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paintbucket
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2,825 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This weekend I rode the Ouachita Challenge, my second year in a row. At 15 hours the drive is too long though, so next year I've resolved not to go. Either that or I'll ride both days, the tour on Saturday and the race on Sunday. ;) This year I again rode the tour and the course was the opposite of last year. I liked it better I think. The climbs, mostly at the end this time, were still brutally painful, but they'd be that in either direction and this year I got to enjoy the Womble trail before the real suffering began. I basically missed it last year because we hit the sweetest part about the time I was bottoming out. I came back around but by then the fun was over.

I also planned things better this year. Last year I got hung up in the early climbs behind granny ringing gearies, and that burned a lot of energy early on. Not this year though. I'd pre-ridden the early part of the course on Friday so Saturday I knew what was coming and positioned myself accordingly. The other planning improvement over last year was the long road section in the middle. Last year I waited for the food stop before eating. That was bad, but what was worse was that they'd moved the food stop five miles down the road. Recovering from that took time. This year as soon as I hit pavement I started stuffing my face and only stopped at the food stop for additional supplies. The climbs at the end still sucked, and I walked more than I wanted to, but I rode a lot too and the downhills were great. No crashes, no flats, no mechanicals. Not a bad day at all.

Pre-ride

<img src ="https://forum.bikemag.com/photopost/data/500/1212womblepreride2-med.jpg">

Womble goodness. I spent the first 15 miles with these guys, then we got separated and I didn't see another tour rider on the trails all day.

<img src ="https://forum.bikemag.com/photopost/data/500/1212ouachita2-med.jpg">

<img src ="https://forum.bikemag.com/photopost/data/500/1212ouachita3-med.jpg">

Friendly volunteers. These folks don't give a hoot about bikes or bikies, but they rock anyway.

<img src ="https://forum.bikemag.com/photopost/data/500/1212ouachita4-med.jpg">

Money shot from up on Blowout Mtn somewhere.

<img src ="https://forum.bikemag.com/photopost/data/500/1212ouachita5-med.jpg">
 

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mtbr member
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10 Posts
Great ride

I rode the race for the first time on Sunday. This was the most gut-wrenching, soul searching, fun ride of my life. The first 35 miles went by pretty good without too many problems. Blowout Mountain and the rock gardens are beyond words. I have never carried my bike that far.

After the food stop at the town of Sims I had my low point of the day. Riding down the highway into a 30 MPH wind was tough. I rode this strech alone and I think that made it worse. The Womble trail was a welcome sight. By the time I made it to the second checkpoint (about 45 miles) I was toast. The people there were super nice. They fed me chocolate chip cookies and cheered me on.

The last 15 miles were almost surreal. It was like I had been pedaling so long my legs were on autopilot. The finish line was a welcome sight after 8 hrs. in the saddle.

What a great experience. I hope to be there next year.
 

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paintbucket
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2,825 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
One more shot

One more pic of the trail. This is the Ouachita side, one of the parts where the rocks were off to the side of the singletrack rather than in the middle of it.

<img src ="https://forum.bikemag.com/photopost/data/500/1212ouachita9-med.jpg">
 

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Probably drunk right now
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6,753 Posts
I've said it before...

wooglin said:
One more pic of the trail. This is the Ouachita side, one of the parts where the rocks were off to the side of the singletrack rather than in the middle of it.

<img src ="https://forum.bikemag.com/photopost/data/500/1212ouachita9-med.jpg">
...and I'll say it again, Arkansas has some of the best riding in the country. Very nice pics.

Ken
 

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paintbucket
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2,825 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
habernac said:
wow, had no idea there was anything in Arkansas that would be good to ride on. That's why I love these boards. You learn something new everyday. Keep the good stuff coming, Woog!
There's lots more. Apparently you can go 50 miles on the Womble trail and then come the 50 miles back on the Ouachita trail. I need spend more time out there.
 
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