Brett Stepanik is over halfway into an individual time trial on the 375-mile Ozark Gravel Doom route in Arkansas. Learn more about his ride and follow along live here…

Words by Andrew Onermaa (@onermaa), photos by Kai Caddy (@kaicaddy)

Brett Stepanik is a 36-year-old bikepacking wizard reigning from the land of Madison, Wisconsin. His single-speed accomplishments span over a decade. Most notably, the single-speed time record for the coveted Triple Crown of bikepacking: the Arizona Trail, Tour Divide, and Colorado Trail.

In October of 2021, he secured a first-place finish and new FKT for the Arkansas High Country Race in the single-speed category. Within a few short months of finishing, he found himself craving more of the terrain he experienced in Arkansas and a return to the welcoming and highly stoked cycling community there.

Here comes Doom, a new challenge of unknown but absurd magnitude in the Ozark National Forest. It’s hard. Really hard. And no one has done it self-supported yet.

Stepanik gravel doom

Averaging 110 feet of elevation gain/loss per mile, riders are either buckling up for a rowdy descent or gritting teeth for a torturous climb. The loop consists of 85% gravel and 15% pavement with surface types ranging from hardpacked gravel to unmaintained OHV trails. Creek crossings, cutty connectors, and a few Arkansas High Country classics—this route has it all. It’s 376 miles with a whopping 41,375 feet of elevation gain. The resupply run-outs are huge and cell service is mostly nonexistent.

Brett seeks out to start the New Year with a bang. A new challenge and another way to establish himself as a big player in the game of bikepacking. It’s all for the love of pushing the envelope and having memorable experiences by bike. A “punk rock Peter Pan,” Brett is a character to cheer for. Best of luck on his ITT attempt!

Stepanik gravel doom

For the most current updates, follow the Ozark Gravel Doom (@ozarkgraveldoom) Instagram account and keep an eye on the Ozark Gravel Cyclists (@ozarkgravelcyclists) page for more great content from Andrew. You can also head over to Kai’s website for a complete gallery of fantastic photos from day one of Brett’s ride.

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