Epic Rides today announced three course distance options for the inaugural Oz Trails Off-Road held in the Northwest Arkansas towns of Bentonville and Bella Vista on October 5-7, 2018.
While “Ozark” pays homage to the Oz Trails network, the number represents the distance of each route in miles (+/-). All three routes will challenge riders with rolling terrain and world-class singletrack purpose-built for mountain bikes in the beautiful and rugged Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas.
Boasting more than 200 miles of trails connecting communities, Northwest Arkansas has become one of the hottest new mountain bike destinations in America thanks to more than $30 million invested into trails development over the last five years alone. The Oz Trails Off-Road will celebrate this community investment by taking participants on numerous feature trails, including the Slaughter Pen trail system, the Back 40 trail system in Bella Vista, and more.
Each route will utilize the Epic Rides Off-Road Series signature rollout, starting in downtown Bentonville for the first 7 miles mixed terrain including pavement and dirt roads, the egress route then transitions to doubletrack, meandering around Lake Bella Vista and then onto singletrack in Blowing Springs Park, connecting to the Back 40 Loop via South Upper Trail.
Dubbed the beginner-level “fun ride”, featuring a total of 2,702 feet of elevation gain. Participants will ride Rago trail before returning to Lake Bella Vista and hitting Smuggler’s Run. The Ozark 25 then enters the Slaughter Pen trail network on Armadillo’s Last Stand and transitions to a roller coaster ride on the, viral in social media, Ozone trail towards Crystal Bridges Museum, finishing on All American trail. And unlike any other Off-Road Series event, the Oz Trails Off-Road finish line is only a quarter mile past the final dirt singletrack, in downtown Bentonville.
This middle-distance route challenges riders with 4,880 feet of climbing in a succession of short, punchy climbs that gradually tax the legs, lungs and soul. Sharing the Ozark 25 egress, riders will then experience more of the Back 40 Loop and even cross the state border into Missouri, this is the first two-state day for any Epic Rides event.
Participants will ride Flo Ride trail, an icon of the region delivering technical downhill flow with numerous features including berms, jumps, small rock gardens and limestone ledges that will spice up the ride. From there, it’s onto Rago and into Slaughter Pen just like the Ozark 25, but taking Tatamagouche trail, rich with wooden features and rock armoring, working over arms as well as suspension before finishing the same way as the Ozark 25.
A big day on the bike and also the route for the Professional Men and Women on Sunday, this route packs in 6,245 feet of climbing in 50 miles, the Ozark 50 will snack on riders legs like a school of hungry piranhas.
Sharing the Ozark 35 egress, after completing Flo Ride, the Ozark 50 utilizes SBAT and Taylor Homestead trails before arriving at The Ledges, a technical, black diamond trail infamous for narrow, rocky singletrack along a ledge high above a creek bed, requiring focus and skill to negotiate while avoiding flat tires. The Ozark 50 then hits Back 40 Loop and follows the same route home as the Ozark 35.
“We believe these three routes will offer participants a taste of what Northwest Arkansas has to offer,” said Todd Sadow. “Having the finish line so close to singletrack is a testament to how mountain bike-centric Northwest Arkansas is, and we can’t wait for folks to experience not just the trails, but also the great eateries, bars and Crystal Bridges museum, all set amongst the trails.”
Limited to 700 riders, registration opened in January and is approaching half full. Those interested in participating can register at epicrides.com.
All registrants receive an Inaugural official event T-shirt, limited-edition poster, temporary course profile tattoo for ride day, goodie bag and a custom finisher’s award in the form of a mason jar filled with pimento cheese made by a Bentonville-based chef.
The growing popularity of the Off-Road Series has resulted in all events filling to capacity prior to event weekend, so participants are encouraged to register as early as possible.
For more information on the Epic Rides Off-Road Series, visit epicrides.com or follow along on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: @epicrides, @whiskeyoffroad, @grandjunctionoffroad, @carsoncityoffroad and @oztrailsoffroad, as well as #epicrides.
Photo by: Carl Zoch