Big Sugar NWA Gravel Course Pre-Ride! – Bentonville, Arkansas

big sugar nwa gravel pre-ride

This is a new gravel event for 2020, hosted by the Life Time team. Unfortunately, the race has been deferred to 2021 due to Covid-19.

“This new event will focus on celebrating the cycling community in a truly unique environment and part of the country. It’s the perfect race for a ride in the dirt and an adventure into different terrains and stunning landscapes an experience with fellow cyclists.”

big sugar nwa gravel pre-ride
Near Pineville, Missouri

“Expect this to be one of the most challenging gravel courses featuring picturesque, rarely maintained, canopy-covered gravel roads with loose, rocky gravel, a few pavement sections and a few water crossings and bridges. If you like to ride in the dirt, venture off into stunning landscapes and share an experience with fellow cyclists, Big Sugar NWA Gravel is a race reserved for you.” – Big Sugar NWA Gravel

Big Sugar NWA Gravel Course Pre-Ride Video

Big Sugar Sweet Tooth Challenge Course (Course ridden in this video) –

big sugar nwa gravel pre-ride
Whistling Springs Brewing Company, on the course!

JOM of the Gravel Cyclist crew pre-rode the 100+ mile Big Sugar course on October 22, 2020. The 2021 event will be held on October 23, 2021.

big sugar nwa gravel pre-ride
Fabulous hospitality at Whistling Springs Brewing Company

Do not underestimate this course. It is beautiful and challenging and will test the mettle of most riders. Event day should be a little easier assuming there are support options on the course, but pre-riding solo, there isn’t much out there. Keep that in mind, you will be riding in remote areas of Arkansas and Missouri. Enjoy!

big sugar nwa gravel pre-ride
Somewhere in the woods, Missouri
big sugar nwa gravel pre-ride
JOM of Gravel Cyclist working hard on a 15+% gradient
big sugar nwa gravel pre-ride
Gorgeous scenery in October 2020
big sugar nwa gravel pre-ride
Currently at a gradient of 5% and it gets a lot steeper…

Links of Interest:

Don’t forget to Like the Gravel Cyclist Facebook page, follow G.C. on Instagram, and subscribe to our Youtube Channel. We are also on Twitter!


  1. Avatar Lance Jablonski

    They are Brahman cattle. There is a calf in that bunch that used to run along with you as you rode by.

  2. Avatar Sean

    JOM those are Brahman cattle that originate from India. You will see them In the as they handle heat, humidity and insects much better than the European breeds.

  3. Avatar Sean

    Great course preview. What a beautiful looking ride. Looks like the course could be completed on my favorite tire, the Specialized Pathfinders in 42 ?

    Like the 1x? The course looked ideal for 1x. 46 with a 10 50 Eagle is still too aggressive for me when the day gets long. I ride a 42 front ring and rarely get in the 10 and always have plenty of gear when the climbs have taken my legs from me. I really look at my gearing as being 42 10 42 with a bailout gear. I know the number one complaint is the jumps between cogs but since I spend a lot of time on a XC bike equipped with Eagle, getting on the gravel bike seems tight and easy to me.

    Once again, thanks


    • JOM JOM

      Hi Sean, I expect you’d experience no problems with those Specialized tyres. I’m still not a fan of 1x but it did work quite well for my loaner bike setup, although I’d prefer a 44T chainring. To me, 1x’s flaw comes about when you’re riding with others, trying to match speed / find the right cadence. Riding solo, it works OK. In the company of others, I find one gear is too big, one is too small, and so on. With 2x, none of those issues, and with modern front derailleurs, the gear shifting, especially on electronic is effortless. Nowadays, there are choices for all!

  4. Avatar Sean

    JOM ,I didn’t thing you would come away feeling good about 1x drivetrain with a 46 front chaining on such a long ride with what, nearly 10000ft elevation on a 100 mile course ? Thats without a doubt Ted King?Colin Strickland competing for win 1x gearing. And those tires, ? I don’t get knobby tires on gravel bikes. I run tighter faster tread on my XC race bike. But hey I don’t want to hi jack the video getting into a drive train/tire debate. Great video and watch those Braman bulls, they will hook ya lol

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