Posted by Miles Arbour
Main photo by Danil Usmanov (@usmanovdanil)
Going into the Arkansas High Country Race, although not part of the grand depart back in June, Scotti and Ernie Lechuga were expected to ride fast. The couple is no stranger to endurance events, each stacking up national titles as professional cyclists in road events over the years, and this year they won the pairs division at the Silk Road Mountain Race. They now run an athlete coaching business together, Leborne Coaching, out of Little Rock, Arkansas. Although there is no official pairs division at the Arkansas High Country Race, organizers say there is now, and the duo’s record will be recorded. Finishing early Thursday morning, their unofficial time was 5 days, 18 hours, and 24 minutes (05:18:24). Congrats!
Here’s what Scotti had to say about the ride…
We set off on November 1st at 7am from the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock with intent to break the fastest known solo time. We rode it as a pair, and we know that makes things different, but for us it wasn’t so much about breaking the existing record as it was setting up the opportunity to challenge ourselves with a goal in mind. We packed as light as we could and treated it as a race. We finished the route in 5 days 18 hours 24 minutes, with the last 60 miles into a cold rain and headwind!”
We also can’t forget about the riders of the grand depart who took off from Little Rock on June 8th. Out of the 19 riders who were registered on Trackleaders for the event, nine scratched and 10 finished. Mike Dicken of Lander, WY took first place with a time of 6 days, 9 hours, 9 minutes. James Meredith of Bono, AR took second with a time of 6 days, 14 hours, 19 minutes. Nathan Griffee of Eureka Springs, AR took third with a time of 6 days, 21 hours, 47 minutes. Ally Mabry of Missoula, MT was the first female finisher with a time of 8 days, 15 hours, 9 minutes.
To learn more about Scotti and Ernie, you can check out our Rigs of the 2019 Silk Road Mountain Race article, plus check out Rugile Kaladyte’s Silk Road Mountain Race finishers portraits. Scotti and Ernie also plan to share more detailed reflections on their experience via Instagram, so give them a both a follow at @scottilechuga and @ernielechuga.
Congrats to all of the participants of this year’s event, and for those interested in the 2020 Arkansas High Country Race, you can check that out here. Also, find the Arkansas High Country Route (Northwest Loop) route guide here.