Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A New Ride Added To The Fall Calendar: Ozark Trail Festival, Heber Springs

The Ozark Trail Festival Bicycle Ride takes place on Saturday, October 10th, with the 55-mile ride rolling out at 7:00AM from Spring Park in scenic downtown Heber Springs. The 20-mile Fun Ride starts at 7:30. The flyer indicates this to be the "3rd annual" OTF bike ride, but I believe the first 2 included only the 20-mile route.
There has been a lot of effort in recent years to develop trails and bike routes in the Heber Springs/Greers Ferry Lake Area, much of that effort under the auspices of the Greers Ferry Lake Trails Council and its president, Frank Wimberley.
The 55-mile route follows most of the course I wrote about last September as "Milner's Metric". That ride was organized by local rider, trout guide, and friend Matt Milner. Matt and galpal Krista laid out and marked the course, stashed water along the way, and arranged a support station near the halfway point. It was a great ride along a route I had hesitated to try solo due to concerns about traffic.

Milner's Metric included some great views of fog-bound Greers Ferry Lake. Expect the same, perhaps without the fog, on October 10.
The Ozark Trails Festival ride promises traffic control by local law enforcement agencies. While most of the ride is along quiet back roads, the support will be welcome on a couple of highway stretches.
I got a kick out of the Mountain Man logo on the GFL Trails Council site. I felt I had fallen in with a pack of mountain goats on Matt's ride as they left me gasping and distanced me several times. I recorded 4000' of climbing in 64 miles on that little adventure.

October is a great time to head to the hills, and this ride promises to be a good one. We have a place on the Little Red outside of Heber, so it is very convenient for us, but Heber Springs is just a little over an hour from Little Rock. There are also special rates at the local Holiday Inn Express and plenty of camping opportunities.

The ambitious among you can use this as a warm up for the Arkansas Bicycle Club's Joe Webber Arky100 taking place the next day, Sunday, October 11, at Sheridan.

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