Rigs of the 2023 Arkansas High Country Race

The Arkansas High Country Race is an annual self-supported bikepacking event that follows the route of the same name or the Ouachita Triple Crown. Just in time for tomorrow’s grand depart, we’ve gathered details on more than 30 riders and rigs that will be out on the course. Browse them all here…

Riders of the 2023 Arkansas High Country Race (ARHC) get to choose from three route options: Adventure Cycling Association’s full ARHC, the South Loop, or the Ouachita Triple Crown. The latter two were first introduced in 2022 and have proven to be quite popular. The full route is just over 1,000 miles with a whopping 75,000 feet of elevation gain, the South Loop is 487 miles with 32,000 feet of elevation gain, and the Ouachita Triple Crown is a 183-mile option that’s dense with singletrack and 18,000 feet of elevation gain. Since the host city rotates every two years, this will be the first year the event starts out of Hot Springs, Arkansas.

With help from the organizers and the riders, we’ve rounded up rig details for many of those signed up for the event, featuring bike, bag, and gear details, as well as what route they’re planning on riding. Dig into them below, then head over to the event page tomorrow at 7 a.m. to follow their progress live.

Shannon Allison

Age 51 / Erie, Pennsylvania (USA)

2023 Arkansas High Country Race Rigs

ROUTE: Ouachita Triple Crown
BIKE: Ibis DV9 hard tail with Maxxis Rekon Race tires and an oval chainring to help with climbing.
BAGS: Full framebag, top tube bag and snack pouch by Hikes and Hose. Dry bag is a Revelate 14L bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Aero Spider Rear Rack (making my life easier!) My full frame bag has a cutout for my Apidura frame pack hydration bladder’s hose. It also has a pouch on the side of frame bag for trash so I leave the woods just how I found it.

Aaron Arnzen

Age 29 / Cape Girardeau, Missouri (USA)

arkansas high country race rigs 2023

ROUTE: Full Loop (CCW)
BIKE: I’ll be riding a Walker hardtail frame built for adventure, right here in Cape G, MO. 34×18 – Flat Bar – 700×55 Fleecer Ridge rubber – SON Dynamo linked to an old Sinewave Beacon – Baryak Expedition leading the charge up front.
BAGS: Front to Back: South City Stitchworks (SCSW) Burrito Bag with 2 SCSW Ride Wallets Inside: (1)Bike Repair & (1)Electronics. A 3/4 length Reflective Bubble wrap bedroll is also strapped to the ‘yak to keep the sleep sitch boujee, and accessible. A SCSW Full-Length TopTube Bag for a’lotta easy eatin’. Apidura Race Saddle Bag housing my bivy, puffy jacket, rain gear, and extra merino bits for the entire body.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: 3 Bottles on the frame haul a little over 100 ounces to get me through the infamous Ouachita Traverse. A Mussette is strapped to the frame for to-go pizza and big hauls. A small cockpit speaker for a downloaded backlog of World Renowned “Randy’s Delicious Jams & Jellies” Episodes. A Patagonia extra mini Fanny for toiletries, firestarters, first aid, & neat things I find along the way.

Ben Cates

Age 37 / Fayetteville, Arkansas (USA)

2023 Arkansas High Country Race Rigs

ROUTE: South Loop
BIKE: I have my XXL Surly Ogre from The Community Bicyclist bike shop in Little Rock. For this event I’m running 38/24T X 11-36T gearing. I bolted on enough fidget spinners and cable flossers to move the chain around the gears all fancy. 150mm stem keeps the Surly Corner Bars well up out of my face till I can dream up something custom with Slow Southern Steel Fab back home.
BAGS: I pack my fears in a Bedrock handlebar bag, Revelate Feedbags, Revelate StraggleCheck 62cm frame bag, and the haggard remains of my old Revelate Viscacha.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Home away from home is under a poncho tarp with a SOL bivvy, NanoHeat blanket and a wide/long Nemo air pad.

Mike Chapman

Age 51 / Santa Fe, New Mexico (USA)

2023 Arkansas High Country Race Rigs

ROUTE: Ouachita Triple Crown
BIKE: Transition Spur.
BAGS: Tribulus Mini-Endover Handlebar Bag, Oveja Negra top tube and down tube bags, Revelate seat bag and feed bags, Alpine Luddites Spot Pouch cause the tabs on my Gen 3 are broken (Huge thanks to JC for getting this out to me on short notice!)
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Dorkbars (aka aerobars) for the 70ish miles that isn’t IMBA epic singletrack. New SRAM Code Stealth brake levers which angle the brake hoses toward the bar and don’t conflict with the handlebar bag like the old SRAM levers do. Bivy, quilt and pad so I have options.

Andy Chasteen

Age 45 / Bentonville, Arkansas (USA)

arkansas high country race rigs 2023

ROUTE: South Loop
BIKE: I’ll be tackling the 500-mile South Loop on a 2023 Enve Mog, SRAM mullet drivetrain, Pirelli Centurato 50c tires.
BAGS: I’ll be running mostly bags from Revelate, along with a half frame bag from Post Carry and top tube from Arundel.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Leaving room for mostly food, I’ll be carrying a 35° Sea to Summit UL sleeping bag, toolkit, down coat, wind jacket, and a pair of merino tights.

Jacqueline Chasteen

Age 41 / Bentonville, Arkansas (USA)

arkansas high country race rigs 2023

ROUTE: South Loop
BIKE: Factor Lando HT, 2.25″ Rene Herse Fleecer Ridge.
BAGS: REI Saddle Bag, Rockgeist Feedbags, Revelate Top Tube.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: KLite powered by a Dynamo Hub for lighting and charging.

Xavier Chiriboga

Age 41 / Quito, Pichincha (Ecuador)

arkansas high country race rigs 2023

ROUTE: Full Loop
BIKE: Frame is custom built by Jesse Turner of Slow Southern Steel. The fork is a Rockshox Rudy XPLR Ultimate. SRAM Red cranks with power meter. SRAM Rival AXS paired to GX Axs derailleur and Rockshox AXS dropper. Whiskey Spano Bar Spank gravel bar tape, Brooks Cambium C17 Saddle. Hunt gravel wheelset with Dynamo Hub. Teravail Rutland 700x47c up front and Teravail Cannonball 700x47c on the rear, Garmin in reach spot from Cale Wenthur (the locust). Garmin Edge 530 for navigation from Wilo Herrera. Sponsored by Aseguradora del Sur Ecuador.
BAGS: Specialized feed bag and top tube bag, Revélate frame bag and saddle top tube bag, handlebar barrel from Urcu bags.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: HUNT dynamo wheelset, custom Slow Southern Steel bike frame, fork, dropper post, SRAM red cranks with power meter.

Stevie Chitwood

Age 46 / Wister, Oklahoma (USA)

arkansas high country race rigs 2023

ROUTE: Ouachita Triple Crown
BIKE: 2023 Epic Evo from Champion Cycle of Fort Smith, AR. 34T chainring, eagle cassette. Tires are 29×2.35″ Ground Control Gird (T7).
BAGS: Custom frame bag made by my friend Ryan V. Bar bag donated to me by my other friend Josh S.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: TACT BIVVY (2.0) by Frog & Co. Lightweight riding jacket, spare socks, extra bike kit, warm gloves, Smartwool socks and “hopefully” plenty of food. Camelback with 3L blader. Necessary bike tools and spare tube. Navigating with my Iphone and Ride with GPS.

Ben Crannell

Age 36 / Nashville, Tennessee (USA)

2023 Arkansas High Country Race Rigs

ROUTE: South Loop
BIKE: I will be riding my Rodeo Labs Flaanimal 5.0. I am running 50mm Maxxis Ramblers mounted to Boyd CCC Wheels. For the drivetrain I am running GRX 2×11 with a 46/30T chainring and a 11-46T in the rear.
BAGS: I am running a combination of a bunch of bags but I am most excited about my South City Stitchworks custom frame bag. Revelate Designs Spinelock seat bag. Rockgeist Cache top tube bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I will be cowboy camping with an Enlightened Equipment down quilt on a Nemo Tensor sleeping pad. Navigating with a Garmin Edge 830. I am also really liking running the Fenix BCR-30 with replaceable rechargeable batteries for my lighting system.

Scott Dalton

Age 42 / Fairbanks, Alaska (USA)

arkansas high country race rigs 2023

ROUTE: Ouachita Triple Crown
BIKE: I’m riding the Ouachita Triple Crown route on an Orbea Alma with an OMX frame.
BAGS: Top tube pack, downtube pack, and fork mounts from Tailfin, seat bag from Revelate.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Carver MyTi Carbon handlebars and Ground Control tires.

Jack Davidson

Age 52 / Oak Park, Illinois (USA)

arkansas high country race rigs 2023

ROUTE: South Loop
BIKE: I’ll be tackling the AHCR South Loop race on my Open Wide with a Shimano Di2 mullet setup, 36T Wolf Tooth chainring, 11-46T cassette, Rotor cranks with Power2Max power meter, Infinity seat. Wheels are built by the one and only Curt Warner of Bikefix featuring Nox Teocalli 650b wheels + Onyx Vesper hubs & Conti Race King 2.2″ tires.
BAGS: My prize possession is my custom-made South City Stitchworks frame bag (thanks Zach!), Tailfin Aeropack, Tailfin top tube bag, Oveja Negra Snack Pak, Lunchbox and likely a Chuckbucket or two.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Outdoor Research Helium Bivvy, Apidura Frame Pack hydration bladder, nav via a Garmin Edge 1040 solar, lights by Outbound Lighting here in Chicago, various other warmth and sleep kit items I’m still ruminating about.

Bryan Dougherty

Age 34 / Minneapolis, Minnesota (USA)

2023 Arkansas High Country Race Rigs

ROUTE: South Loop
BIKE: Carver Titanium Gravel Grinder with Rodeo Labs Spork 1.2. Ultregra 6800 group with TRP Spyre brakes, 46/30T Absolute Black oval chain rings to an 11-34T cassette. Easton carbon bars with Deda aero bars on top. Fizik Arione on a Thomson post. Time ATAC pedals. Wheels are a HED Emporia in the rear, HED Belgium G up front laced to a Shutter Precision SP-7 dynamo hub that is powering a Sinewave Beacon II light. All sitting on Rene Herse Hurricane Ridge (700×42) tires in the Endurance casing.
BAGS: I’m using Revelate Designs Tangle and Mag Tank bags, along with a saddle bag by Hard Knott, and a pair of feed bags by Minneapolis based Sturdy Bags. I’ll also be carrying a Gregory hydration pack with 3L bladder.

Chris Farney

Age 39 / Saint Joseph, Missouri (USA)

arkansas high country race rigs 2023

ROUTE: Ouachita Triple Crown
BIKE: I’m on my peanut butter and jelly flavored Trek Top Fuel, same as last year, rolling the same clockwise direction on the Triple Crown loop. I suspect I’ll be glad to have full suspension again this year. I’m hoping my super bright Outbound lights keep the hallucinations at bay and find the armadillos before they find me.
BAGS: Revelate Designs mostly. Carrying a water bladder in the frame bag and a bottle in the handlebar feedbag for ~2.5 L capacity. Tools and bivy in the downtube bag and extra clothes under the seat. Snacks wherever they’ll fit.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I’ll be letting my Ozark Gravel Doom gremlin bell twinkle its soft serenade into the fading light of evening and over the boney rocks of the Ouachita Trail. Going to run 2.6″ knobbies because I’m here for a good time, but also hopefully not for a long time. Garmin for navigation and tracking. Bar ends. A big smile on my face to be able to be out in the woods with my friends!

Joe Fox

Age 40 / Kansas City, Missouri (USA)

2023 Arkansas High Country Race Rigs

ROUTE: South Loop
BIKE: I’ll be riding the south loop on a Slow Southern Steel made by Jesse Turner out of Fayetteville. Running single speed (34/17T) with some parts from White Industries, Whisky, and Rene Herse.
BAGS: Bags are all made by Sam Lutz of Buckhorn Bags (also Fayetteville).
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Doom bell to keep the gremlins at bay.

Tanner Frady

Age 32 / Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (USA)

2023 Arkansas High Country Race Rigs

ROUTE: South Loop
BIKE: I’ll be riding the South Loop on my Salsa El Mariachi SS. 36x18T gearing. 29 x 2.25” Vittoria Mezcal tires on RaceFace ARC rims. Hope Pro4 in the rear, and a SON dynamo in the front powering a Sinewave Beacon for light and charging.
BAGS: I’m lucky to have my friend and local bag-maker Bryan Couchman of STEADY BAGS make my top tube bags and stem bags for all the snacks and gear. Oveja Negra Gearjammer seat bag for sleep kit, and a Nittany Mountainworks tool roll. I’ll also be wearing a Camelbak Chase 1.5L hydration pack that has extra storage.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Mountain Laurel Event Soul bivy, Klymit Inertia X sleep pad, and Eno Spark quilt. Wahoo ELEMNT Roam for navigation. Nitecore NB10000 power bank. Dewalt mini Bluetooth speaker to help push the bike up these climbs.

Jan Heine

Age 55 / Seattle, Washington (USA)

2023 Arkansas High Country Race Rigs

ROUTE: South Loop
BIKE: I’ll be racing the South Loop again, on the same Rene Herse all-road bike as last year. (Disclosure: With my partner Natsuko, we run Rene Herse Cycles.) The idea is to combine the rough-terrain capabilities of 54mm tires with a road bike’s ergonomics, light weight and speed. The bike already holds the FKT on the South Loop, so there wasn’t much that needed changing. Learning from experience—that’s the reason I enter these races!—the bag now is attached more firmly to the rack to handle the big bumps in the Ouachita Mountains.
BAGS: For a race of ‘just’ 500-miles, my strategy is borrowed from alpine ascents: travel light and move fast. The superlight handlebar bag holds 12L and is easy to access even while riding. It holds all the food and clothing I need for 48 hours. I’ll sleep at the finish.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: The SON Edelux II headlight makes fast night-time riding so much safer and less fatiguing than lights with simple round beams. Equally important: the Rene Herse Randonneur handlebars provide comfortable hand positions during 48 hours or more on the bike—no numb hands!

Aiden Holmes

Age 18 / Russellville, Arkansas (USA)

arkansas high country race rigs 2023

ROUTE: Ouachita Triple Crown
BIKE: I’ll be riding the Triple Crown on a 2022 Surly Karate Monkey. The bike itself is quite simple featuring a Rock Shox Pike Ultimate, DT Swiss hubs, a fresh pair of Continental Xynotal tires, Carbon whisky handlebars, and a single speed gear ratio of 32:20T to help with the climbs.
BAGS: The bags setup is also quite minimal to help with weight. My frame bag is a Surly frame bag which holds two 26oz bottles along with food, water filter and extra lights along with a battery pack. My bar bag is a 15L Dry Bag which holds a hammock, rain jacket, and a change of clothes. Anything extra will be held on a Rapha waist pouch.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: An extra bottle cage has been mounted to my top tube to allow me to hold extra water bottle, My Garmin 530 will serve as navigation.

Travis Jolly

Age 28 / Knoxville, Tennessee (USA)

2023 Arkansas Race Rigs

ROUTE: Ouachita Triple Crown
BIKE: I’m riding my Ti Chumba Stella geared at 32x20T.
BAGS: Got a Nuclear Sunrise tank bag, Oveja Negra frame bag, and Revelate Designs Shrew bag. I will be wearing my Stoke Signal cargo bibs to hold some burritos for the haul.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Missing from the picture is a Nuclear Sunrise Silo bag with a sick camo finish. My DOOM gremlin bell is permanently attached to that bag, too.

Ryan Kiesel

Age 38 / Northfield, Minnesota (USA)

arkansas high country race rigs 2023

ROUTE: Ouachita Triple Crown
BIKE: Salsa Pony Rustler GX1 Carbon set up in 27.5”x3”, with a TranzX Dropper and Ergon grips for maximum comfort.
BAGS: A mishmash of Revelate and Oveja Negra bags on the handlebars and top tube with a custom frame bag and saddlebag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I sewed my own frame bag with the Heavy Duty Singer sewing machine I borrowed from my local library and using the DIY frame bag instructions on bikepacking.com. I am looking forward to seeing my extremely mediocre sewing skills put to the test. Fenix lights, a spare battery, an Anker powerbank, and a Petzl headlamp will hopefully give me enough light to navigate by. A USWE 4L backpack gives me a bit more room for water and calories. My sleep system is an emergency blanket and an accordion foam Therm-a-Rest that I cut in half.

Ariana Khu

Age 27 / Little Rock, Arkansas (USA)

2023 Arkansas High Country Race Rigs

ROUTE: Ouachita Triple Crown
BIKE: This will be my second time riding the OTC, and I’ll be on my Lynskey Pro29 with a Fox34 Step Cast 120mm fork (blue Fox graphics pending). My drivetrain is GX AXS with 30×10-52T gearing. I’m using Bontrager Kovee XXX wheels with Bontrager XR3 2.4″ tires. I’m using an Ergon saddle and grips.
BAGS: Custom frame bag from Dispersed Bikepacking, 2 Revelate Feed Bags, and a Revelate Shrew saddle bag. I’ll also be using a USWE hydration pack.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I’m using an MSR Thru-Link for an inline water filter. I’m bringing an extra cache battery to run my lights (Bontrager and NiteRider) fairly bright. The 12-hour nights are long, and there’s very little ambient light on the trails.

Alex Kowalski

Age 29 / Fayetteville, Arkansas (USA)

arkansas high country race rigs 2023

ROUTE: Full Loop
BIKE: I’ll be tackling the big loop this year on an Esker Hayduke 29er with Hunt XC race wide wheels and reliable Vittoria rubber. Set up single speed with an indestructible Endless Bike 33T chainring, a 19T rear cog and some overpriced cranks. Breaking in a new 4-piston Shimano XT brake system that I’m really excited about! Running a Ritchey trail bar with fat foam grips, Cane Creek bar ends and Profile Designs aero bars. I’ve got a well broken in Brooks leather saddle on a Thompson seatpost to keep the bottom happy.
BAGS: The hero of my bag lineup has got to be the beautifully handmade full length top tube bar from Dispersed Bikepacking, run by Katie and Andrew Strempke, an epic bikepack racing duo. Pretty much reserved all of that space for snacks. I’ve got an Oveja Negra wedgie frame bag which will carry electronics, water filter, tool kit, pump and some random goodies. Oveja Negra seatpost bag for layers and sleep kit. Two Revelate feed bags for toiletries and other random goodies.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Running a Pedal Cell power generator off the front rim to minimize time stopped for charging. I’ve got about 4.5L capacity between bottles and a water filter, but I’ve also packed a packable 10L backpack to carry extra food and drink for scary long stretches. Sleep kit is comprised of a Sol emergency sack, Montbell puffy jacket and pants, down booties and a Nemo sleeping pad tucked underneath the aero bars.

Maggie Livelsberger

Age 40 / Erie, Pennsylvania (USA)

2023 Arkansas High Country Race Rigs

ROUTE: Full Loop
BIKE: This is my “One Gear Fenrir.” It’s a stainless steel Otso Fenrir in xs with 36×20 gearing, 29×2.1 Terreno Dry tires on a Hunt Mason front wheel with dynamo hub and I9 on the rear. I’m running Ritchey beacon bars with TRP hylex brake levers and Shimano XTR brakes and Profile Design legacy aero bar for some extra hand placement.
BAGS: My frame bag, full length top tube bag and dunk bags are custom made in Erie PA by my friends at Hikes and Hose. They will be holding all the snacks and water, and electronics to maximize my tiny frame space as much as possible. My Revelate Designs Terrapin 8L is the maximum size seat bag I can clear, and holds my sleep system, and extra clothes. My burrito bag has plug in electronics and toiletries and I’ll be wearing the Salomon advanced skin 12L for extra food and anything that needs to get thrown somewhere quickly. I’ll have two bottles mounted to the fork, and the Apidura 1.5l in the frame.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I am so excited to get to show off bags from my friend and riding partner at Hikes and Hose. Down pants and Borah Bivy are a nice addition to the sleep system. I run a wahoo bolt for navigation and the garmin inreach for the tracking, and fenix headlamp and bar light in the event I need a back up. My gremlin bell from Ozark Gravel Doom will forever be one of my favorite additions to the bike and is forever a part of any trip I make.

Kane Long

Age 29 / Cape Girardeau, Missouri (USA)

2023 Arkansas High Country Race Rigs

ROUTE: South Loop
BIKE: Taking my trusty Soma Saga Disc back to the High Country for the Southern Loop, with a few upgrades, since I last rode the North Loop a couple of years ago. I’ve got a SP Dynamo hub wired up to a Beacon 2 that’s attached to my basket. For the drivetrain I have an 11sp Force rear derailleur, with a Stridsland 36t chainring mounted to my vintage White Industries (Sungio) mtb cranks. To handle the terrain I have WTB’s 29×2.1″ Nano tires to grip the ground, and e*thirteen Plus Pedals to grip my feet.
BAGS: Most of my tools, gear, and food will be found in my Salsa EXP Top-Load Dry Bag, that’s secured inside my Wald 139 Basket… that’s secured to my Soma Demi Porteur Rack. Covering all of that is a Rivendell Captain Hook Basket Net to hold any loose items I want to carry or air out while riding. My clothes/shelter/sleep system is in a pair of Salsa EXP Anything Cages mounted to the sides of my Tumbleweed T-Rack with a drybag strapped to the top. And lastly, my tried and true Revelate gear featuring a Gas Tank for quick snacks, a Feedbag for my lock/anything I don’t want in my pockets, and a Tangle for tubes, water filter, and quick access tools/pump.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: For my shelter I have an ENO ProFly tarp, with a Tyvek groundsheet and a Paria Recharge UL pad underneath it. I’ll be keeping warm with a locally made 30F down top quilt, and if I can score one in time, a bag liner. I do have a SOL space blanket and warm layers in case things get real weird. Running a Garmin Edge 530 for navigation and a Safety Pizza for that extra high viz.

Zach Loudon

Age 34 / Russellville, Arkansas (USA)

2023 Arkansas High Country Race Rigs

ROUTE: South Loop
BIKE: I will be riding the ARHC South Loop on my 2021 Salsa Cutthroat. It has Surly Corner bars and a Fred bar with aero bars. Magura MT 5 Brakes with extra large rotors 180mm out back and and 200mm up front. I have a drivetrain that isn’t supposed to work but it does. The SRAM Force XPLR rear derailleur with SRAM Force Wide front derailleur. Race face cranks with 43/30 chainrings and a 10-44 XPLR cassette. Bontrager Line Elite wrapped in 2.2” Teravail Sparwoods.
BAGS: Custom Frame Bag, Down Tube bag and Aero bar bags from Zach at South City Stitch Works. Tailfin cages and cage bags on fork and down tube and Tailfin mag tank bag on top tube. Rogue Panda Canelo harness out front and Aeroe Rack out back both using Salsa Dry bags. REI stem bags for water bottles.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I plan to camp most nights so I have my Six Moons Designs Lunar solo, Big Agnes V notch bag and Big Agnes Pad. Coffee in my aero press and will carry water in the stem bags and a USWE bag which will also be used for extra food etc as needed. Fenix lights and my trusty Garmin 1030 for navigation and Garmin InReach mini 2 for tracking and communication with my family.

Zeno Molteni

Arlington Heights, Illinois (USA)

2023 Arkansas High country Race Rigs

ROUTE: Full Loop
BIKE: Bearclaw Thunderhawk made by Chet.
BAGS: Tailfin rack and trunk, custom Dispersed Bikepacking 1/2 frame bag, Class 4 Designs barf box.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Crank Tank 3, Garbruk 10-50T cassette and cage, cat sticker, a bunch of custom little mods and hacks, and more time spent tweaking everything to the most minute detail than actually training.

Cory Ostertag

Age 37 / Squamish, British Columbia (Canada)

arkansas high country race rigs 2023

ROUTE: Full Loop
BIKE: First time in Arkansas, but a 5th grand départ for my trusty Panorama Taiga EXP. SRAM Force/GX AXS setup will hopefully ward off digit fatigue. 10-52 Cassette and 34t ring for the climbs. Hunt wheelset with a SON Dynamo powering a kLite lighting and charging system and with 2.25″ mezcals. All contact points from Ergon to keep it comfy.
BAGS: I have a custom frame wedge created by Shaka Packs from Kelowna B.C. All other bags are Revelate Designs.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: My not-so-hidden secret is a bag full of 7mesh clothing from Squamish to keep me cozy in all conditions. Their RK2 bibshorts mated to an Ergon SMC Core Saddle have proven to be the right combination for long-distance comfort. Garmin Edge 1030+. A fairly off-the-shelf sleep kit; OR helium bivy, Therm-a-Rest Neoair Ultralight pad, Big Agnes Pluton sleeping bag and maybe even a pillow!

Dylan Parrish

Age 31 / Bentonville, Arkansas (USA)

arkansas high country race rigs 2023

ROUTE: Full Loop
BIKE: 2020 Salsa Cutthroat, Rene Herse Fleecer Ridges Tires, 12 Speed Mullet Build via Ratio Technology.
BAGS: Revelate and Rapha bags.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Profile Design Aerobars and the willingness to go on and on and on.

Kurt Pitts

Age 37 / Hillsboro, Missouri (USA)

2023 Arkansas High Country Race Rigs

ROUTE: Ouachita Triple Crown
BIKE: 2020 Marin Rift Zone 2, RockShox Recon Suspension, SRAM XO1 Eagle Shifter and Derailleur, GX Eagle 10-52T Cassette, Absolute Black 28T Oval Chainwheel, Shimano XT Brakes, 29×2.35″ Maxxis IKON, Ergon GS1 Evo Grips.
BAGS: Custom Frame and Top Tube Bags from Zach at South City Stitchworks, Revelate Designs Harness, Saltyroll, Joey Downtube Bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Outbound Lighting Hangover and Trail Evo Lights, Garmin Edge 830, Outdoor Research Helium Bivy, Klymit Static V Lite Sleeping Pad, Kammok Bobcat Down Quilt.

David Richey

Age 38 / Clear Lake Shores, Texas (USA)

2023 Arkansas High Country Race Rigs

ROUTE: South Loop
BIKE: I’ll be making my second run of the South Loop this year on my new and long awaited Black Mountain Cycles Mod.Zero from Mike Varley. SRAM Rival 1 shifter with Ratio Tech 12spd conversion, Eagle 12spd rear derailleur with 10-50 cassette, being turned by SRAM Force Carbon cranks with a 36T chainring. Braking is handled by Yokozuna Ultima calipers with Cane Creek eeSilk suspension seatpost and suspension stem helping to smooth out that gnarly Arkansas gravel. Wheels are LightBicycle carbon 36s with DT Swiss 240 hubs wrapped up in Continental Terra Hardpack tires in size 50c.
BAGS: Front burrito bag is Kaiventure. Frame and tail bag are Outershell. Top tube bag is an REI magnetic something or another. I’ll have two 32oz bottles on the frame and another 2L of water in my wonderful USWE Vertical 4L hydration pack.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Piñon bivy from Katabatic gear to drop weight further. Down puffy with Smartwool base for short sleeps. Self designed and built 3d printed head light controls on aero bar ends for convenient Low/High mode changes. Wahoo Elemnt Bolt v2 for nav with RWGPS on quadlock mounted phone as backup.

Matthew Roeleveld

Age 36 / St. Louis, Missouri (USA)

arkansas high country race rigs 2023

ROUTE: South Loop
BIKE: As a cyclocross boy my best choice was to race my 2019 Giant TCX Advanced. DT Swiss GR 1600 wheels with Rene Herse tires 48mm up front and 42mm in the back mnn4m. Drivetrain is err… Apex shifters, Rival rear derailleur, Ultegra Crank with a Stages Power Meter Dura Ace left arm, Wolftooth 36t chainring paired with an 11/42 cassette. We got Aero bars folks.
BAGS: A Perfectly fitting custom frame bag by South City Stitchworks will be carrying the bulk of my gear. It’s lightweight and functional. I’m also equipped with a Stitchworks top tube bag and handlebar pack holder. I got a Revelate Designs saddlebag and a couple of Arundel Looney Bins taped to my fork.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I’m borrowing so much gear. There is no way I would be able to do this race without all the gear I borrowed from friends. They are the highlight. Zach, Courtney, Kayce, Robert, Zach, Joe, and Andrew.

Cody Seaver

Age 32 / Nashville, Tennessee (USA)

2023 Arkansas High Country Race Rigs

ROUTE: South Loop
BIKE: I’ll be riding (not racing) the Arkansas High Country South Loop on a 2021 Rondo RUUT ST. This Polish steel is excellent for commuting and features a few carbon components such as fork and seat post. A pair of Teravail Cannonball 700x47s mounted on Easton EA70ax wheels keep it grounded. Shimano GRX 2×11: 48x32T with an 11-42T cassette gobble up the climbs, GRX RX810s Hydros for taming descents. Vision Team AEROBARS for road naps.
BAGS: Restrap Aero bar 7L drybag holster up front for dry socks, chammy, wind/rain jacket, whatever. Jandd feed bag on top of Aeros for hose bottle. Jandd 1/4 frame bag for electronics kit, tools/tubes, snacks. Birzman 8L saddle bag in rear for sleep system. Small Camelbak for extra snacks and water capacity expansion for the desolate stretches. 3 bottles on frame, 1 in feed bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: A SOL Escape bivy will serve as my shelter along with a 50° synthetic bag and Big Agnes AirCore pad. Garmin 530 for navigation and Garmin inReach for tracking. Lights: Fenix BC30 headlight, Fenix HM65r headlamp. Depending on the forecast the day before the event will make decisions on temp appropriate gear: Puff jacket, leg warmers, gloves etc.

Zach Smith

Age 43 / St. Louis, Missouri (USA)

2023 Arkansas High Country Race Rigs

ROUTE: South Loop
BIKE: I’ll be racing the South Loop clockwise on a Rodeo Labs Flaanimal 5.0 laced with 2.1 Mezcal TNTs on DT Swiss GR1600 wheels. Gearing is an all business 40T up front and a XT 11-51T party out back powered by a microSHIFT brifter, which allows for those easy-on-the-eyes TRP Ultralight brake levers to get in the mix. It’s an abundantly fun set up.
BAGS: All baggage is custom-made to fit and fabric preferences by South City Stitchworks. (I should mention I am the one-man operation at SCSW.) I’m running prototype race panniers and a rack bag built from UHMWPE Ultra 200 to hold and haul my warmth. The custom-fit full-length top tube bag is perfect for electronics, the GPS tracker, and snacks. The full-frame bag will house a 3L bladder, nutrition, and tools. The cockpit system consists of an SCSW Lebarski feedbag and a Quesarritto bar bag for easy access to nutrition and tubeless plugs, because Arkansas gravel is gnarly!
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: The Ecopak and Ultra fabrics are sensational. I’m also really excited about the Fenix BC26R headlight’s long battery life for some extended (hopefully!) night moves this year. And those patches may add a little weight to the bags, but I’ll gladly make that trade for the boost in spirits.

Noah Stephens

Age 27 / Russellville, Arkansas (USA)

arkansas high country race rigs 2023

ROUTE: South Loop
BIKE: Believe it or not, I’m peddling the 500 mile South Loop of the ARHC on my 1993 Specialized Hard Rock Ultra dad-gravel build. I kept the 3×7 original drivetrain but did a full drop bar conversion with Dajia Far Bars, cheap Tektro long pull levers for my v-brake update, and Microshift bar end shifters. My Schwalbe Billy Bonkers are on the original 26” wheels. Running tubes because I ran out of money to upgrade the wheel-set. Between 2” wide tires and my Brooks Cambium saddle, I got all the suspension I need!
BAGS: I really hate tail wag, so I welded the rear rack to fit my 8L roll top bag which holds most of my minimalist gear. The fuel tank bag is no name, and I’ll have a couple of feed bags not pictured. Along with these, I’m wearing a Bontrager Rapid pack on my waist for extra food storage.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Running my iPhone for GPS. I might make a bad example for someone, but it’s worked for me so far. I’m going minimalist on the shelter setup, so I just have my 40 degree bag and some warmer sleeping clothes. There’s no rain in the forecast at all, and I’m banking on that. My frame mounted pump is on the down-tube and a couple extra tubes are taped to the seat-tube. Hopefully that’s where they’ll stay.

John Taylor

Age 59 / Winston-Salem, North Carolina (USA)

2023 Arkansas High Country Race Rigs

ROUTE: Full Loop
BIKE: I’m riding a 2021 Salsa Cutthroat with SRAM AXS Mullet 34×11/50T 12-speed.
BAGS: I have bags from all over that fit my specific purpose: Rogue Panda frame bag, Tailfin trunk on an Old Man Mountain rack, Ortlieb frame packs, custom top tube bag from Zach at South City Stitchworks, and my sleep system and cockpit I sewed myself. Dutchware provided me non tapered Dac poles so I could shorten my poles to 10” so I could have tons of room on the drops.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I sewed my own custom tarp fitted over this tent body that also encloses the bike with a large porch. I’m going big on the tires, Ikon 2.2″ because I’ve never even been to Arkansas and all the photos scared me away from my 47’s.

Josh Tostado

Age 47 / Colorado/Vermont (USA)

arkansas high country race rigs 2023

ROUTE: Ouachita Triple Crown
BIKE: Santa Cruz blur TR with Shimano build, 4 piston XTR, reserve wheels WTB Ranger tires, Ergon saddle and grips.
BAGS: Oveja Negra top tube bags for tools and food , everything else goes in my Shimano 10L pack.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I can carry 100oz of water in my pack and about 80 on the bike, I’ll be carrying a Sawyer Mini water filter and purification tablets. I’ll use a Wahoo element roam for navigation, Niterider lumina max 2500 and lumina micro 800 for light.

Jacob Waterman

Age 31 / Springfield, Missouri (USA)

2023 Arkansas High Country Race Rigs

ROUTE: South Loop
BIKE: I’ll be riding the South Loop on my Mosaic GT-X. I’ll be running flat bars with a GX AXS 10x50T drivetrain and 36T chainring, Profile Designs aerobars, SQ Lab Innerbarends, and Vittoria Terreno tires (2.25 front and 2.1 rear).
BAGS: I’ll be packed down using bags from Outershell (Half Frame Bag, Mini Saddlebag, and Mini Bar Bag) as well as Dispersed (Top Tube Bag and Rear Top Tube Bag).
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I’m opting out of bringing a traditional sleep kit and will be carrying my Outdoor Research rain jacket and pants, along with my Mountain Hardwear down jacket.

Randy Windle

Age 44 / Hot Springs, Arkansas (USA)

2023 Arkansas High Country Race Rigs

ROUTE: Full Loop
BIKE: Black Sheep Custom MTB All-Arounder. Custom “Handy” hike-a-bike bars, segmented fork and rear rack all by Black Sheep Bikes. Rene Herse Fleecer Ridge Endurance Plus 700 x 55mm tires. Stan’s Arch wheels with Berd Spokes laced to Onyx Vesper hub in the rear and a Son Dynamo up front. Sinewave Beacon 2 headlight. Boone Technologies Radius cranks and rear cog. AARN chainring. 32x16T gearing. Hope Tech E4 brakes. Kickstand by Nature.
BAGS: Frame bag, top tube bag (Upper Decker) and handlebar bag all by South City Stitchworks. Zach produced these from an upcycled 20-year-old North Sail. Spot tracker pouch by Alpine Luddites. Revelate Designs Salty Roll on the rear rack.

David “DWonn” Wonn

Age 70 / North Little Rock, Arkansas (USA)

arkansas high country race rigs 2023

ROUTE: Full Loop
BIKE: I’ll be racing the full loop clockwise on an Ocoee Boundary. I’m using WTB 700 x 50mm Gravel tires. My drivetrain is a GRX Di2 w/ an 11-42T cassette and 44/28T front chainrings.
BAGS: I’m using Moose Stem bags on each side of the stem to hold a 32oz bottle, power bank, and snacks. I’m using a full frame bag and large seat pack. I also have a Blackburn rack on each side of the front fork for an extra bottle of fluids & extra gear.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I’ll be using a Garmin Edge 530 & an iPhone for navigation.

Pat Worthley

Age 38 / Bentonville, Arkansas (USA)

2023 Arkansas High Country Race Rigs

ROUTE: Ouachita Triple Crown
BIKE: I’ll be competing for heaviest setup on my 2021 Poseidon Redwood. The 1×11 drivetrain features a 30T chainring to (hopefully) keep me pedaling more than pushing. 2.2″ Continental Cross King in the front with Race King in the rear, with inserts. A PNW Pine dropper post with a whopping 75mm of travel keeps the psyche alive on the descents.
BAGS: Evoc top tube and frame bags, Tioga seat bag, and a Salsa anything cage or two.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Keeping the sleep kit light with emergency bivy, pad, and elephant’s foot bag.

Justin White

Age 33 / Cape Girardeau, Missouri (USA)

arkansas high country race rigs 2023

ROUTE: South Loop (CCW)
BIKE: I’ll be riding a Brother Cycles Big Bro, set up with drop bars, front panniers, and a well-worn B17. The drivetrain is a pieced-together 1×10 with a 32T chainring, Hunt aluminum wheels, and WTB Venture 50’s.
BAGS: I am running a set of Ortlieb Gravel panniers for my primary gear storage, a Routewerks Handlebar Bag for snacks and other fast-access items, a Specialized gas tank bag for my tool kit, and a Donut Sack stem bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: The Big Bro has been a great adventure bike for exploring my local area, I’m ready to ride it around the high country for a couple of days. My Routewerks handlebar bag is my favorite piece of gear on my bike, it holds my GPS, Spot tracker, light, and all of my snacks.

Jeremy Cook

Age 47 / DeLand, Florida (USA)

BIKE: I will be riding the AHCR on my Salsa Fargo Ti set-up with 29er Hunt wheelset mated to Continental Race Kings 2.2″. The drivetrain is SRAM mash-up of Apex brakes/shifters, Rival rear derailleur and XO cranks. 34t up front with 10-46 in the rear.
BAGS: My bags for AHCR are a mixture of Topeak (saddle, gas tank, half-frame), Swift (front & hip pack -not pictured-), and Alpkit (feedbagx2) bits.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Gear changes from ride to ride, but my favorite item is my Singletrack Samurai safety triangle because I know it helps me be seen! I bought it for my first endurance event (CFITT 2018) and have used it on pretty much every bikepacking or endurance ride since.

Peter Rajcani

Age 60 / (USA)

BIKE: Lauf Seigla, stock setup, 2.2″ tires.
BAGS: Topeak Backloader rear bag, Salsa EXP front bag (cage mount) and Serfas frame bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Lauf fork with a large tire clearance is beneficial in rough terrain. I also got a new rear bag (Topeak Backloader) which is very stable and does not sway while pedaling.

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