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HALL OF FAMER NAT ROSS AND BIKE BENTONVILLE’S AIMEE ROSS

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ISSUE NO. 10 | 2019 #EXPERIENCEARKANSAS BIKEARKANSASMEDIA.COM

ARKANSAS HIGH COUNTRY THE NEW 1,200


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IN THIS ISSUE

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Nat and Aimee Ross on how cycling is central to their lives.

Bike Bentonville’s Aimee Ross sees her new home as a model for small towns everywhere. By Sam Slaton

Hall of Famer Nat Ross is racing and spreading the gospel of electronic-motor-assisted bikes. By Lindsey Millar

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Little Rock’s Scotti and Ernie Lechuga prepare for the Silk Mountain Road Race in Kyrgyzstan, one of the world’s toughest. By Molly Mitchell

Jason Zehner may have been born with “calf butt,” but he’s also put in work.

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FROM THE GUEST EDITORS

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BRAKING NEWS Arkansas becomes the second state to allow cyclists to treat red lights like stop signs and stop signs like yield signs.

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MY KIT Bentonville’s Ellen Brune loves her tattoo sleeve arm warmers, off-road shoes and sunglasses with interchangeable lenses.

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MY TRAIL, MY RIDE

RIDE OF THEIR LIFE

THE ULTIMATE ARKANSAS ROUTE Thanks to a school teacher from Russellville, cyclists can follow a 1,200-mile trail through the Ouachitas and Ozarks. By Leslie Newell Peacock

E-BIKE EVANGELIST

BACK CALF

EVERY ISSUE Bike Events Bike Shops

ON THE COVER Bike Bentonville’s Aimee Ross. Photography by Novo Studio.


TWO RIVERS PARK AND BRIDGE A HIDDEN GEM OF PULASKI COUNTY

AR DEPT OF PARKS & TOURISM

Encompassed by the Arkansas and Little Maumelle Rivers, 1000-acre Two Rivers Park features a bike/walking trail, open play fields, expansive views of the surrounding rivers and hillsides. The Two Rivers Park Garden Center has more than 400 plots where hundreds of local gardeners enjoy their hobby and sense of community. The proposed county master plan includes adding a pavilion, a water feature at the entrance, a playground for children, additional parking, additional restrooms, a permanent stage, boat dock and outdoor fitness area. Two Rivers Park has a bright future. Come and play!  

YOUR COUNTY. YOUR SERVICES. • PULASKICOUNTY.NET


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BIKEARKANSASMEDIA.COM FOLLOW US FOR MORE BIKE

KATHERINE DANIELS Publisher

katherine@arktimes.com LINDSEY MILLAR Editor

lindseymillar@arktimes.com MANDY KEENER Creative Director

mandy@arktimes.com LESA THOMAS Senior State Representative WELDON WILSON Production Manager/Controller ROLAND R. GLADDEN Advertising Traffic Manager

From paved paths through city parks to rugged mountain bike trails to sharrows on most main roads, Conway is working to be one of the most bike-friendly cities in the state. If you don’t own a bike, you can rent a cruiser for up to a full day from one of five bike-share stations throughout town. And when you finish your ride, stop in to one of our local restaurants to refuel.

MIKE SPAIN Advertising Art Director KATIE HASSELL Graphic Design/Social Media ROBERT CURFMAN IT Director LINDA PHILLIPS Billing/Collections ANITRA HICKMAN Circulation Director

For more information about Conway bike trails visit CycleConway.com.

CVB@ConwayArkansas.org ConwayArk.com 866.7CONWAY 6 | BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 10

ALAN LEVERITT President alan@arktimes.com Arkansas Times Limited Partnership 201 E. MARKHAM ST., SUITE 200 LITTLE ROCK, AR 72201 501-375-2985 All Contents © 2019 Bike Arkansas Magazine


Contributors

LAKE OUACHITA VISTA TRAIL (LOViT)

MOLLY MITCHELL is a native Arkansan

and general enthusiast who has been writing about interesting people in Arkansas and around the world for more than 5 years.

SAM SLATON is a writer, bike advocate and teacher at Thaden School in Bentonville.

CYCL ING HUB O F T HE S OUT H BR AND GUIDEL INES

DISCOVER L TRAILS OF L DIAMOND LAKES REGION The Diamond Lakes region is the only place in the state where you can access three of the state’s five IMBA EPIC trails, plus other great trails.

Intermediate • 45 Miles Trailheads: Blakely Dam Mountain Harbor Resort • Shangri-La Near: Mount Ida • Crystal Springs

WOMBLE TRAIL

Intermediate • 37 Miles Trailhead: Story Near: Mount Ida • Story

OUACHITA NATIONAL RECREATION TRAIL Intermediate to Advanced • 108 Miles Near: Hot Springs Village Added Bonus: Camping Shelters every 10 miles

IRON MOUNTAIN TRAIL

Intermediate • 21.5 Miles Near: Iron Mountain Resort & Marina • DeGray Lake

HOT SPRINGS NORTHWOODS TRAILS Beginner to Advanced • 14 Miles Near: Downtown Hot Springs

Arkadelphia • Caddo Valley • Glenwood • Hot Springs Malvern • Mount Ida • Murfreesboro

FOR YOUR FREE VACATION GUIDE, Call 1-800-SPA-CITY, or visit HotSprings.org. Hot Springs/Diamond Lakes Travel Association

LIZ CHRISMAN

is a Russellvillebased photographer whose constant curiosity for the outdoors is the heartbeat for her love of capturing Arkansas’s finest scenes and people.

This ad is paid for with a combination of state funds and private regional association funds.

BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 10 7


FROM THE GUEST EDITORS

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rom the time both of us were young, bikes have been a large part of our cultural livelihood. Separately, we developed our lives and our career paths around cycling. Nat found his performance in racing and had an amazing 15year professional career. Aimee found her niche developing her business acumen in sales, marketing and event management. Saying that our lives are spent riding bikes, talking about bikes and promoting more people riding bikes is an understatement. We encompass all that there is to embrace in our cycling culture. We care about the future of this sport: The more people riding bikes, the more advocates cycling has, the healthier communities become and the appreciation for nature continues for generations to come. Because cycling gave so much to each of us individually, together as a couple we strive to continue to give back to the sport. Some people chase storms; we chase trails. From the white pine forests of Michigan to the west coast of California to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, we love to explore new places together by bike and love that we have been given the opportunity to do that in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. We are excited to share our passion for cycling with the community here. The enthusiasm to build a cycling mecca in Northwest Arkansas has such a strong draw, and we are extremely appreciative to be welcomed and accepted by the greater community to bring our knowledge and our passion for cycling to bear on building upon the cycling experiences Arkansas has to offer the world. Thank you, Bike Arkansas, for sharing our passion for cycling, allowing us to share our stories, and all that you do for cycling. Cheers,

Aimee Ross, director of Bike Bentonville

Nat Ross, Mountain Bike Hall of Famer and legend

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BRAKING NEWS

STATE PARK BIKING CHANGES COMING Arkansas State Parks has initiated a new directive that allows Class 1 electric mountain bikes on park trails where mountain bikes are allowed. It has also developed a directive that will guarantee anyone traveling through a park — on foot or on a bike — a camping spot even if none is available. The changes must be approved by the Arkansas Legislative Council. Joe Jacobs of State Parks said the changes would be presented soon after the General Assembly wraps up. He didn’t anticipate any opposition. A Class 1 E-bike is a low-speed, pedal-assisted bicycle equipped with an electric motor and a governor that stops providing assistance when the bike reaches 20 miles per hour.

Governor Hutchinson, with Joe Jacobs on his right, signs Act 650 into law.

NEW TRAFFIC LAW FOR CYCLISTS

Arkansas is now the second state in the country that allows people on bicycles to treat stop signs as yield signs and red lights like stop signs. The new law, Act 650, sponsored by Sen. Missy Irvin (R-Mountain View) and Rep. Jay Richardson (D-Fort Smith), was signed by Governor Hutchinson on April 2. The law says that cyclists approaching a stop sign must slow down — stopping if necessary to avoid a hazard — and yield to right-ofway pedestrians or other traffic. They can then proceed through the intersection without stopping. At red lights, cyclists must come to a complete stop and yield to traffic. Then they may proceed through the light. The law was recommended to its sponsors by the Governor’s Advisory Council on Cycling. Joe Jacobs, marketing and revenue manager for Arkansas State Parks, is the chairman of the council, and he helped write the legislation. He said the bill is important for the safety of cyclists. “Having more control in an intersection, which is a dangerous place for a cyclist, is really good for them,” Jacobs said. “If you can move out of the intersection before cars start moving, you’re much safer. “When you come up to the light, and there’s no cross traffic, you can go ahead and move through. Cars that may be behind you are no longer behind you. You’re able to move through the intersection, get on down the road and maybe even make the next light, and you’re not slowing down the traffic behind you that is only going to be able to go at your speed.” Idaho passed a similar law in 1982, and the practice is commonly known as the Idaho Stop.

GARLAND COUNTY’S CEDAR GLADES PARK GETS WALTON GRANT The Walton Family Foundation has granted Cedar Glades Park in Garland County $450,000 to improve its trail system. The park is immediately adjacent to Northwoods, the 2,000acre urban park owned by the city of Hot Springs, which opened last fall with 14.5 miles of multiuse trails designed for mountain biking. Visit Hot Springs matched a grant from the Walton Family Foundation to fund the $1.3 million Phase One of the project. Eventually, 45 miles of trails are envisioned for Northwoods. 10 | BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 10

Cedar Glades has about 10 miles of single-track cross-country-style trail. AJ Johnson, park coordinator, said no final decisions have been made about what the new development will entail, but he said among the things that have been discussed include building a mile or two of beginner trail, making the existing trails more consistent with ratings (i.e. making the green trails more like typical greens), adding alternate trail lines, creating a quicker connection to Northwoods (the connection is about 4 miles now) and

building a skills or pump-track in the parking lot area. “We’re not going to change the overall single-track oldschool feel that Cedar Glades has,” Johnson said. The International Mountain Bicycling Association’s Trail Solutions, which has been leading the trail building efforts in Northwoods, will start on Cedar Glades in April or May, Johnson hopes. It will take a break in the summer and resume work in the fall. Johnson hopes everything will be finished in a year.


Visit onlyinark.com FOR THE BEST of OUR HOME STATE.

We’re committed to Arkansas and to the people who live here. That’s why we created an entire site dedicated to our home state. Visit OnlyInArk.com for everything from great bike trails to local culture and more. When your bank is only in Arkansas, you know it’s all about you.

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MY KIT COACH, MENTOR, RACER: Bentonville’s Ellen Brune.

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NAME: Ellen Brune FROM : Bentonville JOB: Senior manager in the supply chain innovation and automation division of Walmart, head coach of the Bentonville High School mountain bike team and mentor for Little Bellas, a mountain bike mentoring program for girls.

I’VE BEEN RIDING: “Religiously, probably four or five years, but I’ve ridden a bike since I was a little kid. Last fall, I was the women’s CAT 4 state champion in cyclocross.”

THE BIKE: Thesis Bike OB1. It’s a new direct-to-consumer bike company based in San Francisco. Brune is a brand ambassador. It’s a gravel bike, but Brune has a set of road tires for it, too.

WHERE I RIDE: “My favorite gravel routes are around XNA [Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport in Highfill]. There are all kinds of beautiful views. For mountain biking, I like the downhill runs at Leatherwood [in Eureka Springs].”

‘WE’RE TRYING TO GET MORE WOMEN PARTICIPATING IN RACES.’

KIT: It’s for the new amateur

SUNGLASSES: Tiposi. “They have

women’s race team she founded, Velocita. Bike Rack Brewing is the primary sponsor. “We’re trying to get more women participating in races.” Tattoo Warmers.

interchangeable lenses, which is my favorite things about them. I wear the red lenses when it’s overcast because it gives you more contrast, but if it’s crazy sunny, I can replace them for a blue, mirrored lens. Or if I’m riding in the dark, I can swap a clear lens in.”

SHOES: Lake MX241 Endurance.

GLOVES: Fox. “They’re really thin,

“They’re super comfortable. They were custom made for a female off-road racer. There is a ton of air-venting in them, which allows them to breathe in longer rides, and if you’re having to dismount the bike and ford a creek, the water will drain out of them and dry.”

so you can feel really well, and they’re lightweight. You get the fullfingered protection, but you don’t get too hot.”

ARM WARMERS: Primal Wear Arm

PHOTOGRAPHY: NOVO STUDIO

FRAME GUARD: All Mountain Style Honeycomb Frame Guard XL. The honeycomb adhesive PVC “protects the bottom of the bike when you throw rocks.” BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 10 13


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MY TRAIL, MY TOWN 16 | BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 10


Bike Bentonville’s director sees new home as model for small towns across America. By SAM SLATon

Photograpy by Novo Studio

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LIFE CYCLE: Aimee Ross returned to her childhood love of cycling when she headed west after college.

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ike most kids in the 1980s, Aimee Ross started with a big wheeler before switching to a bike with training wheels. When the time came to ditch those, there was a hitch: “I was super short; my parents couldn’t ever find a bike that fit me.” Because she couldn’t stand up over the bike on her own, Ross’ “parents and brother would have to get [her] going by pushing [her] along the side of the porch” until she got enough momentum to keep cruising. Soon after, she took things into her own hands. “My brother had this black BMX bike. I’d sit inside thinking, ‘I want to go ride that bike.’ I was so short that I couldn’t get on it by myself, so I had to get resourceful. I’d pull the bike next to the porch and then get on from the porch. Whenever I wanted to stop, I would have to ride back to the porch and slowly crash into it.”

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As Aimee got older, the bicycle faded out of her life. She remained enamored with the outdoors, but she seldom cycled, until late in college. “I don’t know what happened, but I thought maybe I should get my old mountain bike and bring it to college. So I just started venturing around the campus, finding little dirt paths.” After college, Aimee wasn’t sure what she wanted to do, so she headed west with a friend. They landed in San Diego, where she scored a job as a sales assistant with Ellsworth Cycles. It was during her stint at Ellsworth that Aimee got her first taste of real mountain biking in the red rock deserts of Moab, Utah. She was hooked, and she progressed at Ellsworth at breakneck speed, eventually rising to the rank of operations director. She also carved out time to spearhead socially conscious projects that aligned with

her passions, such as Project Pink, an initiative geared toward getting women interested in cycling while raising money for breast and ovarian cancer research. After a few years with Ellsworth and a short stint at mountain bike clothing line Zoic, Aimee found her way to Crankbrothers in Laguna Beach, Calif., where she handled production logistics for massive industry events. At one such gathering in 2011, Aimee met Nat Ross, who worked for Fi’zi:k, one of Crankbrother’s sister companies. To Aimee, who “never really followed racers,” Nat was “just another person who worked for this company.” To the rest of the mountain biking world, Nat is a legend: He holds four world championship titles in endurance racing, and he’s a member of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. “On the last day of the event, a bunch of kids


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SPREADING THE WORD: As the director of Bike Bentonville, Aimee Ross talks up the city’s impressive trails, including Slaughter Pen. 20 | BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 10


Where she rides In keeping with Aimee’s can-do (-it-all) attitude, it’s impossible for her to pick a favorite local trail: “There is so much trail that is so good, whether it’s a technical or leisurely climb or a super flowy or rocky descent.” Nevertheless, there are a few standouts: “I love Coler Mountain Bike Preserve for the descents, whether it’s Cease and Desist (minus Drop the Hammer) or Rock Solid. They are both so different but honestly they’re the most fun downhill runs in the city. For climbing or an all-around trail, I really love Tatamagouche (because I love the name) and Medusa at Slaughter Pen.” You can find Aimee shredding these and other trails throughout Northwest Arkansas on her purple Juliana mountain bike (she’s an ambassador for the brand).

came up to ask for Nat’s autograph. I remember asking this guy next to me, ‘Why are all these kids asking for the Fi’zi:k guy’s autograph? What am I, chopped liver?’ ” The two started dating, and Nat asked Aimee to marry him the following year. Soon after, the pair moved from California to the little town of Basalt, Colo., just down the valley from Aspen. During their time in Colorado, Aimee and Nat started a NICA high school mountain biking team in Aspen and Aimee blazed a new path in her career doing government relations and advocacy work for the International Mountain Bicycling Association. In this capacity, Aimee made her way to the Ozarks for the first time to

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help plan the IMBA World Summit in Bentonville in 2016. It would prove to be yet another turning point in Aimee’s life. During the planning process, Aimee worked closely with Kalene Griffith, director of Visit Bentonville, the city’s destination marketing organization. “Kalene became very much a mentor for me,” Aimee said. “I’ve always been passionate about women in cycling, and I’d always wanted to host a women’s summit to just ride and talk about women and mountain biking. Kalene encouraged me to just do it. So we created the IMBA Women’s Uprising, which we hosted in Bentonville in March 2018. People told me we wouldn’t get women to come from around the country to Northwest Arkansas, but we got 150 people.” In fact, one of those women came back and stayed: Last October, Aimee joined the Visit Bentonville team as director of Bike Bentonville, an arm of the parent organization committed to “branding, promoting, and selling Bentonville as a cycling destination. “I wanted to come down here to get in the thick of it,” Aimee said. “I came from [Cheybogan, Mich.], a small town that’s dying. And I saw a lot of my history here in Bentonville. I thought, ‘What can I learn here that I can take back to Cheybogan?’ Because I truly believe that Bentonville is a model for other small communities around the U.S.” That forward-thinking, outward focus is what makes Aimee’s take on what might otherwise be a traditional tourism marketing job so unique and refreshing. She thinks far beyond Bentonville’s city limits to consider her adopted home’s potential impact on the nation as a whole, especially its countless small towns. Aimee wants folks to come to Bentonville and leave inspired about what they can do to make their communities thrive. “Bentonville has the opportunity to tell our story by hosting other


‘I truly believe that Bentonville is a model for other small communities around the U.S.’ communities and educating them on how to emulate some best practices from us to help develop other model communities across the U.S. We can create a healthy, vibrant America by collaborating far and wide with likeminded partners.” Indeed, partnerships are at the heart of Aimee’s work in Bentonville. “Because cycling is growing so fast in the region” — more than 90,000 mountain bikers

visited Northwest Arkansas between summer 2017 and summer 2018 — “we will need to continue to learn from one another and collaborate to make us a strong cycling hub. Our success comes from collaboration, listening and continued education. This effort needs to be evergreen. … As development happens, the need to create connectivity is going to need to be intentional.” And that theme of connectivity applies to more than just

physical links between the area’s 400 miles (and counting) of mountain biking trails, paved trails and on-street bike infrastructure — it also applies to the relationships and opportunities that these amenities foster. In the same way that bikes have stitched the pedal-themed patchwork of Aimee’s life together, so too, Aimee believes, bikes can connect and strengthen Bentonville as it transforms over the years.

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THE COUPLE THAT RIDES TOGETHER ... : Scotti and Ernie Lechuga.

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LITTLE ROCK’S ERNIE AND SCOTTI LECHUGA PREPARE FOR A 1,000-MILE RACE IN KYRGYZSTAN. BY MOLLY MITCHELL PHOTOGRAPHY BY RETT PEEK BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 10 25


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ittle Rock pro-cycling power couple Ernie and Scotti Lechuga never met a challenge they didn’t find a way to overcome. Known in Arkansas for the Leborne Coaching service they launched in 2010, which now includes the Kickr Studio training facility in Little Rock’s Stifft Station neighborhood, they credit cycling for carrying them through some of the greatest physical and mental challenges

above sea level. The weather will be harsh and they have to support themselves the whole way. They must bring all their own food, camping equipment and all the grit they can muster. “I started looking into it and I was like, this looks like the hardest thing ever,” Scotti said. “Something in me was just like, ‘You need to do this.’ ” Ernie and Scotti find themselves facing this monumental task with little experience bike-packing but much

in life. After clearing obstacles both terrifying and beautiful on the road to professional cycling — injuries, cancer, surprise twins and more — they are looking forward to a wild new challenge: the Silk Road Mountain Race, a 10-day self-supported race in August on some of the most rugged and isolated terrain in the world. In the mountains of Kyrgyzstan, Ernie and Scotti will have 14 days to traverse 1,000 miles of mountain passes and forgotten Soviet roads at 10,000 feet

experience overcoming daunting challenges and taking unlikely roads. In 1998, Ernie’s lifelong dream had come true. He was racing professionally in Europe, in the Under 25 Tour de France. “It just doesn’t get any better,” Ernie said. “All the stars of the future are there.” But on a rainy day three days into the 10-day race, he crashed and tore an ACL. “I think it was already meant to happen. That’s the only reason I found out that I had cancer,” Ernie said. In

BIKE LOVE: Ernie and Scotti Lechuga credit cycling for helping them through monumental life challenges.

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the course of his treatment for the ACL injury, it was discovered he had testicular cancer, which had spread up his torso toward his lungs. Two surgeries and six months of chemotherapy left his body scarred but his spirit unbroken. His team had assured him he would have a team to race with in Europe when he came back. Laser-focused on returning to racing, Ernie came back in 2001 and raced the Under 25 Tour de France a second time. “But I think if my team hadn’t given me that opportunity to come back, I think it probably would have been a different outcome. I think I probably would have lost hope. Was it difficult? Yeah. But I really don’t remember it because I just had a goal in mind and needed to get to

pro cycling career was over before it began. “After I had the twins, I would say for about two and a half months all I did was try and breastfeed,” Scotti laughed. “And that was frustrating to me because I really wanted to get back on the bike. I was about 10 weeks out from having the boys, and finally was starting to feel good, and I put my bike on an indoor trainer and just started pedaling real easy. And that was how I started. Just 30 minutes one day, 45 minutes the next, and eventually I was able to get back on the road. I was just building, building, building, and then when the boys were 7 months old, I jumped in a pro race.” Ernie had fewer doubts. “I’d already done the professional thing, and she wanted to do it, and

the other side, so I could race my bike again,” Ernie said. Then, Ernie met Scotti. Ernie’s professional cycling days had run their course, and he was looking for the next challenge. That challenge walked in the door of Chainwheel, the bike shop Ernie was working in at the time, in the form of Scotti. With no road bike, a little experience and a lot of moxie, she issued the challenge to herself and Ernie: “I want to turn pro.” From there, the pair fell in love and got married. Scotti’s story is unique to the world of cycling. Few women cyclers go pro after having children rather than before. “I kind of did things backwards,” Scotti said. “I had my boys and I was still an amateur cyclist who had just gotten my feet wet after I’d met Ernie a couple years before.” When Scotti and Ernie found out Scotti was pregnant with twin boys, Scotti was worried that her

I said, ‘Look, if you want to be a professional, I can help you out. I know what it takes and you have talent. So why not?” Ernie and Scotti’s strategy was to develop a training program that focused on handling skills. “It’s one thing to be fit,” Scotti said, “but it’s another thing to be really nimble and quick on your bicycle. Because you’re right next to other people, you know; it’s a big cluster. And so we spent a whole year honing those skills. And before I knew it, I was hanging with riders who were much more talented than I was; I just knew how to hide really well in the peloton.” Scotti was signed to her first pro team in 2014. Being a pro racer and a parent turned out to be a good thing for the Lechugas. “From 2014 to basically now,” Scotti said, “I’ve gotten to race in four continents and all over the world, and definitely the best part of that whole journey so far has been the year that we bought

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the RV and did the whole thing as a family. It was a really special journey.” After so many peak experiences, the Silk Road Mountain Race comes as a moment of truth for Scotti’s relationship with cycling. After five years of successful professional cycling, a funk led her to take a beat. “Last year I’d had a really rough season, just with some mental struggles and health struggles. I actually stepped away from racing last year, professionally. I wasn’t in the right place in my life and definitely not in the right frame of mind to put my best foot forward in competition,” she said. “I’m really glad I stepped back because it made me see the things that I had become blind to. So when I stepped away, it helped me take those blinders off my eyes and see the big picture of what cycling has done for my life. When I started to see that again, I started to become a lot more passionate about the sport again. “There’s this journey that you walk through when you’re dedicated to a passion in life, where you go through these valleys and mountaintop experiences, and it just is funny that when I was in one of my valleys I found the Silk Road Mountain Race, and it kind of inspired me to dig in deep and figure out why I really love cycling in the first place,” Scotti said. “And to do an event like that, you have to know that you love it. I brought it to Ernie and said, ‘Hey I really want to do this. I think this is kind of the experience that’s going to take me to the next place where I’m for sure that this is what I want to do with my life. And I’m going to do something really uncomfortable to prove it to myself.’ ” As experienced as Scotti and Ernie are, the Silk Road will be an entirely new ballgame. “I’ve done a 10-day stage race, the women’s Giro de Italia,” Scotti said. “But you race for about 3 hours, and then you’re done and you go recover, and you eat at your hotel and you get a massage, and you get cleaned up, and your clothes are washed for you,” she laughed. “Everything’s done, you know? You’re basically just an athlete. Your job is to perform,” Scotti said. “Now our job is to survive.”


A BIKE RACK BREWING CO PRODUCTION IN COLLABORATION WITH NEW BELGIUM BREWING CO AND INSPIRED BY MOUNTAIN BIKE LEGEND AND HALL OF FAMER, NAT ROSS COMING SOON TO NWA, THE REBEL 29ER, HOPPY PILSNER

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A NEW TRAIL AND A NEW RACE FOR THE OZARKS AND OUACHITAS. BY LESLIE NEWELL PEACOCK

T

hanks to a schoolteacher from Russellville, bike-packers and other cyclists can follow a 1,200mile trail that will take them from the Ozarks to the Ouachitas. The first official ride on what is now called the High Country Trail is set for June 8, and the schoolteacher — cyclist Chuck Campbell — and his River Valley chapter of the Ozark Off-Road Cyclists are sponsors. It was in 2015 in Banff, Alberta, Canada, that the High Country trail idea was born. Campbell and cycling buddy Mike Dicken were eating pizza and looking at route maps created by Adventure Cycling before they were to set off on the rugged Tour Divide, from Canada to New Mexico. “It looked to me like Arkansas was the only state that didn’t have any miles in the Adventure Cycling map system,” Campbell said. (Though it turned out he was wrong about that. At the time, there was no map for routes in Maryland.) He and Dicken talked for days about the idea as they pedaled the Continental Divide, and when Campbell returned to Arkansas he called Montana-based Adventure Cycling and spoke to Carla Majernik, director of maps and routing, about the idea. “Her response was warmer than I thought it would be,” Campbell said. She told him to mark out his idea on a highway map and send it to Adventure Cycling. He did, and the nonprofit told him “they thought this looks cool. It might be a good idea.” Then one of Adventure Cycling’s employees who was on his way to Mississippi anyway decided to make a stop and ride part of the route. “He was just sold immediately,” Campbell said. After the trip, Adventure Cycling put the ride on its blog to see if there was interest in the Ozarks/Ouachita route “and it blew up. Next thing I know these people are trying to friend me on Facebook,” Campbell said. One was Joe Jacobs, marketing manager for Arkansas State Parks. Another was Gary Vernon of Bella Vista, a program officer with the Walton Family Foundation, 30 | BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 10

PHOTO BY LIZ CHRISMAN

HIGH ON THE HIGH COUNTRY


TRAIL FATHER: Chuck Campbell spent the summers of 2017 and 2018 driving around Arkansas with a GPS unit to map the High Country Trail.

which is known for its development of bike trails in Northwest Arkansas. The Walton Foundation quickly got interested in the idea and made a grant of $100,000 to the Arkansas Parks and Recreation Foundation to hire someone to do the mapping for Adventure Cycling. That someone was Campbell. Campbell, who teaches environmental science at Russellville High School, said Adventure Cycling was apologetic about the pay. “I thought, crap, they’re going to pay me?” Equipped with a GPS unit that also recorded his comments on route landmarks and dropped a pin to mark the landmark, Campbell spent the summers of 2017 and 2018 driving the route, which follows mostly gravel roads. Campbell completed 400 miles in 2017. At Majernik’s suggestion, he added in a cutoff loop from Dardanelle over Petit Jean Mountain to Conway. There are two more loops, both single track, west of Hot Springs. The route does follow paved roads in

places — up and over Petit Jean, for one — but Campbell said “we only have two places that have a high pucker factor”: the bridge at Dardanelle and a narrow section on the road around Roland. Adventure Cycling will launch the High Country Trail map, which is a two-map set, on May 1. Maps may be purchased in waterproof paper form or through an app. The nonprofit — which also publishes Adventure Cycling magazine — will also sell GPS information for cyclists’ Garmin devices, Alex Strickland of Adventure Cycling said. Ellee Thalheimer of Portland, Ore., a freelance writer and the daughter of Chainwheel owner Bruce Thalheimer, will ride and write about the trail this summer for Adventure Cycling. The first High Country Race will kick off at sunrise June 8 at the Clinton Presidential Center Park Bridge and take riders on a 1,000-mile ride north to the state’s border with Missouri and back to in Little Rock. Get more information at facebook.com/ArHCrace. BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 10 31


LEGEND: Nat Ross isn’t resting on his laurels. After “retiring” from pro mountain bike racing, he’s taken up e-mountain bike racing (right).

SECOND ACT

MOUNTAIN BIKE HALL OF FAMER NAT ROSS IS MAKING HIS MARK ON HIS NEW HOMETOWN OF BENTONVILLE AND IN THE GROWING WORLD OF E-BIKES. BY LINDSEY MILLAR

34 | BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 10


PHOTOGRAPHY: NOVO STUDIO/KEN HILL

INMountain 2008, Bike the year he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, Nat Ross retired.

He was 36 and had been racing for more than two decades, since he was a teenager. He’d been dominant as a member of the Subaru-Gary Fisher Mountain Bike Team, racking up 40 solo 24hour races, including nine victories. He’d competed in the first X Games in 1997 (as both a pro skier and mountain biker). He’d won national championships in marathon, 100-mile and 24-hour races and four world championships. He was part of the winning four-man teams in the Race Across America — billed as “the world’s toughest bicycle race” — in 2006 and 2007. “Why not go out on top?” Ross figured. But your idea of retirement and Ross’ may be different. When Ross, who relocated from his home state of Colorado to Bentonville with his wife, Aimee, last year, spoke to a reporter April 1, he said he was beat up and bloodied, having just returned from Morganton, N.C., where he finished third in the second race of the year in the Specialized Turbo eMTB Grand National Cross Country Series. eMTB stands for electronic mountain bike, a bicycle equipped with a battery-powered motor. Throughout much of U.S. (and as defined by Arkansas law), e-bikes are divided into three classes based on how the motor assists the rider and how fast it propels the bike. Class 1 and 3 e-bikes each require the rider to pedal before the motor pro-

vides assistance. Class 1 e-bikes have a governor that caps top speed at 20 miles per hour; Class 3 bikes can reach up to 28 miles per hour. Class 2 e-bikes have a throttle that doesn’t require the rider to peddle and have a top speed of 20 miles per hour. Class 1 bikes have become the most popular, Ross said, and they’re what pro racers ride. Just as he was with professional mountain bike racing, Ross has been at the vanguard of e-bike racing. He’s been racing pedal-assisted bikes for seven years. As far as commuting and racing go, Ross estimates e-bikes are 35 to 40 percent more popular in Europe. In U.S. e-bike racing, no one meets Ross’ definition of “professional”: being fully supported financially through racing and accompanying sponsorship. But that may soon change. The Union Cycliste Internationale, the international governing body of cycling, will award its first rainbow jersey for electric mountain bikes in August at the 2019 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships at Mont-Saint-Anne in Québec, Canada. Though e-bikes have been successfully marketed to older people who need help powering over hills, Ross didn’t turn to e-bike racing for the mechanical advantage. The GNCC series races happen along with motorcycle and ATV races, and the moto track courses are often gnarlier than mountain bike runs. “It’s a lot more challenging than your standard cross-country mountain bike race,” Ross said. The field has been a mix of pro mountain bike racers and pro moto-cross riders. “Those guys who race motos

IT’S NOT SIMPLY A NEED FOR SPEED THAT ATTRACTS ROSS TO E-BIKES, IT’S THE ABILITY TO GO FURTHER AND FASTER THAN ON A TRADITIONAL BIKE AND TO MORE EASILY ANSWER, ‘I WONDER WHAT’S OVER THERE?’

BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 10 35


STILL FINISHING ON THE PODIUM: Ross, who films his rides with a GoPro attached to his helmet for racertv.com (above), finished second at the first Grand National Cross Country Series race in Washington, Ga., March 16 (below), and third at the second event in Morganton, N.C., March 30.

36 | BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 10

PHOTOGRAPHY: KEN HILL

all their life, they go fast through the trees, and they’re used to it,” Ross said. For cyclists, adjusting to the speed can be a challenge. In the first GNCC race of the season, a pro enduro racer broke his handlebars on a tree. The average speed of the winner of the North Carolina GNCC race was 16 miles per hour, Ross said. The top cross-country mountain bike racers reach speeds of 13 or 14 miles per hour. (The UCI will limit top speeds to 25 kilometers per hour at the world championships, or about 15 miles per hour.) But it’s not simply a need for speed that attracts Ross to e-bikes, it’s the ability to go further and faster than on a traditional bike and to more easily answer, “I wonder what’s over there?” Ross has become something of an evangelist for the industry. He’s hosting a festival in Bentonville Sept. 13-15 where “thought leaders” will consider “the future of cycling.” E-bikes will be central to this first ever Innovation Cycles Festival (innovationcyclesfestival.com); there will be more than 100 e-bikes of all types for members of the public who show up with a helmet to ride, including, Ross said, “workhorses, cargo, path bikes, gravel e-bikes, e-mountain bikes.” He said the biggest challenge for the industry is “the education piece. Bike shops are intimidating… cyclists are so gear and tech centric. We don’t make it easy.” The expo will make it easy for folks to get a sense of e-bikes. Meanwhile, Ross is staying busy with his day job as a brand manager for Pirelli. The Italian tire manufacture, known for its high-performance tires for motorsports, began making cycling tires again in 2017 and, among its 12-person cycling division, Ross alone isn’t based in Milan. Between traveling to and from Italy, hitting the road to sell Pirelli tires, visiting bike events throughout North America to promote the brand and competing in e-bike races, Ross guesses he travels 250 to 260 days per year. He was looking forward to traveling just a short distance to the Joe Martin Stage Race in Fayetteville earlier in April where Floyd Landis’ Floyd’s Pro Cycling, which races on Pirelli tires, was participating. Axel Merckx’s Hagens Berman Axeon team also races with Pirelli. When he’s not traveling, he’s busy exploring Arkansas. “I knew the mountain biking would be good,” he said. “The gravel is blowing my mind.” He also found time to launch the Tough Guy Productions MTB Town Series, short-track cross-country mountain bike races at Bentonville’s Coler Mountain Bike Preserve that began in March and will continue through May on Tuesday nights. It’s open to all ability levels (and juniors) and designed to foster community in a fun way. See details at toughguyproductions.com. Ross has a college degree in biochemistry. He worked, years ago, as a brewmaster with Breckenridge Brewery. He flexed those skills recently when he brewed a Pilsner, the Rebel 29er, as a collaboration with New Belgium and Bentonville’s Bike Rack Brewery. It will be released May 10.


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EVENTS

Tour De Toad 2019, May 4

TWO RIVERS TIME TRIAL TRAINING SERIES

promote physical activity to improve cardiovascular health. With 100K, 20-mile, 35-mile and 50-mile routes. Contact Gretchen Wood at gretchen. wood@arheart.com or 501-297-4398 for more information.

9009 Pinnacle Valley Road, Little Rock USA Cycling license required A 9.2-mile course that begins 200 meters to the north of the railroad tracks on Pinnacle Valley Road. Contact Peter Beland, pebeland@sbcglobal. net, for details.

IRON PIG FESTIVAL

APRIL 23 AND 30, AND MAY 7 AND 14

LITTLE BELLAS MOUNTAIN BIKE CAMP

SUNDAYS THROUGH JUNE 2

Blowing Springs Park, Bentonville $250 Program for girls to make friends and learn mountain bike skills. No openings; register to sign up for the waitlist at littlebellas.com.

APRIL 20

Fayetteville Executive Airport, 4500 S. School, Fayetteville Fees vary A festival with four events: a duathlon (5K run, 30k bike, 5K run) with both individual and team categories; a 5k; a fun run; and a 17-mile bike time trial. The bike course is out and back on U.S. Highway 71 with only a 300-foot elevation change. Contact Bruce Dunn, bruce@allsportsproductionsinc.com, for details.

NWA TOUGH GUY TOWN ENDURO SERIES

APRIL 23 CARDIAC CLASSIC

APRIL 20

Burns Park, North Little Rock $25-$60 A ride presented by the Arkansas Heart Hospital to raise awareness about cardiovascular disease and 38 | BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 10

Back 40, Bella Vista Fees vary The second in a series of mid-week Enduro races for riders of all abilities and ages (11 years and older). See toughguyproductions.com for more information and registration.

RUNWAY BIKE PARK 2019 EVENTS

The Runway Bike Park is an outdoor bicycle skills training area at the Jones Center in Springdale. There you’ll find a pump track (the largest asphalt track in North America), a skills course and a bicycle playground. MONTHLY: Learn-to-ride classes for kids on strider bikes APRIL 25, MAY 2, MAY 9, MAY 16, MAY 23: Adult Thursday Time Trial Series MAY 3: Corporate Games Challenge JUNE 1: An adult pump-track race for ages 16 and up. SUMMER 2019 (DATE TBA): A three-day kids camp. FALL 2019 (DATE TBA): Bike Park Festival for families, with racing. DEC. 7: Santa’s Pump Trump Classic, a pump-track race for kids ages 3-15.


Saturday, June 1, 2019 WHAT: Tour de Rock is one of Arkansas’ largest cycling events and benefits the programs and patients at CARTI. Considered the fastest century ride in the south, Tour de Rock is a well-supported ride with plenty of rest stops, sag vehicles and an after-party with music, great food and a beer garden.

WHERE: 25, 50, 62 and 100 mile routes through Central Arkansas WHO: Over 1,000 cyclists from Arkansas and beyond WHY: Tour de Rock was organized to fight cancer and help CARTI deliver the most advanced forms of cancer care. Chances are you’ve been impacted by cancer. CARTI’s Tour de Rock is an opportunity to honor the ones who’ve fought the battle.

Who will you ride for?

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JOE MARTIN GRAN FONDO

MAY 4

Walker Park, Fayetteville Fees vary Five new road courses (13-, 25-, 66- and 85-mile options) and two gravel courses (38- and 44-mile options). See joemartingranfondo.com for more information.

ENGLAND-KEO LIONS CLUB MINI FONDO

APRIL 27

First Baptist Church, 201 E. Haywood, England $35 A 25-mile fun ride designed to spotlight the beauty of cycling in the England-Keo region. The final destination is lunch at Geautreaux’s. Morning refreshments, homemade snacks and lunch included. Proceeds benefit the England-Keo Lions Club. Contact Larry Cyr, larry.cyr@aacet. net, for details.

NWA SPRING CLASSIC

APRIL 28

801 Viney Grove Road, Prairie Grove $20-$45 USA Cycling License required Road races on 24-mile and 13-mile courses. Part of the USA Cycling Road Development Race Series. See nwaspringclassic.com for details.

NWA TOUGH GUY TOWN ENDURO SERIES

APRIL 30

Mount Kessler, Fayetteville Fees vary The third in a series of mid-week Enduro races for riders of all abilities and ages (11 years and older). See toughguyproductions.com for more information and registration.

40 | BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 10

AVOCA WEDNESDAY ROAD SERIES

MAY 1, MAY 15, MAY 22, MAY 29

Avoca USA Cycling license required Racecourse follows a 6.1-mile loop on Avoca and Benton County roads. Contact Jason Evans, motox215@yahoo. com, for more information.

CADDO VALLEY MTB FESTIVAL

MAY 4

Skyline Drive, Arkadelphia Fees vary Event includes the Iron Mountain Man Mountain Bike Marathon and the Dawg Days Cross Country Mountain Bike Race. Contact DLTevents@ yahoo.com for more information.

TOUR DE TOAD 2019

MAY 4

The 12th Annual Tour de Toad takes off at 11 a.m. (9 a.m. registration and packet pick-up) at the Conway Municipal Airport. An official event of Toad Suck Daze, Tour de Toad raises funds to increase literacy in Central Arkansas while encouraging a healthy lifestyle through a fun cycling event. literacyactionar.org/events/tour-detoad

RIDE LIKE A MOUNTAIN MAN

MAY 4

Sulphur Creek Outfitters, 620 S. Seventh St., Heber Springs $25-$50 The event includes a 55-mile route around Greers Ferry Lake, a 20-mile route through and around Heber Springs and a 10-mile ride for beginners or those just wanting a more laid back ride. Participants receive admission to the spaghetti dinner and kids rodeo and a T-shirt and goody bag. Finishers also receive a unique finishers pin/medal. See gfltc.com/ rlamm.html for more information.

TOUR DE HOOT

MAY 4

205 N. Washington Ave., McGehee $40 The ride ranges from 25- to 100-mile routes on flat paved rural roads, with police and sag support. Each registered participant receives a swag bag that will include Tour de Hoot socks. There will be indoor and outdoor camping available as well as showers after the event. All proceeds from this event directly support the Boys and Girls Club of McGehee. Contact Tommy Carroll, tcarroll@bgcmcgehee.org, for more information.

ARKANSAS NICA SPRING ADVENTURE PROGRAM

MAY 4-5

Detail TBD.

WOMEN SHRED

MAY 8-11

Bentonville Free Group rides, workshops, bike shows, an expo and more. For more info, visit womenshred.com.

65 ROSES TOUR

MAY 11

Spring Park, 401 S. Main St., Searcy $25-$45 Three routes are available — 65-mile, 35-mile and a 10-mile family fun ride. The 65-mile route is about 2,800 feet of climbing through back roads and farmland. The 30-mile route is easier with just one hill. Food and refreshments will be provided. The name of the tour was inspired by a young child with cystic fibrosis who thought the name of his disease was “65 roses.” All proceeds go to cystic fibrosis research. Contact Bruce Berkheimer, brucekevinberkheimer@yahoo.com, for more information.


24-HOUR EPIC RACE

MAY 11-12

Siloam Springs $100 A 24-hour race with the entrant completing the most laps, trails and “logging roads” to be crowned the winner. Details TBA. Contact Oddvar Naustvik, oddvarnaustvik@me.com, or 479-549-5229, for more information.

INNER CITY CLASSIC

MAY 11

1212 E. Sixth St., Little Rock $45 registration before April 11 ($55 April 12-May 10, $65 day of ride) A ride with 20-, 40- and 62-mile options. Riders depart from The Rail Yard in the East Village and return to enjoy Count Porkula BBQ after the ride. Proceeds send kids to Young Life camp. Contact Mike Sells, mike@ sellsagency.com, or 501-912-1500 for more information.

NWA TOUGH GUY TOWN XC SERIES

MAY 14, 21, 28

Slaughter Pen, Bentonville Fees vary The first in a series of mid-week Enduro races for riders of all abilities and ages (11 years and older). See toughguyproductions.com for more information and registration.

LITTLE ROCK RIDE OF SILENCE

MAY 15

12th and Main streets, Little Rock A slow ride to the state Capitol to remember those killed while bicycling.

NWA RIDE OF SILENCE

MAY 15

Fayetteville, historic square A slow ride from 7-9 p.m. to remember cyclists who have been killed or injured on public roadways.

THE UGLY GNOME

MAY 18-19

Ender’s Fault Trail, Woolly Hollow State Park, Greenbrier Fees vary USA Cycling license required A cross-country race for all ages and skill levels. Part of the Arkansas Mountain Bike Championship Series. There will be food and awards for participants. The park also has hiking and tent camping available as well as swimming, fishing and boat rental. See therideonline.net/theuglygnome for more information.

SQUARE 2 SQUARE BIKE RIDE

MAY 18

Razorback Regional Greenway $25 A 30-mile one-way ride from Fayetteville to Bentonville. Riders are welcome to start at any point along the trail if not able to ride the entire 30 miles. Along the course, participants can enjoy three festive pit

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AES EUREKA SPRINGS ENDURO

MAY 18-19

Eureka Springs $115 USA Cycling license required The first race in the 2019 Arkansas Enduro Series and the first stop on the Enduro World Series’ North American Continental Enduro Series. Fully supported, with 10-12 unique stages, including one starting at the Crescent Hotel. The race will utilize trails at Lake Leatherwood and Passion Play. There will also be new lines created especially for the event. New this year is an expert women’s category. More than $5,000 in cash and prizes. See arkansasenduroseries.com for more information.

stops featuring entertainment, bike maintenance services and basic ride refreshments. Contact Tiffany Hoover, thoover@fayetteville-ar.gov, for details.

$295 A touring mountain bike clinic for women led by professional mountain biker Lindsey Richter. See ladiesallride.com for details.

R.A.P.T.O.R CYCLING RELAY

ARVEST DIRTY FONDO

2200 Industrial Drive, Fayetteville Fee varies Four-person teams will compete over 193 miles with segments around 25 miles. Two-person teams and solo riders will compete on a 116mile course. Competitors will be handicapped by time based on four criteria (USA Cycling category, age, gender and weight) to ensure competitiveness. Contact Bruce Dunn, bruce@allsportsproductionsinc.com, for more information.

Historic Marlsgate, 2695 Bear Skin Lake Road, Scott $90 A gravel grinder with levee crossings and plenty of scenic bridges to traverse presented by Recycle Bikes for Kids. With 48- and 28-mile gravel routes as well as an 18-mile half-gravel, half-paved route. See bikereg.com/41410 for details and registration.

MAY 18

LIV LADIES ALL RIDE

MAY 18-19

Slaughter Pen, Bentonville

MAY 19

NWA TOUGH GUY TOWN XC SERIES

MAY 21

Coler Mountain Bike Preserve, Bentonville Fees vary The second in a series of mid-week

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Enduro races for riders of all abilities and ages (11 years and older). See toughguyproductions.com for more information and registration.

PEDALS FOR COMPASSION

MAY 22

Magnolia $45 A ride with 100K, 35-mile and 15mile routes that benefits the Compassion’s Foundation Inc., a nonprofit organization that supports the Magnolia domestic violence shelter. See bikereg.com/41164 for more information.

NWA TOUGH GUY TOWN XC SERIES

MAY 28

Back 40, Bella Vista Fees vary The second in a series of mid-week Enduro races for riders of all abilities and ages (11 years and older). See toughguyproductions.com for more information and registration.

OZARK VALLEY TRIATHLON

JUNE 2

Lake Wedington Recreation Park $55-$120 The event includes an International Triathlon, a Sprint Triathlon, Aquabike and a Sprint Duathlon. The swim parts takes place in Wedington Lake; bike courses are on paved roads surrounding the park; and runs are on a two-loop course inside the park. With finisher medals, post-race food, awards and prizes. Contact Bruce Dunn, bruce@ allsportsproductionsinc.com, for details.

Saturday, May 4 | 11 am

BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 10 43


HIGHWAY 71 PASTRY TOUR

MAY 26

Walker Park, 10 W. 15th St., Fayetteville A supported ride with local pastries stocked at reststops along the way. Proceeds benefit the Breakaway Cycling Team. Contact breakawaycyclingteam@gmail. com for more information.

TOUR DE ROCK

JUNE 1

Riverfront Drive, North Little Rock $45-$60 One of Arkansas’s largest cycling events, this CARTI benefit attracts riders from all over the South. Riders pick between four pancake-flat routes that wind and weave through Central Arkansas. With plenty of rest stops and support and an after-party with music, exhibitors, great food and a beer garden. Contact Jennifer Selig, Jennifer.selig@carti.com, for more information.

ARKANSAS HIGH COUNTRY RACE

SUNRISE, JUNE 8

Clinton Presidential Center Park Bridge The inaugural race on a new route that takes riders 1,000 miles north to the state’s border with Missouri and back to Little Rock again. Get more information at facebook.com/ArHCrace.

LE TOUR DE TOMATO

JUNE 8

BATTLE FOR TOWNSEND’S RIDGE

JUNE 9

Hobbs State Park, Rogers USA Cycling license required Part of the Arkansas Mountain Bike Championship Series. Contact Brannon Pack, 817-980-1048, for more details.

LADIES DUATHALON

101 E. Cedar, Warren $30 A new event for the Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival. There will be 15-, 30- and 62-mile options, which will include aid/break stations. More info at runsignup.com/Race/AR/Warren/TourDeTomatoBicycleRide

JUNE 9

Veterans Memorial Park, Fayetteville $45-$75 Run, ride and run again around Lake Fayetteville in this ladies-only duathlon. Each run will be 2 miles and the biking will be 11 miles, all of which will be on paved trail. Register at fayetteville-ar.gov/recreation.

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BLACKEYED SUSAN YOUNG CROPS RIDE

JUNE 15

Lepanto Fire Department, 728 Greenwood Ave., Lepanto

$60 See Blakeyed Susans and young row crops in this ride through Northeast Arkansas, which travels through or near Wilson, Hampson Archeological State Park and Johnny Cash’s boyhood home. Registration begins at 9 a.m. A light mid-ride meal will be served at the Wilson Cafe, and there will be a watermelon and ice cream social in Lepanto after the ride.

AES ENDURO MT. KESSLER

JUNE 22

Kessler Mountain, Fayetteville Part of the 2019 Arkansas Enduro Series. Details TBA. See arkansasenduroseries.com for more information.

PEDALS FOR COMPASSION

JUNE 22

Magnolia $45 A ride with 100K, 35-mile and 15-mile routes that benefits the Compassion’s Foundation Inc., a nonprofit organization that supports the Magnolia domestic violence shelter. See bikereg. com/41164 for more information.

ARKANSAS STATE CRITERIUM CHAMPIONSHIPS

JUNE 22

BEAST OF BURDEN ENDURANCE RACE

State Capitol grounds, Little Rock Champions will be crowned in 11 category and age brackets. Presented by Central Arkansas Velo (CARVE). For more info, email pointman@aristotle.net.

Details TBA. Contact Brannon Pack, brannon.pack@gmail.com, for more information.

ARKANSAS STATE TIME TRIALS

JUNE 22

TRUE GRIT RIDE

JUNE 22

7313 Terry St., Fort Smith $45 The 8th Annual True Grit Ride offers 10-, 30-, 45-, 62- and 105-mile cours-

After a day of biking around Little Rock, you can be in craft brew and tasty eats heaven at a number of options along your route. Pedal over to one of our 10 local craft breweries to take in some carbs and hops. Grab a tasty burger or take in a show at some of our live music venues. This – this is why you ride. So you can enjoy all these things guilt-free.

46 | BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 10

es while the guided mountain bike tour offers an 18-mile course. With support, a free T-shirt and other swag and live music. Visit truegritride.com for more info.

JUNE 23

Little Rock Details TBD. For more info, email pointman@aristotle.net.

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CANE CREEK TIMBERLAND MOUNTAIN BIKE RACE

JUNE 23

Cane Creek State Park, Star City (Lincoln County) A mountain bike race on an 8-mile loop through the forests of Southeast Arkansas’s Cane Creek State Park. Primitive tent camping sites are open for anyone associated with the race and cost $2 to stay Saturday and Sunday. For more info, call 870-628-4714 or email canecreek@arkansas.com.

JUMPING MINI-CLINIC

JULY 6

Bentonville A training session for riders with two years of experience from Ninja Mountain Bike Performance. The goal is to have riders clearing a four- or fivefoot gap at the end of the session.

FAT TIRE FESTIVAL

JULY 12-14

Lake Leatherwood City Park, Eureka Springs Details TBA. This is a yearly mountain bike festival including several competitive races as well as plenty of noncompetitive rides and activities for all. See fattirefestival.com for more information.

OPEN STREETS SPRINGDALE

sisting of a sprint distance triathlon on Friday afternoon, Gran Fondos on Saturday morning and running races on Sunday. Participants can enter individual events or take on “Eurekan” challenges. A “Full Eurekan” must complete the triathlon, 100-mile bike ride and the 10K run. A “Half Eurekan” must compete in the triathlon, 62-mile bike ride and 5K run. Contact Bruce Dunn, bruce@allsportsproductionsinc.com, for details.

AES ENDURO BELLA VISTA

JULY 13

A festival aimed at demonstrating the importance of streets as public spaces. For more info, visit bikenwa.org.

EUREKA SPRINGS MULTISPORT FESTIVAL

JULY 20

Back 40, Bella Vista Part of the 2019 Arkansas Enduro Series. Details TBA. See arkansasenduroseries.com for more information.

JULY 19-21

Eureka Springs Fees vary A three-day multisport festival con-

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WAMPOO ROADEO

JULY 20

All Souls Church, 4601 Walker’s Corner Road, Scott $15 A flat, fast road bike ride with 62-, 40- and 28-mile routes and four rest stops. The ride benefits the Marilyn Fulper Memorial Fund, which supports bicycle safety and education in Central Arkansas and bicycle-related nonprofits such as Recycle Bikes for Kids. Look for a watermelon feast, Loblolly ice cream and chocolate milk, live music and a bicycle raffle at the finish line party. Online registration at bikereg.com/wampoo-roadeo. Contact Charlie Hart, chart88@att.net, for more information

ROGERS CYCLING FESTIVAL

JULY 26-28

August 2 & 3, 2019

B E N T ON V IL L E , A R K A N S A S Registration for PlacesForBikes and Arkansas Bike Summit at bikebentonville.com

48 | BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 10

Entry fees vary Rogers Nine cycling events over two days: The Race for the Spike Road Race, an 11-mile, mass-start, time trial against the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad train; beat the train and win an engraved railroad spike. Race for the Spike Mountain Edition, a 6-mile mountain bike time trial on the Lake Atalanta trails against the train; beat it, win a spike. The Frisco 5 Poker Ride, a family friendly 2-mile course on paved trails along Lake Atalanta. The Wheel Sucker, a three-person USA Cycling team time trial over a 10-mile road course. The Family Glow Ride, where families are encouraged to decorate themselves and their bikes with glow paint and LED lights. The Walnut Valley Road Race, a USA Cycling-sanctioned road race around a 6.1-mile loop. The Rats Kids Mountain Bike Race, a singletrack race for kids ages 5-10. The Gambler MTB Endurance Race, a four-hour solo or team endurance race through the Lake Atalanta trail system. And the Whitney Gravel Ride, a 30-plusmile route through gravel and other backcountry roads. See rogerscyclingfestival.com for more details.


TOUR DE CURE

AUG. 3

8 Street Market, 801 SE Eighth St., Bentonville Fees vary A run/cycle race to benefit the fight against diabetes. With road cycle routes of 10, 20, 50, 62.5 and 100 miles and mountain bike routes of 10 and 20 miles. There will be safety marshals and safety vehicles, fully stocked rest stops and more. For more information, contact Haley Pratt, hpratt@diabetes.org or 479-464-4121 ext. 6872.

CRYSTAL BRIDGES ENDURANCE GRAVEL GRINDER

AUG. 3

Siloam Springs Details TBA. Contact David Vansandt, 479-549-5229, for more information.

RIDE ANGRY GET YOUR ASS OUT THERE.

AES ENDURO RED STAR

AUG. 10

Ozark National Forest, near Boston Mountain. Part of the Arkansas Enduro series. This race takes place on the Upper Buffalo Mountain Bike Trail that offers about 40 miles of singletrack surrounding the highest point in the Ozark Mountains. See arkansasenduroseries.com for more information.

KESSLER MOUNTAIN JAM

AUG. 11

A family-friendly event with multiple race opportunities, including a cross country race that is part of the Arkansas Mountain Bike Championship Series. Also live music, food, and much more. More details TBA. See fayetteville-ar.gov/3416/Kessler-Mountain-Jam for more information.

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SEASONED PRO WITH OVER TWENTY FIVE YEARS OF WRENCHING, BUILDING, AND RACING EXPERIENCE. BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 10 49


TRI FEST FOR MS

AUG. 30-SEPT. 1

Bentonville Fees vary Three triathlon distances, a 5K and a dedicated night of kids triathlon. Register as an individual or as part of a relay team. See researchms.org for more information.

WALSTREET MEMBER BIKE & BREW

SEPT. 6

Bike Rack Brewing Co., 801 SE Eighth Street, Bentonville A cycling social sponsored by the Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce. For more info, visit greaterbentonville.com.

SQUARE TO SQUARE

SEPT. 7

Razorback Regional Greenway $25

50 | BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 10

A 30-mile, one-way ride from Fayetteville to Bentonville. Riders are welcome to start at any point along the trail if not able to ride entire 30 miles. Along the course, participants can enjoy three festive pit stops featuring entertainment, bike maintenance services and basic ride refreshments. Contact Tiffany Hoover, thoover@ fayetteville-ar.gov, for details.

INNOVATION CYCLES FESTIVAL

SEPT. 13-15

Talks, workshops and social events on the future of cycling with a special focus on e-bikes. E-bike demoes will be available to the public. See innovationcyclesfestival.com for more info.

DEVIL’S DEN AMBCS RACE

SEPT. 14

Details TBA. See ambcs.com for information.

CONWAY FALL CLASSIC BIKE TOUR

SEPT. 21

Conway Usually there are 20-, 40- and 60-mile routes. Details TBA. Visit cycleconway.com or contact Peter Mehl, cabcycleconway@gmail.com, for information.

SPRINGHILL CLASSIC

SEPT. 22

Barling (Sebastian County) A cross-country race on a 10-mile trail. Part of the Arkansas Mountain Bike Championship Series. More details TBA. See ambcs.com for more info.

FAST COLER ROLLER

SEPT. 28

Coler Mountain Bike Preserve, Bentonville Friends of Arkansas Singletrack’s


third annual mountain bike festival. More details TBA. Contact Candice Kozark, candice@bikenwa.org for more information.

OZ CROSS

OCT. 5-6

Part of the USA Cycling American Cyclocross Calendar. Details TBA. Contact Candice Kozark, candice@ bikenwa.org, for more information.

BIG DAM BRIDGE 100

SEPT. 28

Big Dam Bridge, Little Rock Fees vary Arkansas’s largest cycling event offers several routes, ranging from 15 to 100 miles, with some beautiful mountain and river scenery, as well as a few challenging hills on the longer routes. The event provides participants with maps, wellstocked aid stations, volunteer support, and an event T-shirt, a unique finisher medal, food and drinks.

The event finish line ends in the Argenta District of downtown North Little Rock with a block party and live music. See thebigdambridge100. com for more information.

OZ TRAILS OFFROAD

OCT. 11-13

Bentonville $70-$130 Three days of events, including a ride on singletrack, occasional double track and paved segments. Contact Aimee Ross, Aimee@bikebentonville. com, for more information.

JOE WEBER ARKY 100

OCT. 13

Sheridan Community Center 1511 S. Rose St., Sheridan A ride-through along a 100-mile loop through rolling farm, ranch and timberland with mostly very rural roads and supporting rest stops. The ride supports donations to the Boys and Girls Club, Bicycle Advocacy of Central Arkansas, League of American Bicyclists, Cystic Fibrosis, Firehouse Hostel and other worthy causes. Four ride options: 25-, 50-, 62- and 100-mile courses. See arkansasbicycleclub.org for details.

WHEEL A’ MENA

OCT. 12

Mena A tour of the Ouachita Mountains along the Talimena Scenic Drive with multiple steep climbs. There are 30-, 50- and 70-mile routes. Go to wheelamena.org for more info.

EVENT MISSING?

SEND US YOUR INFORMATION TO LINDSEYMILLAR@ARKTIMES.COM

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BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 10 51


Bike Shops LITTLE ROCK Arkansas Cycling & Fitness 315 N. Bowman, Suites 6-9 501-221-BIKE (2453) arkansascycling.com Chainwheel 10300 Rodney Parham Road 501-224-7651 chainwheel.com

HOT SPRINGS Parkside Cycle 719 Whittington Ave. 501-623-6188 parksidecycle.com Spa City Cycling 873 Park Ave. 501-463-9364 spacitycycling.com SEARCY

The Bike Lane The Community Bicyclist 2116 W. Beebe Capps 7509 Cantrell Road., Suite 118 Expressway 501-663-7300 501-305-3915 thecommunitybicyclist.com thebikelane.cc Giant Bicycles HEBER SPRINGS 11525 Cantrell Road., Suite 607 Sulphur Creek Outfitters 501-508-5566 625 S. Seventh St. giantlittlerock.com 501-691-0138 screekoutfitters.com The Meteor 1001 Kavanaugh Blvd. MOUNTAIN HOME 501-664-7765 meteorbikes.com Mountain Home Bicycle Company Rock Town River Outfitters 1310 E. Side Centre Court (Rental) 870-425-2453 Little Rock River Market mountainhomebicyclecompa400 President Clinton Ave. ny.com 501-831-0548 rocktownriveroutfitters.com BATESVILLE NORTH LITTLE ROCK Angry Dave’s Bicycles 3515 John F. Kennedy Blvd. 501-753-4990 angrydavesbicycles.com Recycle Bikes for Kids 717 E. 10th St. 501-563-8264 recyclebikesforkids.org SHERWOOD Arkansas Cycling & Fitness 3010 E. Kiehl Ave. 501-834-5787 arkansascycling.com J&P Bike Shop 7910 John F. Kennedy Blvd. (Hwy 107) 501-835-4814 jandpbikeshop.com 52 | BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 10

Lyon College Bike Shop 301 23rd St. 870-307-7529 lyon.edu/bikes JONESBORO Gearhead Cycle House 231 S. Main St. 870-910-5569 gearheadcyclehouse.com RUSSELLVILLE Carr’s Chain Reaction 506 N. Arkansas Ave. 479-968-5305 carrsrussellville.com FORT SMITH Champion Cycling & Fitness 5500 Massard Road 479-484-7500

ROGERS Phat Tire Bike Shop 1700 Rogers Ave. 479-222-6796 phattirebikeshop.com SILOAM SPRINGS

Beaver Lake Outdoor Center (Rentals) 14434 E. Hwy. 12 479-877-4984 beaverlakeoutdoorcenter.com

Dogwood Junction 200 Progress Ave., Suite 5 479-524-6605 dogwoodjunction.biz

GPP Cycling 318 S. First St. 479-372-4768 gppcycling.com

Phat Tire Bike Shop 101 S. Broadway St. 479-373-1458 phattirebikeshop.com

Lewis & Clark Outfitters 2530 Pinnacle Hills Parkway 479-845-1344 lewisandclarkoutfitters.com

EUREKA SPRINGS

Phat Tire Bike Shop 321 S. Arkansas St. 479-877-1313 phattirebikeshop.com

Adventure Mountain Outfitters 151 Spring St. 479-253-0900 FAYETTEVILLE Phat Tire Bike Shop 3775 N. Mall Ave. 479-966-4308 phattirebikeshop.com The Bike Route 3660 N. Front St., Suite 2 479-966-4050 facebook.com/thebikeroute The Highroller Cyclery 322 W. Spring St. 479-442-9311 highrollercyclery.com UREC Outdoors 1 University of Arkansas, HPER 102 479-575-CAMP urec.uark.edu SPRINGDALE Lewis & Clark Outfitters 4915 S. Thompson St. 479-756-1344 lewisandclarkoutfitters.com Phat Tire Bike Shop 101 W. Johnson Ave. 479-373-1458 phattirebikeshop.com

The Highroller Cyclery 402 S. Metro Parkway 479-254-9800 highrollercyclery.com BENTONVILLE Dogwood Junction Trike Shop 907 N. Walton Blvd. 479-268-3021 dogwoodjunction.biz Mojo Cycling 2104 S. Walton Blvd. 479-271-7201 mojocycling.com Phat Tire Bike Shop 125 W. Central Ave. 479-715-6170 phattirebikeshop.com BICYCLE REPAIR & SERVICE ONLY Ozark Bicycle Service Northwest Arkansas Area 479-715-1496 ozarkbicycleservice.com


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BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 10 53


Who: Jason Zehner Where: Bentonville Age: 44 Job: Supply chain analyst How much do you typically ride in a week? When I was race training [for cross-country racing from 2013 to 2017], I was usually getting 100-plus miles a week. But now it ranges: during the winter, as few as 20 and as much as 100 in a week. Once the warmer weather starts to hit, I can get in 60 to 100. Has anybody every commented on the size of your calves? Here and there. I’m a tall lanky dude, so I wouldn’t say they absolutely stand out. But when I’m flexed … I remember it started in high school. They would be like, “Dude, you’ve got some pretty big calves.” I’d flex and they’d call it “calve butt.” You’ve got that line that splits up the middle of your calf that kind of makes it look like you have a butt crack on your calves. 54 | BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 10

Were you riding a lot then, or do you think genetics played a role? Obviously, it’s somewhat genetic. Anything like that is. There are great riders out there and they don’t have remarkably defined calves. At the same time, you develop what you’ve got. I definitely think riding has been a big part of that. Do you have any big rides on the horizon? It’s not set in stone yet, but I’m looking to head out west to do a ride from Durango [Colo.] to Moab [Utah]. They call it a hut-tohut mountain bike ride; you end up doing a couple of hundred miles once it’s all said and done. Any parting words of advice? Fun, friends and fitness — cycling is a great sport to get involved in for those three things. I would encourage people to give back to their cycling community in one way or another. Join a club, get involved.

PHOTO BY NOVO STUDIO

Back Calf


NEVER STOP EXPLORING THERE ARE ALWAYS NEW PLACES TO BIKE.

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56 | BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 10

Profile for Arkansas Times

Bike Arkansas | April 2019  

Hall of Famer Nat Ross and Bike Bentonville’s Aimee Ross Little Rock’s Scotti & Ernie Lechuga Arkansas High country the new 1,200

Bike Arkansas | April 2019  

Hall of Famer Nat Ross and Bike Bentonville’s Aimee Ross Little Rock’s Scotti & Ernie Lechuga Arkansas High country the new 1,200