This will be Spring in Arkansas. Most of the hardwoods will be
budding. Temperatures can vary widely from very mild in the 70's
to very cold, below freezing.
This time of the year the weather can change abruptly for the
worse as it did in 2002. It is best to come prepared for either
We have been doing variations of the Ouachita Challenge for 6
consecutive years, and have been able to tolerate whatever the
weather has thrown at us so far.
We have been able to ride in shorts and short sleeve shirts,
where other years required leggings, and extra clothes for rain
and wind protection.
Make sure that you have brand new brake pads installed, as we
often have gone through a complete pair on a singe day ride in
Your bike should be in tip-top-shape.
Safety in the Woods
Pace yourself. If you get tired, take a rest,
but not in the Poison Ivy. You will encounter a little bit of
everything. Highway, Dirt Road, Jeep Road, Single Track. Some
of the trail presents some very steep climbs that will put the
best of riders off their bike for a little hike-a-bike.
There are creek crossings, rocky areas, some very fast sections
and some areas that are very narrow. If you are feeling nervous
about the width of the trail and the steep drop off to your left,
then I suggest you walk your bike for a while.
If you have a mechanical failure, or an injury do not try to
exit off the trail on your own. Wait for an official Ride Guide,
to assist you out. Did you see the movie Deliverance?
Oh! Also.... Do not tease the bears!
Water- You should be equipped with with a full 72 fluid ounces
of water or fluid replacement of choice. That should get you from
one check point to the next.
Food- Energy bars and GU paks will help get you from check point
to checkpoint. For those who complete the 60 mile ride, expect
a 7 to 9 hour ride. Pack accordingly. Food will be available at
the check points as well as water.
Tools & Parts- Carry two new inner tubes, patch kit, tire
pump, spoke wrench, Allen set and chain tool. This is a minimum.
On previous years some riders have carried extra parts, and enough
tools to completely overhaul their bike.
How to Ride this BIG RIDE!
If this is your first Ouachita Challenge, or first BIG DISTANCE
mountain bike ride, heed the simple advice from the Old Man..
I assume you want to finish the Ouachita Challenge or complete
as big of distance as possible. Here is how you do it.
First: Pace yourself for the long haul. Do not over tax yourself
on the early climbs. There will be many hills and this is where
you can expend huge amounts of energy by pushing to hard. Backing
off the pace will help to conserve energy for later in the day.
There is plenty of trail that allows a faster pace without overextending
Second: DON'T CRASH!!!. Inadvertent dismounts from your bike
not only risks injury to you, and your bike, but also robs you
of energy. Loss of blood robs you of strength.