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The Epic Ride With Epic Smiles

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The Weather

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 situation.

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 wet conditions.

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!

Basic Equipment

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 yourself.

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.

Third. Drink early and often. Eat a little something every hour or two.

 

 

 

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