(Photo Caption: Crystal Myers of Hot Springs (center) takes first place in the Rookie Category in Fort Smith race this Summer.)
HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, Arkansas — Categories for participation by rookie riders and riders using electric bicycles — e-bikes — have been added to the lineup for the Second Annual Güdrun Mountain Bike Festival scheduled for Hot Springs’ Northwoods Mountain Bike Trail System November 13 through 15.
Both categories will be added to the Attila the Hun cross-country race event, according to Traci Berry, trails coordinator for Visit Hot Springs. Güdrun is part of the Arkansas Mountain Bike Championship Series.
The e-bike category will be one of the first USA Cycling-recognized e-bike race events in the United States, Berry said. “I had never bike raced before in my life,” said Crystal Myers of Hot Springs, who entered a biking event in Fort Smith this summer. “After hearing there was a rookie category at the AMBCS River Valley Rumble Race in Fort Smith, I was inspired to sign up. My motivation to race was knowing that I would be racing with others who would also be mountain bike racing for their first time too. I raced with the mindset to learn and experience a bike race with no intent to win — and won!”
As for the e-bike category, Berry said, “Generally speaking, e- bikes are bicycles with a battery-powered ‘assist’ that comes via pedaling and, in some cases, a throttle. When you push the pedals on a pedal-assist e-bike, a small motor engages and gives you a boost, so you can zip up hills and cruise
over tough terrain without gassing yourself.”
Vince Cucco, president of the Arkansas Mountain Bike Championship Series, said, “People may ask, ‘Isn’t racing an e-bike the same as just racing a motorcycle?’ The short answer is ‘no.’ E-bikes still require users to pedal, but will provide pedal assistance for competitors who may otherwise have difficulties on the terrain. “The e-bike category should be extremely exciting to both race in and watch.”
He added, “The rookie categories were created to give men and women who have never raced mountain bikes the chance to participate. They are intended to let them give it a try without lining up at the start line against racers who have been doing this awhile. It allows new racers a chance to see how exhilarating racing and pushing yourself at a course like Northwoods can be while doing so on a level playing field.”
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, preregistration for this year’s Güdrun Festival is required. Registration will be online-only until November 12. To register now, visit the brand new Northwoods website: http://www.northwoodstrails.org
Competitive events will take place on the Northwoods Trails starting at the Cedar Glades Trailhead, and there will be noncompetitive events in the downtown area, including a “creepy” nighttime Slow Roll Ride through the downtown area on Friday The Thirteenth.
About 500 riders — some from as far away as Canada — took part in the initial Güdrun Festival in 2019.
The Güdrun Festival traces its origin to the early days of the Attila the Hun Mountain Bike Race, which began in 1992 where the Northwoods Trails are located today. Following the events of 9/11 in 2001, the race was moved to Charlton Campground on Highway 270 west of Hot Springs and then eventually to Cedar Glades Park where The Attila has been held each year since.
The Attila the Hun competitive race to be held Sunday, November 15, will be the final race of the season for the 2020 Arkansas Mountain Bike Championship Series. There will be plenty of places for spectators to see the racers and cheer them on.
“We are excited to celebrate the second birthday of the Northwoods Trails with the Second Annual Güdrun Mountain Bike Festival,” Berry said.
“Hot Springs is all about fun,” she said, “so who wouldn’t want to put Vikings and bikes together?
“After the year we have had so far in 2020, having fun is much needed. What better way than to be riding bikes? We know we can put on a safe, fun event for all ages following the proper COVID-19 social distancing protocols.”
Berry outlined some information about the 2020 Güdrun Festival:
- Registration will be on-line only until November 12, the day before the event
- There will be “mandatory-mask zones” in effect during the festival
- Events will include the nighttime Slow Roll Ride; the Mini-Enduro race; the Full Enduro race; a Jump Jam competition, and the Attila the Hun XC MTB Race
- The full and mini-enduros will be facilitated by Slaughter Trail Guides
The Güdrun Festival was named after a Germanic heroic legend, Berry said.
“Güdrun was a warrior. A Viking! Wife to Attila the Hun and later defeater of the Huns,” she said.
For more information contact Traci Berry at 501-321-2027.