The forecast called for rain and cooler temperatures. Considering the fickle nature of Arkansas Fall weather, you never know what to expect for the Super-Prestige Cyclocross Series. To start the series off this year, the weather was optimum. I followed the drift* of Razorback fans from Little Rock to Fayetteville for the Smoke-N-Suds Cyclocross event sponsored by De Pijp Cyclocross Federation. I would only be able to attend the first day of the two-day event due to a lack of rooms thanks to the afore mentioned Razorback fans.
I arrived at Lake Fayetteville just as the first group (women’s cat 1,2,3, masters, 4’s and the new singlespeed class) was starting. A quick look at the course ribbons suggested a tighter course than in years past. I headed straight into the woods where I knew tight turns and mud would be waiting.
The course started near the small pavilion, counter-clockwise heading toward the parking lot. Winding its way through a series of berms before dropping into the woods, a hard left took racers through the first mud and the loss of momentum made the wheel sucking mess work the legs for the next 30 yards. Roots hidden under the muck often redirected bikes to unexpected lines, slipping by trees and brush if the cyclist was lucky.
Once through the mud, the bikes bounced through the woods before making another left up a short hill into a 180 left turn then dropping into a hard right and through the trees again before finally popping out into the field. A long incline with the wet grass grabbing at the tires had many cyclists out of their saddles expending extra energy as they either tried to catch someone, stay ahead of someone, or just worked to hang on.
Eventually riders were around the pavilion and playground area to face their first barrier. Still moving uphill and having little momentum at this point made for some slow crossings. Another 180 after the barrier and riders were negotiating slick off-camber berms before coming around the pavilion again. A quick short downhill section followed but then took the racers into a series of back-and-forth turns with a final stretch ending with two more barriers. It was then back on the bikes, a tight turn between some trees and a sprint across the start/finish line…and another lap.
I would have loved to stick around for the next day of racing. Vince Cucco, the race official, said that there would be some changes to the field of riders as some would move up categories due to their performance on Saturday. Your next chance to catch the action will be at the Jones Center in Springdale this coming Sunday. Here is the full season schedule so dust your cowbell off (or watch our Facebook page for free cowbell offers) and make your plans today. More information on the series is available on the Arkansas Super-Prestige Series website.
We’ll post up a link to the results for the weekend as soon as they are available. A few hundred photos will be available on our Facebook page later today.
* A group of wild hogs is referred to as a “drift”.
Once again Joe, thanks for the awesome coverage of the event. Harrison and I were talking about you on the way back to LR and how lost we’d be without this wonderful resource you provide to us.
The video was really great as well. Looking forward to seeing you throughout the season. Make sure to bring your MTN bike next time so you can get out there with us!