Over 100 riders showed up for this year’s Doom & Despair event in Arkansas last Friday, resulting in some blazing-fast times and an overwhelming feeling of community support and camaraderie. With help from the organizers and event photographers, we put together the top finishers’ times, some brief recaps from the quickest riders, and a few photos here…

Photos by Kai Caddy

Doom is described as a beautifully evil bikepacking route in the south, consisting of soul-sucking climbs, rough roads, and a whopping 43,000 feet of elevation gain. This year, there were two route options to choose from: the full Doom (408 miles) and the Despair (196 miles) route. Away from busy highways and cities, both routes traverse challenging terrain within the backcountry of Ozark National Forest. The event first kicked off in 2022 after Brett Stepanik became the first person to complete the route self-supported, doing so in just 3 days and 12 hours. Although the route changes slightly each year, it’s shaping up to be one of the most popular events, attracting fast riders and garnering community support that organizer Andrew Onermaa is especially proud of.

This year, Dexter Kopas took first place on the full Doom course with a time of 45 hours and 42 minutes, all without a wink of sleep. According to Andrew, the route is harder than last year, putting Dexter’s time right on par with Jeff Kerkove’s 2023 winning time of 42 hours and 23 minutes. Meaghan Hackinen was the first woman and third overall to finish the Doom course with a time of 2 days, 4 hours, and 15 minutes, spending a good chunk of the route up in front leading the charge. Corey Kronser was the first singlespeeder to finish the event and took sixth place overall, completing the 407-mile route in 2 days, 6 hours, and 54 minutes with a 34×19 cog setup.

  • Doom 2024 winners
  • Doom 2024 winners
Doom 2024 winners

With Andrew’s help, we collected some short reflections from the top Doom riders that you can check out below. Photographer Kai Caddy was also once again out on route snapping photos and generously provided a handful of shots from the event and at the finish. You can dig into Kai’s entire Doom 2024 photo gallery here.

Dexter Kopas: “It’s only natural I would get my proudest biking achievement during the best biking event I’ve been lucky to be a part of. At some point on Friday, I decided not to give the concept of sleep the slightest attention, which really paid off. It was as if the sleep deprivation was an advantage instead of an obstacle. I got to play in my mind, body, and spirit for two days uninterrupted in the process, learning about my different selves and the world I get to inhabit. I got to ride with many wonderful souls and solo for hours on end, culminating in a welcoming party of sharing and connection at the finish line. Organized self-supported challenges like this have immense potential for personal growth, bringing out the very weirdest, purest, darkest, and most joyful parts of ourselves when we open up to the experience. I’m so glad to get to be a part of this community as it grows.”

  • Doom 2024 winners
  • Doom 2024 winners

Meaghan Hackinen: “Doom was everything you’d expect from a “beautifully evil bikepacking route in the south” and more. I’d shown up ready (or so I thought) for the impossibly steep pitches, rollercoaster descents, and long hauls between resupply. What I didn’t anticipate—or couldn’t possibly fathom from the outset—was the magic of Arkansas’s backcountry, incrementally revealed as sleep deprivation, muscular fatigue, and exhaustion set in. Unfamiliar places in the dark feel even stranger. Down in the hollows, I entered another world of fireflies and frogs, water crossings and armadillos. This—testing myself in unfamiliar surroundings with only the night noises from the bush and my Gremlin Bell for the company—is why I was here. Overall, I’m grateful for the opportunity to race hard, overcome some personal challenges, and experience a little bit of the great terrain and bikepacking community Arkansas has to offer.”

  • Doom 2024 winners
  • Doom 2024 winners

Corey Kronser: “With a name like Doom, a high bar is set, and this event did not disappoint. Winding my way slowly along twisting mountain roads on my way to Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, I admired the view of the Ozarks stretched out around me. Little did I know I would be riding (that’s to say mostly pushing) my bike up and over seemingly every one of those mountains over the next couple of days. Thankfully, I’ve done a lot of stupid things on my bike.

In all seriousness, the climbs were steep, the descents were a blast, and there was no shortage of creeks to go splashing through. Throw in a little singletrack to keep things spicy, beautiful weather this year, a great location for hosting an event, and an amazing race director, and it was everything I could have hoped for and more. Andrew treads the line beautifully between designing a course that is challenging and rewarding and one that is truly heinous. If you haven’t heard, singlespeeds are in. It was a blast to see so many fellow one-geared visionaries out there on the course this year.”

  • Doom 2024 winners
  • Doom 2024 winners

Doom & Despair 2024 Results

Doom 1st – Dexter Kopas: 45 hours and 42 minutes
Doom 2nd – Bryan Dougherty: 2 days, 3 hours, and 53 minutes
Doom 3rd / 1st Woman – Meaghan Hackinen: 2 days, 4 hours, and 15 minutes
Doom 1st SS – Corey Kronser: 2 days, 6 hours, and 54 minutes (New Singlespeed FKT)

Despair 1st – Jesse Smith: 20 hours and 13 minutes
Despair 2nd – Carter Persyn: 21 hours and 57 minutes
Despair 3rd – John Hoffmann: 23 hours and 57 minutes
Despair 1st Woman / 7th overall – Natalie Peet: 28 hours and 55 minutes
Despair 1st SS – Kyle Gilbert: 30 hours and 17 minutes

  • Doom 2024 winners
  • Doom 2024 winners

Further Reading

Make sure to dig into these related articles for more info...



Event Recaps

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