Fayetteville, Arkansas: The Arkansas High Country Race features over 1,000 miles of mixed surface riding and 80,000 feet of climbing in the Arkansas backcountry. The 2020 race was just won by professional gravel cyclist Ted King in 4 days, 20 hours, and 51 minutes.
Starting and ending in Fayetteville, King set a new Solo Men’s Fastest Known Time (FKT) of the race route and bested the Overall FKT held by Ernie and Scotti Lechuga (accomplished as a pair), becoming only the third known cyclist to have completed the route in under five days.
Although Ted brought a 10-year cycling career that included racing every big race you can think of (Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Paris-Roubaix, Tour of Flanders, and multiple gravel events), bikepack racing had him feeling like a rookie again. “I’m as excited as I am nervous.” King said before the race began. “I’ve only bikepacked and been self-sufficient on a bike for multiple days once in my life. Outside of a grand tour, I’ve never done a thousand-mile event, and a grand tour involves 21 stages, massages, and guaranteed meals. This is [completely new] for me.”
While Arkansan and local favorite Andrew Onermaa kept things exciting through the first four days, King quickly settled into the concept of bikepack racing, holding the lead for much of the race.
The Arkansas High Country Race has a new king, a rookie by the name of Ted.
There are still 10 riders on route, including our friend Ashley Carelock who is on track to set a women’s record as well. At this point, 8 riders have scratched from the event, including Jesse Blough who was in an accident involving a driver texting on their phone. Jesse is pretty banged up, but okay, and we wish him a speedy recovery.