ODEN – The weather was perfect for cyclists riding in the 2022 Ouachita Challenge Gravel Grinder and Trail Race held Saturday and Sunday, March 26 and 27.
Saturday’s Gravel Grinder kicked things off with 184 cyclists starting the race. The first cyclists crossed the finish line in just over three hours Saturday. The quick pace was set by a cluster of riders led by Austin Morris (3:02:49), Brad Cobb (3:02:50) and Kevin Solomon (3:02:51).
The race was divided into four categories with men’s and women’s divisions in the Gravel Grinder and OC Double Categories. The Gravel Grinders were just signed up for Saturday’s race while the OC Double riders competed in the Gravel Grinder Saturday and the Challenge Sunday. There were also separate categories for single speed bike competitors.
In an effort to spread the prize money around as much as possible the OC Double Course riders who finished 1-2-3 were presented with swag Saturday with the fastest Gravel Grinder riders receiving checks for the top finishers in Saturday’s race.
The first seven cyclists to cross the finish line Saturday were double course riders. Trailing Morris, Cobb and Solomon were Kyle Lockhause (3:02:52), Austin Sullivan (3:02:53), Carson Harrington (3:02:54) and Spencer Whittier (3:02:56). The winner of the Gravel Grinder Division was Reese Stanley with a time of 3:09:36. Brian Lea finished second (3:09:38) and Neil Simmons finished in third place (3:12:36).
Tara Hileman won the Women’s Gravel Grinder with the best overall time among all female cyclists with a time of 3:30:49. Amy Borkowski finished second place in the Gravel Grinder division (3:45:54) and Stephanie Wittington finished third (3:46:45). Sara Sheets had the second best overall time while competing in the OC Double Division with a time of (3:39:53).
The Gravel Grinder was held on gravel paved roads near the Ouachita and Womble Trails. However, the race course did not use the single track trails as part of the course.
Sunday’s Ouachita Challenge Trail Race followed a similar course to Saturday’s race. However, much of the course was run on single track trails along the Ouachita and Womble Trails.
John Whittington led the field in Sunday’s race with a time of 4:28:53. His time gave him the overall win Sunday and the best time for Sunday only competitors.
Spencer Whittier finished second with a time of 4:31:54, followed by Drew Medlock (4:36:27), Curtiss Feltner (4:37:03), Austin Morris (4:42:54), Rob Sandusky (4:51:00), Josh Allen (4:51:27), Austin Sullivan (4:51.28), Brad Cobb (4:51.29) and Carson Harrington (4:51:57).
John Wittington, Drew Medlock and Curtiss Feltner were the winners in the Sunday Geared Division.
Kindsay McLaughlin won the Sunday Women’s Division with a time of 6:06:21, followed by Minday Mitchell (DeMartino) (6:44:38) and Ivy Deason (6:46:03)
Spencer Whittier won the Double Ride Division with a combined time of 7:34.50. He finished in seventh place overall Saturday with a time of 3:02:56 and second overall Sunday with a time of 4:31:54.
Austin Morris came in second place in the Double Ride Division with a combined time of 7:45:43, followed by Brad Cobb with a combined time of 7:54:19.
Sara Sheets won the Women’s Double Race Division with a combined time of 9:18:54. She finished 37th overall Saturday and second among women with a time of 3:39:53. She was the first woman to finish Sunday’s race, finishing 40th overall, with a time of 5:39:01.
Ali Whittier finished in second place with a combined time of 10:46:29, followed by Ariana Khu with a combined time of 11:16:36, and Laureen Coffelt with a combined time of 11:34:52.
Four competitors participated in the ironman Double Race Single Speed Division. Bradford Bowen won the division with a combined time of 10:40:06 (4:14:47 Saturday, 6:25:19 Sunday), followed by Larry Wagner with a combined time of 10:42:10 (4:10:03 Saturday, 6:32:07 Sunday), Desiree Magagliano with a combined time of 11:03:03 (4:02:37 Saturday, 7:00:26 Sunday) and Corey White with a combined time of 12:09:20 (3:41:22 Saturday, 8:27:58 Sunday).
The Ouachita Challenge Race Association hosted this year’s Ouachita Challenge Gravel Grinder and Trail Race. Oden School Campus served as the start finish line for both races with the infamous “Green Monster” hill serving as the final obstacle for participants.
Weather perfect for Ouachita Challenge