The deltaGRIND Experience

The deltaGRIND Experience

Shift Modern Cyclery - Be Ready To Ride.

The deltaGRIND is an annual bike ride in Helena, Arkansas that raises money to re-animate the Delta and rural Arkansas by inspiring renewed interest in the area focusing on natural resources. Those riders that think that any ride in the Arkansas Delta is flat, traveling through open fields with little to no tree cover are mistaken when it comes to the deltaGrind. Starting in downtown Helena, all three rides take on a short bit of Mississippi River Levee before dropping onto the Low Road, a gravel road that follows the river north from town. While the 18-mile and 50K rides cut up to the High Road, the 50-mile ride gets on the pavement near the Mississippi River State Park Visitor Center and heads into Marianna for a quick trip around the town square before heading back. The ride back on the High Road is beautiful with very light traffic once you pass the state park making it feel more like a wide, paved path than a road. At Storm Creek Lake, all distances head back down to the Low Road and ride mostly gravel back into town.

The mixture of gravel and pavement is one of the beautiful things about these courses. A protip on the 50-mile Challenge, take some CO2 cartridges, run lower pressure on the gravel and once you get to the visitor center, add air to speed up your pavement ride, you can always let some out when you hit gravel again at the end. The video below is a good representation of the ride from the perspective of a 50K participant.

Ozark Outdoor Supply Spring Hiking Ad

The ride is presented by studioDRIFT and offers three different routes for riders of all levels:

  • 18-mile Beginner Gravel Route: This route is perfect for those new to gravel riding. It starts in Downtown Helena and climbs to the high road, where aid stations provide a refreshing break before returning to downtown. (Link to map)
  • 50k Intermediate Gravel Route: This route is more challenging than the beginner route, but it’s still accessible to intermediate riders. It follows the same path as the beginner route, but it doesn’t reach Marianna. Instead, it moves from the low road to the high road just south of Bear Creek Lake where aid stations await riders at the 25k point. The return will follow the high road through the national forest, past Storm Creek Lake, and back into downtown Helena. (Link to map)
  • 50-mile Challenging Gravel Loop: This route is for experienced cyclists only. It’s a challenging 50-mile loop that starts in Downtown Helena and winds through the St. Francis National Forest, past Marianna, and back to Helena. (Link to map)
See also  Hincapie Gran Fondo Adds Bentonville to 2024 Lineup

The ride also features great swag from Victory Bike Shop in Memphis, and Gearhead in Jonesboro, plus, no trip to Helena would be complete without a post-ride visit to Delta Dirt Distillery.

The deltaGRIND is a great way to explore the beautiful Arkansas Delta and support a great cause. The event is usually held on the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend so make sure to get that on your calendar for next year and watch ArkansasOutside.com for the opening of registration.

Shift Modern Cyclery - Be Ready To Ride.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *