The Ozark Trail Association (OTA) held its first-ever OT100 Mountain Bike Race on September 6 and 7, and by all accounts the event was a rousing success. “From the winning riders screaming to the finish to those who just would not quit when their bodies were screaming for relief, the event was filled with many inspirational performances,” said OTA Executive Director Matt Atnip.
More than 80 racers mounted up at 6:35 a.m. on Saturday morning for the endurance ride. The course was 98% singletrack with more than 13,000 feet in elevation gain. “We are not aware of anywhere else that a 100-mile, point-to-point race could be run with only two miles of gravel road,” said Atnip. “This is the Ozark Trail!”
The riders’ determination was met with equal enthusiasm by more than 60 volunteers. Seven checkpoints and water stations offered food, drink, mechanical assistance and a place to not be on that seat for a few moments.
This fundraiser was the dream child of Jim Davis, who probed the local mountain biking community for suggestions and found encouragement to put on this event. His wife, Wendy Davis, stepped in to add a solid logistical backbone and assembled huge support from more than 25 sponsors.
OTA staff and countless volunteers put in extra effort in the heat of August to get the trail ready. “More than one veteran racer commented that this race was better organized than many nationally known, long running races they had competed in,” reported Atnip. “And for the OTA volunteers, they said the trail was incredible and thanked you all for your year round effort. They want to come back.”
“It was truly an inspiring weekend that raised much needed funds to continue maintenance operations on the OT,” continued Atnip. “Our hope at the OTA is that the trail can be enjoyed by an even wider audience in the months and years to come. Increased awareness brought on by events like these take us closer to that goal.”
Due to the event’s overwhelming success in just its first year, OTA anticipates that the OT100 will return as an annual event next year and beyond.
Image: Courtesy of Ozark Trail Association