Late last night, after 4 days, 14 hours, and 13 minutes, Ernie Lechuga completed the 1,037-mile Arkansas High Country Race in first place, setting a new fastest known time in the process. Find an update from the event and see scenes from the finish line here…

Photos by Kai Caddy (@kaicaddy)

Over the last few days, an impressive number of riders arrived back in Hot Springs, Arkansas, all having tackled variations on the Arkansas High Country Race. This year, there were three routes to choose from: the full ARHC, South Loop, or Ouachita Triple Crown. The latter two are both new options for this year. 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.

Ernie 2022 Arkansas High Country Race

The first finisher was our friend Jeff Kerkove, who set a new fastest known time on the Ouachita Triple Crown route with a time of 23 hours and 5 minutes. On the same route, Alex Kowalski set a new singlespeed record of 31 hours and 4 minutes, and the first female finisher was Lindsay Shepard, with a time of 38 hours and 27 minutes. In his never-ending quest to discover what makes bikes fast and comfortable, Jan Heine of Rene Herse Cycles smashed through the South Loop race in 46 hours and 59 minutes, also setting a new fastest known time. The next riders were all over the two-day mark, making Jan’s accomplishment that much more impressive.

  • Ernie 2022 Arkansas High Country Race
  • Ernie 2022 Arkansas High Country Race

Throughout the first day on the full Arkansas High Country Race route, Ernie Lechuga and Kuya Takami rode neck and neck, gaining a solid lead on the rest of the group. After both riders got a few hours of rest in the wee hours of the first morning, Ernie was first to get riding again and would hold this lead for the rest of his ride. It was clear he was getting pretty tired on Tuesday and Wednesday, as he took several naps along the way in order to keep pushing. At some point along the way, Ernie purchased a neck brace to help combat a case of Shermer’s Neck. Ernie finished the 1,037-mile route late last night in 4 days, 14 hours, and 13 minutes, besting Ted King’s 2020 record by over six hours! See a couple of posts from the finish line below and then head over to the event page to follow the rest of the race along live.

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