Our gravel bikes ready to start the ride.

Third Annual Delta Grind Brings Cyclists and Community Together in Arkansas’ Delta

Fleet Feet Little Rock

Over the weekend, the third annual Delta Grind gravel ride took place in the Arkansas Delta. People of all cycling experience levels were invited to join the event, which offered a day of adventure, music, and community. The event was held in Helena-West Helena and provided a unique opportunity to explore the region’s rich history and scenic landscapes on either gravel or paved roads. This year the event was supported by the Ozark Foundation, which promotes the region’s natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities from Northwest Arkansas.

Riders from all over the region showed up for the event including a strong contingent from the Melo Velos group out of central Arkansas.
Riders from all over the region showed up for the event including a strong contingent from the Mello Velo group out of central Arkansas.

Cyclists participating in the event had the option to choose from four different routes that catered to their abilities. The first route was an 18-mile loop, which was perfect for beginners. The second route was an intermediate 30-mile option, while the third was a 50-mile course that was more challenging. Experienced cyclists could choose between a 100-kilometer or 100-mile route. Some of these routes could be completed entirely on gravel, road, or a combination of both. All the routes started and ended in downtown Helena, allowing participants to experience the city’s charm and enjoy the Delta Grind’s signature post-ride festivities.

The gravel is great and most of it has a cooling green canopy.
The gravel is great and most of it has a cooling green canopy.
Passing through the beautiful wetlands of the Low Road, we recommend stopping for the scenery.
Passing through the beautiful wetlands of the Low Road, we recommend stopping for the scenery.
The area is managed by a unique partnership between the US Forest Service and Arkansas State Parks.
The area is managed by a unique partnership between the US Forest Service and Arkansas State Parks.

The festivities comprised a delicious barbeque feast including, live music by Andy Ratliff, a bustling block party in the downtown area, and other enjoyable activities. The Delta Grind this year coincided with the fourth annual Delta Roots Music Festival, which added to the already rich musical heritage of the Delta region.

Andy Ratliff brought the Delta and North Mississippi Blues to entertain the participants.
Andy Ratliff brought the Delta and North Mississippi Blues to entertain the participants.

Supporting the Crowley’s Ridge Gravel Trail Project

The Delta Grind is an event that aims to support the Crowley’s Ridge Gravel Trail project, which is focused on revitalizing the Arkansas Delta through cycling tourism. The event provides a thrilling ride through a unique landscape and also serves as a significant fundraiser for the ongoing development of the region’s cycling infrastructure. The proceeds from the Delta Grind are used to support the project, which aims to enhance the cycling tourism potential of the region and create better infrastructure for cycling enthusiasts.

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Keeping an eagle eye along the High Road, we found an old family cemetery just off the road.
Keeping an eagle eye along the High Road, we found an old family cemetery just off the road.

The third annual Delta Grind was a huge success, with a focus on inclusivity, community spirit, and the stunning Arkansas Delta. Cyclists from various backgrounds came together to enjoy a memorable day of exploration, music, and their shared passion for cycling.

Jackalope

The Inaugural Delta Dash

Several runners from across the region laced up their shoes and took on the challenge of the Inaugural Delta Dash. The event offered two exciting options: a scenic 5K loop and a demanding 27K course. Both courses meandered through the heart of Helena, along the Mississippi River levee, and into the stunning Saint Francis National Forest. The 5K offered a relatively flat and fast course, ideal for runners of all abilities. In contrast, the 27K route presented a more rugged adventure, with 85% of the terrain consisting of gravel paths that tested runners’ endurance as they explored the confluence of the Mississippi and Saint Francis Rivers.

Taking a break after lunch in my own piece of shade at the after party.
Taking a break after lunch in my own piece of shade at the after-party.

Be ready for next year as this event continues to grow. You don’t want to miss it.

NWACC - Trail Tech

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