The day one pack fights through the Ouachitas in the 2023 Arkansas High Country Race. Photo by Kai Caddy for Jackalope Cycling.

2024 Arkansas High Country Race Host City Announced

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Events to be held October 2024 and 2025

Russellville, Ark. (November 2, 2023) — Jackalope Cycling is pleased to announce that Russellville will be the 2024 and 2025 host city for the Arkansas High Country Race.  The ArHC Race is a self-supported 1000-mile ultra-endurance gravel bikepacking event.

City of Russellville bike rack. Photo by Jackalope Cycling.
City of Russellville bike rack. Photo by Jackalope Cycling.

Bikepacking combines the skills of ultralight backpacking and bicycling.  With lightweight gear packed on their bicycles, the racers travel over the rugged backroads of the Natural State.  Participants will spend their nights camping on public lands or lodging in the many hotels and rental cabins that line the route.

Jackalope Cycling is extremely proud to host the race out of our hometown. Russellville is the gateway to the Ozarks and the Ouachitas:  the hub of Arkansas outdoor recreation. We are thrilled to share the beauty with the ArHC racers, and we are ready to help get their bikes tuned up and equipped for this adventure.

The Arkansas High Country Race follows the perimeter of the Arkansas High Country Route. The route was published in 2019 by the Adventure Cycling Association with support from the Arkansas Parks and Recreation Foundation. https://www.adventurecycling.org/routes-and-maps/adventure-cycling-route-network/arkansas-high-country-route/

Christie Graham, Executive Director of Russellville Tourism and Visitors Center says, “Russellville is very excited to be the next host city for the Arkansas High Country Race. We have looked forward to this for many years and can’t wait to have the racers visit our city!” Racers and fans can find out more about Russellville at www.discoverrussellville.org.

Keith Jordan of Little Rock at the top of Pilot Rock just north of Russellville in the 2023 Arkansas High Country Race. Photo by Kai Caddy for Jackalope Cycling.
Keith Jordan of Little Rock at the top of Pilot Rock just north of Russellville in the 2023 Arkansas High Country Race. Photo by Kai Caddy for Jackalope Cycling.

Starting from Russellville, cyclists will travel through the Ozark National Forest, the Razorback Greenway, the Buffalo National River, and many of the small communities of the region.  The route will bring the riders through the Arkansas River Valley at Conway and cross the Big Dam Bridge in Little Rock.  In the Ouachitas, the race passes through Hot Springs National Park, the Ouachita National Forest, and Queen Wilhelmina State Park.  The home stretch runs from Mount Magazine State Park through Dardanelle and over the river to Russellville on some of the flattest roads on the course.

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The 2024 race weekend will begin Friday, October 4 with a pre-race meeting and party at Russellville’s historic Depot. The Arkansas High Country Race will start from the Depot on Saturday morning October 5th with a Community Roll Out event. The Community Roll Out is an opportunity for local cyclists to ride with some of the country’s top endurance racers as they make their way out of Russellville.

Abe Kaufman of Virginia rides through Perry County on his way to victory in the 2023 Arkansas High Country Race. Kaufman finished the 1000-mile route in a record time of 4 days, 10 hours, 8 minutes. Photo by Kai Caddy for Jackalope Cycling.
Abe Kaufman of Virginia rides through Perry County on his way to victory in the 2023 Arkansas High Country Race. Kaufman finished the 1000-mile route in a record time of 4 days, 10 hours, 8 minutes. Photo by Kai Caddy for Jackalope Cycling.

Past races and individual time trials have seen some of the nation’s top professional and amateur athletes ride amazingly fast times.  The course has drawn Rebecca Rusch, Jay Petervary, Mike Dicken, Ted King, Ally Mabry, and Ernie Lechuga.  The men’s record is held by Abe Kaufman at 4 days 10 hours 8 minutes. Scotti Lechuga has the fastest known time (FKT) for women at 5 days 10 hours 49 minutes.

In 2022, Kombi Creative released a documentary film about the Arkansas High Country race.  Relentless Ride was created by Adam Harbottle and Brian Hill to tell the stories of some of the racers in the 2021 race.  Viewers get a sense of the struggles faced by riders as they travel through the beautiful backcountry of Arkansas. www.Relentlessride.com

All racers will be equipped with a GPS tracking device that uses the Globalstar satellite network.  The data is fed live onto the Trackleaders website.  Trackleaders will allow fans to follow their favorite riders along the route in real time (an addiction commonly referred to as “dot watching”). Fans will also enjoy the ‘Virtual Checkpoint’ photos the racers are required to post on social media.

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Abe Kaufman of Virginia at the finish line of the 2023 Arkansas High Country Race. Kaufman finished the 1000-mile route in a record time of 4 days, 10 hours, 8 minutes. Photo by Kai Caddy for Jackalope Cycling.
Abe Kaufman of Virginia at the finish line of the 2023 Arkansas High Country Race. Kaufman finished the 1000-mile route in a record time of 4 days, 10 hours, 8 minutes. Photo by Kai Caddy for Jackalope Cycling.

Event proceeds benefit the River Valley Ozark Off Road Cyclists, a branch of the Ozark Off Road Cyclists – a nonprofit focused on growing trail advocacy across the Arkansas Ozarks and the Arkansas River Valley.

Syllamo Events Calendar

The starting line for the Arkansas High Country Race changes every two years.  Cities that have hosted the race in the past include Little Rock, Fayetteville, and Hot Springs.

Complete details, including schedule, registration, and hotel information, are available at https://www.arkansashighcountry.com/

A bikepacking rig leans on the Conductor Statue at the Russellville Depot. The Depot will be the start and finish line for the Arkansas High Country Race for 2024 and 2025. Photo by Jackalope Cycling.
A bikepacking rig leans on the Conductor Statue at the Russellville Depot. The Depot will be the start and finish line for the Arkansas High Country Race for 2024 and 2025. Photo by Jackalope Cycling.
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