February, 2021  

The 411 on 2021 Cycling Events in Fayetteville

So you've heard all the cycling news coming out of Fayetteville but you might be asking yourself, "How do I enjoy these?" Don't worry Experience Fayetteville has your back! Check out our breakdown of some exciting competitions and ways you can enjoy them whether on wheels or on foot!

Here's the 411 on cycling 2021!  With a diverse calendar of international, elite and championship-caliber cycling events scheduled over the next 12 months - the world’s newest Bike City will be the place to be for cycling fans, racers, or curious spectators!

Beginning this spring, Fayetteville will welcome Olympic mountain bike hopefuls to the world-class trails at Centennial Park before professional road racers buzz down our historic streets this summer. In the fall, ultra-endurance gravel cyclists embark on a 1000-mile race from Downtown Fayetteville before we celebrate cyclocross athletes from 25 countries competing at a first-time World Cup race. Then over winter, the World Comes to Fayetteville for the UCI Cyclocross World Championships - only the second time this prestigious event has been held on US soil.

With the Ozark Mountains as its backdrop, keep reading to learn more about fan-friendly cycling events happening in Fayetteville, Arkansas over the next year - plus opportunities to experience Fayetteville’s world-class cycling for yourself!

Spring

What: Oz Trails Pro Cup presented by Experience Fayetteville
When: April 9-11 and 16-18, 2021
Where: Centennial Park at Millsap Mountain in Fayetteville, Arkansas

Fayetteville will be home to back-to-back race weekends this spring with the inaugural Oz Trail US Pro Cup, presented by Experience Fayetteville. A spectator-friendly schedule of Short Track and professional Cross Country mountain bike races is expected to include a sizeable field of US and International riders representing past and future Olympians, National Champions, and Continental and World Champions!

The events will be the first to showcase the new purpose-built World Cup racecourse at the 228-acre Centennial Park. Designed to international specifications, fans can anticipate being awed by the rowdy rock-filled course that is sure to get the attention of the pros! 

Not to be left out, amateur mountain bikers from Northwest Arkansas and across the country can experience a full day dedicated to amateur racing for all ages - both weekends! More details here.

Plus you don't have to ride to enjoy the fun atmosphere! Stop by the "Let's Play Bike Zone" presented by BikeNWA! Full of fun activities for kids and families to enjoy bikes together! Don't forget to enjoy some food while you're at Centennial cheering on the riders! Food from local food trucks like Wicked Wood Fired Pizza, Wrights BBQ and amazing cuisine from Chef Jerrmy Gawthrop will be at Centennial Park. Don't forget to stop by Puritan and Meteor Cafe and get a little caffeine boost! And stay tuned for some local beer that will be on sight!  

Summer

What: 44th Annual Joe Martin Stage Race
When: August 26-29, 2021
Where: Fayetteville, Arkansas, and scenic Washington County

Featuring four stages of professional and amateur road cyclists racing down the spectator-friendly streets of Fayetteville and into the winding backcountry of the Ozarks - the Joe Martin Stage Race returns this summer!

For fans, the racing culminates for the final stage the Experience Fayetteville Criterium on Sunday, August 29th. Each year, spectators line the sidewalks of Fayetteville as 750 cyclists from 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! More details here

Fall

What: Arkansaw High Country Race
When: October 9-16, 2021
Where: Starting and finishing in Fayetteville, Arkansas

Quickly becoming known as one of the most challenging gravel bikepacking routes in the country, the annual Arkansaw High Country Race returns to Fayetteville this fall! Departing from downtown, this self-supported bicycle race requires participants to strap camping gear to their bikes while traversing both the Ozark and Ouachita Mountain ranges.

The race course follows the perimeter of the Arkansas High Country Route – a series of three gravel and paved road loops that connect several of the State’s natural regions - transitioning from backcountry gravel roads to scenic pavement and back for over 1000 miles!

For a practice known as “dot watching”, racers are equipped with a GPS tracking device allowing fans to follow their favorite riders along the route in real-time and from anywhere in the world! More info here

What: FayetteCross 2021 UCI Cyclocross World Cup
When: October 13, 2021
Where: Centennial Park at Millsap Mountain in Fayetteville, Arkansas

International cyclocross action returns to Fayetteville for a wild Wednesday afternoon of professional racing at Centennial Park! Awarded a spot on the UCI World Cup calendar, FayetteCross 2021 will offer a preview of the future World Championship racecourse and an opportunity for fans to see the globe's best cyclocross racers from more than 25 countries compete this fall.

If new to the cyclocross 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! Cyclocross is cycling’s most thrilling form of racing with courses designed to allow fans to move around as the action unfolds.

Held rain or shine, weather only adds to the unpredictability of the outcome as the racecourse becomes muddier with every lap! More info here.

Winter

What: 2022 UCI Cyclocross World Championships
When: January 28-30, 2022
Where: Centennial Park at Millsap Mountain in Fayetteville, Arkansas

While not actually 2021, our annual cycling calendar concludes with the 2022 UCI Cyclocross World Championships this Winter. Last held stateside in 2013, the World Championships are the annual culmination of the international cyclocross season – the Superbowl of the sport!

Fayetteville is set to Welcome the World as top international men and women cyclocross racers and upwards of 15,000 fans converge on Centennial Park – where the winners are awarded the coveted rainbow jersey!

Unique to Centennial Park is its permanent cyclocross racecourse appropriately labeled Chasing Gold. Built to international specifications, a compact course means countless views as professional cyclists tackle an assortment of obstacles including a defining set of 38 stairs! Designed with the World Championships in mind, it is the only racecourse of its kind in the United States.

In addition to a weekend of championship racing, fans can expect nightly activations that highlight all the funky flavors, music, and fun that Fayetteville is known for! More info here.

Four Seasons of Cycling

What’s a weekend of international bicycle racing without some cycling of your own? Northwest Arkansas is known for its mild seasons that welcomes 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 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 annual Square 2 Square, the Chinkapin Hollow Gravel Grinder, and more. We’ll see you soon!

Cycling Coordinator

Cycling Coordinator