The 2020 Arkansaw High Country Race ended with new records in both the men’s and women’s solo categories.
The 1,017-mile race started and finished in downtown Fayetteville. The looped course took riders along some of Arkansas’s most scenic, backcountry roads, through the Ozark and Ouachita mountains, along the Buffalo National River and across the Arkansas River Valley.
Twenty riders from 10 states departed early Halloween morning, but only seven riders completed this year’s course.
The first rider to cross the finish line was Vermont-based former World Tour pro Ted King, who set a new Solo Men’s Fastest Known Time of 4 days, 20 hours, and 51 minutes. The previous record was set by Jay Petervary at 5 days, 12 hours and 6 minutes.
Next to finish was Colorado’s Ashley Carelock, who was the only woman to complete this year’s race. Carelock set a new women’s record at 7 days and 9 hours. Carelock battled nausea and mechanicals to cross the finish line in second place overall. The previous women’s record was set by Rebecca Rusch at 8 days, 3 hours and 33 minutes.
The race is a self-supported event, meaning the riders must be completely self-sufficient, and may only use resources that are available to every participant. With such a long course, riders must decide how long to ride each day before stopping to rest.
Spectators were able to follow the race using an online map which tracked the riders on their journey across the state.
Unique to this event, riders had the choice to race the course in either direction, which made for an exciting matchup in the men’s category. King chose the clockwise direction, opting to save the hardest climbs for last, while Fayetteville cyclist Andrew Onermaa headed south from Fayetteville riding counter-clockwise. Onermaa stayed within striking distance of King for four days before withdrawing from the race at about mile 744.
A new race category was established this year for riders on single-speed bicycles. Seth Wood of Oklahoma was the first and only person to complete the race’s 80,000 feet of climbing with just one bike gear. Wood finished in 7 days, 12 hours and 18 minutes.
The race is scheduled to depart from Fayetteville once again in the fall of 2021.