Location: Downtown Hot Springs
Event Date: Saturday, October 8
This challenging 1000+ mile Ouachita Triple Crown bikepacking race takes competitors through the Ouachita Mountains and the Arkansas River Valley. Arkansas’ Epic Back Roads Bicycle Race!
The Arkansas High Country Race has moved south to Hot Springs for 2022 and 2023! In addition to the classic Arkannsas High Country Route, this event will also feature the South Loop and the Ouachita Triple Crown. 50/50 paved and unpaved route. Connect all the highpoints of Arkansas via a roller coaster of mixed surfaces: steep, chunky, remote, and relentless - a masterpiece of Arkansas terrain.
Hot Springs will be the host city in 2022 and 2023 for the "grueling" 1,037-mile Arkansaw High Country Race, Visit Hot Springs announced Wednesday.
The first year's race, which takes competitors on a loop that encompasses much of the "toughest mountain terrain" in Arkansas, will start on Oct. 8, 2022, in downtown Hot Springs, Visit Hot Springs said in a news release, adding that a shorter 500-mile loop also is available.
“Hot Springs is already famous for our city’s Northwoods Trail System, which is one of the finest mountain biking facilities in the South,” Traci Berry, Northwoods trails coordinator for Visit Hot Springs, said. “The Arkansaw High Country Race, which will start on October 8, 2022, in downtown Hot Springs, will be another jewel in our crown in the rapidly growing biking community in Arkansas and surrounding states.”
The ArHC Race, which takes at least five days for the fastest racers to complete, consists of a loop of gravel roads and highways that will begin in Hot Springs, travel west through the high ridges of the Ouachita Mountains and Ouachita National Forest, over to the Mena area, angle northeast past Lake Dardanelle, up to Fayetteville and a brief jog into Missouri, cut southeast through the tough territory of the Ozark National Forest and Buffalo National River area, drop south through the Greers Ferry Lake and Conway region, through Maumelle and back to Hot Springs.
The course can be ridden clockwise or counterclockwise.
With Hot Springs being chosen as the host city, the riders who have done the race multiple years from other starting points will have to reevaluate their strategy, race officials said.
“As many as 100 riders will come to Hot Springs to push themselves and their bodies to the absolute limits in a race where just finishing is winning,” Berry said.
“We are super stoked to bring this challenging and awe-inspiring event to Hot Springs. Gravel riding and bikepacking are growing in popularity in the outdoor industry. Our region has some of the best gravel in the state with spectacular views of the Ouachitas. With Hot Springs being selected as the host city, it gives us a great opportunity to highlight points in our region along the race route like our historic downtown and National Park, the [International Mountain Biking Association] Epic LOViT Trail out at Lake Ouachita, and much more.
“The race will bring the toughest athletes in the sport to Hot Springs,” Berry said. “We’ll make sure they enjoy everything Hot Springs has to offer, including our spectacular Northwoods Trails.”
For more information call Traci Berry at 501-321-2027.