National-level cyclocross race coming to Fayetteville

Andrew Evans of City Title Cycling Team (right) competes at the Johnson Cross Cup cyclocross race held Sunday, Oct. 21 in Johnson. The event was part of a six-race series which began in September and runs through early December in cities across the region.

Photo: Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer

Spectators will soon have a rare and free opportunity to witness cyclocross racing at an elite level.

Oz Cross is scheduled for Nov. 10-11 on Millsap Mountain in Fayetteville.

The event is part of USA Cycling’s American Cyclocross Calendar, a series of races held nationwide. It’s also one of six local races included in the NWA CX Series, which began in September and runs through early December in cities across the region.

For those unfamiliar, cyclocross is a unique type of competitive racing that combines the speed of road bike races with the terrain of mountain bike events, held on shorter, spectator-friendly courses. Cyclocross bikes resemble road bikes, but with slightly wider, knobby tires for traction on off-road surfaces. Racers typically hop off and carry their bikes up steep uphill sections and over various types of obstacles in races that last between 30 and 60 minutes.

“Oz Cross presents a remarkable opportunity for us to diversify our event season, share the spirit of cyclocross and to bring more people together through cycling in Northwest Arkansas,” said Paxton Roberts, Executive Director of BikeNWA. “We’d like to see all levels, from beginners to seasoned riders come out to experience this breathtaking race and place.”

Millsap Mountain was recently purchased by the City of Fayetteville with a grant and loan from the Walton Family Foundation as part of a plan to build a 228-acre mountain bike park.

Oz Cross has collaborated with noted race director, Brook Watts, to design the course and manage the weekend of racing.

“The City of Fayetteville is blessed with an absolute jewel with Millsap Mountain,” Watts said, “The space offers a great combination of terrain, so we’ve been able to create a fun course. And it has stunning views of the Boston Mountains.”

Riders of all abilities can enter to race. A special registration is offered for beginners. Junior races can register for free.

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