Cyclists from across the country are preparing for the 17 Annual Ouachita Challenge and Ouachita Tour to be held March 25 and 26.
The tour and challenge have become one of the premier Spring events in offroad cycling and provides a much needed shot in the arm for the local tourism industry as local businesses and resorts come out of the Winter off season.
The Ouachita Challenge is in it’s 17th year as it continues to offer a grueling course that traverses over 60 miles of track through parts of the Ouachita and Womble Trails. Both trails have been labeled as Epic Trails by the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA).
The Ouachita Trail is notorious for its difficulty as much of the trail is single lane over treacherous terrain.
Riders gather at the Oden School Saturday morning for the start of the Ouachita Tour. The noncompetitive ride was added to the event a couple years ago to provide an opportunity to participate in the weekend for those who may have missed the registration for the Challenge.
A breakfast will be provided at the school for riders and their families from 6-7:45 a.m. with the ride set to begin at 8 a.m. The day will wrap up with a high carb dinner at the school.
Sunday’s schedule for the Ouachita Challenge is much the same with breakfast available from 6-7:45 a.m. and a dinner to follow the race.
The Ouachita Challenge and Tour serves 500 cyclists, their family, friends and support groups from several states and countries. Many stay at local resorts and hotels, while some take advantage of local campgrounds. The school even provides a place to rest and clean up if cyclists haven’t made plans elsewhere.
The course has four aid stations scattered out along the way manned by safety crews and support staff to aid cyclists on the trail.
The event is sponsored by the Friends of the Ouachita Trail (FoOT), but it depends heavily upon a host of volunteers from all walks of life. The Ouachita Challenge is always looking for a few volunteers to help out. If you are interested please contact Robert Cavanaugh at firstname.lastname@example.org If you need to call Robert his number is (870) 490-1511.
You can also find information on the event at their website, http://www.ouachitachallenge.com/