The sudden finish of the season at Syllamo's Revenge.

In The Books – 2013 Arkansas Mountain Bike Marathon Series

Mullet Run - Northwoods Trails - Hot Springs

It’s hard to let go when the final race of a series is over, when the points have been tallied and the winners can celebrate. For others, the thoughts often turn to “If there was just one more race, I could have pulled it together.” For mountain bikers, the Arkansas Mountain Bike Marathon Series has its own extra challenges.

The start of the season at the Spa City 6-Hour
The start of the season at the Spa City 6-Hour

The Spa City 6-Hour at Cedar Glades Park near Hot Springs is the first race many mountain bikers face in the new year. Although it takes place in March, Arkansas weather can surprise even locals. This year gave us much warmer than normal temperatures which took its toll on many of the racers.

The Ouachita Challenge continues to be one of the fastest races of any kind to sell out in the state. I believe it was 13 minutes this year. You need to have fast fingers to get registered. Both the race and the tour are tough rides and again, the warmer than normal temps didn’t help out. A big part of the story for this race is the volunteers and locals who make it all something special. Well, that and getting to ride sections of the Womble Trail, one of the best trails in the country.

What do you say about something called The Slobberknocker? A gravel-grinder in the Ouachita Mountains with brutal climbs and awe-inspiring scenery. The uninitiated riders look at it and think, no single track, nothing technical? This is going to be easy. The race slowly wears on you, extracting the toll from your muscles and mind with each successive climb. You begin to wish that it wouldn’t go downhill because you know you’ll just be heading up again soon, too soon. Winners take home sledgehammers to remind themselves of the beatings.

Slobberknocker 2013 from SweatBloodDirt on Vimeo. With special thanks to AerialVid.com for that one.

Finally, Syllamo’s Revenge where you’ll ask yourself “why is Syllamo seeking revenge?” trying to think back on what you ever did to it. The answer is usually, not training on it enough. Syllamo’s Revenge takes place on one of Arkansas’  two International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) Epic Trails, the other being the Womble. A mixture of easy to expert, this was the wettest race of the year. No rain during the race but earlier weather left the rocks and roots slick enough to put racers off their bikes in several spots. Racers share the course with the National Ultra-Endurance Series race, Syllamo 125, a regional series race which pulls in some big names to the course.

Jackalope

SyllamoRevenge2013 from ArkansasOutside on Vimeo.

So now it’s on to the Arkansas Mountain Bike Championship Series, shorter faster races that will continue through Fall. Oh and word is, for those of you needing that one more race to really get it together, next year the Marathon Series will possibly have Five Races. More on that later. For now here are the results from the 2013 Arkansas Mountain Bike Marathon Series. Congrats to all who stepped up and raced.

The sudden finish of the season at Syllamo's Revenge.
The sudden finish of the series at Syllamo’s Revenge.
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