8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Sunday, July 29, 2018.
The Whitney Gravel Ride returns as part of the 2019 Rogers Cycling Festival on Sunday, July 28th, 2019 with new route options, and a start/finish location that includes a post-ride gathering with food and friends.
What are the route options? New this year, we are introducing two downloadable route options featuring a first-time friendly 26-mile route we’ve dubbed “A Day at the Park” that features a unique experience IN the Pea Ridge National Military Park, and “The Whitney” for those ready for a 50-mile gravel adventure. Remember, Mt. Whitney is the highest point in Benton County, and the only way to get there…is up.
Tell me about “The Whitney”. The Whitney (new route for 2019) is a single day, self-supported experience featuring a mix of gravel and back roads that takes you to the top of Mt. Whitney (the highest elevation in Benton County) for some amazing scenic overlooks at the Mt. Whitney Lodge, before traveling down a vast array of scenic backcountry gravel and B roads in Arkansas AND Missouri! While the route isn’t shy on climbs (3300+ elevation gain), riders will be rewarded with large descents on a gravel packed route that crosses into Missouri for a two-state adventure by bike! Riders will find an event aid station atop Whitney Mountain at mile 20, and the route passes a small store (Dollar General) at mile 27 should additional aid need to be purchased. The route does cross Hwy. 62 straight across at mile 27 and we ask that riders please take extra caution at this unprotected crossing. It’s a ride, not a race.
To download the GPX file or to load the route in your phone using the RidewithGPS mobile app visit: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29929423
Tell me about “A Day at the Park”. In a partnership with the Pea Ridge National Military Park, we are excited to create a unique opportunity perfect for the more beginner gravel rider. While not short on challenge (+1600 elevation gain), the mileage should be achievable to most cyclists that can complete the Square 2 Square. The route is a one-time opportunity to experience the Pea Ridge National Military Park at no additional cost (there is a day use fee when visiting the park), taking riders through the middle of the battle field on the historic Ford Rd. for a truly one of a kind gravel experience. Hydration is available at the Park’s Visitor Center at mile 12, with a small selection of snacks and Battlefield memorabilia available for purchase. The route does cross Hwy. 62 straight across at miles 11 and 19 and we ask riders (especially parents with kids) to please take extra caution at this unprotected crossing.
To download the GPX file or to load the route in your phone using the RidewithGPS mobile app visit: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29929688
What time does it start, and where? Both rides start and end at the Avoca Town Center off Hwy. 62 in Avoca, Arkansas. We’ll have a mass start at 8am.
What bike should I ride? While mostly smooth rolling, portions of Ozark gravel can become chunky and rough. Aside from gravel specific bikes, any mountain bike or cycle-cross bike should be up for the challenge. Road bikes with skinny tires are not advised. Consider a gravel specific or mountain bike tire with at least 32mm of tread.
What should I bring? While the event is lightly supported with an aid station waiting at the top of Mt. Whitney, we ask that riders please consider the event “unsupported”. Please bring with you the basic tools, tubes, patches, and other necessities to fix a flat or two, as well as PLENTY of hydration and snacks. Although we are starting the ride earlier this year, it is July and riders should expect warm temperatures. A little sunscreen can go a long way towards beating the heat. With the expansion of the routes, this year’s course will only be lightly marked at best and we ask that ALL riders please download the routes and carry with them some form of GPS device. Final routes will be released at least two weeks ahead of the event.
Any areas we should take caution? It’s a ride, not a race. Enjoy the experience. All riders are asked to PLEASE obey all traffic signs and laws. The course will be open to traffic throughout the event. Please use caution and common sense when approaching intersections and passing.
What about dogs? There will be some. Leash laws are limited in in the County, and there could be a couple pups that come out to greet you. Most dogs on the route are just letting you know they are there and can be subdued with a couple stern shouts of your own to “lay down” or “go home”. A water bottle is always an option, but typically, most of the dogs will back down with a loud, familiar command. We do not want this statement to deter your decision to experience “The Whitney”, just understand dogs are typically part of any gravel adventure and The Whitney is no exception.