I am back in Arkansas to race the Ouachita Challenge. I did this race in '06 and '08 and it is addictive. The race takes place on two trail systems, the Womble and the Ouachita. They are like night and day. The Womble is superfast, smooth, and flowy while the Ouachita is the evil twin. It has super techy sections with cat head rocks that like to eat your tires. The 80 miler even has some good hike a bike sections.
I am putting an extra 20 miles on my plate this year as I am racing the 80 whereas the past two times I raced the 60. Coach said it would be a good warm-up to the Cohutta. Last year I rode the additional 20 miles the day after the 60 mile race. It was so much fun (translation: it will kick your a$$!), the trails are pristine, and the views were spectacular.
This is Arkansas' secret little gem. Who woulda thought? This race has the greatest percentage of singletrack. The 60 is 70% and the 80 is 85%. It is no wonder that the 60 mile race and tour sell out in hours. However, the 80 option hasn't. So if you want a singletrack challenge, love to suffer and come away with an awesome experience, come to Arkansas in April and race/ride!
Ed Hawkins and his crew put on a fantastic event! They have the best relationship with the other user groups (hikers and horseback riders) and they give back tremendously to the trail systems.