the “Official Ride of the Razorback Greenway”, intended to highlight and showcase the massive trail system. Departing from Walker Park in Fayetteville, riders will have the chance to celebrate the downtown squares of Northwest Arkansas while enjoying the unique cycling amenities that make Fayetteville such an iconic destination for bikers and visitors alike. A virtual ride option celebrating National Bike Month will also be available for the entire month of May!

What: 45th Annual Walmart Joe Martin Stage Race

When: May 19-22, 2022

Where: Fayetteville, Arkansas and scenic Washington County

Featuring four stages of professional and three stages of amateur road racing down the spectator-friendly streets of Fayetteville and into the winding backcountry of the Ozarks - the Joe Martin Stage Race returns a little earlier this summer! For fans, the energy culminates for the final stage of racing – the Experience Fayetteville Criterium on Sunday, May 22. Each year, decorated spectators line the sidewalks of Fayetteville as 800 cyclists representing all 50 states and 27 countries speed through the streets of our Historic Downtown and Entertainment Districts. First-time spectators can expect a vibrant but family-friendly environment with plenty of porches and patios to experience the action from!

What: Walmart Ozark Valley Triathlon

When: June 3-5, 2022

Where: Lake Wedington Recreation Area near Fayetteville, Arkansas

Fayetteville’s oldest triathlon event, the Ozark Valley Triathlon, is this year teaming up with the USA Triathlon (USAT) National Championships - and also playing host to the first-ever USAT Gravel National Championships. As always, the event will also include the Arkansas High School State Championships for those in grades 9-12. This event is fast-paced with lots of different categories, so there’s absolutely something for everyone to enjoy. How can you go wrong with a competition that has an “aquabike” category? There will be gravel, road, and off-road/mountain biking happening to observe, not to mention the gorgeous natural surroundings of Lake Wedington!

What: Iron Pig Festival

When: June 18, 2022

Where: Arkansas Air and Military Museum and scenic Hwy 71 in Fayetteville, Arkansas

The Iron Pig Festival has two options for folks looking to experience a fun road biking experience! This would be a great first time event if you’re looking to test your skills. A duathlon (3 mile run, 18 mile bike, 3 mile run) is available for both individuals and teams, as well as virtually. The runs are flat and fast, and the bike course is an out and back on scenic Hwy 71. There will also be an 18-mile individual bike time trial on an out and back course on mostly flat, slightly rolling terrain. The finish line is particularly fun - located inside the gate of the Arkansas Air and Military Museum, under the tail section of the C-130 H Hercules! The event will include a post-event festival with food and beverages for participants.

Summer Cycling Events

What: Highlands Gravel Classic

When: June 25, 2022

Where: Private farm and gravel roads just east of Fayetteville, Arkansas

The inaugural Highlands Gravel Classic in Fayetteville will act as the first U.S. qualifier for the brand new UCI Gravel World Championships. Held against the backdrop of the Boston Mountain range of the Ozark Mountains - the Highlands - the event will feature two courses, both 95% gravel. Competitors will travel through canopy-covered backcountry roads on either the “Highlands” or “Farmlands” course, depending on their age category, in their attempts to secure a qualifying spot at UCI Gravel Worlds. This relatively new discipline in the cycling world is fun, thrilling, and ultra-social and is somewhat of a blend between mountain and road biking - certain to be an exciting experience for anyone that’s interested in participating or observing.

What: Grit MTB Festival

When: September 30-October 2, 2022

Where: Centennial Park at Millsap Mountain in Fayetteville, Arkansas

If you’re looking for a multi-day festival catering to trans, femme, nonbinary, and women mountain bikers, you’ll find one in Fayetteville at the Grit MTB Festival! This type of event is far from common in the cycling world, so it’s particularly awesome to have a festival this size to highlight all of the scenic and diverse mountain bike trails in the region. All riders regardless of skill level and all bikes regardless of flash are welcome! The festival began and continues as an effort to make mountain biking, which can be seen as difficult to begin, a little dangerous, and sometimes expensive, accessible to the women who wish to be included. Food, drinks, workshops, group rides, and skill clinics will be available to participants over all three days of the festival, and free camping is offered on-site for anyone that wishes to take advantage.

Fall Cycling Events

What: OZCX WeekendUCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup

When: October 14-16, 2022

Where: Centennial Park at Millsap Mountain in Fayetteville, Arkansas

After hosting the CX World Cup in October 2021 and the CX World Championship in January 2022 in Fayetteville, first-rate cyclo-cross racing is returning yet again for another cyclo-cross World Cup this fall. They like us, they really, really like us! This year’s event in Fayetteville is one of only two cyclo-cross World Cup competitions happening in the United States in 2022. Fans will have the opportunity to see the world’s best cyclo-cross racers up close as they tackle the purpose built racecourse at 228-acre Centennial Park!

If you’re new to the cyclo-cross scene, the spectator-friendly format includes a feature-filled racecourse with obstacles that require racers to hop off and back on their bikes while they navigate off-camber turns, shin-high barriers, and even stairs! Cyclo-cross is cycling’s most thrilling form of racing with courses designed to allow fans to move around as the action unfolds. As it goes in cyclo-cross racing, the event will be held rain or shine, as any chance for weather only adds to the unpredictability - and muddiness - of the contest!

What: Chinkapin Hollow Gravel Grinder

When: October 23, 2022

Where: Lake Wedington Recreation Area near Fayetteville, Arkansas

This gravel racing experience is so excellent that it spans two states! The Chinkapin Hollow Gravel Grinder departs from Lake Wedington, just outside of Fayetteville, where riders wind through the hardwood timber forests of the Ozarks before crossing into Oklahoma to complete their dirt road adventure. The returning favorite features a popular mass start format and long stretches of rolling gravel roads through wooded, canopy covered areas descending through historic communities.

Four Seasons of Cycling

What’s a weekend of watching bicycle racing without some cycling of your own? Northwest Arkansas is known for its mild seasons that welcome year-round riding. Regardless of what event brings you to Fayetteville, don’t forget your bike!

For mountain bikers, Fayetteville boasts a large variety of technical singletrack, family-friendly flow trail, and purpose-built features just minutes from downtown. Riders will find most mountain bike trailheads accessible from our 50+ mile paved trail network – where you and your family or friends can find local trailside food and refreshments all along the way.

For cyclists that favor the roads, Fayetteville has a rich history of road cycling with low traffic density, high road quality, and mountain scenery drawing professional road teams to town every year. Leaving Fayetteville, scenic pavement gives way to extensive backcountry gravel experiences where the opportunities for riding become endless.

In total, Fayetteville boasts more than 100 miles of paved and single track trails within the city limits with iconic road and gravel riding waiting just outside of town. Stay tuned to our event calendar for additional participatory cycling opportunities like the Joe Martin Gran Fondo, Arkansas Enduro Series, Kessler Mountain Jam, community group rides, and more. We’ll see you soon!

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