Originally scheduled for June, the event starts and finishes off Fayetteville’s Historic Downtown Square.
Bikepacking builds off the interests of backpacking, combining cycling through rugged terrain while carrying the gear necessary for minimalist camping.
The Arkansaw High Country Race follows the perimeter of the Arkansas High Country Route. Originally published in 2019 by the Adventure Cycling Association with support from the Arkansas Parks and Recreation Foundation, the 1030-mile route connects several of the state’s natural divisions in Central and Northwest Arkansas through a series of mixed gravel and paved road loops.
From Fayetteville, cyclists traverse the Ozark Mountains to the Buffalo National River Corridor, and into the Arkansas River Valley. From the River Valley riders dip through the Ouachita Mountains before climbing back through the Ozarks to the finish line in Fayetteville. Called the “High Country” for a reason, participants will climb over 80,000 feet during the race – the equivalent of summitting Mt. Everest… almost 3 times.
The Arkansaw High Country Race is scheduled to officially start at 7:30 a.m. Oct. 31 outside the Graduate Fayetteville, located at 70 N. East Avenue. Following best practices and COVID-19 precautions, community focused opportunities have been canceled. Fans are encouraged to follow the race and individual racer dots online at trackleaders.com once the race begins.
Since its inception, several notable athletes have attempted individual time trials (ITT) of the race route – resulting in a series of new course records.
Red Bull athlete Rebecca Rusch was the first to ride the complete race route. During miserably wet and cold weather, Rusch finished in 8 days, 3 hours and 33 minutes and holds the Fastest Known Time (FKT) for a solo woman attempt.
During sweltering summer heat, ultra-endurance athlete Jay Petervary set a new FKT for a solo male at 5 days, 12 hours, and 6 minutes. Petervary battled some of Arkansas’ hottest and humid temperatures during his attempt.
Professional road cyclists, and husband and wife Arkansans, Ernie and Scotti Lechuga set out to best their own pairs (two-person) record of 5 days, 18 hours, and 24 minutes. Their attempt this past September resulted in a new pairs record of 4 days, 22 hours, and 6 minutes – becoming the first athletes known to complete the racecourse in under 5 days.
Full event details, including rules and risk management, COVID-19 safety plan, schedule, race routes and hotel and short-term parking information, are available at https://rivervalley.ozarkoffroadcyclists.org/races-tours/arkansaw-high-country-race