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Best Resort

more than just fish.

1777 river road | lakeview, arkansas 870-431-5202 | gastons@gastons.com gastons.com | lat 36 20’ 55” n | long 92 33’ 25” w 2 | BIKE ARKANSAS may 2021

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When the nation’s greatest come to Northwest Arkansas to compete, they trust us to take care of them. @NAT_ROSS, Mountain Bike Hall of Famer and endurance mountain biking legend Photo at OZ Trails US Pro Cup, Experience Fayetteville courtesy of OZ Trails.

Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine

201 W. Van Asche Loop • Fayetteville (479) 966-4491 • UAMS.Health/BikeAR BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 18 | 3





Little Rock's first professionally built mountain bike trails near completition, a new bike hangout opens near the Arkansas River Trail and more.

A Q&A with Bella Vista's Danielle Larson, who's having racing success after taking it up three years ago. By Bob Robinson






Olivier Lavigueur works full time as an engineer for Allied Cycle Works, but still finds time to compete.

Exploring the Iron Mountain trail system near DeGray Lake. By Gabriella Gonzales




A guide to getting going. By Lindsay Southwick

4 | BIKE ARKANSAS may 2021




All you need to know to start riding gravel. By Shannon "Dirty Sandra" Sanders


Riding high at Coler Mountain Bike Preserve in Bentonville. Photo by Novo Studios.

DISCOVER THE DIAMOND LAKES REGION 240 Miles of Trails... including three IMBA Epic Trails


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Intermediate 38 Miles Trailheads: Avery Park, Brady Mtn. Rd., Crystal Springs, Joplin, and Denby Point Near: Mount Ida • Crystal Springs


Intermediate to Advanced 108 Miles Added Bonus: Camping Shelters every 10 miles Trailheads: Hwy 7 past Jessieville, Story Near: Hot Springs Village • Story


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BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 18 | 5


Come for cycling. Discover Arkansas history.











brookewallace@arktimes.com LINDSEY MILLAR Editor

lindseymillar@arktimes.com MANDY KEENER Creative Director

mandy@arktimes.com MIKE SPAIN Art Director LESA THOMAS Senior Account Executive LEE MAJOR Account Executive WELDON WILSON Production Manager/Controller ROLAND R. GLADDEN Advertising Traffic Manager KATIE HASSELL Graphic Design/Social Media ROBERT CURFMAN IT Director CHARLOTTE KEY Billing/Collections JACKSON GLADDEN Circulation Director

ALAN LEVERITT President alan@arktimes.com Arkansas Times Limited Partnership 201 E. MARKHAM ST., SUITE 150 LITTLE ROCK, AR 72201 501-375-2985 All Contents © 2021 Bike Arkansas Magazine 6 | BIKE ARKANSAS may 2021


KAI CADDY is a photographer, graphic


designer and occasional mid-pack Cat 4 crit racer based in Conway.


SHANNON SANDERS’ gravel racing alter

ego "Dirty Sandra" can be found most weekends exploring dirt roads in the Ouachita National Forest.

MIKE SPAIN is a graphic designer and

art director with Arkansas Times. An avid cyclist since 2004, he was bitten by the cycling bug in 1976 while working at Chainwheel.

As temperatures increase, so does the traffic on our state’s more than 1,000 miles worth of beautiful, scenic bike trails. Keep Arkansas Beautiful (KAB) is encouraging cyclists and hikers enjoying the trails to remember what you take out on the trail, please bring it back in. Arkansas’ bike trails saw more than 92,000 cyclists in 2020 and more than 22,000 hikers in 2019. Each cyclist or hiker likely carries a minimum of one plastic bottle while utilizing the trails. Litter of any sort is a huge problem, but imagine what the trails would look like if each of them littered that bottle and/ or more: 92,000 plus littered bottles! “We want both Arkansans and tourists to be able to fully enjoy of our state’s beautiful parks along with our amazing hiking and biking trails,” said Mark Camp, KAB executive director. “By ensuring to properly secure empty plastic bottles in your backpack and disposing of them into a recycling receptacle, you are helping preserve our trails.” Keep Arkansas Beautiful annually offers two cleanup opportunities. In the spring, we have the Great American Cleanup and, in the fall, the Great Arkansas Cleanup. These opportunities provide Arkansans the ability to host cleanups, recycling and beautification events in an effort to improve the overall beauty of their communities. In 2019, 14,388 volunteers removed more than 338,000 pounds of litter and 2.1 million pounds of bulky waste along more than 2,000 miles of roadway, 1,106 miles of waterways and shorelines, and 21,850 acres of parks and public areas. “Help us keep The Natural State natural, by not littering our trails and instead recycling bottles,” said Camp. To learn more about Keep Arkansas Beautiful, visit KeepArkansasBeautiful.com. About Keep Arkansas Beautiful The Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission (KAB), consisting of a professional staff of three and a nine-member advisory board appointed by the governor, is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. KAB is a certified state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful Inc. KAB inspires and educates individuals to reduce litter, recycle and keep Arkansas beautiful. KAB is funded by 1% of the eighth-cent Conservation Tax. For more information, visit KeepArkansasBeautiful.com. Stay in the know by following Keep Arkansas Beautiful on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and texting VOLUNTEER to 484848. BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 18 | 7



Little Rock’s first professionally Rock parks design manager. built urban mountain bike park But with 300 feet of elevation is nearing completion. Mid-June change on the north side of is the target for Rock Solid Trail River Mountain, it was importContracting to finish work on apant to take full advantage of the proximately 11 miles of new trails terrain, Couch said. Advanced in River Mountain Park, above the riders will be able to do a quick Little Maumelle River Boat Launch climb up the north side of the and the Little Rock side of the Two mountain. For those who want a Rivers Park Bridge. The project more gradual ascent, a green trail is a joint effort between the city will take riders up the mountain of Little Rock and the Arkansas and along the south side of the Parks & Recreation Foundation. mountain to cross country blue The foundation was launched in and green trails that lead back 2017 with a $310,000 grant from to the downhill trails. Suzanne the Walton Family Foundation, Grobmyer, executive director of the and it has already funded the Parks & Recreation Foundation, development of multi-use trails likened the design to a ski hill. In designed specifically for mountain the wintertime, when trees don’t biking, known as Monument Trails, have leaves, a trail hub atop the at Hobbs, Mount Nebo, Pinnacle mountain affords unique vistas of and (newly opened) Devil’s Den Little Rock landmarks, including state parks. the Two Rivers Park Bridge, the The Little Rock project also Big Dam Bridge, the Arkansas includes roughly three-quarters River, Big Rock Quarry in North of a mile of introductory trail at Little Rock and Interstate I-430. Two Rivers Park. It’ll include a Moreover, because of the new Leland Couch and Suzanne Grobmyer hard surface gateway trail made of trails’ proximity to Two Rivers chip seal with undulations and a small loop for kids on strider bikes. Park, Grobmyer envisions families coming for a full day of park play, The Arkansas Parks & Recreation Foundation contributed $638,000 picnics and riding, perhaps with parents taking turns riding the River to the River Mountain and Two Rivers trails, which the city of Little Mountain trails while younger kids play in the strider area. Rock matched with $200,000. The new trails don’t come near the existing 2.9-mile hiking trail in Green-, blue- and black-rated downhill flow trails snake across the the park, but there are plans to improve the entrance to the trail off north side of River Mountain. The trails are wide “to maximize fun,” Southridge Drive. The city is building a new parking lot below River Rock Solid trail foreman Mike Rogan said. He likened them to dirt Mountain that will accommodate 15-20 vehicles. Even with the exroller coasters. The black downhills have “big, big jumps,” Rogan said, isting Two Rivers parking, Couch and Grobmyer don’t expect that to along with plenty of the rock features for which Rock Solid is known. be enough to meet demand; they hope cyclists will also come to the Downhill riders will likely see riders on other trails as they descend. trail from the Arkansas River Trail or from parking on the Pulaski “Typically, you don’t have trails so close,” said Leland Couch, Little County side of Two Rivers Park.


Four years ago, mountain biking wasn’t on the Little Rock Parks Department’s radar. But it’s all in now, according to city park design manager Leland Couch. On the horizon: The city is finalizing bids on adding wood and steel features on trails in Boyle Park. It’s seeking bids to improve the mountain bike trails in Allsop Park North. In Western Hills Park, the Little Rock parks department is finalizing a master plan, which includes a small soft surface trail component. The biggest project is the Tri-Creek Greenway, which will eventually connect seven city parks (War Memorial, Kanis, Boyle, First Tee, Western Hills, Hindman and Brodie Creek) with off-

8 | BIKE ARKANSAS may 2021

street paved trails. The city contributed $750,000 to match a $3 million grant from Metroplan, which in 2020 committed to devoting half of its federal funding over the next 10 years to multi-use trails, to design and build the greenway. Couch said the long-term vision is for every park in the greenway to also have soft surface trails and water trails through Brodie, Rock and Fourche creeks. Another vision for mountain bikers to pine over: extending the River Mountain trails westward all the way to Rattlesnake Ridge. It’s not as crazy as it sounds, Couch said. The city owns several small parks in the area.

ANTI-TRANS LEGISLATION ROILS FAYETTEVILLE CYCLOCROSS PREPARATION Brook Watts, the race promoter for the much anticipated Union Cycliste Internationale Cyclocross World Championships in Fayetteville, has stepped away from the event. Already increasingly recognized as a cycling destination in the U.S., Northwest Arkansas had been hoping to earn worldwide acclaim in the coming months. Fayetteville’s new Centennial Park on Millsap Mountain is slated to not only host the Cyclocross World Championships in 2022, but also a UCI World Cup event Oct. 13, 2021. But in the wake of the Arkansas legislature passing a series of anti-transgender laws, several prominent members of the national cycling community have talked about boycotting the events, and there’s been a swirl of press surrounding the controversy. “The situation in Arkansas remains problematic and unfortunately, I don’t see any satisfactory resolution,” Watts said in a statement announcing his departure. “I have sincerely, but unsuccessfully, attempted to work out my concerns and differences with constituents. However, regrettably, we were not successful.” Watts is the founder of CrossVegas, an event that hosted the first UCI Cyclocross World Championships in the U.S. The Walton Family Foundation provided Experience Fayetteville, the city’s visitor’s bureau, with a $2.3 million grant to produce the world championships and other cyclocross events. The

bureau in turn had a $320,000 contract with Watts’ Parkven Productions to manage the events. “For those who know me, my passion and commitment to the growth of cyclocross in the U.S. has always been front and center,” Watts also said in his statement. “In departing from my position as race organizer, I feel I’ve left a mark by designing a unique World Championships-worthy course as well as a cyclocross park that will serve aspiring future champions. I remain dedicated to use my position of influence in the cyclocross community to fight for equity in racing, and to ensure that the sport is accepting and welcoming to all.” Following Watts’ announcement, Experience Fayetteville released its own statement: “Experience Fayetteville is 100% committed to making the 2021 World Cup Fayetteville and 2022 Cyclocross World Championships successful and inclusive events for all athletes and their families, as well as for teams and spectators. “We are looking forward, and will announce a new race management team in the near future. We are excited to share our world-class cyclocross course and facilities with the global cycling community and to welcome all participants to our hospitable city.” Meanwhile, the Fayetteville City Council on May 4 passed a resolution reaffirming the city’s commitment to protecting transgender citizens.

Little Rock has enough bike shops as far as Frank Webber is concerned. In May, he plans to open Shift Modern Cyclery at 1101 W. Markham St., and though it will sell a few bikes and service all bikes, it will be a new animal for Little Rock — a place for cyclists to hang out downtown near the Arkansas River Trail. With a native beer and wine license, Shift will sell Arkansas beer and wine and snacks that patrons can enjoy on a 22-foot-long bar inside the 4,000-square-foot space. Outside, there’s another 2,500 square feet that Webber plans to convert, ideally by summer, into another area to eat and drink. He hopes to partner with food trucks, and Doe’s Eat Place is right across Ringo Street. Webber has spent years in the bike industry. He started working at Chainwheel at age 13 and continued through college, after which he joined Orbea and stuck around for a decade, ultimately managing the facility. From there he started Hex Carbon Workshop, a carbon fiber repair business that he’s run from his home.



Frank Webber

“I’m a bit of an environmentalist, and carbon fiber is nasty to manufacture,” Webber explained of his motivation for starting the speciality business. Fewer than 40% of his clients are based in Arkansas. He gets frames mailed to him from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and beyond. At Shift, he’ll continue to make carbon repairs and provide general service. He also plans to offer pick-ups and deliveries to downtown customers. Building off his location near the River Trail, he’ll sell bike tools, sunscreen, snacks and anything else you might need before going out on a long ride. His bikes sales will be aimed at customers who want to come in and get fitted for a high-end bike, though he will have a handful of bikes on the floor. He’ll be the only Central Arkansas retailer of Allied Cycle Works, the carbon-fiber bike company that was founded in Little Rock but relocated to Rogers in 2019. He’ll also sell bikes from Orbea, Moots and Cipollini. BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 18 | 9


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NAME: Olivier Lavigueur FROM: Bentonville JOB: Engineering technician for Allied Cycle Works I’VE BEEN RIDING A BIKE: Ever since I can remember.

I grew up in the suburbs, so I’d ride to friends’ houses and to school. I started racing when I was 8 and then started back up again when I was 18. I’ve been racing road and mountain bikes for 15 years. I’m CAT 1 on the road, and I just got my pro card this year for mountain biking. I had just competed in the short track and cross country races at the second weekend of the U.S. World Cup races in Fayetteville when these pictures were shot. In short track, my call-ups had me dead last — like 80ish — and I crawled my way back to 50th. The first weekend of cross country, I only did a lap and a half because I was still nursing broken ribs from a crash at the Ouachita Challenge two weeks earlier. The second weekend, I got four laps in before getting pulled. For a 35-year-old with a full-time job, racing for the first time against the best in caliber in North America, I felt pretty good.


Loop in Bella Vista. That’s my go-to. The new Little Sugar Trail system is really great, too.

“For a 35-year-old with a full-time job, racing for the first time against the best in caliber in North America, I felt pretty good.” ­­— Olivier Lavigueur

BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 18 | 11

THE BIKE: It’s a Cannondale Scalpel 2021.

It’s the bike that the guys on the World Cup race with. The front suspension is called the Lefty. It only has one side, a one-arm suspension. It’s the proprietary fork Cannondale uses. Instead of the fork running with bushings, it runs with needle bearings, which makes it really, really smooth and responsive. I love the way the bike looks when you’re looking at it headon. It’s different from other bikes. It takes a special hub and special wheels. Most people don’t like it. The feel of the fork is amazing compared to other race forks I’ve ridden.

BOTTOM BRACKET: They’re BBInfinite.

They have a tiny factory in North Little Rock. Their thing is mostly one-piece PressFit bottom brackets, which guarantees that both bearings are well aligned regardless of frame alignment. They’re a sponsor of mine.

12 | BIKE ARKANSAS may 2021

CRANKSET: e*thirteen XCX. It’s the lightest cross

country crankset available. Super stiff, super solid, I’ve hit it on rocks and it’s still holding up. I’ve been riding it for two and a half years now.

DROPPER POST: It’s a DT Swiss 323. It’s super light. It’s

reverse from all the other droppers, which I like better because, instead of pushing dirt in, it pushes dirt away from the seal. It only has 65 millimeters of drop, just enough to get it out of the way.

WHEELS: They’re Boyd, which is based in Greenville,

South Carolina. They loaned me the wheel set, it’s a prototype. They just released their own Lefty-style hub, and I’ve been testing it. So far, it’s been great. Everything rolls really, really smooth. During the race, I must have hit the rim five or six times, and the wheels stayed straight. I’m not really careful when I race. I still descend like I’m racing a downhill bike and I smash into things and the wheels stay true.

JERSEY: I race for VeloVit Elite Racing out of Jackson, Mississippi. I’ve raced with the team for two years.

BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 18 | 13

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Ready to

roll? Tips for getting started in cycling. By Lindsay Southwick photography by Novo Studio


or many people, 2020 was the year they discovered their love of biking. If you were in the market for a bike over the last 12 months, you know how difficult they were to come by. We purchased a bike intended for our 9-yearold’s birthday in July and it arrived just in time for Christmas. If you weren’t part of the bike craze of 2020 and are starting to wonder if you’re missing out on something, I’m here to tell you, you are. Living in The Natural State and not biking is a lot like living in Utah or Colorado and not skiing. Biking is becoming increasingly synonymous with Arkansas. Trails are rapidly being built all over the state, gravel riding continues to rise in popularity, and road riders are our constant companions on the pavement. If you’re looking to get in on the action but don’t know where or how to start, what follows are a few key tips that’ll help set your wheels in motion. Even if you haven’t ridden since you were a kid, you’ll find that getting back in the saddle is a lot like, well, riding a bike. JUMP INTO CYCLING: If you haven't ridden a bike since you were a kid, the best way to figure out what you need to get into cycling is by stopping by your local bike shop. BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 18 | 15

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO GET OUT OF A BIKE: That's a key question coach Ben Tufford (above in blue, talking) advises folks to consider before buying a bike.

FIRST THINGS FIRST Regardless of discipline, your cycling journey should PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT: Building cycling skills takes work. begin in the same spot: the local bike shop. Developing a relationship with your local bike shop will prove to be a crucial and valuable first step. The people there know bikes and biking. They are the authority of bike repair and know much of what’s happening in the world of cycling. Bruce Hubbard, a cyclist for more than 40 years and owner of Parkside Cycle in Hot Springs, said bike shops are like a hub for the cycling community. “Bike shops are a great place to get information as well as service,” “People need help with their bikes, they Hubbard said. “People need help want to know where to ride, where to with their bikes, they want to know ride safely, who to ride with. A good where to ride, where to ride safely, who to ride with. A good bike shop bike shop can help with all of that.” can help with all of that.” See your local bike shop as more than just a place to buy a bike. Stop in and make a friend or two. Your initial visit will likely be the beginning of a long and beautiful friendship.

WHAT TO RIDE If you don’t already have a bike, the question of, “What do I get?” is enough to make anyone hit a wall before they even get started. With so many options at price points that range from the hundreds to the thousands, it’s hard to know what you want, what you need, what’s essential, and what’s not. If you’re in the market for a new bike, Ben Tufford, owner of Cognition Coaching and Coach Director for NICA Arkansas, says to ask yourself a few key questions: How do 16 | BIKE ARKANSAS may 2021

you anticipate using your bike? What is your hope for this long term? What is your budget? Answering these questions will provide better guidance in finding the right bike. While budget is obviously a critical and necessary component to purchasing a bike, keep in mind that cycling has the potential to be something you can do for a long, long time. Investing in a bike is also an investment in yourself. Instead of thinking, “How much is this going to cost me?” think, “What am I going to get out of this?” There are startup costs associated with any new hobby. Cycling is no different. Whether you’re buying a new bike or repairing one you already have, the next step is — you guessed it — heading to the bike shop. They’ll make sure you purchase the bike that’s right for you or get your existing bike ready to roll.

FIND OTHER RIDERS Getting involved in the cycling community is beneficial for all riders, regardless of skill level. There are groups across all disciplines throughout the state getting together, sharing experiences, trading cycling tips and having a lot of fun while they’re at it. Riding with others is a great way to learn and can be very motivating as well. Many groups offer no-drop rides so there’s no fear of being left behind. These clubs and groups offer much more than consistent ride opportunities; they offer community. I have found these groups are always welcoming to new riders. They’re inclusive, fun and have a knack for connecting riders who ride well together. Ask your bike shop, do a simple online search, or look on social media to find a group in your area. BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 18 | 17

DON'T RIDE ABOVE AWARENESS: Avoid trails or features that exceed your abilities, Ben Tufford advises.


“Skills development leads to confidence which leads to more fun. There are no shortcuts to becoming better.”

Learning essential skills is part of the investment of cycling. Getting proper instruction reduces the learning curve and creates better, smarter riders. As someone who coaches cyclists of all skill levels, Tufford knows the common mistakes many riders make. Riding trails above skill level, riding too fast or riding too far are pitfalls Tufford refers to as “riding above awareness.” “Riding above one’s awareness can be translated to: You don’t know what you don’t know,” he said. “We see riders often riding trails or features that are above their ability level. They have not gained an awareness of what skills may be required, how to execute them, or the consequence of failure.” Another common pitfall Tufford sees is lack of fitness. 18 | BIKE ARKANSAS may 2021

When you’re just getting started, keep the rides short. Make a weekly plan to increase endurance. Biting off more than you can chew can lead to a long, miserable ride; one that you won’t be anxious to repeat anytime soon. A little instruction can go a long way. A simple change here, gaining awareness there, can be the difference between injury and victory. Invest some time (and possibly money) into learning how to do things right so you can do them for a long time. “Skills development leads to confidence which leads to more fun,” Tufford often tells his clients. “There are no shortcuts to becoming better. More climbing leads to better climbing. Learning a skill and doing it over and over again will make you better. It’s that simple.”

In Your Community

Thursdays in the Park

Please join us for a virtual event series! Public parks are important places for building a sense of community and social belonging. They are spaces that belong to everyone, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, religion or income. This virtual series gives participants a unique opportunity to view parks from a selection of states, and hear what these communities are doing to both create and improve green and public places for all ages. Gathering Place, Tulsa, OK | May 6, 11 – 11:45 a.m. Falls Park, Sioux Falls, SD | May 13, 11 – 11:45 a.m. Three Rivers, Plymouth, MN | May 20, 11 – 11:45 a.m. A City in a Park, Little Rock, AR | May 27, 11 – 11:45 a.m.

The series is free, but a registration is required for each event. Register at aarp.cvent.com/virtualar2021.

/aarparkansas @araarp

Bring Community Home | To learn more about this event and all our virtual offerings, visit aarp.org/nearyou.

BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 18 | 19

BUILD YOUR SKILLS: And perhaps one day you'll be getting big air.


So make a friend at the bike shop, join a group and armor yourself with the right skills. You’ll be happy you did.

“Where should I ride?” This is a common question, particularly among novice mountain bikers looking for trails to match their skills. Knowing where to ride safely is key to having a successful day on the bike. Once again, bike shops and cycling groups are excellent resources for finding a good place to ride. There are also apps like MTB Project and Trailforks you can download for easy access to trail information. These apps, among others, have maps outlining trail length, difficulty level and comments from other riders 20 | BIKE ARKANSAS may 2021

about their experience on the trails. Additionally, most parks in the state have websites or a social media presence with trail information, current conditions and much more. Whether you’re looking to get into shape, wanting a sense of community, or are just curious what all the fuss is about, making biking a way of life is something you won’t regret, especially in Arkansas. Becoming a part of the growing cycling community is a worthy investment. So make a friend at the bike shop, join a group and armor yourself with the right skills. You’ll be happy you did.

BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 18 | 21


22 | BIKE ARKANSAS may 2021


A Q&A with competitive cyclist Danielle Larson. STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY By Kai Caddy


ompetition is nothing new for Bella Vista’s Danielle Larson. An elite cyclist racing and working for Boltcutter Cycles in Fayetteville, Larson was first a competitive athlete in track and field and ballroom dancing before turning her attention to cycling. Just three years after her first mountain bike race, Larson finished 16th at the OZ Trails US Pro Cup in Fayetteville on April 16 against a strong field of Olympic hopefuls. Larson moved to Northwest Arkansas in January 2020 after 15 years in Minneapolis working mostly as a consultant in public health. We talked about her move to Arkansas, her introduction into racing and the commitment it takes.

NEW TO COMPETITIVE RACING: After competing in ballroom dancing and track and field, Danielle Larson started racing mountain bikes three years ago.

BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 18 | 23

RIDING THE ROCKS: Larson competed in the Elite Women's division of the OZ Trails US Pro Cup in Fayetteville in April.

How long have you been cycling?

About five and a half years. Of course, I had a Huffy growing up, and then a Trek my dad bought me in middle school that I had until college and I’d use it to get in between campuses, but my knees hit the bars and I never owned a pair of cycling shorts back then.

How did you get started cycling?

I got a steel road bike to use as a mode of transportation around the city and for commuting, followed by a carbon road bike that I’d use to bike with friends.

How long before you started to race? One year.

24 | BIKE ARKANSAS may 2021

Why did you start racing?

I ran track at the University of Minnesota, and have always loved to compete. I was competing in ballroom dancing when I did my first bike race, which was the Minnesota State Cyclocross Championships someone dared me to do. I borrowed a bike I had never ridden and ended up finishing eighth.

Talk about that first race experience. Were you hooked immediately?

It was snowing and the mud in your cleats froze so you never really got clipped in. I think it was 20 degrees. I hated it; it was miserable. But cyclocross is that way. It’s a love/hate relationship. My first mountain bike race was magical — it was three years ago. I loved everything about mountain biking. The people were rad and low key, the vibe was welcoming, and the flying through the trees was everything I ever wanted in an activity.

What disciplines do you race?

Cyclocross, road, fat bike, mountain, gravel — literally everything except track. My main disciplines are cyclocross and mountain. And gravel now that I’ve been living here. Cyclocross is my favorite. I love the intensity, skills and just straight-up fun of the mud, obstacles and race culture. I have started to really enjoy gravel, too. It is low key, typically a low cost to entry — or used to be, anyway. The routes are beautiful and it is almost always a good day on the bike.

What advice do you have for cyclists looking to race?

Everyone started somewhere. Run what you brung. Racing is as much about the community as it is about the results. Stay positive and lean into what makes you uncomfortable.

GETTING MUDDY: Larson at FayetteCross in 2019.

What’s the best advice you’ve gotten since starting racing?

Cycling is about the long game, so enjoy your time on the bike.

Who are some riders you look up to?

My friend and coach Crystal Anthony — she is a master of her craft; [15-time U.S. national cyclocross champion] Katie F’n Compton; and, really, I look up to anyone putting work into their craft to be better at something they love while also getting others excited about it.

What’s a typical training week like for you?

During base miles I am doing 20- to 25-hour weeks just riding and strength training, not including route planning, stretching and recovery activities. I average around 18 hours during less heavy training periods. I consume insane amounts of food. So much food.

How do you juggle training and racing with “regular” life?

Last year I was training in the morning, afternoon and evening in between working a corporate job. This year I’ve been able to consolidate the same amount of hours all together and work mornings and evenings and train in the afternoon, for the most part.

What’s your most memorable race moment?

Finishing 16th in April at the US Pro Cup. EEEk! I barely slept that night. Conquering those drops every lap, I still get high thinking about it. That course, the fans, everything was fire! It was even more memorable than pro cyclocross nationals in Washington in 2019 because having a race like that in your hometown is unlike anything.

BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 18 | 25

STRONG SHOWING: Larson, just three years into racing, finished 16th at the US Pro Cup in Fayetteville this year.

Talk a little bit about moving to Arkansas and some of the cycling opportunities you’ve been able to take advantage of since.

My friend and I moved here from Minneapolis in January 2020. We had picked five places across the U.S. to look at for warmer weather and good cycling: Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, North Carolina and Arkansas. NWA won out with its climate, cost of living and access to trails. I left my corporate job to complete a full pro season and play it by ear after that. But after racing was canceled (because of the pandemic), I ended up buying and renovating a four-bedroom house in Bella Vista to live and Airbnb rooms to cyclists. Being right on 26 | BIKE ARKANSAS may 2021

the Little Sugar Trails, I couldn’t be happier. Shortly after finishing my renovations and opening it to cyclists, I met the owner of Boltcutter Cycles who was looking to move the brand here from Salt Lake City. With racing off the books and my Airbnb completed, I had availability to start working with Boltcutter to build the brand here in NWA, which I have been doing now since October. Not only has the area afforded some of the best training in the country — not exaggerating — gravel, road, mountain biking is so good. But it also has afforded me the opportunity to use my business degree and combine my passion of cycling with a full-time job.

“Not only has the area afforded some of the best training in the country ... But it also has afforded me the opportunity to use my business degree and combine my passion of cycling with a full-time job.” — Danielle Larson

TheThePinnacle Pinnacleof of Arkansas ArkansasCycling Cycling forfor2929years yearsandand still stillflying flyinghigh! high! locallylocally owned.owned. locallylocally operated. since 1992. operated. since 1992.

arkansascycling.com arkansascycling.com WEST NORTH NORTH NORTH WEST WEST 315 N. Bowman • Little Rock N.Ave. Bowman • Little Rock 3010 E. Kiehl Ave. • Sherwood 3010 E.315 Kiehl • Sherwood 315E. N.Kiehl Bowman • Little Rock 3010 Ave. • Sherwood 501.221.BIKE (2453) (2453) 501.834.5787 501.221.BIKE (2453) 501.221.BIKE 501.834.5787 501.834.5787

BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 18 | 27

SATURDAY, AUGUST 14 WE’RE SET TO RIDE AT THIS YEAR’S TOUR DE ROCK! Plans are in place to ensure the health and safety of our riders. WHAT: 25, 50, 62 and 100 mile routes through Central Arkansas with a great after party. WHERE: Race begins and ends at Washington and Vine Streets in North Little Rock. After Party at Heifer International Pavilion WHY: Support CARTI’s mission of delivering the most advanced forms of cancer care.

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Register today at CARTI.com/TourdeRock


30 | BIKE ARKANSAS may 2021

Riding Iron Mountain Around DeGray Lake A treasure chest of singletrack and sunsets. STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY By Gabriella Gonzales

THE FULL PACKAGE: The Iron Mountain trail system offers flowy singletrack with beautiful views. BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 18 | 31

TRAILS FOR ALL RIDERS: Iron Mountain features plenty of opportunities for inexperienced riders.


rkansas is known for hidden gems, but not all are diamonds. The Iron Mountain Trail System around DeGray Lake offers singletrack riders a treasure chest of trails. “I loved coming around a bend in the trail and occasionally catching glimpses of DeGray Lake,” Jacob Smithpeters, 2017 and 2019 National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) state champion, said. “That’s an element of the Iron Mountain trail systems that most other trails in the state cannot rival.” Smithpeters first traveled to Arkadelphia for an Arkansas Mountain Bike Championship Series (AMBCS) race. “The trails surprised me with how flowy they were, which made the descents super smooth and fast,” he said. Plans for the system started in 1998.

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“Before we got approval, 9/11 happened and we picked the ball back up in 2005,” Fred Phillips, head developer of the system, said. The following year he became chairman of a county committee looking to improve recreation. Since then, there have been four phases of further development: With the help of Recreational Trails Program (RTP) grants, Phase 1 broke ground in 2008 and was just a little under 7 miles. This phase consisted of the blue, orange and upper green trails. Phase 2 added lower green and all of yellow, about 7 to 8 miles. Phase 3 brought the white zone, a 5-mile loop with an overlook of the lake. The final phase, Joe’s Garage, a 9 ½-mile loop, was completed this year, with the help of the Walton Family Foundation and RTP grants.


Registration now open! 42, 63 & 109-mile courses 35% entries reserved for women

Learn more at experiencefayettville.com


Little Rock is a cycling city for every season. With 1,200 miles of cycling trails, there’s a ride for every member of the family. From MTB trails to gravel grinds, scenic road routes, and beginner-friendly touring routes, it’s all just minutes away from downtown Little Rock. Ad paid for with State and Heart of Arkansas funds.

Monument Trails at Pinnacle Mountain State Park

BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 18 | 33

TRAILS FOR ALL: Iron Mountain's cross country trails are ideal for hikers, too.


o bike? No problem. “These trails are designed around mountain biking, but are also great for hiking,” Phillips said. Members of the biking community love to see people outdoors and don’t mind sharing the road with their hiking friends. Just remember to keep an eye out as lots of riders are speeding through the course. Over the past 12 years, four national championship races took place at Iron Mountain: two mountain biking and two off-road triathlon races. Bikers from all over the world can attest to the quality and design this system offers. “Iron Mountain was designed to be a cross country trail system. There is riding out here for everyone, everything from a beginner to experts,” Phillips said. “The bulk is

34 | BIKE ARKANSAS may 2021

designed for anyone to ride, depending on the pace they want to ride. As you go faster, the more difficult they are.” For the less experienced riders, Clockwork Orange, Blue Bayou and the first 4-mile loop of Joe’s Garage are best. The first loop of Joe’s Garage and Clockwork Orange are the most forgiving for youngsters, while keeping features that are key for learning the ropes of mountain biking. They feature rollers and berms throughout, but avoid drops and technical rock gardens, making them the ideal trails on which to get comfortable. Pink Cadillac is a short stretch connecting Blue Bayou to Iron Mountain Marina. The first loop of Joe’s Garage presents multiple big berms and switchbacks that are great

www.starshoppernwa.com #faroutstars Star Shopper established 1973. 

practice for honing basic skills. With it being new, it is as smooth as butter. Take advantage while you can. White Zone is perfect for intermediate riders. It has technical spots throughout but offers enough forgiveness that even beginners can enjoy. It makes a figure eight with an overlook of the lake. There’s a good amount of elevation at Iron Mountain, with a maximum elevation change of 2,052 feet. This makes the downhills especially entertaining, but it’s important to note that you’ll definitely have to earn your descents.

Beef Strip Steaks with Balsamic Grilled Vegetables

BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 18 | 35

THE FASTER YOU GO ... : The harder the Iron Mountain trails are, according to Fred Phillips, who developed the system.


ellow Snow and Jolly Green Giant offer more climbing and technical features. Yellow Snow has a big climb, rewarded with a long downhill that features lots of small rollers, making it super easy to catch some air. If you’re feeling up for more air, Jolly Green Giant is the place to be. This trail features two jumps, one that can easily be done as a roll down and another that guarantees serious air. Don’t fret if you aren’t a fan of wheels leaving ground. These trails offer an easy detour from the jumps. The back loop of Joe’s Garage is another technical spot with steep and speedy switchbacks. Followed by a gnarly rock garden and an overlook of DeGray, it makes for a perfect water break. If you’re a Frank Zappa fan like Phillips, you may have noticed a trend within the trail names. They are all named with a nod to the late musician.


avid Bowen is a tried-and-true mountain biker and Arkadelphia native. He has competed in numerous races and can still be found hitting the local singletrack most afternoons.

36 | BIKE ARKANSAS may 2021

“I love all the new trails around Arkansas,” Bowen said. “We are really becoming a destination for outdoors. Thanks to Fred for making it happen here in Arkadelphia.” With Phase 4 completed in January 2021, a dream that Phillips saw back in 1998 has finally come to fruition. Thanks to the help of Recreational Trail Programs grants and the Walton Family Foundation, the system now boasts more than 30 miles of singletrack for people of all ages and skill levels, surrounded by loblolly pines and stunning views. Taking a dip in the lake is a perfect way to end a day of riding. If you’d prefer to use soap instead, showers (and bathrooms) at Iron Mountain Marina are free and available to riders. With the help of Southern Bancorp, new signage is appearing at all the trailheads and within the system to aid bikers and hikers. These upgrades continue to make DeGray a prime mountain biking area. Be sure to add it to your list of great singletrack in the state. There is no excuse not to come and enjoy these biking gems.

BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 18 | 37

38 | BIKE ARKANSAS may 2021

How to ride


H All you need to know to get started.

A By Shannon “Dirty Sandra” Sanders


ntire books have been written on how to ride gravel, but we are going to try to distill it down to the basics. We will focus on some bike, gear and equipment choices that will help you maximize your fun while minimizing mishaps and mechanical failures. We’ll also discuss what tools to carry for roadside repairs and look at some of the great places to ride gravel in Arkansas.

The Bike


up to 55-mm (2.2-inch) tires, and for the times when rowdy roads call for rowdy tires there are gravel bikes that can even fit 27.5x2.4-inch mountain bike tires. There are great gravel bikes made from just about every frame material on earth. From carbon, steel, aluminum, titanium and beyond, you can choose whatever frame material your heart desires (and pocketbook allows); just make sure it’s going to be durable and can fit some big ol’ tires.


any factors go into making a good gravel bike, including tires, brakes, drivetrain, more about tires, etc. The first things to look for are clearance for large tires to help conquer the rough roads and good brakes to tame the steep and bumpy descents. Your bike frame should have room for 38-millimeter tire width at the very minimum, but preferably you want clearance for 42 to 45 mm, if not larger. Many gravel bikes today can take

BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 18 | 39



ne could fill an encyclopedia discussing the finer points of gravel tire selection, but one thing is for sure: GO TUBELESS. Select a tubeless compatible tire and mate it to a tubeless compatible wheel and top off with a quality sealant. While a tubeless setup doesn’t 100% guarantee against flats, it does greatly reduce the risk, and most punctures will seal themselves or can be quickly repaired by popping in a tire plug. Going tubeless also allows you to run your tires at lower pressures, which helps soak up the bumps on rougher terrain and makes for a more comfortable ride. If you do decide to run tubes, then carry at least two or three spares. You’ll probably need them. Selecting a gravel tire comes down to weighing the tradeoffs between various tire sizes and levels of durability. Narrower tires will be lighter and might feel a bit zippier on climbs. Wider tires will be heavier, but can inspire more confidence when bombing rugged gravel descents at speed. Tires with a supple casing will be lighter and have better handling characteristics but will tend to be more prone to sidewall cuts. Tires with durable casings and puncture protection belts are heavier and have stiffer sidewalls but offer maximum flat protection. Durable casings can have a harsher ride quality in comparison with more supple offerings, but the stiffer sidewalls can allow for lower tire pressure that helps reduce the harshness somewhat. If you were to ask me what size tire you should run, my response would be to ask you how large a tire your bike can take and tell you to run that. Generally, larger tires can handle rougher terrain and can be run at lower pressures, which help dampen road vibrations and aid with flat resistance. But sometimes when the gravel is nice and you want to get all fast and race-y, then a smaller and lighter tire may be in order. Horses for courses and all, but it doesn’t hurt to err on the side of durability and comfort.



hether it’s electronic, mechanical, wireless, 1x, 2x, whatever, gravel-specific drivetrains in general will have a much lower ratio for the climbing gear than you’re used to seeing on a road bike. Don’t let your ego determine your choice of chainring and cassette. That 52/36 crankset and 25-tooth cassette on your road bike might be fine on pavement, but will likely have you doing hike-a-bike up some forest road climbs with their steep grades and loose, chunky gravel. In these instances, it helps for your chainring to be the same size or preferably smaller than the largest cog on your cassette. It’s common to see mountain bike derailleurs with super-wide range cassettes paired with road shifters on gravel bikes. In addition to the lower gearing, a good gravel rear derailleur will also utilize a clutch mechanism that provides constant tension on the chain to keep it from bouncing off on rough roads.



hen it comes to stopping your bike on gravel, disc brakes are the name of the game. Compared to rim brakes, discs have better stopping power and no limitations on tire clearance. The consensus is that hydraulic discs are the best for max stopping power with minimal effort. Mechanical disc brakes are also highly effective and sometimes a preferred choice for bikepacking and touring, as you can repair a brake cable in the field, not so much a hydraulic line. Rim brakes can be fine, but you’ll want to stick to cantilever brakes or the V-brakes you see on old mountain bikes. Standard road bike calipers should be avoided as they limit tire clearance and, more importantly, a piece of gravel caught between the caliper and tire will bring you skidding to a halt at best and might have you flipping over your handlebars or worse.

40 | BIKE ARKANSAS may 2021

Repair Kit:


ome of the most beautiful areas to ride in Arkansas are also the most remote. There is limited cell service and you can ride for hours on end without seeing cars, people or convenience stores. As such, it pays to be self-reliant and always carry a solid repair kit and know how to use it. This list can be considered an essential repair kit, followed by some items that might be considered optional but very good to have on hand.

HERE ARE THE ESSENTIALS: BIKE MULTI-TOOL: Make sure this has a hex, torx and driver for every size bolt on your bike and make sure these are long enough to reach all the bolts. A super tiny tool may be lightweight and easy to carry, but it’s useless if you can’t get to that one hard-to-reach bolt. PUMP: A good frame pump or mini-pump is a must-have. CO2 is great, but when your cartridges are empty or your inflator malfunctions, then you are out of luck. Even if you carry CO2, you should always have a pump as backup. SPARE TUBES AND TIRE LEVER: Almost all flats on a tubeless tire can be repaired with either sealant or a tire plug, but occasionally a flat is bad enough that you must resort to putting a tube in. Most times I carry one tube, but on longer endeavors I’ll carry two. TIRE PLUGS: A good tubeless sealant will usually seal any punctures up to one-quarter inch. For larger gashes a tire plug is a quick and easy fix to get you rolling. Pre-loading your plug applicator at home will save time and trouble out on the road. Be aware that any excess plug material sticking out of the tire can damage the inside of your frame or fork, so it’s good to have a pocket knife or other tool on hand to trim the plug close to the tread.

The next items might be considered optional by some, but I have used all at least once for roadside repair and consider them to be essential: MASTERLINK PLIERS WITH SPARE MASTERLINKS: Be sure the spare links match your chain. CHAIN BREAKER: Paired with a masterlink, this can resolve most chain-related issues. Spare derailleur hanger: Again, make sure it matches your bike. ZIP TIES, DUCT TAPE, GORILLA TAPE, ELECTRICAL TAPE: You’d be surprised at the number of seemingly catastrophic malfunctions that can be resolved with zip ties or tape. These aren’t permanent repairs, but they can get you back in when all hope seems lost.


INNER TUBE PATCH KIT: For when you inevitably get a flat in your last spare tube.

BIKE BAGS: Not necessarily essential, but handlebar bags, frame bags and top tube bags are a great way to carry snacks, tools, extra layers and any other items to get you through long days in remote regions. For long summer rides, A PACKABLE WATER FILTER is a good idea. Refilling your bottles at a creek crossing on a long, hot day can be a life saver.

BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 18 | 41


here are networks of gravel roads all over Arkansas, from the farm roads in the Delta to the Forest Service and logging roads in the Ozarks and the Ouachita Mountains. The most popular gravel destination in Central Arkansas is the Flatside Wilderness Area and Ouachita National Forest in Perry County. Starting at Lake Sylvia and Lake Winona, there is a vast network of Forest Service roads stretching west past Arkansas Highway 7 to Arkansas Highway 27 and beyond. The roads west of Arkansas Highway 9 beginning in Paron make for a great intro to gravel, with rolling hills that are a bit more gentle than the steep and rugged climbs around Lake Sylvia and Flatside. The maze of farm roads in East Arkansas offer some respite from the steep mountain climbs of the national forests but come with their own unique challenges in the form of deep and chunky gravel sections, relentless winds and the occasional sprint to outrun a farm dog.

North-Central Arkansas offers up the Ozark Grinder Trail, an approximately 138-mile route running along the Buffalo National River, through the Ozark National Forest and Richland Creek Wilderness Area and Middle Fork of the Little Red River. The OGT is beautiful, scenic, rugged and very challenging, with close to 10,000 feet of elevation gain. Northwest Arkansas has an amazing assortment of scenic and challenging gravel from Hazel Valley and White Rock Mountain south of Fayetteville to the roads of the Ozark Plateau around Bentonville and up into Missouri, with thousands of miles of gravel to the east and west and in between. Tying the Ozark and Ouachita national forests together is the route for the Arkansas High Country Race, a massive 1,100-mile loop with some of the most challenging terrain in the state. Select any section of this route for a sampling of the best gravel Arkansas has to offer.


“GRAVEL RIDING is great because you really get a feeling of being a kid again. Exploring and seeing new yet old places, oftentimes in areas that allow a respite from cell phone coverage, with little to no traffic. It’s sort of like time travel.” — Erik Leamon, The Ride 42 | BIKE ARKANSAS may 2021


2100 Meadowlake Road, Conway (501) 764-4500


Where To Ride:

Newly opened Monument Trail at Mt. Nebo State Park

Hughes Community Center

Lake Dardanelle State Park

Bona Dea Trails

479-967-1762 www.discoverrussellville.org Paid for with a combination of state funds and private regional association funds. BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 18 | 43

EVENTS THE UGLY GNOME MAY 15-16 $5-$35 Woolly Hollow State Park, Greenbrier The first race in the Arkansas Mountain Bike Championship Series with time trials and cross country races for various ages and categories. Find more information and register at bikereg.com/the-ugly-gnome.

Have an event you’d like to be included in a future Bike Arkansas? Email editor Lindsey Millar at lindseymillar@arktimes.com. MT. NEBO ENDURO MAY 16 $50-$85 Mount Nebo The first stop in the Arkansas Enduro Series is open to pros, experts, amateurs and juniors of various ages. There’s also an e-bike category. The five-to-six-stage race will cover up to 20 miles. It will be fully supported with a post-race meal and live music provided. For more information, visit arkansasenduroseries.com. AVOCA RACING SERIES, RACE #2 MAY 19 $10-$20 Avoca This racing series follows a 6.1-mile loop

and includes categories for advanced/elite men and women, beginner/intermediate men and women, and beginner women and juniors. Register and find more info at bikereg.com. TACO SUMMER FUN SERIES: LOOPED XC RACE AT CEDAR GLADES MAY 22 $25 Cedar Glades, Hot Springs A race four times around a 2-mile loop at Cedar Glades with categories for men, women and e-bikes. Register at bikereg. com/taco-summer-fun-series.


ARVEST DIRTY FONDO MAY 16 Lonoke With routes ranging from 26-40 miles and plenty of gravel. The ride supports Recycle Bikes for Kids. Find more info and register at bikereg.com/47967.



$35 Ride one of the regular Tour de Toad 10-, 20- or 40-mile routes beginning at Conway Municipal Airport or craft your own route in this virtual ride benefitting Literacy Action of Central Arkansas. Register and find more info at bikereg.com/tour-de-toad.

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WANGO TANGO MAY 22 $15-$20 City Lake, Siloam Springs A four-hour enduro with categories for solo males, solo females, four-man relay, four-woman relay, co-ed relay (two men, two women), two-person open and four-person junior open (any combination of junior riders ages 13-18). For more info and to register, visit bikereg.com/the-wango-tango. USA PUMP TRACK CHAMPIONSHIPS MAY 23 $20 Runway Bike Park, Springdale The second round of the USA championships with categories for boys and girls 7-16, men and women 17 and above, and men and women 35 and above. Find more info and register at bikereg.com/usa-pumptrack-championship-springdale. AVOCA RACING SERIES, RACE #3 MAY 26 $10-$20 Avoca This racing series follows a 6.1-mile loop and includes categories for advanced/elite men and women, beginner/intermediate men and women, and beginner women and juniors. Register and find more info at bikereg.com.

WHITE STAR RIVER RETREAT Perfect For: • Family vacations • Fishing Trips • Family Reunions • Corporate Retreats • Honeymoons • Quiet Getaways

Located on the White River (between Gaston’s and Bull Shoals) Whitestarriverretreat.com/ 479-871-0682 (VRBO # 563445)

We’ve moved to a new bigger location.


BELLA VISTA ENDURO JUNE 5 $50-$85 Blowing Springs, Bella Vista The second stop in the Arkansas Enduro Series is open to pros, experts, amateurs and juniors of various ages. There’s also an e-bike category. The five-to-six-stage race will cover up to 20 miles. It will be fully supported with a post-race meal provided. For more information, visit arkansasenduroseries.com. TOUR DE BBQ JUNE 5 $20-$35 Lewis and Clark Outfitters, Rogers A ride with 7-, 30- and 50-mile options along the Razorback Regional Greenway and benefitting Compassion House. With regular “BBQ/pit stops” and a barbecue grill-off after the event. For more information visit compassionhouse. us/events.

YELL AT US TODAY 501-753-4990 | www.angrydavesbicycles.com 3217 JFK Blvd  |  NORTH LITTLE ROCK BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 18 | 45

TOUR DE TOMATO JUNE 5 $35 175 Highway 189 Bypass, Warren A ride through Bradley County with 16-, 40- and 62-mile courses. Part of the Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival. Register at runsignup.com/race/ar/waren/ tourdetomatobicycleride. OZARK VALLEY TRIATHLON JUNE 6 Fayetteville An international or sprint triathlon, duathlon, aquabike event. Find more info at allsportsproductionsinc.com. AVOCA RACING SERIES, RACE #4 JUNE 9 $10-$20 Avoca This racing series follows a 6.1-mile loop and includes categories for advanced/elite men and women, beginner/intermediate men and women, and beginner women and juniors. Register and find more info at bikereg.com. TACO SUMMER FUN SERIES: BIKE/RUN/BIKE DUATHLON JUNE 12 $25 Northwoods, Hot Springs A race with two 3-mile rides separated by a 5-mile trail run for solo men and women,

or find a teammate and one person will do the two 3-mile rides while the other is running 5 miles. Register at bikereg.com/ taco-summer-fun-series. LADIES DU JUNE 12 $50-$135 Veterans Memorial Park, Fayetteville A run/bike/run duathlon for individuals or relay teams of two or three. The race is open to women as well as non-binary and gender nonconforming racers. For more info, visit fayetteville-ar.gov/2004/LadiesDu-Fayetteville. AVOCA RACING SERIES, RACE #5 JUNE 16 $10-$20 Avoca This racing series follows a 6.1-mile loop and includes categories for advanced/elite men and women, beginner/intermediate men and women, and beginner women and juniors. Register and find more info at bikereg.com. BENTONVILLE BIKE FEST JUNE 18-20 Bentonville Annual event includes group rides, workshops, bike shows, an enduro race, U.S. Trials nationals, a Guiness World Record attempt and more. Find more info at bentonvillebikefest.com.

TRUE GRIT RIDE JUNE 18-JULY 14 $55 This year’s ride to benefit at-risk children is virtual. Ride 10, 30, 45, 62 or 105 miles or run/walk a 5K. Visit truegritride.com for more details. PEDALS FOR COMPASSION JUNE 19 $55 Magnolia A ride benefiting the Compassion Foundation’s Domestic Violence Shelter with 15-, 35- and 100-mile options, along with a 100-kilometer route. Register and find more info at bikereg.com/pedals-forcompassion. IRON PIG FESTIVAL JUNE 19 $40 Fayetteville Compete in a duathlon, 5K run, 1-mile fun run or time-trial races. For more info visit allsportsproductionsinc.com. AVOCA RACING SERIES, RACE #6 JUNE 23 $10-$20 Avoca This racing series follows a 6.1-mile loop and includes categories for advanced/elite men and women, beginner/intermediate men and women, and beginner women



46 | BIKE ARKANSAS may 2021

$15-$45 Fort Smith A cross country race with dozens of categories, from rookies to juniors to CAT 1 racers. Register and find more info at bikereg. com/rvr.

THE R E ’S NO Better PL AC E.

Arkansas is something special. The great outdoors are even greater in the Natural State, and the people here make it even better. We can find picturesque views from mountain tops and front porches – or soak up the sun on the back of a bike. The First Security team has a lot to be grateful for – like family, friends and close-knit communities – but home is pretty high on our list. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Proud to be your community bank. Call or click today! BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 18 | 47

Member FDIC


Come check out Rogers World-Class Bike Park!

and juniors. Register and find more info at bikereg.com. FAT TIRE FESTIVAL JUNE 23-27 Eureka Springs A five-day festival with downhill, super-d, short track and cross country racing. More info at bikeeurekasprings.com. AVOCA RACING SERIES, RACE #7 JUNE 30 $10-$20 Avoca This racing series follows a 6.1-mile loop and includes categories for advanced/elite men and women, beginner/intermediate men and women, and beginner women and juniors. Register and find more info at bikereg.com.

Slope Style • Session Zone • Kids Zone • Pump Track Lake Atalanta multi-use trails = 10 miles • Dog Parks • Pavilion Concrete trail to lake and surrounding area 299 East Cherry Street • 479-631-3350 • Rogers Open 6am-10pm Check Facebook for Our Open/Closed Status!


EUREKA SPRINGS MULTISPORT FESTIVAL JULY 16-18 A three-day festival with a sprint-distance triathlon Friday afternoon, Gran Fondos Saturday and running races Sunday. Or


Live Your Adventure

TACO SUMMER FUN SERIES: 6 HOUR RACE AT CEDAR GLADES JULY 10 $25 Cedar Glades, Hot Springs A six-hour race to determine how many laps riders can complete with various categories for entrants. Register at bikereg. com/taco-summer-fun-series.





$15 All Souls Church, Scott A flat road ride with 28-, 40- and 62-mile routes to benefit the Marilyn Fulper Fund. Find more info and register at bikereg.com/ wampoo-roadeo.

compete in the Full Eureka: the triathlon, 100-mile bike ride and 10K run. Find more information at allsportsproductionsinc.com. CRYSTAL BRIDGES ENDURANCE GRINDURO AUG. 7 Siloam Springs A gravel race with timed stages and 25and 50-mile routes. More info at bikereg. com/crystal-bridges-endurance-gravelgrinder. JOE MARTIN STAGE RACE AUG. 26-29 Fayetteville A four-day, four-stage professional men’s and women’s race that’s part of both the USA Cycling Pro Racing Tour and the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) America Tour. Cyclists from all around the world are expected. For racers and spectators, it’s a chance to potentially see cyclists who might go on to race in the Olympics or big European races. The event also includes a two-day, three-stage amateur race. Learn more at joemartinstagerace.com. CARDIAC CLASSIC SEPT. 11 Burns Park, North Little Rock Ride benefitting the Arkansas Heart Hospital. Details TBA. Stay up-to-date by visiting arheart.com/cardiac-classic. TOUR DE TACOS SEPT. 11 $20-$35 A ride with 7-, 30- and 62-mile options along the Razorback Regional Greenway and benefitting Compassion House. With regular “taco/pit stops” along the way. For more information visit compassionhouse. us/events. DEGRAY LAKE TRIATHLON SEPT. 12 $30-$90 DeGray Lake A variety of distance levels and options to run, race and swim in and around DeGray Lake, including a duathlon for those who don’t want to swim. Register at runsignup.com/Race/AR/Arkadelphia/ DegrayLakeTriathlon. YOUNG LIFE RIVER CLASSIC SEPT. 18 $40 The Rail Yard, Little Rock A fully supported ride benefiting Young Life’s Little Rock Southside ministry with 20-, 40- and 100-mile routes. Find more information at theriverclassic.com.

JUNE 12, 2021

LADIES DU FAYETTEVILLE www.fayetteville-ar.gov/ladiesdu

Join Central Arkansas Velo (CARVE)! OUR MISSION

Our mission is to support cycling in Central Arkansas through advocacy, cyclist development and event hosting.


With beginnings as a road race team in early 2001, Central Arkansas Velo soon developed a two-tiered structure of racers and recreational riders. Over time CARVE has evolved to encompass multiple disciplines of racing at all levels, organizing and hosting races locally, and advocacy work while continuing to have an active population of recreational riders.


• Support advocacy initiatives in areas such as cycling related public policy and infrastructure, environmental impact of events, and public relations • Support cyclists in their development to become the most capable participants in their favorite discipline, such as fun rides, Gran Fondos, amateur races, gravel grinders, etc. • Produce well organized events


A not-for-profit cycling organization in Central Arkansas

BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 18 | 49


THE CONWAY FALL CLASSIC SEPT. 18 $40-$45 Grace Methodist Church, Conway A fully supported ride with 20-, 42- and 65-mile routes and lunch afterward. Find more info at cycleconway.com/conway-fallclassic/ride-info.


North Little Rock Benefitting CARTI, this ride includes 25-, 50-, 62- and 100-mile routes. It’s fully supported, with plenty of rest stops and an after party with music, food and beer. Visit carti.com/foundation/events/carti-tour-de-rock for more information.

BIG DAM BRIDGE 100 SEPT. 25 Arkansas’s largest cycling tour will resume as a mass-start, in-person event this year. Register and find more info at thebigdambridge100.com. SQUARE 2 SQUARE BICYCLE RIDE OCT. 2 $15-$45 Bentonville Square A ride from Bentonville to Fayetteville on the Razorback Regional Greenway. Find more information at fayetteville-ar. gov/1931/Square-to-Square-Bicycle-Ride. ARKANSAS RIVER VALLEY BIKE FEST OCT. 8-10 Mt. Nebo State Park This inaugural event benefits the nonprofit Friends of Nebo. There’ll be pro, advanced,

BRAKE HERE Fuel up and wind down at 21c Bentonville, right off the trails in the heart of downtown.

#thisis21c 21cBentonville.com New cleanliness protocols in place to ensure the safety and wellness of our guests and teammates.

50 | BIKE ARKANSAS may 2021




Enjoy the natural beauty of Little Rock, North Little Rock, Pulaski and Perry Counties






Full service aid stations, trafficcontrolled course

This ad is paid for with a combination of state funds and regional Heart of Arkansas funds.

Enjoy food, drink and music at the finish line in Riverfront Park, North Little Rock

For more information, visit www.bigdambridge100.com BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 18 | 51

intermediate and beginner racing, along with a family relay and strider rides for 2- to 7-year-olds. Plus, live music and food trucks. Find more info at russellvillepolice. org/575/Arkansas-River-Valley-Bike-Fest. WHEEL A’ MENA OCT. 9 $40 Mena A ride with 30-, 50- and 70-mile routes. Find more information at wheelamena.org.

Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). The same site will host the World Championships Jan. 29-30, 2022. More info at FayetteCross.com. FALL BICYCLE TOUR OCT. 18-22 DeGray Lake A three-day tour of the region near DeGray Lake. Riders must be Arkansas Bicycle Club members. CHINKAPIN HOLLOW GRAVEL GRINDER OCT. 24 $40-$60 Lake Wedington Recreation Area, Fayetteville A gravel race that travels into Oklahoma. Register, beginning April 1, at runsignup.com/Race/AR/Fayetteville/ ChinkapinHollowGravelGrinder.

FAYETTECROSS OCT. 13 Centennial Park at Millsap Mountain, Fayetteville The third-annual event has been designated a World Cup event by the

PETIT JEAN OVERNIGHTER DEC. 1-3 Petit Jean Mountain An Arkansas Bicycle Club ride from the Conway airport to Petit Jean Mountain. Must be an ABC member to participate.


TOUR DA DELTA OCT. 9 $20-$65 409 Porter St., Helena-West Helena A range of rides for road, gravel and family cyclists. Registration includes a one-day ticket to the King Biscuit Blues Festival and a barbecue lunch. Find more info and register at bikereg.com/tourdadelta.


$25-$70 Sheridan A ride with 50-, 62- and 100-mile routes. Find more info and register at bikereg.com/50160.

52 | BIKE ARKANSAS may 2021


REGISTRATION OPEN FOR 2021 CHINKAPIN HOLLOW GRAVEL GRINDER Ozarks dirt road adventure in Fayetteville Oct. 24 Gravel riders rejoice! Registration is now open for the 2021 Chinkapin Hollow Gravel Grinder, a popular gravel-racing experience not to be missed. Chinkapin Hollow Gravel Grinder, the region’s newest gravel-focused event, returns to Fayetteville for its second installment. The event will be held Sunday, Oct. 24, with a festive morning mass start at Lake Wedington Recreation Area just west of town. Route options include 42, 63 and 109mile courses, all of which wind through

Route options for the Chinkapin Hollow Gravel Grinder include 42, 63 and 109-mile courses, all of which feature rolling, canopy covered gravel roads and wind through hardwood timber in the Ozark National Forest.

hardwood timber forests in the Ozark National Forest. The two longer routes cross over into Oklahoma for a two-state dirt road adventure. Courses also feature long stretches of rolling and canopy covered gravel roads that descend through historic Ozark communities and hamlets, some of which were settled in the 1800s. With different course lengths for different comfort levels, everyone will have a full day of gravel racing.

Taking the lead in diversifying the sport of gravel, the Chinkapin Hollow Gravel Grinder has a stated goal to double the number of women participants to exceed its 2020 total, with a minimum of 350 entries being held for women cyclists. For more information, including race schedule, course details and how to register, visit experiencefayetteville.com and look for the Chinkapin Hollow Gravel Grinder under the events listing.

BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 18 | 53

Bike Shops

LITTLE ROCK ARKANSAS CYCLING & FITNESS 315 N. Bowman, Suites 6-9 501-221-BIKE (2453) arkansascycling.com THE COMMUNITY BICYCLIST 7509 Cantrell Road, Suite 118 501-663-7300 Thecommunitybicyclist.com PEDEGO ELECTRIC BIKES 2017 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-747-1633 pedegoelectricbikes.com ROCK TOWN RIVER OUTFITTERS (RENTAL) Little Maumelle River Boat Launch 501-831-0548 Rocktownriveroutfitters.com SOUTHWEST BIKE SHOP 7121 Baseline Road 501-562-1866 SPOKES GIANT LITTLE ROCK 11525 Cantrell Road, Suite 607 501-508-5566 spokesgiant.com TREK BICYCLE OF LITTLE ROCK 10300 Rodney Parham Road 501-224-7651 trekbikes.com

NORTH LITTLE ROCK ANGRY DAVE’S BICYCLES 3217 John F. Kennedy Blvd. 501-753-4990 angrydavesbicycles.com RECYCLE BIKES FOR KIDS 717 E. 10th St. 501-563-8264 recyclebikesforkids.org

BENTON HOLY ROLLER UNITED 108 N. East St. 501-672-4110

SHERWOOD ARKANSAS CYCLING & FITNESS 3010 E. Kiehl Ave. 501-834-5787 arkansascycling.com J&P BIKE SHOP 7910 Hwy. 107 501-835-4814 jandpbikeshop.com

CONWAY THE RIDE 2100 Meadowlake Road, No. 2 501-764-4500 therideonline.net

54 | BIKE ARKANSAS may 2021

HOT SPRINGS HOT SPRINGS BICYCLE TOURING COMPANY 436 Broadway St. 501-276-2175 Facebook.com/hotspringsbicycletouringcompany 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 2116 W. Beebe-Capps Expressway 501-305-3915 thebikelane.cc

HEBER SPRINGS SULPHUR CREEK OUTFITTERS 1520 Highway 25B 501-691-0138 screekoutfitters.com

BATESVILLE LYON COLLEGE BIKE SHOP 301 23rd St. 870-307-7529 lyon.edu/bikes

JONESBORO GEARHEAD CYCLE HOUSE 231 S. Main St. 870-336-2453 facebook.com/gearheadcycling

RUSSELLVILLE JACKALOPE CYCLING 103 N. Commerce Ave. 479-890-4950 facebook.com/jackalopecycling

FORT SMITH CHAMPION CYCLING & FITNESS 5500 Massard Road 479-484-7500 championcycling.com PHAT TIRE BIKE SHOP 1700 Rogers Ave. 479-222-6796 Phattirebikeshop.com ROLL ON BMX AND SKATE 1907 Cavanaugh Road 479-974-1235 rollonbmx.business.site

SILOAM SPRINGS DOGWOOD JUNCTION 4650 Hwy 412 East 479-524-6605 dogwoodjunction.biz

PHAT TIRE BIKE SHOP 101 S. Broadway St. 479-373-1458 phattirebikeshop.com

EUREKA SPRINGS ADVENTURE MOUNTAIN Outfitters 152 West Van Buren 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

SPRINGDALE LEWIS & CLARK OUTFITTERS 4915 S. Thompson St. 479-756-1344 gooutandplay.com PHAT TIRE BIKE SHOP 101 W. Johnson Ave., Suite B. 479-717-2073 Phattirebikeshop.com

ROGERS BEAVER LAKE OUTDOOR CENTER (RENTALS) 14434 E. State Hwy. 12 479-877-4984 beaverlakeoutdoorcenter.com LEWIS & CLARK OUTFITTERS 2530 Pinnacle Hills Parkway 479-845-1344 lewisandclarkoutfitters.com PHAT TIRE BIKE SHOP 321 S. Arkansas St. 479-899-6188 phattirebikeshop.com THE HIGHROLLER CYCLERY 402 S. Metro Parkway 479-254-9800 highrollercyclery.com

BENTONVILLE BENTONVILLE BICYCLE CO. 813 W. Central Ave. 479-268-3870 Bentonvillebicyclecompany.com BIKE SHOP JOE’S 1206 SE Moberly Lane, Suite 6 479-709-2242 Bikeshopjoes.com BUDDY PEGS FAMILY BICYCLE HQ 3605 NW Wishing Springs Road 479-268-4030 buggypegs.com

CUSTOM CRUZERS PREMIUM E-BIKES 10636 Hwy. 72 W., Suite 102 479-367-4694 facebook.com/customcruzersnwa THE HUB BIKE LOUNGE 410 SW A St., Suite 2 479-364-0394 thehubbikelounge.com THE METEOR 401 SE D St. 479-268-4747 meteorbikes.com MOJO CYCLING 1100 N. Walton Blvd. 479-271-7201 mojocycling.com PHAT TIRE BIKE SHOP 125 W. Central Ave. 479-715-6170 Phattirebikeshop.com PLUG POWER BICYCLES 3905 NW Wishing Spring Road 479-273-9229 facebook.com/plugpowerbikes

BELLA VISTA JOHAN’S BICYCLE REPAIR & BIKE RENTALS 3 Allendale Drive 479-308-1497 facebook.com/bellavistabikeshop PHAT TIRE BIKE SHOP 3803 NW Wishing Springs Drive 479-268-3800 Phattirebikeshop.com

BICYCLE REPAIR & SERVICE ONLY OZARK BICYCLE SERVICE W. Deane St., Fayetteville 479-715-1496 Ozarkbicycleservice.com REVOLUTION MOBILE BIKE REPAIR 512-968-7600 Revrepair.com

GUIDES/SHUTTLE SERVICES OZARK BIKE GUIDES, LLC 479-644-8893 ozarkbikeguides.com




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www.edwardsfoodgiant.com SAVE TIME. ORDER ONLINE. DELIVERED TO YOUR CAR. BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 18 | 55

do your part. remember to



We have some of the most beautiful hiking and biking trails in the world right here in Arkansas. Let’s all do our part to keep them clean by picking up litter along the trail and recycling things like water bottles and cans.

KeepArkansasBeautiful.com Report Littering. 1-866-811-1222 56 | BIKE ARKANSAS may 2021

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