Arkansas High Country Race

Arkansas High Country Race Q&A

In June our Special Projects Manager, Luke Hall completed the inaugural Arkansas High Country Race and the BikeNWA team could not be more proud! The inaugural year of the race covered 1,017 miles and over 80,000 ft. of elevation change. Fun fact, that’s almost three times up Mt. Everest!

How was the route?
It was definitely interesting being some of the first people to do the whole route all at once. There were sections where I definitely questioned why I was out there (Compton to Erbie descent comes to mind). Then, there were sections where I literally couldn’t think of a better way to spend a morning (the 18 mile descent from Queen Wilhemena to the base of Mt. Pouteau comes to mind). You don’t realize how ecologically diverse this state can be until you’re on a bike for 16 hours a day.

Did you ever get lost?
I had a bad habit of looking at the wrong information screen on my Wahoo. We would be on these long, sustained climbs and I would be looking at the elevation profile page and would completely miss a turn. I probably did this 4 or 5 times during the ride before learning my lesson.

What did you do for food?

Too much gas station food. I’m too young to be thinking about checking my cholesterol.

Did you listen to anything during the ride?

Well, I cut my hair into a really rad Euro mullet before I left, so I thought I should probably download some 80s speed metal to fit the profile. I listened to Metallica’s Ride the Lightning for the first time (and probably 10 more times) and now understand why that album is so highly regarded. It was a perfect soundtrack!

Otherwise, I listened to Shannon & the Clams’s Sleep Talk, The Budos Band, Talking Heads’s Speaking in Tongues, and Sugar Candy Mountain’s 666. I tried to listen to a few audiobooks, but just got annoyed. When I was tired of my headphones, I would just listen to my dry, squeaky chain. 

Would you do it again?

If you would have asked me immediately after, or during the race, I would have said no way. Now, I’m only a few weeks after the finish, still dealing with numbness in my hands and I’m starting to research similar ultra endurance bikepacking races. In fact, there’s one that starts in October out of Missouri...

Paxton Roberts