1,000-mile bike race will return to Fayetteville in 2021 with new shorter route option

Ashley Carelock finishes the 2020 Arkansaw High Country Race in downtown Fayetteville after racing for over seven days.

Photo: Kai Caddy, courtesy Experience Fayetteville

Fayetteville will once again host the annual Arkansaw High Country Race.

The roughly 1,000-mile race is set to depart from the downtown area on Saturday, Oct. 9.

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.

The race follows the Arkansas High Country Route, a series of three gravel and paved road loops that connect several of the state’s natural regions, including the Ozark and Ouachita mountain ranges and the Arkansas River Valley.

The event is considered a bikepacking race, which combines cycling over difficult terrain with minimalist camping, requiring cyclists to strap camping gear to their bicycles. The list of supplies varies by season and includes shelter, clothing, food and water. Additionally, participants are equipped with a GPS tracking device using the Globalstar satellite network, allowing fans from anywhere in the world to follow their favorite riders along the route in real time.

Ted King takes a selfie with his finisher’s medal after finishing the Arkansaw High Country Race.

Photo: Kai Caddy, courtesy Experience Fayetteville

The 2020 event ended with new records in both the men’s and women’s solo categories.

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 the 2020 race. Carelock set a new women’s record at 7 days and 9 hours. The previous women’s record was set by Rebecca Rusch at 8 days, 3 hours and 33 minutes.

In all, 20 riders from 10 states participated in 2020, but only seven riders completed the course.

The 2021 event will include a new Short Circuit Race that includes only the 240-mile northwest loop. Racers will have 120 hours to complete the course, and the same standard race rules apply to the shorter route.

Registration for both categories opens June 1, 2021. Each race distance is limited to a field of 50 competitors.

Additional race information, including host hotel accommodations and links to register, can be found at www.rivervalley.ozarkoffroadcyclists.org/races-tours/arkansaw-high-country-race.