HAD A GREAT
TIME ON THE OUACHITA CHALLENGE. IF YOU WOULD THANK ALL OF THE
SUPOUT PEOPLE AS WELL. LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT YEAR ( WELL I WILL
BE IN A WEEK OR SO). THANKS AGAIN AND GREAT JOB TO ALL.
Let me make a few comments. I did Leadville last year and have
been asked to compare. Leadville was harder and longer. It was
not a fun ride-no way, no how! The OC was fun from start to finish.
It was as good as any of the famous epics that I've ridden in
CO or Utah. To quote others, "all the riders were friendly."
The trails were what mtb bikers dream about. You accomodated riders
of all levels. Your "Mom" rules! Single speed riders
must be from another planet. Sign me up for next year.
I just wanted to thank you and all the volunteers for a great
Thanks for putting on a good event, weather was great, trails
were in excellent condition, good camraderie, enjoyed fri's pasta.
I checked on all side of the trail riders as I went, of which
there were very few, all were ok, even the one who crashed somewhere
near top of Suck Mt hikeabike, which turned out to be an unforseen
butt kicker, had only riden the OT once the opposite direction
a couple yrs ago. The scene of the uphill crash was right after
the guy on the SINGLESPEED passed me, that, was impressive, he'd
already helped the crashee up by the time I got there, and another
guy stayed with to help him, he looked tired and momentarily dazed
but able to go on. Was going to finish with the singlespeeder
following him down Suck but missed the turn off the old road bed
and wandered in the mud a bit before getting on track and lost
him in the meantime. Overall, and because of the hikeabike and
climbing in the final third, it was tougher than I'd thought it
would be, worthy of being considered a 'challenge' at any level.
I did not get on the bike yesterday. Thanks again,
I just wanted to say we has a great time at the challenge. What
a ride! It was my first time to ride your trails and they were
fantastic. You did a great job and we appreciate your work. I
know you get "suggestions" all the time, but we thought
it would be a good idea for you to increase your entry fee and
give a challenge T-shirt to participants. You could keep it simple
and make them all X-large. Great "badge of honor". When
do you expect to begin sign-up for 2004? Thanks
First of all let me say THANK YOU! It was a GREAT and well done
ride. I know you put a lot of yourself into this race but it was
a huge success. I hope I get a spot next year. Again, thanks for
a perfect event. You and this course have broadened my horizons
as to what I thought I could accomplish.
Thanks for putting the Ouachita Challenge together. I know you
put in several hundred hours of work and just wanted to let you
know I appreciate it. Thanks again!
PLEASE pass this on to all the volunteers. I did not have time
to say this in person and wish I could have. I want to express
my thanks and gratitude to all that helped make this event a great
experience. My family and I had a great time, and a great ride.
Thank you all very much. Thanks,
I would like to thank you for organizing this event and giving
me my best trail ride in my short but fun experience in mountain
biking. See you next year! thanks,
First of all, thanks again for the organization of the ride -
it was a great ride and a beautiful day that you had ordered.
I did complete all 60 miles of the challenge and when the time
comes for arrangements for next year, I would like to receive
information about it. I appreciate it and thanks again!!
I appreciate it. I am looking forward to coming back next year.
It's a great experience on a beautiful course.
First let me say thanks for a great event! I know you and all
your crew worked hard and long to put this together and it is
very appreciated. Although my finish time looks mighty impressive
at 14:32 it really should be 16:32, at least that is the time
by my watch. Last year when I signed up I was glad to see the
note about Ed Hawkins hoping to do the "60 at 60" thinking
maybe there would be someone else in my age group that I might
be able to keep up with. Boy, was I wrong when I saw that he finished
in the terrible conditions of 2002. Then later I was really blown
away when I saw he was a World Champion in USA Cycling. So, even
though I would like to be able to brag about beating his time,
I am just happy to have finished. I too completed my "60
at 60", although it is a little stretch cause I won't be
60 until August. Of course by NORBA rules I AM 60 so I will take
Whoever named Suck Mountain was right on. I am glad you reversed
it this year. I doubt I would have gotten very far if that part
had come early. Thanks,
Thanks for such a great day! and too all the volunteers that
kept everyone on the right track. It was the best mountain biking
experience I have ever had and am already thinking about next
year. The only problem I had was a broken chain and thanks to
Tony from Little Rock ( one of the many nice people I met that
day) I was able to fix it and finish all 63 miles. Thanks again
for putting on such an awesome ride!
- Jeff Schrader - Ohio
Thank you so much for putting on a wonderful ride. Your guide,
Matt long, was very helpful. The aid stations and sandwiches were
great. Please put me on the Ouachita newsletter. I definitely
would like to return next year.
Sincerely, Jordan Chaney-
2003 Ouachita Challenge
A Challenge Indeed...
Pics by Marcel Slootheer © 2003
Clifton had talked about how great an event the Ouachita Challenge
is. Even though the format has changed over the years the most
important ingredients have remained the same; an endurance mtb
ride in Arkansas that includes the Womble trail and the Ouachita
trail, some of the sweetest single track in the USA. For those
who are not familiar with the Womble and Ouachita trails, they
are just 5 hours South-East of OKC.
When I decided to sign up I wasn't even sure if I would make the
registration list. You see, there was a limit of 200 riders and
when I mailed in my form there were already 188 riders signed
up. I wasn't too dissappointed when 2 weeks later the final list
was published and my name was not on it. But my luck changed,
only a week later the limit was increased from 200 to 250 and
suddenly my name was on the list. The interesting thing was, there
were only a few people from Oklahoma signed up, and Walt Brittain
was the only one I knew.
When I saw my name on the list I quickly realized I had a big
problem; 3 spare tires around my waste and not enough time (lame
excuse) to get rid of them! But I did remember why I signed up
in the first place, to ride some of the best single track around!
I have ridden some great, and well known, trails in Colorado,
Utah, Arizona and New-Mexico so it's easy to forget about how
good the Womble trail is, even though I have ridden it several
times as part of the OEF Womble Weekends. It has everything that
a single track junkie like myself wants to experience on a good
mtb ride; fast flowing sections, slow & technical stuff, difficult
climbs, lots of contour type trail, creek crossings and a lot
of scenic stops along the way. And for the first time I was going
to ride it the 'opposite' way, the way the locals ride it. Since
I had never ridden the Ouachita trail I could only go by the many
stories I had heard; how much more difficult it is than the Womble,
extreme, brutal, etc. So I was looking forward to start riding
that section after 40 miles of Womble... Yes, the most difficult
sections were scheduled for later in the day. Really my only objective
was to have a good time and ride as far as I could. I had ridden
maybe 2-3 hours a week in the months prior to this event, now
it was time to ride 60 miles with 5,000 or so feet of climbing
in only one day...
29th Walt and I joined the other 248 riders at 8 in the morning
in Oden, on a day that turned out perfect for riding. The temperature
never went above 50 but also never dropped below 40. The wind
was out of the North but the Sun was out most of the day - not
like last year when most people never made it to finish because
of the rain and low temps. Walt and I were going to ride together
as long as our pace was compatible. We would go our separate ways
if things didn't work out but we ended up riding 95% of the time
together. My objective was to ride smart, ride an easy pace and
make sure to eat something every hour. The ride started on the
road, after a few miles the pack was already spread out and we
didn't have any problems when we hit the first single track section
and small stretch of road that would bring us to North Fork lake
(where the OEF Womble 'hardcore' rides always ended). We started
to grind our way up the trail looking for the good stuff - fast
downhill's! This trail is good for those that know the art of
ascending AND descending. The steeper climbs require good balance,
an eye for the best line and a good dose of commitment, otherwise
you'll be walking quite a few sections. On the descents it really
helps if you can read the terrain and don't use the brakes like
on-off switches. It's all about keeping the momentum going for
ya! After only 10 miles it was clear that this was going to be
a good day!
During the ride we would talk to other riders when we were traveling
in groups. There is nothing better than railing a trail with a
bunch of good riders - you know what I'm talking about... Anyway,
we were making good progress and were ahead of 'schedule'. There
were several checkpoints put in place that you had to reach before
a certain time. If you were too late you would not be allowed
to continue to prevent that people would be out in dark without
lights. We never had a problem with this, even though we probably
stopped for at least 5-10 minutes every hour. The checkpoints
had plenty of water and food; the organization was excellent.
But we didn't just rely on the event organizers to bail us out
- besides the 3 spare tires around my waste I brought my HAWG
filled with goodies; 100 ounces of Gatorade, a bagel, 2 bananas,
numerous bars and gels and some beef jerky. Besides food I carried
some tools, 2 tubes, a shock & tire pump, my (infamous) box
of screws, bolts & nuts, some zip-ties, a shifter cable, a
small first aid kit and last but not least, my 10 year old camera.
Fortunately we didn't need any tools, or even worse, the first
aid kit. We had no mechanicals and didn't have any crashes...
Even though we were riding a pretty decent pace and passed a number
of people, we also got passed by the locals - who were riding
their single speeds... Those guys rule! One particular group of
4 riders motored by us and made it all look way too easy. That
doesn't necessary mean that you'll see me riding my single speed
next year :-)
Eventually we arrived at the last checkpoint/bail out, appropriately
named 'Gut Check', 40 miles into the ride, at the bottom of Suck
Mountain. We did the spare tire check, ate some food and rode
on. The hike-a-bike up Suck Mountain literally sucked! At the
top it connects to the Ouachita trail, which wasn't as bad as
I thought it would be - a little rougher than the Womble but still
a good ride. Both of us started to feel tired though. It started
to show on the technical (downhill) sections; we were all over
the place. The climbs were also more difficult but I managed to
clean some tricky stuff and that really helped me with staying
positive. After several more miles of up-down-up-down sections
we reached the last long downhill, a section with 40 or so dirt
jumps! My upper body was toast by the time we finally reached
the road, which would lead us to the finish back in Oden. 6 miles
later we reached that finish, after 8 hours of being 'out there'.
What a ride!!!
I can only highly recommend this event. The organization was great.
Way Too Much Fun for that kind of money! Thank you to all the
volunteers! I also owe Walt a thank you for hanging with me; I
know you could have finished way ahead of me. Charles Long, thanks
for tuning my bike before this ride - it was perfect.
Earth Bike Fellowship in Oklahoma. www.okearthbike.com/roadtrip/032903-OC.html
for more photos and information.
friend and I were #99 and #100 to complete the whole 63 miles.
There weren't many people behind us, but we weren't dead last!
It was a
great ride. I survived a flat on Blowout Mtn (how ironic, huh?..I
mean, really, how can one flat a tire when you spend more time
walking next to the bike than riding it??) and a lost-then-found
flask of Gu on the same stretch of trail.
leg cramps hit at about 45 miles. They made for slow going past
Checkpoint 3.. I was never so happy to see a dirt road when I
finally got to the last checkpoint.
* The scary
fast decent off of Blowout Mtn into Checkpoint 3. When I finally
got through the rock gardens and on the other side of the mountain
I had just minutes to make it to CP3 before the cutoff (didn't
know they extended it at the time). It was a no-brakes, hang on
for dear life, sprint to the checkpoint. I made it there at 3:03
and was happy to hear I had 27 new minutes to catch my breath.
What a ride! I'll never forget that bit..
* The two
Juliana riders that my friend and I blew past on the last fireroad
segment, only to be politely passed by them as we walked up the
next hill . We never saw them again
* The 3 or
so guys that were will me on the last segment of trail. We were
all suffering and it made it a little better to be suffering together.
One guy in particular gave me some inspiration. He said, "If
I can make it to the fireroad, I know I can make it to the end.."
He was right, once you make it to the fireroad, just knowing that
you're almost done is enough to get you through it. I caught that
guys name at the end of the ride and promptly forgot it M-something..anyway,
to the end right as they ran out of yellow bracelets! Oh well,
that's motivation to ride a little faster, and cramp a little
less, next year..
* My buddy
Boatner who was with me through most of the last section. He made
the suffering a little better
EVERYONE that volunteered to make the Tour and Race happen. Ya'll
are the absolute best!!!!
for next year! Pics (and maybe some video) to come!
I was the
last rider to make the revised 3:30 check point cut off. I arrived
at 3:28 and didn't even have time to fill up with water (maybe
I could have, but I was so suprised to hear I was still in it,
that I went on). I rode the last 13 miles with no water. The trail
sweeps were right behind me as I would push my bike up every hill
longer than about 20 yards and then have to stop and recover.
My feet were completely blistered from getting wet at the big
creek crossing, and it was every thing I could do to just put
one foot in front of the other. Several times I commented that
I wished they hadn't changed the cut off time and that I had been
pulled. I ended up catching up to the only other two riders left
(they got flats) and we rode the last 8 miles to Oden together.
Total ride time: 10 hours.
This is the toughest thing I have ever done physically.
wool socks advice, too, and I'm glad I did. My shoes stayed pretty
wet after riding the creek, but my socks seemed to dry out pretty
well. No blisters. I did have about 5 minutes to walk around and
squish the water out of my shoes while my friend put his shoes
back on . I think that helped.
enjoyed the tour. We made our goal to finish this year. After
training hard for about 6 months, there was no other option. Each
of the prior two years I did progressively better (36 then 42
miles) but each involved severe cramps which ultimately took me
out. This year I was able to keep the cramps from totally locking
me up, but there were some really touchy moments.
Hope to be
back again next year.
Man I had
a blast. What a great ride.
to the OC crew & volunteers for a tour ride I won't soon forget.
It was my first , but not my last. I had brake problems on Blowout
Mountain and had to take the bailout route back to Oden, but next
year I'll be back to do it all.
was really well organized and supported, just like last year.
The OC is definitely one of the premier events around. Congratulations
to all of you who put it on for a job well done, and thank you.
Especially the non-riding volunteers. I love seeing them out there
and chatting with them
to all! Man this was a tough one! Did it! Thanks to all that worked
so hard to put this on, I know how much time and effort goes into
this stuff and I just want you to know its appreciated!!!
This is the toughest event I've ever done, Looking forward to